This holiday season, consider recognizing family and friends through a donation to leading organizations in their fields. For example Partners in Health is making an invaluable contribution to the health and welfare of the Western Hemisphere. Under the guidance of Dr. John Farmer, PIH started in Haiti, moved to the slums of Peru and is taking on major threats such as HIV/AIDS, drug-resistant TB and chronic illness. They do very good work for very little money and turn almost all of your donation into direct action. Or consider funding a specific project in a third-world county through a micro-loan. Just you and the entrepreneur. What a concept. Kiva.org makes it all possible. And a stunning 85 percent of loans are paid back in full. We're talking $50-to-a few hundred dollars. Way cool.
The Donors Choose site, here, allows users to pick a single classroom project in a US school to fund. Sure, this is something we pay taxes for and the government should rightfully fund, but the reality is that the current administration is spending all of its tax money on various wars, military projects and enriching private companies. So we need to step up and 1) change the administration; and, 2) fund worthy projects ourselves in the interim. This site has a lot of projects in the $50 range.
Another forward-looking gift for your activist friends is a carbon-offset credit. TerraPass has made this quick-and-easy to do online. So do what Al Gore does, buy offsets for your family and friends, and party with a clear (well, a bit clearer) conscience.