We have a day for giving thanks right before the Christmas season, so it makes sense that we also have a day for giving back. Somewhat awkwardly, these days are separated by three days dedicated to excessive shopping (I’m looking at you, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday).
Yes, the Tuesday after Black Friday is known as Giving Tuesday -- first declared so in August 2012 by Henry Timms, an organizer at New York’s 92nd Street Y, and backed by heavyweights as Microsoft, J.P. Morgan Chase and the Huffington Post.
So what to do if you’re a tech geek, exhausted from Cyber Monday and not sure which tech-friendly charities to donate to on Giving Tuesday? Come to us, of course! We’ve got the roundup of charities for your nerdy giving needs, from Wikipedia.org and One Laptop Per Child down to the little-known Barefoot College.
Check out our slideshow (below) for some of the tech-friendliest ways of giving back. Then, read on for a look at all our coverage of Giving Tuesday.
All the world's knowledge on one little website. Pretty cool, isn't it? <a href="https://donate.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:FundraiserLandingPage&country=US&uselang=en&utm_medium=spontaneous&utm_source=fr-redir&utm_campaign=spontaneous">Wikipedia</a> is the world's fifth largest website, but it operates as a nonprofit. Each year, the site posts large (at times, distracting) banners urging users to donate and keep the site "online for another year." "With 450 million monthly users, we have costs like any top site: servers, power, rent, programs, staff and legal help," the posts read in part. Donate <a href="https://donate.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:FundraiserLandingPage&country=US&uselang=en&utm_medium=spontaneous&utm_source=fr-redir&utm_campaign=spontaneous" target="_hplink">here</a>.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Worried about new net-restricting laws but not yet ready to go all Assange? Well, head over to the <a href="https://www.eff.org/">Electronic Frontier Foundation</a> and fight for Internet freedom with an organization that was around before most people knew the Internet existed. Started by John Perry Barlow (you know, the guy who wrote the <a href="https://projects.eff.org/~barlow/Declaration-Final.html">"Declaration Of The Independence Of Cyberspace"</a>, this organization has a stellar track record of protecting our 'net freedoms -- <a href="https://www.eff.org/press/mentions">and is even now fighting for more</a>. Donate <a href="https://supporters.eff.org/donate" target="_hplink">here</a>.
One Laptop Per Child
Nick Negroponte's <a href="http://one.laptop.org/">One Laptop Per Child</a> has thus far donated <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Laptop_per_Child">1.84 million laptops and tablet devices</a> to (you guessed it) 1.84 million kids around the world. The gadgets are small, inexpensive (about $200 each) and designed to be kid-friendly. Earlier this year it was reported that illiterate Ethiopian kids given OPLC laptops with no instructions learned on their own --within five months -- not only how to use the devices, but <a href="a href="http://dvice.com/archives/2012/10/ethiopian-kids.php"" target="_hplink">how to hack the Android OS powering the devices</a>. Brilliant! Donate <a href="http://one.laptop.org/action/donate" target="_hplink">here</a>.
Code For America
This Peace Corps for code geeks connects government workers and technologists to refurbish old systems, create civic software and apps and generally make the government work better. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/01/jon-stewart-applauds-hurricane-sandy-response_n_2057024.html">Good old institutional competence</a> -- remember that? <a href="http://codeforamerica.org/">Code For America </a>makes it more than just a memory. Donate <a href="https://secure.codeforamerica.org/page/contribute/default" target="_hplink">here</a>.
A perennial geek favorite, Child's Play delivers toys and video games to hospital-bound children. Founded by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, author and illustrator of acclaimed webcomic <a href="http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2012/11/21">"Penny Arcade"</a>, the charity combats hospital gloom, and works to <a href="http://penny-arcade.com/2003/11/24/childs-play">dispel the myth that gamers are unilaterally antisocial</a>. Donate <a href="http://www.childsplaycharity.org/donate" target="_hplink">here</a>.
<a href="http://www.usfirst.org/">FIRST</a> (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) turns kids onto science and technology by running robotics contests, sponsoring techie projects, shelling out for scholarships and mentoring the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)-inclined. Got a kid who loves Transformers? You might want to consider a donation. Donate <a href="http://www.usfirst.org/involved/donate" target="_hplink">here</a>.
People of color are already underrepresented in STEM fields -- and given how many children of color are currently living in low-income low-education districts, the gap appears to be growing. <a href="http://www.techaccess.org/">TechAccess</a> looks to tackle the persistent "color gap" by giving tech access and tech education to kids in minority-heavy, lower-income districts. The programs have a college focus, and students from the program's new <a href="http://www.techaccess.org/taf-academy-overview/">TAF Academy</a> partnerships have matriculated at colleges and universities like Bard and Xavier. Donate <a href="http://www.techaccess.org/give-online/" target="_hplink">here</a>.
<a href="http://www.barefootcollege.org/">Barefoot College</a> gives women in underdeveloped communities a job and a technical education <em>while</em> saving the environment. Here's how it works: women from underdeveloped villages, many of which don't have electricity, are taught to become solar engineers by Barefoot College staff. These women then can electrify their villages with panels, cookers, solar lanterns and more. They can also sell the devices they make to others in the village. Like it? <a href="http://www.barefootcollege.org/donate/">Donate here.</a>
The Planetary Society
Always wanted to explore space? How about on <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_sail">solar sails</a>? The <a href="http://www.planetary.org/">Planetary Society</a> advocates space exploration, and counts among its members Bill Nye and Carl Sagan. Not a charity for the faint of heart, the organization <a href="http://www.planetary.org/explore/projects/lightsail-solar-sailing/">plans to launch a solar-sail powered spacecraft</a> later this year. Donate <a href="https://secure3.convio.net/planet/site/Donation2?1380.donation=form1&df_id=1380&JServSessionIdr004=hc2vj7tcu1.app337a" target="_hplink">here</a>.
Human rights violations? There's an app for that. <a href="http://www.benetech.org/#">Benetech</a> creates software and web-based programs for environmental, literacy and social justice advocates around the world. Donate to these guys every day you wish the world's do-gooders were better-endowed and watch your wishful thinking become reality. Donate <a href="http://www.benetech.org/donate/ways.shtml" target="_hplink">here</a>.
Architecture For Humanity
Thought good design was Apple-only? Think again. Designers at <a href="http://architectureforhumanity.org/">Architecture For Humanity</a> spend their lives innovating and designing for at-risk communities around the world -- those refurbishing after natural disasters and those that have always been in need. The best part? Their designs are amazing. Check out their lovely Amazon-available photobook, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Design-Like-Give-Damn-Architectural/dp/1933045256/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y">"Design Like You Give A Damn,"</a> for details. Donate <a href="http://architectureforhumanity.org/donate" target="_hplink">here</a>.
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