December 4, 2011 · No Comments
If you are the person who has everything (or you’re trying to find a gift for one of those people), we’d like to offer you an assortment of science-related charities that will happily take your money. They’re all registered charities in their countries, or projects of organizations that are, and they’re all providing education, science promotion, or other valuable services. We haven’t exhaustively researched them, so check them out before donating.
If you’d like to help promote science awareness and understanding, you can give to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. AAAS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world. They work to foster education and increase public engagement in science and technology for everyone, and to strengthen and diversify the science and technology workforce.
The National Center for Science Education is a not-for-profit, membership organization that provides information and resources for schools, parents and concerned citizens working to keep evolution in public school science education. And their executive director Eugenie Scott is amazing.
In the UK, there’s Sense About Science, which works in partnership with scientific bodies, research publishers, policy makers, the public and the media, to change public discussions about science. Their award-winning public campaigns share the tools of scientific thinking and scrutiny, and their international Voice of Young Science network engages hundreds of early career researchers in public debates about research and evidence.
The Royal Institution of Australia is a national scientific non-profit organisation with a mission to ‘Bring science to people and people to science.” Their vision is that science should become recognised as pivotal in everyday life. They aim to broaden the appreciation of science and technology as a part of the culture of Australia, and to help develop inquiring minds that can appreciate the process, constraints and potential of science.
And we were a bit sad to note that Canada doesn’t seem to have an organization like this. Ahem.
Helping to encourage interest and expand opportunities for women in science is an issue that’s close to our show’s collective heart. In the US, the Association for Women in Science and The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology promote and encourage women and girls in science, engineering and technology. The Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology, also has a program that specifically helps immigrant women connect with mentors in the field.
Lots of fantastic charities are out there bring the wonder of Science to Children. In Canada, we have Let’s Talk Science, an award-winning, national organization. The deliver science learning programs and services that turn children and youth on to science, and keep them engaged in life-long learning.
In Ontario, and now in Lethbridge, Scientists in School is dedicated to encouraging a lasting interest in science, technology, math, environmental stewardship and engineering, and Actua is a national organization that provides young Canadians with positive, interactive learning experiences in science and tech.
And we’ve talked about Dark Skies Bright Kids on the show before. It’s a project out of the astronomy department at the University of Virginia, that brings astronomy to elementary students in rural Virginia. They foster the natural curiosity of children by helping them to explore the Universe in a social setting with fun, hands-on activities.
Some other science-based (or slightly nerdy) charities that we wanted to mention include Healthright International. Healthright treats access to quality healthcare as a basic human right, and works to build lasting access to health for excluded communities. They’ve been on the show before, to talk about how they help refugees provide evidence that they were tortured in their home counties.
Engineers Without Borders is an international coalition of dozens of national member groups, that make use of their diverse technical expertise to solve critical problems affecting the health of our planet.
The Canadian Air and Space Museum is a non-profit organization that proudly showcases Canada’s rich aviation history. Unfortunately, they’re fighting eviction from their historic Toronto building, and may be forced to close permanently, so they *urgently* need help.
Speaking of fighting, Open Media is a Canadian non-profit that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet, through citizens’ campaigns like Stop The Meter. It was the largest online campaign in Canadian history, and it stopped mandatory usage-based billing being imposed on every Canadian. It should go without saying, that they are wonderful.
And in the US, the Able Gamers Foundation promotes open dialog, education, and research , with the goal of bringing greater accessibility in the digital entertainment space. They help people with disabilities to gain a greater quality of life, and develop the rich social life that gaming can bring.
One area of science that we think bears extra mention is stem cell research. Controversies over its practice, and outright bans on funding by some governments, leave this field of research chronically underfunded. You can consider donating to the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, the UK Stem Cell Foundation, the Australian Stem Cell Centre, or the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation in the U.S.
And finally, if you’d like to direct your holiday giving to places that promote critical thinking and reason-based values, we’ve got that covered, too. The Skeptics Society is a scientific and educational organization of leading scientists, scholars, investigative journalists, historians, professors and teachers. They mission is to investigate and provide a sound scientific viewpoint on claims of the paranormal and pseudoscience, and they also publish Skeptic magazine.
The James Randi Educational Foundation, whose mission is to promote critical thinking by reaching out to the public and media with reliable information about the paranormal and supernatural ideas that are so widespread in our society today. They offer educational programs, workshops, and scholarships that encourage scientific skepticism.
The Center for Inquiry Transnational works around the world to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values, and they carry out that work through education, publishing, advocacy, and social services.
And Foundation Beyond Belief is a U.S.-based charitable foundation created to focus, encourage and demonstrate humanist generosity and compassion. They select and feature ten charitable organizations per quarter, with the goal of challenging humanists to embody the highest principles of humanism, including mutual care and responsibility.
If we missed your favorite science charity, post a link and description in the comments. Thanks for listening, and happy holidays!