Today we are featuring our dear friend Cindi K. who has made contributions of $1500 on her own in Austin's memory....
Cindi K -
The idea for honoring Austin's memory this way is beautiful and so apt. i have absorbed some grief and found some pleasure--or found solace in channeling some of my grief--in a search for charities that would honor some of the many wonderful facets of Austin's being and grace-- science, nature, music, social and economic justice, evidence and clarity. and so with $1500:::
Looking at the article on evidence based giving led me to charity navigator where i made sure my choices were all 4 star--i know austin would have valued the efficiency and dedication that goes into an organization receiving 4 stars, and so i gave:
$200 to education through music (http://www.etmonline.org), which seemed to be one of the best organizations i could find that would bring the gift the music learning and appreciation to young people without financial resources in schools where music education has been decimated;
$200 to ocean discovery institute (http://oceandiscoveryinstitute.org/about-us/) based in your old stomping grounds in san diego and dedicated to offering young people the chance to understand science in a hands-on way and get involved with environmental stewardship through community based and school based environmental science programs;
$200 to wilderness inquiry (http://www.wildernessinquiry.org/about_us/index.php) which offers young people the chance to experience the beauties and astonishing vastness and inspirations of nature in wilderness settings near and far--some of them will surely become 'destination hikers' and share Austin's love of the wildness of the world;
$200 to cold spring harbor laboratory (https://www.cshl.edu). in a way this felt like an odd choice--a well funded, well established elite scientific institution--but their dedication to research and education and their accomplishments in so many areas of science, and the 'serene velocity' (to use the title of an avant garde film) of the worlds they create for scientists and science are places i know Austin would have shimmered and shook, so i wanted them to have a little trace of him even as i grieve for him and them that they won't get the real thing;
finally, in the realm of social, economic and environmental justice are 2 organizations i support routinely but i've given them extra in honor of Austin--
$250 to common ground relief (http://www.commongroundrelief.org) which is dedicated to 'solidarity not charity,' and has been active and successful in building socially just communities and organizations in the gulf coast area, especially new orleans, after katrina, including clinics--medical and legal, housing, and environmental justice projects like community gardens and wetlands restoration. (their budget is too small to register on charity navigator so this is my only non-4 star donation).
$250 to community voices heard (http://www.cvhaction.org/mission). i am a member of the solidarity board of CVH and have actively supported them for years (thanks to this 12 days endeavor i actually looked them up on charity navigator and was delighted [but not surprised] to find they are a 4 star organization.) it's a member run anti-poverty-anti-racist organization which does amazing work on housing, welfare reform, participatory budgeting (which i think austin would have appreciated), and employment skills and access. i love their work and energy and am happy to give them this little bit more to honor the spirit of austin and this way of celebrating his life.
thank you for giving me this chance to think about and feel Austin's presence and rare gifts, and to give a little bit of that gorgeous presence and spirit back to the world.