Dear Dot, where should I donate?

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Dear Dot,

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to donate to environmental causes. But where is my money best spent? 

—Les, Tisbury

Dear Les,

When I was just a little Dot, McDonald’s restaurants offered a kit to host a backyard carnival and raise money for Muscular Dystrophy. This will surprise no-one but I was a bossy kid and the idea of organizing and ordering people around while also doing good felt tailor-made for me. I mailed away for the kit, then got to work transforming my suburban backyard into a carnival. My fortune teller was equipped with a Magic 8 Ball, a neighbour/clown milled about on homemade stilts, there was carnival food, various games, penny tables, and more. We raised around $70 ($361.64 in today’s dollars) and my 10-year-old self became dedicated to philanthropy because it felt so darn good.

Donating to causes that matter to you is a wonderful resolution. According to a recent report by Carbon Switch, an organization that guides you toward reducing your carbon output, less than 2% of donations go to climate nonprofits so there is much need. You can find help at Giving Green, which evaluates climate charities and makes recommendations. Right now, Giving Green urges us to contribute to organizations engaged in systemic policy change, noting on their website that they “focus on organizations that are directly working to change US federal policy, through legislation, executive action, and regulation. We have considered organizations that use “insider” tactics, such as research and policy drafting, as well as “outsider” tactics, such as grassroots activism.” 

Speaking of grassroots activism, we at Bluedot are huge fans of supporting the incredible work being done right here. (Check out our newsletter from two weeks ago for info on Felix Neck, Polly Hill Arboretum, Island Housing Trust, and IGI.) Consider the MV Shellfish Group, which aims to protect the Island shellfish industry (shellfish are powerful climate allies!). Become a member ($50 annually) or a conservator ($1,000 annually) with the Vineyard Conservation Society. Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation dedicates itself to preserving the watersheds and trails that so many of us cherish. 

And ask around, Les. Notice what work resonates with you. And then open your wallet and give what you can. Will it make your year better? My fortune teller says that “signs point to yes.” 

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Bluedot Living magazine is published quarterly (three times in 2021) by The Martha’s Vineyard Times, publishers of The Martha’s Vineyard Times weekly newspaper, Martha’s Vineyard Arts & Ideas Magazine, Edible Vineyard Magazine, The Local, The Minute daily newsletter, Vineyard Visitor, & the websites MVTimes.com, VineyardVisitor.com, & MVArtsandIdeas.com.

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