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The Best Charities for Geeks and Nerds: How to Donate To Science, Free Knowledge, & More
If you are going to give to charity, you might as well give to an organization that supports what you believe in, right? Churches, environmental funds, and disaster relief organizations are obvious choices, and with good cause, but somebody has to look after the nerds out there, and if you don't, who will?
Below are some of the best charities and organizations to consider if you're out to give back to the geekier members of society. Straighten out your pocket protectors and get those vinyl figurines in order, kids - these groups are going to knock your socks off.
The Top Six Organzations for Nerd Donations
Geeks, techies, and nerds unite! These organizations are all about improving the internet, our education, the pursuit of science, and (let's be honest here) making the world a more awesome place. The list is below; more detailed summaries of each organization follow.
- Creative Commons
Did I miss your favorite nerd charity? Let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the list!
- DonorsChoose.org: An online charity connecting you to classrooms in need
DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy to help students in need through school donations
DonorsChoose is one of my favorite charities. Basically, you get to browse various classroom projects that are proposed by teachers all around the country, donate money toward it, and then enjoy the impact you have made by getting photos from teachers and thank-you notes from students.
One of the greatest aspects of DonorsChoose is that you have the freedom to pick a project that resonates with you. You also get to see exactly where your money is going, so you need not be plagued with the nagging suspicion that 42% of your donated cash is going toward spamming people's mailboxes with annoying pamphlets. The fact that you get adorable thank you notes also doesn't hurt.
Eureka Fund is a place to fund the scientific research in clean technology that you want to see realized. Browse research proposals that need your support. Find a project that inspires. Get directly involved!
If you want to kill two birds with one stone by supporting both geeks AND people in poor or developing countries, EurekaFund is the charity for you. This organization allows you to make microdonations toward research that can benefit those less fortunate than us - typically those who live in needy communities.
EurekaFund is also a great place for those who want to donate toward environmentally friendly technology - most of the projects have to do with clean energy and include efforts such as those to provide affordable hot water in Guatemala, safe cooking tools in the developing world, and reduced energy costs in Africa. You can easily drill down to projects that focus on your personal favorite tech - be it related to wind, transport, water, solar power, or energy storage, and a lot of the research proposals are absolutely fascinating!
- Wikipedia - Donations
Every year just enough people support Wikipedia with a small donation - why not join the ranks of these honorable supporters of free online know-how?
We all know and love Wikipedia, and any self-respecting nerd actively contributes to the only encyclopedia by adding information and corrections when appropriate. Though the site is supported by the collective knowledge of the crowd via edits and additions, this is not quite everything it takes to keep the site going.
Supporting a free online encyclopedia costs money, and the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization, needs our help. Donations to Wikipedia help to keep the site advertisement-free and ensure that its content is available to anyone free of cost. Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's founder, doesn't make any money from the site - this is all a project of benevolence. So why not pitch in something aside from the occasional sentence or new entry?
SciFlies allows regular folks to get involved in scientific research by making microdonations toward various research projects. You can browse researcher profiles, and project information, and rest assured that donations are tax-deductible.
SciFlies is another site that allows you to make microdonations toward research projects. On the site, you can browse proposals on projects in all sorts of fascinating categories, including space science, chemistry, mathematics, nanotechnology, physics, paleontology, food science, navigation, and more, which means that you are sure to find awesome projects well within any narrow, geeky domains of academic obsession.
One of the cool things about SciFlies is that microdonations made on the site have financing deadlines. If the deadlines are not met, you can choose some other project to which you would like to donate your funds, so you don't have to worry about donating money toward a project that never gets enough resources to lift off the ground.
- Donate to CC, be a Superhero | Creative Commons
Creative Commons seeks to provide universal access to education, research, culture, and other resources in an effort to spur innovation. Why not help them help people share and share alike?
A lot of nerd, geek, and general online culture is made possible by the massive amounts of free information available on the Internet. Though information wants to be free, access to information, culture, research, and other resources is not universal.
Creative Commons seeks to develop and support a legal and technical infrastructure that can maximize innovation, sharing, and creativity. They do so by providing copyright licenses and tools that encourage people to share the information they publish, as well as encourage others to use it fairly and build upon it to make it better than ever. Any self-respecting nerd should be all for joining that cause!
- Fund Science - Projects
Fund Science is a non-profit organization based in Pittsburgh, PA with the aim of connecting scientific researchers to the average citizen.
Yet another microdonation site dedicated to the pursuit of scientific research, FundScience allows people to donate money toward both projects and organizations. The fun twist here is that there is a time limi to find-raising, and if a cause does not reach its target when the deadline arrives, the funds are redistributed elsewhere.
The projects on FundScience are a bit more technical in their presentation than many of the projects proposed on other science funding sites (for example, one of the proposed projects that the moment is titled "Elucidating the molecular mechanism of the Glutamate Transporter through simulation and modeling"), so rest assured that your superior intellect shall be stimulated here!