Making The World A Better Place...

If nature abhors a vacuum, then I abhor thinking in a vacuum. I find Free Software appealing because it makes the most efficient use of a very scarce commodity: human intelligence as it applies to software. It also provides a system of great fairness and equity: whether you are rich or poor in your ability to create computer software, you have equal opportunity to benefit from the best that any free software developers have to offer. This is quite different than traditional economic models, where people who cannot produce much are also unable to benefit hardly at all. In other words, Free Software obeys an economic system that trascends the Zero Sum Game, and I find that enourmously inspiring.

While Free Software continues to touch, and to liberate programmers worldwide, other consequences of older thinking continue to do great damage to the world in which we live. Sadly, the way in which we are exploiting our natural resources today is at best a Zero Sum Game. Vast corporate welfare systems (paid for, ironically, by tax-payers like you and me) are making us the losers of that game. While I can only hope that we find a Free Software-like solution to the question of how natural resources are developed and managed, I am certain we can find a better balance than the extremes (and the tragedies) that are playing out today.

The following is a partial list of organizations, some large, some small, whose creative and tireless work I support. I encourage others who have the time, talent, or resources to support them as well. If there is a way that I can help you contribute more effectively to them, please let me know. No matter how much I contribute, it is small when compared to what everyone can contribute: if just 1,000 people each contribute just 1% of what I contribute, the network effect (and simple math) magnify my giving tenfold. If the Internet community of millions recognize this opportunity to act as interested citizens, we can all make the world a better place.

Global Organizations

These organizations deliver the "network effect" to the cause.
Defenders of Wildlife
1101 14th Street, NW, #1400
Washington, D.C. 20005
The Nature Conservancy
Attention: Treasury
4245 North Fairfax Drive
Suite 100
Arlington, VA 22203-1606
WWF-United States
1250 24th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20037-1175
Tel. +1 202 293 4800
Fax. +1 202 293 9211/293 9345
Rainforest Action Network
221 Pine Street Suite 500
San Francisco, CA 94104 U.S.A
Tel: +1 (415) 398-4404 Fax: +1 (415) 398-2732
The Bonobo Protection Fund
Georgia State University
Georgia State University Plaza
Atlanta Georgia, 30303

Here's a story about using the network effect to help save the Bonobos.
National Geographic Society
Development Office
1145 17th Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036-4688
+1 202 862 8638 (tel)
+1 202 429 5709 (fax)
Amnesty International
USA Section
322 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10001, USA
+1 212 807 8400 (tel)
+1 212 463 9193 (fax)
Greenpeace USA
702 H Street, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20001, USA
Tel: +1 800 326 0959 Tel: +1 202 319 2443 Fax: +1 202 462 4507

Local Organizations

Organizations that act locally, and in so doing, prove that anything is possible if one decides to do it.
WUNC 91.5 FM
120 Friday Center Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
+1 (919) 966-5454
Foundation For The Carolinas
217 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
+1 704 973 4500
KQED, Inc.
2601 Mariposa Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
+1 (415) 864-2000
Bay Area Action
265 Moffett Boulevard
Mountain View CA 94043-4723 USA
+1 650 625.1994 Main Office
+1 650 625.1995 FAX
Delta Society
289 Perimeter Road East
Renton, WA 98055-1329
+1 (425) 235-1076 (Fax)
2630 N. Pacific Highway
Woodburn, Oregon 97071
+1 503-982-4492 or
Prison Pet Partnership Program
Washington State Corrections Center for Women
PO Box 17
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335
Phone: +1 (253) 858-4240

Software Foundations and Charities

These organizations are leading the thinking about how software should be managed, taught, and used.
Free Software Foundation, Inc.
59 Temple Place - Suite 330
Boston, MA 02111, USA
Voice: +1-617-542-5942
Fax: +1-617-542-2652
Red Hat Center
2525 Meridian Parkway, Suite 200
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: +1 919-549-8388
Fax: +1 919-549-8449
The ArsDigita Foundation
80 Prospect Street
Cambridge, MA 02139 USA
Tel: +1 617.386.4100

Political Action

These are not 501(c)3 charities, but they lobby for things I believe in.
The Greens/Green Party USA
PO BOX 1134
Lawrence, MA 01842
call: +1 978/682-4353
Sierra Club
85 Second Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
Tel: +1 (415) 977-5653
Electronic Frontier Foundation
1550 Bryant Street, Suite 725
San Francisco CA 94103 USA
Phone: +1 415 436 9333
Fax: +1 415 436 9993

Venture Philanthropy vs. Philanthropic Capitalism

Having read several articles about very wealthy entrepreneurs applying venture capital-like approaches to philanthropy, I realize that I am not a conventional venture philanthropist. Quite frankly, I don't believe I (yet) have the subject matter expertise to advise and micro-manage the strategy and tactics of the causes I support. For this reason (which is similar to the reason that many of us invest in publicly traded stocks and bonds rather than in seed-round startups) I have picked a more mature porfolio of charitable organizations than the conventional venture philanthropist.

But that's not the only thing that makes me different. I successfully created a business model around Free Software, making freedom to share software a commercially sustainable practice. Maybe that makes me a philanthropic capitalist instead.