Well! It is That Time of Year Again, when the monster of Capitalism hurls itself into Overdrive, and the engines of Commerce fire up! Yes! The Holidays! Basically, as the Rejectionist views it, holiday present-shoppers have two options: spending way too much money on a lot of overpackaged crap that no one really needs, OR putting your precious Author-dollars to actual good use by donating to a Fabulous Organization in the name of your Loved Ones! Which of these options sounds more appealing, hmmm? We'll give you a hint: it is the option which does not involve styrofoam or plastic wrap. Special Bonus: Donating to an Awesome Nonprofit in someone's name makes YOU look really good, and even the most cranky of your great-uncles cannot complain about the present you got him without looking like a real jerk. Also, you don't have to wait in line anywhere. Why don't you peruse this list of hand-selected Rejectionist-approved nonprofits, all of which are focused on reading and/or books? Hmmm? SPEND AWAY, AUTHOR-FRIENDS! WE SUPPORT YOU!
826 Valencia: Founded in 2002 by Ninive Calegari and the indefatigable Dave Eggers, 826 Valencia offers free writing workshops, tutoring, and field trips to students ages 6 to 18. There are 826 chapters in NYC, LA, Michigan, Seattle, and Boston (we volunteered with 826NYC, and can attest to the total facemelt that is this organization). All of their workshops end up producing a real book, which participants can take home, FOR FREE. Also, they fundraise by selling superhero capes. No jokes.
Girls Write Now: Girls Write Now? SO AMAZING. Like seriously some of the most amazing ladies ever of all time, both mentors and mentees. In their words: "Girls Write Now is the first organization in the country to combine mentoring and writing instruction within the context of all-girl programming. Since 1998, we have thrown a lifeline to creative but under-challenged girls in New York City's high schools." We went to a GWN reading with one of our friends, who is a GWN mentor, and it was honestly one of the most inspiring things we have ever seen in our life. Those young ladies were ON FIRE. Do you live in New York? Then give these people money.
IPRC: The Rejectionist has a special love for the IPRC, and with good reason! The IPRC is a nonprofit self-publishing center that provides people with the tools and skills needed to create and publish their own artwork, writing, zines, books, websites, comics and graphic novels. They work with everyone from homeless youth who want to tell their stories to adults who just want to figure out how to use Photoshop. Also, they made this charming video featuring an adorable kitten. WHO CAN ARGUE WITH ADORABLE KITTENS.
Books to Prisoners: Founded in in the early 1970s, Books to Prisoners is an all-volunteer organization that sends free books to prisoners incarcerated throughout the US. In their words: "BTP believes that books are tools for learning and opening minds to new ideas and possibilities.By sending books to prisoners, we hope to foster a love of reading and encourage the pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement."
Your Public Library: Alas, in dire economic times, often the first places to see cuts in funding are public library systems. Libraries are AWESOME. They deserve ALL THE LOVE we have to give them! And how do we show love in America? WITH DOLLARS, IS HOW.
The Literacy Project: Reading! An excellent skill, yes? For some of us, a life-saving one! But low levels of literacy are also tied to poverty; people in prison demonstrate significantly lower levels of literacy than the general population; and (quelle surprise!) poor education disproportionately impacts low-income communities and people of color. The Literacy Project is a great resource for finding literacy programs in your community. Literacy is more than just a ticket to some sweet novels; for many people, it's the difference between a lifetime of poverty and a chance at a better future.
Thank you to all the Author-friends who kindly participated in our Informal Email Survey of Excellent Nonprofits! We received far too many fabulous suggestions to list here.