Rich and I have two places that we regularly give money to. One is Kickstarter, a site where you can pledge money for projects you believe in. The person who is trying to get the project funded offers incentives for various levels of support, so you can choose to support whatever your wallet and your interest can afford. The other is Kiva, a site which offers micro-loans to people in poverty stricken areas of the world trying to make a go of their businesses. Much like with Kickstarter, you can choose what to businesses interest you and where you want your loan to go to. The recipient of the loan pays it back in small increments and you can choose to either take your money out or reinvest it in another business.
Today, I found out about another opportunity to help, this time in my own community (or any other community of my choice). It's a site called DonorsChoose.org and through it, you can donate to schools in your community. Teachers apply to have their project listed, including a blurb about what they are trying to raise the money for and the amount of money they need. A staff member of DonorsChoose.org reviews the application and confirms the amount of money needed for the supplies they want to buy. Then the project is posted to the site, ready for people to bid. You can look for projects that interest you by school, by subject or by keyword. It gives you the chance to help a classroom full of kids in whichever way that works for you.
We haven't donated yet (though we will be donating to one or both of the proposals at Teddy's school). It doesn't matter that neither project will directly benefit either of my boys. It WILL benefit their school, and that's what's important. So check it out. And if you're a teacher needing something for your classroom, consider putting your request through here. You never know who is out there in your community, just waiting to help you out.
I am in no way affiliated with DonorsChoose.org and I am not getting anything from them for this post. I just think they're a really great service and I'd like to get the information out there for those who may want to participate in something like this.