Advice | December 2, 2016 9:00 am

Seven Charities That Kick Ass, Including One That Lets You Literally Kick Ass

Tis the season. And not just because taxes are coming up.

Karma rewards good deeds.

And so does Uncle Sam, provided you file the proper forms on your year-end tax returns.

But how do you know if you’re giving to the right charity? The American Institute for Philanthropy actually has a Charity Watchdog site that rates many of the more popular ones (the Clinton Foundation ranks higher than you’d expect, given its reputation in the “news” these days), although it misses some of the best smaller ones. Nevertheless, it is a good place to start.

Charity Navigator is another great resource, as it’ll give you ideas based off of the amount you’re looking to gift, just like DoSomething. And if you’re just looking to do some ethical shopping, there’s DoneGood, a new Chrome plugin that lets you know if you’re buying goods that are ethically made and offers alternatives if they aren’t.

Here are some other, lesser-known charities we recommend putting your pennies behind.

‘Tis the season of giving, after all.

Do your part.

If you care about news that’s unpolluted by advertisers …
ProPublica is a donations-based news organization that does the sort of investigative reporting that leads to action. Their coverage of the New Orleans Police during Hurricane Katrina led the federal government to step in.

If you want to put a stop to cancer by punching a guy in the face …
The only lumps you want are the ones you get doing Haymakers for Hope, a national boxing league that’s to boxing what Movember is to facial hair. Joining a boxing league for the year will get you in shape, with the added bonus that you’ll be fundraising for a cancer charity of your choice. Two resolutions, meet one stone.

If you want to ensure that our kids get a useful education …
Americans aren’t properly schooled in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). T4T (aka, Trash for Teaching) takes scraps and tools that are dogeared for landfills by manufacturers, repurposes them, and gives them to kids in at-risk neighborhoods while also teaching those kids how to use said items to build robots.

If you want to surf in an ocean that’s clean …
The Surfrider Foundation works with local governments to keep our oceans clean. This year, they protected the Atlantic Coast from offshore oil drilling, managed to protect legendary surf spot Tressles, and supported initiatives that keep plastic out of the water. They also host some fun parties, so it’s a good list to be on.

If you want to create a more peaceful world in a very micro way …
Transcendental Meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, assuage PTSD in soldiers, improve cardiovascular health and make people more peaceful. But it’s expensive to learn. The David Lynch Foundation brings these skills to at-risk children and veterans. The Give Back Yoga Foundation brings yoga instructors to folks who need a good stretch.

If you want to teach a man to fish (that’s a metaphor) …
You could give micro loans to artisans in third-world countries through Kiva, a nonprofit that specializes in loaning money to small businesses and entrepreneurs in small communities throughout the world.

And if you literally want to teach a man how to make his own food …
Heifer International is a nonprofit that teaches farming skills and gives farming aids and animals to folks living in rural and third-world locals.