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Jewish Journal

Tzedakah & The Arc of Justice

by Naomi Goldberg

March 2, 2011 | 11:04 am

Do you donate to organizations about which you care?  In Judaism, giving tzedakah (charitable contributions) is not something you do because you it makes you feel good or because you want to. Instead, it is a duty. But, how many of us take this duty seriously?  It doesn’t have to be big bucks – what about $5 a month?  That’s the cost of one latte at your favorite coffee shop.

Today, a new report released the Movement Advancement Project talks about the importance of donating to LGBT organizations which are fighting for the ability of LGBT people to live happy, healthy, successful lives.

Among the key findings of this report, which examines the financial health of the largest LGBT social justice organizations, is the shocking statistic that only 4% of LGBT Americans donate to LGBT organizations. How many of us donate to Jewish organizations or Jewish LGBT organizations or social justice organizations working to make the world a better place for any number of people – LGBT or not?  How can we expect these organizations to carry on the fight for equal rights if we don’t financially support them?

Donating to LGBT organizations is a good investment – these organizations are highly efficient in their fundraising and program operations. They exceed the efficiency standards of both the American Institute of Philanthropy and the Better Business Bureau. An average of 79 cents of every dollar donated goes straight to programs and services. And, there are more than 550 LGBT nonprofits working in areas as diverse as HIV/AIDS, health care, community centers, arts, legal work, issue advocacy, general advocacy, federal work, state or local change, … the list goes on.

So, skip your coffee tomorrow morning, and make a donation. Every dollar is needed, and every dollar will continue the journey toward a more perfect world.

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