‘Tis the season ... to give to a local non-profit

Happy New Year from The Hawaii Independent

Barb Forsyth

KAIMUKI—Money is tight all around these days, but the financial crunch is being felt particularly acute in the non-profit sector, which relies largely on donations from people like you and me, who understandably have less discretionary funds to go around. Now that the gift-giving frenzy has mercifully come to a halt, perhaps there are a few extra dollars that could be put to a local worthy cause. There are only two days left in 2010, so it’s last call for your tax-deductible donations to go toward this year’s taxes.

With that in mind, here’s a list of 10 Oahu based non-profits working towards a wide range of issues.  Some have been profiled by The Hawaii Independent earlier this year, others you may have never heard of, but all do inspired work and could really benefit from any cash you have to spare. Don’t have any cash but have time to spare? Many of these groups need volunteers as well.

In no particular order ...

2010 showed mixed results for Hawaii’s LGBT communities. While HB444, Hawaii’s civil unions bill, failed to pass, we can at least take comfort in the recent repealing of “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell.” Civil Rights groups such as Equality Hawaii are dedicated to furthering the rights of these communities and educating the public on GLBT issues. Equal rights will not be had without a fight, so if you care, check them out: http://www.equalityhawaii.org/

KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance straddles the intersection of environmental protection and Hawaiian cultural rights. Besides the fact that it has successfully protected over 100,000 square miles of Hawaiian ocean and 110,000 acres of Hawaiian land, what distinguishes it from other similar organizations is the way in which it recognizes the inseparability of a land from it’s people. They are in the midst of a “50 Days, 50 Donors Challenge,” which will end at the year’s close. Their new website is still under construction, but check out their blog for a glimpse into the tremendous breadth of their dedication.

Institute for Human Services (IHS) provides respite for those who are unsheltered and solutions that transform the lives of homeless and at-risk people.  The number of people without houses continues to rise on Oahu and there is an ever-increasing need for the shelters and services that IHS provides. Each gift IHS receives goes directly towards helping another human being meet his or her basic needs, so consider giving even a modest sum today: http://www.ihshawaii.org/.

Malama Maunalua is a community-based group who actively work to care for and protect Maunalua Bay and the surrounding region of southeast Oahu.  The Bay may still look blue and healthy, but in reality it has become devoid of marine life, largely due to runoff from surrounding storm drains.  There is still hope for the Bay though, so check out this organization for ways to get involved: http://malamamaunalua.org/.

Since its founding in 1982, Kaimuki-based HUGS has been supporting families by improving their quality of life as they face the emotional and financial hardships of caring for a seriously ill child. The services they provide these families are extraordinary and invaluable to those receiving them, but with only five full time staffers they largely depend on volunteers and donations. To learn more click here or visit their website.

Aloha Harvest feeds Oahu’s hungry through their efficient and streamlined food delivery operation to social service organizations. Fresh food that would otherwise go to waste is promptly taken to those who need it most. To learn more, click here or visit their website.

Hawaii Home Harvest saves food from backyard trees from being wasted through the age-old practice of gleaning and redistributing to those in need. It’s a win-win for the community and the hungry. The idea may be simple, but the implications are huge.  To find out more, click here.

Joey’s Feline Friends, founded in 1997, has provided services to approximately 1,000 cats since its inception. Craig Hardin’s story of the kitten he rescued from the Ala Wai reminded me of Tedra Villaroz, who founded Joey’s and from whom my family adopted its beloved cat Ipo. There are many ways to help Joey’s: adopt or sponsor a cat, donate money towards their care, or volunteer time tending to the cats at the Kaneohe shelter. With the weak economy causing many owners to abandon their pets, animal shelters are in desperate need of support.

If you have ever had the pleasure of seeing Iona Contemporary Dance Theatre perform, you know first hand its vibrant and valuable contribution to the Honolulu arts scene. IONA is now twenty years old and are looking for a new home.  To help them achieve this goal, click here and here.

Interisland Terminal is a relatively new addition to the Honolulu arts scene, and is dedicated to breathing fresh life into our contemporary art, design, and film community. Interisland Terminal is focused on paving the way for the creative approaches needed to address the civic and social challenges facing Hawaii. Founded in 2009, its Honolulu based but globally bent staff has already hosted several exciting events, some of which have been reviewed in this publication. For $25 you can buy a limited edition International Terminal Moleskin notebook, perfect for developing your creative process in 2011. All proceeds go towards their programs. For more information, visit their website.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)