I am happy and honored to contribute to organizations that embody Austin's spirit. I've split mine into three this year:
Museum of Science and Industry at hyde park, 270$
Austin introduced me to this museum- encouraged me to go and then joined me (a most wonderful tour-guide). The museum does an excellent job engaging the public in all things scientific. I remember playing this odd game with Austin where two players attach probes to their heads and try to "relax" a ball towards your opponent- something about brain waves that I didn't quite grasp. Austin lost miserably, probably because his mind was constantly racing around.
Chicago NPR WBEZ, 270$
Ever since I became indoctrinated to NPR while working in a fly lab at UoC (the only radio station all members could agree to listen to), I've continued to tune into NPR WBEZ while conducting research from Japan. I enjoy all their programs, even the mundane traffic reports covering areas Austin and I walked and biked and bused through. I think this station does a good job covering local and global news, as well as matters of science and technology. The segment "curious city" always reminds me of Austin's method of Chicago-exploration: ambling, day-long walks that wound through many an unexplored nook or cranny.
Spring Initiative, 460$
This organization aims to improve the education and overall wellbeing of children (and their families) in the impoverished town of Clarksdale, MS. My sister and brother are deeply involved with the organization and know that the money is going directly to the local kids the program assists. I'm hoping that the 490 will encompass "healthy and fresh foods" and "educational materials", two things that Austin approved of (food and education). I visited their program with my family and saw the impact that the instructors could have on children underexposed to so many things that brought joy to Austin, like reading, science, and even hiking around outdoors and eating delicious healthy foods- though I don't think they have New Mexico tortillas or green chiles!
Love and hugs to you all,