Here are some current and past charity or community oriented activities that I think are great: 

a.  NKLA, "No-kill Los Angeles." If you live in Los Angeles, please come to a fun event I am hosting for them on March 13, 2016.  

 I found No-Kill Los Angeles through an event they threw in 2014 at the La Brea Tar Pits. The event got the crowd really excited about adoptions and they sent several pets home that day to loving homes. 

NKLA has a clear goal of ending shelter deaths by 2017.  Come to a really great cocktail party at 6:30 pm, April 13th, at SAMOCO, 1450 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401 to benefit NKLA.  There will be live music, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. City structures across the street have 90 minutes free parking.

b. The Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, but more importantly its “Donor Advised Fund.” (“DAV”) See http://www.jewishfed.org/dafs. While I think the JCFSF is a good charitable organization, I thought the DAV was a really great idea. If you want to make regular charitable contributions you can have your own Jr. Rockefeller Foundation. In addition to the ability to get tax-deductions for charitable contributions before you know what you will do with the money they also do a good job screening the charities. Once a Houston businessman asked me to contribute to a local charitable sports team for children. The JCFSF DAV told me that the charity didn’t actually exist. I never made the contribution. In addition my business got some valuable intelligence. 

c. Pets Unlimited - If you are an animal lover, take a look at this place. They are a vetrinary hospital and they also run an adoption center that brings dogs and cats who are likely to be saved from the shelter to introduce them to possible adopting families. I have taken my dog there and also seen the adoption center.  It was really touching. http://www.petsunlimited.org/.

d. "Missing Maps" from the American Red Cross and a benefit event:

nepal picture.jpg

The Red Cross’ Missing Maps program is really impressive.  See http://www.missingmaps.org/.  Americans can share money, but we’re also good at mapping.  Nowadays through satellite or cellular technology even remote places are accessible to the internet.  I hope the convenience we experience here can be transported to our human brothers and sisters around the world who could really use it in a fix.

Many well-off Americans would consider a disaster a 6 hour flight delay without an upgrade, a dusty apartment rental in Europe or no chocolates on the pillow.  Even people who don’t experience travel trauma can live in, effectively, the desert like Los Angeles or Phoenix and the worst thing that happens in a drought is that golf courses go un-watered. Whatever economic problems the US, Europe & Japan might have we were lucky to be born here.  Of course, Americans have problems with people shut out of prosperity, but even they have some social safety net and the probability of dying of thirst or bacteria in their water is pretty low.

Contrast our lives to people who still have to engage in back-breaking labor at work and physical effort even to get their water from the well.  I took this photo in Kathmandu, Nepal, which I have to imagine is pretty wealthy compared to the rest of Nepal.  Yes, you got it right.  These women really have to go to the well for water.  In an earthquake situation this phenomena might go from inconvenient to deadly if the well were capped by seismic activity.  Imagine what it is like in a rural village where there might not be a spare hotel fawcett to help out.  There are many places throughout the world with surprisingly undeveloped infrastructure that, whatever problems we may experience with bumpy roads or old bridges, we cannot even imagine.

I am having a benefit for this program at BlankSpaces in Santa Monica, 1450 Second Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401 on November 12, 2015 from 7pm to 10pm.  No donation is required, although the American Red Cross will be there to gleefully swipe your card and give you tax receipts should you be inclined.  We’re going to have cocktails, entertainment and you can play with the maps program with an ARC rep in the conference room if you feel like it.

e.  Manhattan Symphonie – I am really impressed with Gregory Singer, the artistic director, and his ability to marshal professional and amateur musicians to perform so well. He started with few resources and did an amazing job. See http://www.manhattansymphonie.com/.