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This holiday season we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the incredible non-profit work being done with tech that you may not have heard about. The companies all use databases or tech products to improve the world, from helping young children access technology, providing resources for people with disabilities, advocating for online freedom, or empowering survivors of sexual assault.
If giving is part of your personal finance goals, consider adding these organizations to your list. And even if you’re not in a place to be donating right now—bookmark these organizations for the future (or, to check for job listings, if you’d like to enter the nonprofit world).
1. One Laptop Per Child
The mission of One Laptop Per Child is right in the name—they aim to provide low-cost, low-power laptops to underprivileged children around the world. Besides having created their own hardware (which you can explore on the site), this organization is currently serving children all over the globe, everywhere from South America to Africa. If you’re looking to contribute to education efforts that connect communities worldwide and especially focus on children, this organization is worth a look. You can donate here or contribute non-monetarily through volunteering and other initiatives.
Ablethrive is a database that connects people with disabilities and their family members/caretakers with specialized and curated resources, all over the globe. For example, users can choose from categories like “lifeskills,” select “parenting,” and then find a specialist in their area to assist with their situation, which they can describe in a simple form box. Ablethrive has an extensive cache of resources under each topic, which range from needs associated with the logistics of travelling, to those one might encounter romantically, when say, organizing the first dance at a wedding. Users can really personalize their queries based on mobility, living situation, and much more. All of the organizations on this list do amazing work, but Ablethrive was most impressive to me for the sheer practicality of the website design that breaks down all these resources into one, clear place. Having these resources at your fingertips as a differently-abled person seems life changing. You can donate here.
3. Annie Cannons
Annie Cannons is an education nonprofit that works with survivors of human trafficking, teaching them tech skills so that they can achieve financial independence. A major part of their mission involves galvanizing tech pros and students of the program to help create software to address the continuing issues of human trafficking around the globe, so that every student who goes through the program is helping more survivors. You can donate here.
4. Asylum Connect
Being LGBTQ+ is still considered a crime in 73 countries around the world. Because of this, many individuals who identify as queer seek asylum in the USA, but upon entry, are confused about their options—or might not even know what resources are available to them. Asylum Connect is building a database of resources broken down state by state, to assist asylum seekers with their transition to the USA. For many people, knowing about these resources is a matter of life and death, especially in the first few months of their time in a new country. You can donate here.
5. Beyond 12
A three-part program created to help underserved populations complete their college careers, Beyond 12 uses data collection systems to provide information to educators about how to help students succeed throughout their school years—and beyond. This organization is a fantastic look at how information, tech, and great design can come together and create social change. You can donate here.
6. Project Callisto
Callisto is an online system where campus students who are victims of sexual assault can report what happened to them in a safer, more empowering way than the traditional channels. By using a database to collect time stamps of attacks, as well as compile information on repeat offenders, the Callisto system aims to offer more protection to victims while also encouraging them to come forward about their experience, so that communities can work together to protect each other. Their TED talk about the system that sexual assault survivors actually want is a must watch. You can get involved non-monetarily or donate here.
7. Center for Democracy & Technology
For 20 years, the Center for Democracy & Technology has been protecting online civil liberties and human rights, by supporting policies to keep the internet open and free. As more industries move into tech and our world is increasingly a digital one, privacy, security, and online freedom are at the forefront of how we will continue to experience the web. Let’s keep that experience a positive one, right? You can donate here.