Charity Suggestions - 2014 Edition
The Anthrocon Board will soon be deciding on the Charity to support for 2014. If you know of a charitable organization that you would like to recommend be added to the current candidate list, please suggest it here or as a followup to this post in Anthrocon's other forums by December 31st.
Criteria for candidacy:
- Must be animal-related
- Must be 501(c)3
- Must be based within approximately 60 miles of the Pittsburgh, PA metropolitan area
- Must be incorporated in Pennsylvania (can't be in Ohio or West Virginia)
- Must not be a charity we have already supported.
Unfortunately, the Hide-E-Hole Ferret Rescue is not 501(c)3. Their parent non-profit, the Three Rivers Ferret Council, has had their designation revoked due to failure to file with the IRS.
Criteria for candidacy:
- Must be animal-related
- Must be 501(c)3
I am sure that I have read it here before, but I keep forgetting... ...and so I need a reminder:
Why is the "501(c)3" criterion so important? Or for that matter - what is a "501(c)3", anyway? How can we tell if a charity meets the test?
501(c)3 is a reference to a specific portion of the Tax Code. IIRC, 501 (in general) applies to non-profits and not-for-profit organizations. Again, IIRC, 501(c)3 is the where donations are completely tax-free. That means that any charity Anthrocon donates to must have that status otherwise Anthrocon would have to pay taxes on the donations. I'm sure Kage or Rigel will correct me if I've gotten that wrong.
Usually an organization will post their 501 staus on their website or in their flyers. I tried to chase one down a few tears back that didn't list their status... and I had a hard time of it. Bluntly, I couldn't find it anywhere...
That's the gist of it, yep.
Where to check an org's tax exempt status:
Guidestar - http://www.guidestar.org/
TaxExemptWorld - http://taxexemptworld.com/
For the record, Anthrocon is a 501(c)7, in the Social And Recreational Club category.
I would like to make a suggestion for The National Aviary. Pardon my mis-submission if this does not match the complete requirements as the U.S. tax code for charities is somewhat overwhelming to the first-time viewer.
"The National Aviary is the only non-profit, free-standing indoor facility in the U.S. which is wholly dedicated to avian exhibition, education, conservation, and the development and practice of leading-edge avian medicine. Our diverse collection consists of approximately 600 birds of 200 species from six continents."
PH: +1 (412) 323-7235
700 Arch Street
Allegheny Commons West
Pittsburgh, PA 15212-5248
You'll be happy to know that the National Aviary is already on our candidate list and your suggestion will give it precedence for consideration for 2014. Thanks!
I would like to second the National Aviary, if all requirement are met.
I would like to add another 'yes!' to the Nation Aviary. My friends and I went to this place after AnthroCon last year. They definitely need some help. While the place is beautiful, some exhibits were under construction or closed. They're definitely working hard to keep their exhibits up to date and comfortable for their little feathery friends.
Also putting in a vote for the National Aviary
Birdbirdbird birdybird birds!
I also vote for The National Aviary as Anthrocon's charity beneficiary for 2014
I should like to see a bird-related charity as well! Thirded!
Is the “animal-related” requirement new this year? I ask because I think it would be nice to consider children related charities too, or perhaps a mix (1 animal charity + 1 other), and I know Anthrocon has in the past supported at least one non-animal-related charity (i.e. Toonseum).
Animal-related has been a requirement for quite a while. The Toonseum was an exception to this long-standing rule, and we think a well-considered one; they've remained close partners with Anthrocon since. They are currently the only charity selected by Anthrocon that has not been directly animal-related.
What Chiaro said. "Animal-related" has been a requirement since Anthrocon was founded in 1997. The convention revolves around the fandom of anthropomorphic animals. Animals are the core component of our primary demographic's interests. An exception was made for the Toonseum because we saw crossover appeal and a cooperative opportunity. We also do not support multiple charities in any given year because we neither wish to halve the potential donation, nor do we wish to manufacture a direct competition between charities for fundraising. We are entirely willing to consider charities that incorporate both humans and animals.
Apologies if it's rude to say, but I really wish animal related wasn't a requirement. While I understand we want to have some relation to our interests, it always baffles me that when it comes to charity, many furries are quick to discard the human component of who we are.
There are some extremely worthy non-animal causes that are still close to our interests. As one example, most fursuiters would leap at the opportunity to perform at a children's hospital. I bet many would love to donate to one as well. There are also many of us that honestly would rather try to help issues with society at large than another "save the kitties" charity. (Not trying to sound condescending with that remark, don't know how else to phase it)
I would feel so much better with either a human and an animal charity, or a charity that is for BOTH humans and animals. After all, we're about the joining of animals with humanity, aren't we?
I must second this notion, not only because of the reasons stated above, but that one must realize that by limiting ourselves to such strict criteria, we are cutting out a LOT of worthy charities who could use the money as much as any other charity we have helped or considered in the past.
I feel it necessary to emphasize that we are a kind that likes to help others. It only makes sense that we not limit our options. And besides, the possibility of discovering NEW furries in these organizations is something we should not ignore as well.
By adding any criteria whatsoever we're cutting out worthwhile organizations. However, we need to consider charities that have features that appeal to our core demographic in order to maximize fundraising potential. Children's hospitals, for example, are certainly worthwhile, but the donation appeal is primarily for fursuiters who make up about 20% of our attendance. We need to think of leveraging everyone rather than just individual subgroups. Animals appeal to 100% of our attendance base, so that's where we focus our efforts. We certainly don't find it limiting, as our qualified candidate list is over 40 organizatons long, and we are open to charities that incorporate both humans and animals.
Since when do only fursuiters care about children? And what makes you say that all attendees want animal charities? I know for certain those are both not true.
You're absolutely right, they aren't true - and I never said them.
Manufactured outrage #1: I never said "only" fursuiters care about children. I said "primarily" fursuiters in an entirely different context.
Manufactured outrage #2: I never said all attendees want animal charities. I said animals appeal to all our attendees.
If you have an animal, or animal & human charity to suggest, please do so. Otherwise, please accept that our policy is set and end this topic.
You have nothing to lose by allowing more lenient criteria when it comes to the selection of a charity. And as to your statement about children's hospitals, I am not a fursuiter. But I AM an avid vocal supporter of the Shriners Childrens Hospital (monetarily when able). And since I heavily (HEAVILY!) doubt that I am the only non-fursuiter who supports a children's hospital, how can you possibly state what you did with such assurance?
Again, you have NOTHING to lose! If anything, this is a complete NO BRAINER for furry public relations! It would show us coming out of our shell and helping EVERY DAY PEOPLE! HOW is that a bad thing???
I'm sorry if I seem agitated, but that was insulting to me...
As stated many times already, we already compromise by accepting suggestions of charities that support children and animals, and have supported multiple ones in prior years. If you would like to suggest one, please do. But we leave the support of purely children's charities to organizations better suited for it, just as we do for AIDS-related charities, disaster-relief charities, and water purification charities.
No one is preventing you from donating to these charities on your own. If you do not agree with Anthrocon's policies on this, you are welcome to get bent out of shape to other conventions with looser policies.
Anthrocon is a convention that bases itself around *animals*. Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable to limit the charities to ones that have an animal-helping element to them. There are lots of charity drives supporting children, but how often have you seen the likes of Hello Bully or a local equine rescue getting attention? I'm *thrilled* we support animal-based charities!
And "Nothing to lose"?
The local animal charities sure have something to lose having to compete with a larger pool of 501c(3) organizations. 40 approved charities will keep us going until after 2050 without having to repeat once! I don't understand why you're so fired up over this decision. You're still free to support any group you wish.
We have supported charities in the past that benefitted both humans and animals. In 1997, we supported Therapy Dogs. In 2001, we supported Reins of Life. In 2002, we supported Canine Partners For Life. In 2005, we supported Greater Philadelphia Search & Rescue.
While I'm afraid we won't be changing that requirement anytime soon, we certainly are open to qualifying organizations that help or utilize both humans and animals. That sort of charity *is* animal-related.
I just find it saddening that the biggest furry convention is making a statement that we will not support anything that does not involve animals (with toonseum being a one time exception).
I can't understand why there would be such a strict rule that doesn't even allow your organization to CONSIDER other groups. If an animal charity gets picked over a non-animal charity, that's fine, at least you examined all your options. But why put blinders on yourselves like this? Maybe you'll find something else that is more worthy of all of our support.
I'm sorry you disagree with our policy. As has already been said over and over, we are fully open to charities that involve children and animals, and we have already supported several. I am still waiting for you or anyone to suggest one, yet I have only heard complaints. If you would prefer to donate to a strictly-children's charity, there are many out there that will accept your money without your having to bully Anthrocon.
I'm not sure what I've done to make you feel like I'm bullying in any way, so I want to first take a step back and apologize for that. I want to approach you as a concerned ally, not an enemy. I want to have constructive conversation about this topic. Behind this is a lot of passion I have for charity work, as I've been involved in charity within the fandom for nearly 3 years, and want to keep getting further invested in it as long as I'm in this fandom.
So, I'm getting the impression that this form is not the place to even discuss policy. My question to you then is: where is an appropriate place where I can have constructive discussion over this? I want to appeal to the board to consider revising their policy on this, because I feel that there will, and probably have been, people with great ideas for charities to support that anthrocon could get behind, but have been turned away by this rule. I'm not pushing for any charity in specific (Though I can research charities local to your area), so much as the chance for such charities to have your consideration.
I've been involved in charity within the fandom for sixteen years. The forums are a fine place to request policy changes, but the answer to this one is "no" for the reasons aforementioned by myself and others. Asking over and over will produce the same answer. Please accept "no" for an answer and move on.
Alright then. Thanks for your time. I may come back with some charity suggestions after doing some research on what's available within the criteria.
I don't think it's not rude at all! :) Though I am on the other side of the argument, where I support Anthrocon specificially seeking an animal-only charity for two reasons - 1) Anthrocon (as another person mentioned) is an animal-centric convention, where the main theme is anthropomorphic animals, so focusing on an animal-based charity seems more appropriate. And 2), most charities out there focus on people, be it illness, homelessness, rehabilitiation, etc, and there are a whole group of charities out there for children. While these charities are wonderful and do very important work, often animal charities get overlooked, so I feel it's especially important for conventions like Anthrocon to focus on animal-based charities.
As for "helping with issues other than another 'save the kitties' charity" - helping animals helps society, too. The wellbeing of animals affects the wellbeing of humans, too, in direct and indirect ways. Many animal charities do work with children, hosting programs for ill children to visit or play with animals, for example. These animal charities rarely hole up and keep all the animals 'to themselves' :D I volunteer for a raptor rehab center in CT, and a huge chunk of what we do is educational programs for the public. All donations we get help us care for the birds, as well as continue our educational work.
I plugged them last year and will again, I don't recall having a kitty-specific charity since I've been going to AC.
I don't necessarily agree with doing totally non-animal charities, unless it has something to do with anthropomorphics or animals, like funding the use of mascots or therapy animals FOR children, or it's something like the Toonseum. I don't know of any other charities like this though.
We attempted to contact FosterCat last year. I left several messages on their answering machine. When I finally received a callback, I was told that someone would get in touch with me. No one ever did, despite repeated attempts to reach them again by both phone and email. Unfortunately, we needed to remove them from our candidate list to focus on more cooperative organizations.
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium are a 501(c)3 organization.
I went to the zoo 2 years ago before AC & had a great day. It's a good place to consider.
I have no idea how I missed them being a 501(c)3 all these years. Thanks for pointing it out - I've added them to the list!
I'll second Grumpish's suggestion.
Also, to comment on non-animal related charities. I don't want to sound 'cold', but many have so much support from humans and corporations already (especially children) UNLESS it is still animal-affiliated (guide dogs, seizure dogs, mascots, etc.). Animals need more support because unlike children, they do not pull at the heartstrings of everyone. Besides, we furries are among the closest thing to the animals that are human. It does make sense that we try help our fellow furry friends whenever we can. Yes, there's that human component to us too, but that's the 'easy' part of who we are because we already are.
See my explanation to Grumpish below.
I think Wolf Pup makes a pretty good point.
Why pigeon toe the chance to make nice with the locals? The worst that anyone can do is say no. (No offense to any pigeons who might step into the thread.)
As mentioned below, we have supported charities in the past that incorporate both humans and animals, and we are perfectly willing to do so again. If you have one in mind, please suggest it!
I know you said a 60 mile radious, but I figured I would post this charity anyway. I actually live in PA, and unfortunately there are no good Chinchilla rescues in this state. At least, not as well know as Whimsy's. http://www.whimsys-menagerie.com/ They are one of the most well known chinchilla rescue in the region. They have personally touched my heart with their love and willingness to help my own chinchilla when I could not do so myself. (He needed surgery days after my own) When I think animal charity, this is the first one that comes to mind. Plus, it's unique. (Some people don't even know what Chinchillas are, unless you are talking about coats[Yuck!])
So anyway, that's my suggestion.<3
That is all.
All the other suggestions are awesome, but I just want to throw these guys out there too
"Hide-E-Hole Ferret Rescue is located in Pittsburgh, PA. We take in unwanted ferrets, get them medical care as needed, work on behavior issues, and strive to find good, permanent homes. If the ferret is deemed unadoptable (usually due to serious health problems), we will keep that ferret for the rest of its natural life. As a true no-kill shelter, we only euthanize in the case of medical necessity. We rely on the support of volunteers and sponsors to support our cause. Any support is appreciated. The shelter has been “official” since November 2002, but Barb Carlson has personally been doing rescue work with ferrets (on a much smaller basis) for at least 5 or 6 years before that."
Edit: Ooops somehow I missed those comments on the tax thing....
I'd like to preface this post by saying that I have never been to Anthrocon, nor do I have plans to go in the near future. I was directed to this thread by TK, and I wanted to weigh in on the topic.
I work for Child Protective Services in the State of Arizona. While my occupation is not directly linked to organizations like children's hospitals, it does revolve around the general welfare of children. When I heard about the official AC opinion that "these charities primarily appeal to fursuiters", I was stunned.
Presumably, this notion is from the, "Well fursuiters do like to go to children's hospitals to cheer up kids" standpoint. This is true, but that does not mean they are the *only ones* who care about the subject.
No one to my knowledge has ever made a decision about attending a con based solely on which charity the con is supporting. I suspect (and if I am way off, I apologize in advance) that the reason for wanting an animal-related charity is to have a cool "show-and-tell" with live animals at the con.
I am still eager to hear the rationale behind this official con position. If my assumptions outlined above are correct, consider me appalled.
Anthrocon is about anthropomorphic animals. Our attendees come to the convention because it's a community that enjoys anthropomorphic animals. In order to leverage that interest into donations, we support charities that involve animals. It's pretty cut-and-dry.
I never said *only* fursuiters. I said *primarily* fursuiters. Please do not make up words that I did not say.
If you wish to support children's charities, we encourage you to do so on your own time or through another convention.
Anthrocon's choice of charity doesn't prevent anyone from donating to non-animal charities. It emphasizes charities for animals that do not get as much attention as the more mainstream and publicized charities. Besides, the non-animal charities are more likely to be confused about why they should be there. It's a better use of Anthrocon's resources to focus on charities that will not turn down the invitation because they're off-topic.
I've went to a lot of conventions simply because they supported a charity I adored.
The National Aviary is the one I'd choose this time but its not up to me.
Your suggestions help us prioritize candidates.