By Dr. James M. Dahle, WCI Founder
Last week was Thanksgiving. Yesterday was Giving Tuesday. It's now December, and I hope the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Bodhi spirit is beginning to spread across the land. The end of the year is also coming, which matters if you take significant charitable deductions on your tax return. For whatever reason or combination of reasons, annual charitable giving amounts are heavily back-loaded in November and December.
We're no different here in the WCI family; we always have our annual family giving meeting in December where we decide which charities to support this year. This year, we've decided to let the WCI community help out with the process. Leif Dahleen at the Physician on FIRE has done something similar the last few years and it has worked out well, so we're going to go for it.
The Process to Submit a Charity
Here is how we are going to do it. We are allocating $50,000 of our charitable deductions this year to this “contest.” You can enter the contest by posting one (and only one) comment below the post. You may name one (and only one) charity in the first line of your post. You may then include in your post whatever commentary you'd like to get other readers/commenters to vote for the same charity. You may vote either as a reply to that comment (especially helpful if you're voting for the same charity) or as a separate comment.
If the charity name is not in the first line of the comment, it will not be counted. All other comments will be ignored for voting purposes.
We will give $1,000 each to the 50 charities that get the most votes. If there is a tie, we'll choose our favorite(s) from the tied entries. You will have one week from today to get your votes in, at which point they will no longer count. That means December 8 is the last day to submit your votes. Here are the rules for entries:
- The charity must be registered with the IRS. We're not sending the money to your cousin that was just diagnosed with cancer or somebody's GoFundMe. The plan is to donate through our Vanguard Donor Advised Fund, so if it won't pass their screen as a real charity, it won't pass ours.
- The charity must be rated at least 3 out of 4 stars on Charity Navigator or get at least an A- rating on CharityWatch.org. Look it up before wasting your vote on it, because we will. Yes, we know there are lots of great organizations that are not rated on either site. We have given to them, too. But those charities are not eligible to win this particular contest.
- If there are multiple branches of a charity, we will give to the mother organization and count all votes for the branches as belonging to the mother organization.
- The charity must not be objectionable to a significant percentage of WCIers. That excludes charities such as the NRA Foundation, Planned Parenthood, We Build The Wall, Defund the Police, Donald J. Trump Foundation, Clinton Foundation, etc. You get the picture. Don't waste your vote on a charity that involves a political hot topic or has a politician's name on it. We're the final judges on that score.
- No churches, mosques, or other primarily religious organizations. We already give plenty of money to our own church. If the primary mission of a charity is to spread beliefs, a vote for them is not going to count. For example, you can't vote for the United Pentecostal Foundation, but you could vote for Catholic Relief Services.
- No colleges or universities. We already donate plenty to our alma mater. We're not going to donate to yours. Find a more charitable charity.
OK, that should be enough rules. We reserve the right to change them as we go along in case we made a stupid one. Let's have some fun with this. Don't forget that you want to register your vote AND also include a paragraph below it convincing others to also vote for your favorite charity.
[Update 12/9/2021: The contest is now over and I've turned off the comments on this post. Unfortunately, there were A LOT of people who did not read the rules above, did not bother looking up their favorite charities on the charity rating sites to make sure they were rated, or just assumed that other posters who first listed a charity did that verification for them. There were also several of you who voted multiple times. In the end, over half of the votes didn't count and we didn't actually even come up with 50 charities that met the criteria. We did come up with 47 though. We're sure our kids will be able to make up the difference at our annual meeting. Here are the winners. If your favorite charity did not make the list, it's probably because it did not submit enough info to CharityWatch or CharityNavigator to be rated. It's probably a great charity, but rules are rules. The good news is that I learned about a lot of charities I didn't know about and there are 46 great charities here who will each be getting $1,000! Honorable mention should be made to several charities that got a lot of votes (NF2 BioSolutions, Tri 4 Schools, Isha Foundation, GiveWell, and Best Friends Animal Society, all of which got a lot of votes, even if none of them counted due to their lack of a rating.]
We hope you had as much fun reading about these charities as we did. We encourage you to also donate to the ones you deem worthy. Our family's selected charities this year include:
- Utah Food Bank
- Catholic Community Services
- The Road Home
- 4th Street Clinic
- Utah Refugee Connection
- Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf
- Underground Railroad
- Trevor Project
- Team Seas
- Ronald McDonald House
- Give Directly
- Doctors Without Borders