Today, I Joined EMILY’s List – A Feminist Perspective on Giving

16 Dec

From Glamourkin's shop on Etsy

-Follow the links to connect with organizations that are really getting things done!-

It’s the end of year, and we all know what that means.  In addition to the warming nogs, strategically placed mistletoe and TSA gropes helpful patdowns that mark the holiday season, there is another familiar spectre haunting December.

That’s right.  A flotilla of inbox requests for your “membership” and “participation”- classic nonprofit euphemisms for “moneymoneydollarbills.”  Many of these are from organizations that are legitimate, that do good work, and that stay transparent.  Almost all would be a better choice than giving even pocket change to the bigoted work of the Salvation Army (check out that Boomerangs rec!).  I’m proud to say that the most recent addition to my giving roster is EMILY’s List, which “connects women and elects women for progressive change.”  My cup of tea, to a tee.

So, how to decide to whom you might give?

There are so many good teams on the ground out there that it can make choosing a challenge (freshman year “Problems of Choice in a Pluralistic Society” seminar, anyone?)  I’ve had many internal debates this year: do I prioritize medical care access in the developing world? (Maybe I should get that for myself, first…)  Non-vehicular transportation policy?  (Well, I ride my bike.)  The arts? (Isn’t that where the part of each festival-gypsy paycheck in which I actually make money goes?)  And what about local versus national?  I know I want to support my alma mater, but at what level?  There is a veritable buttload of options, and to make the impact we want, we need to think about our core values.

One concept I focus on when giving is women’s empowerment projects.  From FINCA to The White House Project to the Feminist Press, there are fabulous groups doing the work not all of us have time to do.  They are as deserving of our support as it gets.  Rounding out your donations to groups with differing  focuses can support your values, and be far-reaching and effective.  Plus, they make great gifts!  (Hint hint, dear reader.)

EMILY's List seeks to connect progressive women voters with progressive women candidates. Image via

While the ubiquitous data citing that women keep more money in their communities and are more strategic with their donations may be essentialist, there’s some truth to it, too.  One of my most powerful realizations about young adulthood has been that even if I don’t tithe to NARAL at 20%, my siphoning off a portion of my income can be impactful.  And, of course, it feels good to give.  So take advantage of the year-end gift-matching programs that are popping up everywhere- National Public Radio, the Human Rights Campaign and the Southern Poverty Law Center are known for amping up their intake with these doubling and tripling campaigns.  What it means to me is that someone out there is as passionate about the work of these organizations as I am.  To these, I can give with confidence.

Money is certainly not the only resource those of us in privileged positions can and should contribute.  But it’s one important way to actively pursue the kind of world in which we want to live.


What organizations benefit from your membership and gifts?


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