Topic of the week: Giving
The holiday season as well as the end of they year will soon be upon us and that gets lots of people thinking about giving to worthy organizations. We asked our contributors for their favorite organizations that they are donating to this year. Can you add your support?
David Alpert: The Coalition for Smarter Growth does the hard work, day in and day out, of advocating for the issues most of us support here at Greater Greater Washington. They mobilized a lot of people (including many of you) to show up in person to testify for the zoning update in DC, Bus Rapid Transit in Montgomery County, and better land use and transportation plans in Prince George's and Northern Virginia.
Online, we talk about these issues and help educate many people about what's going on in their communities, but success also requires on-the-ground organizing. Please support CSG's great work.
We also talk about bicycling a lot here on Greater Greater Washington, and no organization is doing more to push for safer streets, better bike infrastructure, trails, CaBi, bike racks, driver and cyclist education, and so much more than the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). They made a list of amazing projects that they'd like to do, and would help bicycling in DC, but can't do without money. Why not help pay for a "traffic garden" where kids can learn to ride safely, or a fellow to compile and analyze crash statistics? Donate to them here.
Ben Ross: The Action Committee for Transit is Montgomery County's grass-roots advocate for better transit and better communities. Please join us (or renew early for next year) and support our activism by choosing whatever dues level you can afford between $10 and $100.
Canaan Merchant: Two organizations that I've volunteered for and have grown to admire are Food and Friends and DC Central Kitchen. Food and Friends delivers meals to people with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other illnesses. DC Central Kitchen provides meals for the homeless and is a culinary training program for them and others as well. Both the sick and the homeless are too often invisible parts of our urban landscape and these organizations have earned a lot of recognition for their ability to provide. I'd encourage anyone looking for ways to give locally to consider these two organizations.
Aimee Custis: Two organizations on my giving list this year are Smart Growth America and Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling. Smart Growth America advocates on the national level for people who want to live and work in great neighborhoods, but their office is here in DC, and their staff are an active part of our region's smart growth community. There are so many great local bike advocacy groups, but Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling is one of my favorites. A volunteer-run local affiliate of WABA, they're on the front lines of advancing cycling in Fairfax County, which certainly isn't easy.
Dan Reed: IMPACT Silver Spring is a great organization that embodies the adage "Teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime." They ensure the long-term health of immigrant, minority, and low-income communities in Montgomery County through organizing, community engagement, and leadership training, empowering people to advocate for themselves both economically and politically. Montgomery Housing Partnership not only builds affordable housing, they help their residents build better lives and neighborhoods through job training and community-building events.
Both groups make Silver Spring and Montgomery County better places to live, and their staffs are some of the most talented, hardworking people I know. I've had the pleasure of working with both of them over the past year on the Flower Theatre Project, and they definitely deserve your support.
Michael Perkins: Bread for the City provides a wide variety of services - not just food and clothing, but also legal advice, dental care, and medical care. They get a regular donation from me. Also, Arlington Streetcar Now!, which is an advocacy organization that's organizing support to continue the plan to build a streetcar in Arlington.
Malcolm Kenton: Although I may not be working for them for much longer, I will add my endorsement for giving to the National Association of Railroad Passengers if you support an expanded and improved national passenger train network plus enhanced transit and commuter rail and multi-modal connectivity. I also give to two local water quality & conservation organizations: Rock Creek Conservancy and the Anacostia Watershed Society.
Elizabeth Falcon: The Diverse City Fund is a project to locally source money to fund grassroots projects in DC. All of the board members who determine grants are longtime DC organizers and activists, and the money goes to small projects that many larger foundations won't fund.
Jim Titus: And don't forget your local house of worship, which probably looks out for people in your neighborhood who have fallen on hard times and may well operate a food pantry.
Jacques Arsenault: A couple of other great organizations that touch on homeless and housing work are the Arlington Street People's Assistance Network (A-SPAN) and Central Union Mission, who just moved from 14th Street NW to near Union Station. And two organizations that provide critical services for under served or disconnected youth in the community are the Latin American Youth Center and DC Lawyers for Youth.
Veronica O. Davis: Food & Friends prepares and delivers healthy meals to terminally ill residents in the region.
Jaime Fearer: I serve on the board of Fihankra Akoma Ntoaso, or FAN, a local nonprofit organization based in Anacostia that serves foster youth throughout the District. More specifically, FAN aims to support teens in foster care by filling the gaps in their social, emotional, and educational lives as they face aging out of the foster care system. Please watch our 7-minute video and join me in building a bridge for some of our most vulnerable youth.
Geoffrey Hatchard: I'll be one to add an ask for Casey Trees. Casey's mission is simple: to restore, enhance, and protect the tree canopy of the nation's capital. I've been volunteering for Casey Trees for 9 years now, and I've found every minute of it to be fulfilling and worthwhile. They've expanded their reach recently to include plantings in Prince George's County, Montgomery County, and Arlington County. With more funds, they'll be able to invest in more staff to help plan and lead more projects in the future.
- Fairfax's answer to neighbors' transit plans: Light rail, streetcars, and BRT
- The DC zoning update has already had triple the public input as the enormous 1958 zoning code. Enough is enough.
- Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront
- Today's problems were visible decades ago, but zoning has blocked solutions ever since
- MARC's chief engineer wants to allow bikes on some weekend trains
- Montgomery County added 100,000 residents since 2002, but driving didn't increase
- Downtown DC could have been more like L'Enfant Plaza