Today on 12/12/12, I continue my annual tradition at looking back at my year of giving. I do this not to brag, but give some attention to the causes I care about and to hold myself accountable to make sure I always walk the walk and give back. You can read 11 Communicationist Contributions of 2011 to catch up.
I didn’t make a donation or volunteer my time to the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL), but I helped them in their mission to rehome homeless animals. I adopted two cats (and paid their adoption fees) and am so happy to be giving them a home. I’m especially touched by Nemo’s story — WARL had a choice of either performing an expensive surgery to amputate his leg or give up on him and they chose to save him. When we visited the shelter for the first time he was recovering from his week-ago amputation and they were caring for him so well and we wanted to help. After a rough first month at home with many vet visits, he’s doing great with his little brother, Moo.
I attended Heartly House’s annual Walk A Mile in Her Shoes event. (Heartly House is a domestic violence and sexual assault center in Frederick, MD.) Men walk a mile in high heels to raise awareness and funds for violence against women issues. It was really one of the best events I’ve ever been to! I love seeing allies who don’t need to stick up for an underserved population doing it anyway. My pictures are here. They had a fun way to donate – Vote with your dollars for the best dressed man. I voted for a mustached man in red pumps.
I wrote about my January 29 speaking engagement in this blog post. I am so proud to have volunteered in this way and recommend it to anyone with a story to tell.
I had the opportunity to attend the National Sexual Assault Conference in Chicago during August. While I was there, I bought a T-shirt to support A Long Walk Home, an organization empowering girls who have survived violence.
I made a donation to support the Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary when I attended their vegan potluck Thanksgiving event in Poolesville, MD. There was a feast for the turkeys! Cute pictures of rescued farm animals are here.
I had somehow never heard of Movember before this year. My friend Matt kept posting about it on his Facebook wall til I clicked and was convinced to donate. It was actually my very first time giving to a men’s cause. (The idea is that you grow a mustache for the month of November to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer.) When I went home for Thanksgiving I found out that my dad was participating and I ended up posting it to my own Facebook and sparking several more donations from Facebook friends.
This was my Kickstarter sponsorship of the year — An interactive theatre piece by my amazing writer friend Danielle Staubitz. She got funded!
This year I saw many individuals fundraising for their medical bills. I’m happy to see this trend of crowdfunding expanding in this way and wish I could have given to everyone. I made one small donation via GiveForward to the relative of a colleague undergoing cancer treatment.
A highlight of 2012 was my friend from Germany coming to visit the Americas. We toured Maryland, DC, Virginia, and West Virginia together, and then also a few days in Mexico! It was such a treat. We spent one night at Hotel Istirincha, which preserves land and wildlife. The state of Veracruz works with the hotel to help wild green sea turtles survive. My friend and I got to take part in releasing 100 baby turtles into the sea, an experience I will never forget.
I continued to re-loan my Kiva funds to individuals and groups on the site. I made a loan in January to the San Blas group from an organization I spent the summer of 2005 with, Fundacion Paraguaya. I also loaned to a women’s collaborative in Tanzania in September.
The organization I gave the most to this year was Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a coalition working to pass Question 6 in Maryland. I volunteered several hours during early voting days and Election Day in Bowie, MD and created a fundraising page that raised $270 from seven of my friends and family members. The emotional hours on the line and phone-banking were absolutely worth it.