For #GivingTuesday: An Eclectic List of Five Organizations Worth Your Support

It’s Giving Tuesday.

I’m not quite sure when this day of donation began, but it’s one of the better “days” to get behind if you ask me. (FYI: according to the National Day Calendar it’s also National Pie Day and National Eat a Red Apple Day,  if you’re so inclined).

The best thing about #GivingTuesday is that in many cases patrons and head of corporations with lots of $$ and kind hearts, offer to match donations on this day, so in effect, you’re able to do a lot more good than you thought. Take advantage.

Below, I’ve put together an eclectic list of organizations that touch my heart.  They may or may not mean anything to you, but perhaps they will inspire you to think about organizations you can support.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC)

Met Museum in NYC

Metropolitan Museum of Art…Photo: Susan Portnoy

I doubt this needs much of an intro. If you’ve ever been to the museum (and if you’ve been to NYC and not to the museum, tsk, tsk), you know why it’s worth your time and effort. Just walking into the main entrance, with its gorgeous sky-high ceilings, dinosaur skeleton and ancient Egyptian statue, is worth grabbing your wallet. The Met’s 2 million square feet is filled with “tens of thousands” of objects that have set my mind and curiosity on fire. I could live there for weeks and still not see all that it has to offer. Current exhibits include Kongo: Power and Majesty, Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style and Design for Eternity,  Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas, to name a few. There are a myriad of special events and kids programs too. On a Friday or Saturday night when the museum stays open until 9:30pm, visit the bar on the balcony, it’s a great place to relax after a busy day of exhibit-hopping. Plus, did you know that you can travel with the Met? Yesirree… the museum “offers travelers the unique opportunity to see the world and humanity’s highest artistic achievements with the guidance of the Met’s renowned curators and educators.” In 2016, destinations include Cuba, India, China, Istanbul, Peru, Italy, the list goes on and on.


P.S. If you donate by December 31, 2015, your dollars will be matched up to $525,000.

Rhinos without Borders

If you’re a National Geographic fan, the names Beverly and Dereck Joubert are part of your wildlife vocabulary. The dynamic duo of award-winning photography and filmmaking, plus countless conservation initiatives, have made it one of their many missions to transport 100 rhinos from South Africa, where they are being decimated by poaching (every seven hours a rhino dies), to safer soil in Botswana where they will be protected. Translocating any animal isn’t easy, but try moving a multi-ton rhino. It’s a feat unto itself. The cost is a steep $45,000 which includes the fees for vets, vehicles, rangers, transport charters (it’s not like they can take a commercial flight), managing all the red tape, security, crates, release and post -release assistance. If we don’t stem the tide of poaching, the threat of their extinction is real in the next decade. I’m not inclined to allow that to happen on my watch, are you?


P.S. If you donate now, entries into a raffle will be matched dollar for dollar. You’ll have a chance to win Swarovski binoculars, a jenna Clifford set of Six Rhino Tea Spoons, a signed Eye of the Leopard book by Dereck and Beverly Joubert or an Ultimate Big Cat Collection of films.


Samburu woman from Samburuland, Kenya

Photo: Susan Portnoy

Samburu Trust

In Kenya’s Northern Frontier, live the Samburu, an indigenous, pastoral tribe that are cousins to the Maasai in the South. An exceptional people, their rich traditions and way of life are threatened by many factors: encroachment, lack of water and land to graze on, predators, conflicts with other tribes, lack of proper medical care and access to education. Julia Francombe, founder of the Samburu Trust, grew up in Laikipia with the Samburu, and has developed programs that use tactics in sync with the tribe’s culture. One of the first issues Julia tackled was trachoma, an easily curable and treatable disease, spread by dirty fingers and flies, which can lead to blindness. Countless tribal members were infected, some completely losing their sight, adding a greater burden to lives that are already fraught with hardship. By working with the tribal elders, the trust taught hygiene, provided medical supplies and surgical know-how. Over time, the disease has been almost eradicated within the community, but efforts must continue to make sure future generations are just as fortunate.


P.S .Over 90% of donations go directly to projects in Samburuland.


Photo: Ruby Tull

Photo: Ruby Tull

International Center of Photography (ICP) 

My love for photography is no secret and its only grown over the years. It’s challenging, inspiring, provides me with a much-needed artistic outlet, and has been an essential part my travels around the world. Photography has become a voice with which I can share my views of the world when I may not have the words to express them. ICP understands the power of photography, and with it, helps young people find their voice and tell their stories. Through the organization’s Teen Academy and Community Partnerships, ICP  and its collaboration with schools and community-based organizations, target young people from underserved communities. Through the lens of photography (yes, the pun was intended), the programs teach critical thinking, writing, and public speaking—encouraging, self-esteem, community development, and a sense of empowerment—essential building blocks for a confident and successful adult.


P.S. A donation helps to fund scholarships for 100% of the students in Community Partnerships and 50% of the students in Teen Academy (over 500 per year).


Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.52.03 AMWounded Warrior Project

The Wounded Warrior Project of this incredible organization is “to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.” A worthy effort indeed. With all the violence, hate and fighting around the world, our men and women are constantly being put into harms way on our behalf. They leave their families, travel thousands of miles from home, and too many return injured, both mentally and physically, without the tools, finances or help to re-enter the life we take for granted.

I’ve been lucky. No one close to me has been injured or died in battle, but I see the results of our global conflicts everyday in New York City. I have met people whose lives have been destroyed by PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, loss of limbs, and the like. I can’t truly understand what it means to make such a sacrifice, it only seems fair to support those who do.


P.S. According to the Wounded Warrior Project website, 59.8% of warriors feel there’s little meaning in the things they do in their daily lives. That’s 59.8 too many. Lend a hand.



What organizations are you supporting today? Place a link in the comments section if you’d like to share and inspire.

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Would love to hear from you!