To commemorate Michael's birthday on August 29th, fans from all around the world are making a donation to a charity in honour of Michael. Fans nominate their favourite charities and of these, three finalists will be chosen. Everyone then takes a vote and donate to the charity with the most votes. Click on Previous Posts on the right to see what we have done in past years.

10 July 2011

Vote for your favourite charity!

Ok, we have narrowed it down to three charities. Phew, that was really tough! All the charities fulfilled these criteria:

• It is a cause that Michael was passionate about.
• It benefits people around the world.
• It is reputable and uses donations efficiently.
• It is not too large.
• They are able to accept online donations from all over the world.

Here are the three shortlisted charities (in alphabetical order). All of them are based in the US but operate internationally.

Amazon Conservation Association

The Amazon Conservation Association (ACA) comprises of a group of experienced tropical ecologists and conservationists who are working to conserve the biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest. Road construction, logging and large-scale land clearing for agriculture are endangering the health of the rainforest.

The ACA works in the headwaters of the Amazon basin, where the Amazon forest meets the Andes range in southeastern Peru and northern Bolivia (see map). This area has long been recognised as one of the most biologically rich regions on earth - home to 10-15% of all the bird and butterfly species in the world. Here, the Amazon wilderness is still largely intact and extends for thousands of miles without interruption, providing habitat to jaguars, tapirs, giant river otters and many other species facing extinction elsewhere. Protecting the slopes of the eastern Andes provides a safe haven for rare species in times of rapid climate change.

However, pressure to log and to colonise this region grows daily. The protected areas are weak and, in some cases, exist only on paper. Highways in the Amazon typically lead to widespread deforestation, rampant burning, illegal logging and waves of immigration. Large areas of state-owned habitats remain without protected status and face an uncertain future.

The effects of mining in the rainforest (See the man in white?)

See more pictures of threats to the Amazon.

The ACA aims to protect the forest by saving habitats and rare species. To do this, they study the ecosystems by establishing research stations, provide scholarships to university students for conservation studies, develop conservation programmes to protect the land, replant forests, train local people to manage and support their forests, and help local communities to find alternative sustainable livelihoods. The ACA works with local partner organisations to implement their programmes.

Reforestation project in Sunchubamba, Peru

Schoolchildren on a field trip to the Los Amigos Biological Station (research centre)
learning about Brazil nuts harvested from the surrounding forest

Read more about their programmes in Peru and Bolivia. (The links on the left have very good information.)

What have we done to the world?
Look what we
ve done...
Did you ever stop to notice
The crying Earth, the weeping shores?
What about nature
s worth?
It’s our planet
s womb
What about forest trails?
Burnt despite our pleas....

- Michael Jackson, ‘Earth Song’

Go to the Amazon Conservation Association's website.
See their annual report (2009).
See their charity rating. (See also How does Charity Navigator rate charities?)

MyCharity: Water

Charity Water aims to provide clean drinking water for everyone on the planet. Right now, 1 billion people in this world have no access to safe, clean drinking water. Unsanitary water is the main cause of many preventable diseases in poor countries. Charity Water works with local partner charities to provide technology for clean water like hand-dug wells, drilled wells, rehabilitations (repairing broken or abandoned projects), spring protection, rainwater catchments and BioSand filters.

Together, they operate in 19 countries around the world: In the Americas - Haiti, Bolivia, Guatemala and Honduras. In Asia - Bangladesh, Cambodia, India and Nepal. In Africa - Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda. Countries were chosen which had limited access to a safe water, high rates of water-related deaths and which had good local partners to carry out the projects.

Rainwater project in Haiti

Drilling a well in Ethiopia

100% of your donation goes directly towards water projects - to purchase materials, build the projects and train the locals to maintain them. (A group of private donors have covered the administrative costs. The credit card fee from your donation is also sponsored, so 100% of your donation goes to people in need.) One water project costs about US$5,000 and can serve a community of 250 people.

Check out their blog for the latest happenings.

Biosand filter in Cambodia

If we collect US$5,000, we can sponsor a water project of our own. Each project takes approximately 18 months to complete. When it is completed, you can look it up on Google Maps. You will also receive a completion report.

“[Michael] used to say to me, ‘I know I can’t heal the whole world, Mother, but I can at least make a start.’ ”

- Katherine Jackson

Go to the MyCharity: Water website.
See their financial history (2006-2010).

Orphan’s Lifeline of Hope International

Orphan’s Lifeline of Hope’s first aim is to provide orphan children with what they need most - shelter, adequate food, medical care, love and nurturing. After the children's basic needs are met, they are then given a good primary education, as well as access to counseling and mentoring. Wherever possible, the children are also taught agriculture, animal husbandry, sewing, baking, woodworking and metal working to equip them with additional skills to make the home and community more self-sufficient. When they are older, the children then proceed to higher education, vocational training or enter the workforce based on their individual abilities and achievements.

In this safe and nurturing environment, the children have an opportunity to grow up to become productive members of society. Their communities also benefit - there are fewer orphan children on the street, there is less crime, the community is involved in caring for its own and the orphanage provides employment opportunities for the locals. Lower crime, better economies and healthy young adults contributing rather than detracting from the world society means that the programs are literally changing the world, one child at a time.

(Read more about what this orphanage does.)

Orphans in India now get a decent education instead of living on the streets

Children in Russia tending to the farm at their orphanage

Orphan's Lifeline supports orphanages in several of the poorest countries in the world: Haiti, Mexico, Russia, the Phillippines, Pakistan, India, Kenya and Uganda.

Bright smiles and full tummies in Pakistan

Click here to see photos of all the homes and how your money will be spent. Check out their blog to read stories of what goes on in these orphanages.

Michael giving presents to children at a school for the blind in Thailand, 1996

“[Michael] had the biggest heart of anybody and really really did care about improving the human condition, especially for children, and that was part of his mission. While he was on tour, he always wanted to know what he could do in each place, so that when he left, he left a place better, having been there.”

- Kenny Ortega, director of ‘This Is It’

Go to the Orphan's Lifeline of Hope website.
See their financial history and charity rating. (See also: How does Charity Navigator rate charities?)

These are three chosen charities. Which one would you most like to donate to, in Michael's memory for his birthday?

Please cast your votes now. (Only one vote per person, please.) Your collective votes will determine which charity we all donate to in August. Voting ends July 25, 2011.

Meanwhile, save up your money and bookmark or follow us (links at top right). Don't forget to check back at the end of the month and donate!

Cast your vote and share this with your friends!

Which charity would you most like to contribute to?
Amazon Conservation Association
MyCharity: Water
Orphan’s Lifeline of Hope


Linh said...

I put these charities in an order of priority. This is it:
1. Orphan's Lifeline of Hope
2. Charity Water
3. Amazon Conservation Association

Maybe we can donate to all three of them? Just a suggestion. Thank you, Johanna!
Love to you!

Linh said...

Just for information:
The Amazon rainforest provides around 20% clean air and 60% clean water for the world. It's suffering from deforestation badly in the recent years.

Johanna said...

Thanks for the reminder. I remember reading that the forest is being cleared at a very high rate now for soy farming as demand for soy from the western world has increased dramatically.

The idea to select one charity and donate to them is so that we can make an impact together as MJ fans. We can always donate to any charity we like at any time of the year, but it's more meaningful to pool our resources and make one large donation together for Michael's birthday. If we scatter it among 3 or more charities, then it's no different from making donations separately on our own. I know it's hard to pick one, it was hard enough for us to pick just 3!

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine having to pick among the three. I'll donate to whichever one you all decide on.

Post a Comment