December 14, 2014

Back in 2007 I established the Amalgamated Compassion Fund, a donor-advised fund where I contribute cash or stock and make grants to charitable organizations. Every year I contribute to a mixture of local and national humanitarian and educational organizations.

The recently-announced Tableau Foundation offers donation matching for employees. I’m grateful that my new company kicked in matching funds for one of my grants from the Amalgamated Compassion Fund.

This year I made eight grants from the Amalgamated Compassion Fund. Six of them are holdovers from my 2013 slate and the following two are new:

CDC Foundation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a federally-funded agency that protects public health. During coverage of the Ebola outbreak earlier this year, I learned that CDC has a non-profit foundation where private citizens and companies can fund humanitarian projects with worldwide effect. I contributed to the CDC Foundation because I don’t want vital work on disease mitigation and prevention to be at the mercy of annual Congressional budget fighting.

American Public Media. No, this isn’t the group behind Serial. I’ve been listening to APM’s Marketplace podcast for years. Every weekday, Marketplace provides an engaging half hour of business and economic news. I appreciate their international, rational take on the world’s news including interesting features about topics of importance around the world. I also like their Wealth and Poverty Desk’s project York & Fig, a weeklong series about gentrification in Highland Park, Los Angeles.

Returning recipients from 2013 are Doctors Without Borders, Northwest Harvest, Carnegie Mellon University, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Seattle Public Library, and the Seattle Art Museum. Thanks to the Tableau Foundation for matching a portion of my contribution to Northwest Harvest — nobody should be without food at a time when Seattle is experiencing such a time of plenty.

Notably absent from my 2014 list is a nonprofit dedicated to Seattle journalism. The for-profit Seattle Times is the city’s only daily general-interest newspaper but I canceled my subscription after a year of recycled wire news stories, humongous ads (both online and in print), and condescending whiny columnists who are frequently given a column on the front page. Crosscut is a nonprofit, but in the absence of major news to cover, they too resort to link-farming, cheap columnists, and a general lack of meaningful content. Seattle’s many NPR stations provide occasional interesting content but very little of their output is of local interest. To me the most interesting coverage of Seattle news comes from a handful of local blogs, notably the acclaimed and for-profit Capitol Hill Seattle (CHS). I pay CHS a small donation per month just to help keep them on-line. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for worthy journalistic charities in 2015.