What I value. President Joe Biden has said, "Don't tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I'll tell you what you value." That quote is top of mind for me because when I uploaded my financial documents for the accountant, I noticed I gave to 23 charities in 2022.* This list of the 13 organizations I gave the most to (listed highest to lowest) does say something about me.
1. My church.
2. The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation. No surprise if you read this blog very often. Anthony Rizzo is my favorite-most baseball player of all time, and I pledged to donate every time he hit a home run. He hit 32 in 2022 during one of his best seasons.
The funds help families battling pediatric cancer, reimbursing costs not covered by health insurance -- parking and meals at the hospital, rent and mortgage, etc. In 2022 he also took kids on outings to amusement parks in Chicagoland and Florida, and on a shopping spree at the FAO Schwarz flagship store in New York, and catered meals for hospital workers in the pediatric wards. Rizz survived cancer himself as a teen and uses what he and his family endured to inform where the money goes.
3. Harmony House for Cats. Chicago has a lot of animal shelters. I've chosen to devote my greatest efforts to this one. They do great work, but they don't get a lot of publicity.
4. My local food pantry. Because these are my neighbors. In addition to monthly cash contributions, I also throw a non-perishable ($1.10 or less) into my cart every time I go grocery shopping. Today it was a can of green beans (on sale for 69¢). Anyway, by doing that, I'm able to bring a bag of food over to the pantry in person every month without even feeling the cost.
5. Feeding America. This national organization supports food pantries and meal programs all across the country.
6. Doctors without Borders. If you're like me, you see stories about Ukraine, or the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, and you wonder, "What can I do?" Through my monthly donation to DWB, I am helping provide aid.
7. Greenpeace. I do this for my late mother. She worried about the impact of climate change on endangered species.
8. Planned Parenthood. I am personally opposed to abortion. But that is a decision arrived at through my faith, and I don't expect -- nor do I want -- every woman to believe as I do. Legislating one faith's tenet over any other is very UNAmerican. Secondarily, I want every child born to be wanted, and every woman to have access to reproductive healthcare.
9. The Night Ministry. The homeless are our neighbors. The Night Ministry supports them with food, shelter, and medical care.
10. PAWS Chicago. PAWS stands for Pets Are Worth Saving. I believe that, and so I support this organization. More than 95% of the animals that enter PAWS survive.
11. Tree House Animal Foundation. This Chicago humane organization has great PR, deservedly so. They are a model for no-kill shelters nationwide.
12. Goodwill. In 2023, I have committed to carrying gently used items to Goodwill once a month. In 2022, most of my support for this organization was monetary and to the national organization. Next year I'd like to see this one fall out of the Top 13, with the cash replaced by contributions of my gently used STUFF.
13. Colonial Williamburg Foundation. I know I can be a patriotic sap, but I believe knowing where we've been can help us decide where we want to go. And so I support Williamsburg. It really is a living museum.
Before you give to any charity, make sure it's worthy of your money. Check it out at Give.org.
*Don't be too impressed; all I gave to one of them was $4.
Please join us for THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.