Giving Back

I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile, but I figured by March was better then never!

For my whole working career I been involved with various non profits, from teaching English to new immigrants to training volunteers to work in medically underserved communities. Social justice issues are something I’m very passionate about. So when I started my business, I knew giving something back to the community was going to be part of what I did.

Each year my plan is to give a portion of my photography profits to three non-profit organizations. The scheme I came up with is one local, one national, and one international cause. If you have a suggestion, I’d love to hear it!

The winners for 2010 were:

Local: East New York Farms This mission of East New York Farms is:
To organize youth and adults to address food justice in our community by promoting local sustainable agriculture and community-led economic development. East New York Farms! is a project of the United Community Centers in partnership with local residents.

I had the opportunity to visit the farm this past fall for work and was so impressed. East New York is one of the most impoverished and troubled areas of Brooklyn. Crime and chronic disease rates are high and needless to say fresh produce is hard to come by. This farm is grass roots effort to change things in the neighborhood. They have a market each weekend, empower youth with a summer internship program, and encourage community conversations around produce that are unique to the cultures in the area.

National: Planned Parenthood With all the ridiculousness going on in Washington, especially with votes to pull funding from them, it’s more important then ever to support your local Planned Parenthood.

Global: Central Asia Institute The other cause I feel deeply about is education. And after reading Three Cups of Tea, these guys take the cake. Empowering women and girls with education in a completely remote area of the world, and with sustainable projects that utilize the local community? Perfect.

From their website: “Central Asia Institute supports community-based education programs, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Each project involves local people in all phases of projects: to plan, implement and evaluate. A committee of elders and experts guides each selected project. Before a project starts, the community matches Central Asia Institute project funds with equal amounts of local resources and labor. Such commitment ensures the project’s viability and long term success.”

Update: I’ve also added an additional international cause with Doctors without Borders in regards to their efforts with the recent disaster in Japan.

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