Welcome everyone, to the first day of our version of the "12 Days of Christmas".
With the loss of Austin this last summer, Laurie, Aidan and I have decided to devote our Christmas giving to charity and that all that charitable giving to be guided by Austin's friends, family and the people that supported during the search and since his loss.
To provide us with a structure for that giving, we have co-opted the "12 Days of Christmas" to make it more than just a Christmas carol.
On each of these twelve days, we will post about each of the contribution selections made by the people closest to Austin and our famiy.
So, let's get started....
Statement - "Austin always had an appreciation and desire for efficiency. GiveDirectly is a recently founded charity that provides assistance to poor families in Kenya and Uganda. However, since it was founded by economists, it takes a somewhat unusual approach; the donation is transferred directly to the selected family, the reasoning being that the recipients are the best ones to judge how the money should be used in order to confer the greatest benefit. I thought that this direct approach would appeal to Austin.
Austin loved unconventional ideas, so long as they were supported by evidence. I believe that this unrestricted cash transfer approach has the potential to shift the paradigm of how charitable giving is approached. It has strong preliminary evidence supporting its effectiveness, but it is only through gathering more data on how it affects the families that its full impact will become known. The only way to gather this data is to observe the approach in action, which requires donations. It is for this reason that I am allocating my full amount to GiveDirectly, since Good Ventures is currently matching all donations 1:1, maximizing its impact. (GiveWell's top-rated charity for this year)"
Statement - "NMSI is a prominent organization that aims to improve student performance in the STEM subjects with outreach to teachers and schools. Encouraging increased math and science education, especially in low-income areas, is a cause that is true to Austin's love of science. (Charity Navigator: 4 Stars)"
Statement - "Khan Academy is very much inline with my dream that anyone from anywhere could learn how to become anything they desire to be at anytime in there life. It is one of the best places to learn about math and science without having to be matriculated or buy physical books."
Statement - "Hey Mozart! New Mexico is a non profit that showcases the composing abilities of children in the southwest. Kids 12 and under submit either a recorded piece or a music notation. 16 pieces are chosen and each child is assigned a professional or university level arranger to collaborate on transforming the melody into an orchestral piece. A concert with around 600 people attending features these melodies. Apparently each child performs their melody. Then the child hears their melody played by an orchestra for the first time. I really like that that it doesn't focus on the musical talent of the child, but on the creativity of the child by maintaining a focus on the original melody. It builds confidence in young composers, invites a wide range of musical professionals to volunteer with the program, AND helps foster musical education for children who didn't make the cut."
Statement - "Aunt Judy Walden asked me if we would be interested in gathering the family together to sponsor a
"Remembering Austin" planting bed (or two) in the very large Community "Growing Together" Garden she helps manage, which helps supply such charities as the Phoenix Rescue Mission with fresh vegetables, etc.
This is a perfect opportunity for us to make a donation to help sponsor the next planting season. I know that Sarah and I would happily put in the labor to plant Austin's bed(s) - and help harvest the veggies, in his name and belief in pure, healthy foodstuffs for all."
Statement - "This I a program which provides free enrichment classes and one on one tutoring for academically promising, low income students. The mainstay of the program is a six week summer enrichment school where college and high school teachers teach a variety of academic and non academic classes. I taught and tutored with them and know first hand the level of support they provide to lift students into the best high schools and to encourage potential teachers."