Sunday, December 21, 2008

For those Charitably Inclined

I'm not against charity - far from it, I think we should all give freely and hopefully abundantly. However, after a certain level of experience most people come to recognize that not all charities are created equal and further, some charities end up doing more harm towards the people they claim they help. Greg Mankiw has a post where he passes on worthy (US) recommendations from a colleague, a development economist (read the whole thing):

To which I'd add three:
  • (ensuring sustainable access to clean water and run by two good friends I first met in Nairobi, Kenya)
  • Acumen Fund ("building transformative businesses to solve the problems of poverty" - they have an excellent blog I follow here)
  • and Accion (supporting microfinance - from what I've seen this organization is the least of all evils and pushes for sustainability more than the others)
And as another reminder, though I think we want to believe that we're doing good in charitable giving, it's probably not a bad thing to think of your charitable giving like a financial portfolio and target your giving appropriately. For those who don't agree with my views or picks, good places to investigate whether your charity is a good steward of its mission are here:

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