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Christmas is Coming! Support Macular Degeneration Charities

Years ago, my husband and I decided that since we have more 'things' than we need, we would start asking our friends and relatives to donate to charities instead of giving us gifts. We told them that’s what we would be doing for them, too. Surprisingly, they all liked the idea (could never convince my mother who did both, bless her) so that’s what we’ve been doing since the 1990s.

Donating to charities

We have some young children in the family, so we give their parents money to buy them presents from us since none of them live near us. We do send cards to those in our circle. In them, we include the name of the charity that we selected for the year.

My family’s tradition may not be right for you and yours. I know that there are many people who, in addition to gift-giving, support charities. I thought you might be interested in supporting a charity or two that serves those with low vision, macular degeneration, and related eye diseases.

Different ways to donate

For more than 3 years, I’ve been following quite a few great non-profit organizations. All of them have multiple ways you can support them. They all will accept a one-time donation. Many appreciate regular donations. Some have employer matching programs, gifts in memory of someone, or donation of goods.

Some charities will have Christmas campaigns where they offer Christmas cards and gifts with some or all of the proceeds going to the charity. I had hoped to be able to give you a list of some but, to be honest, I wasn’t able to find any in the US who are doing this (there may be some, I just couldn't find them while I was writing this).

Disclaimer: I’m not recommending any of these charities nor am I associated with any of them. I know many of them through my work with those who have macular degeneration.

Confirming they're non-profits

I have tried to make sure all the charities I mention are indeed non-profit organizations, but I recommend that you confirm that with them. One way to check is to use Charity Navigator which is a website where charities of all types are evaluated and rated on things like how much money actually goes to the people who are being helped and how much goes to the administration of it. Of course, they need money to function.

Finding charities near you

There are just too many local, independent non-profit organizations to mention. If you are interested in supporting one of them, you can search for ‘blind vision organizations charities near me.’ I did that and found the non-profit ‘Center for the Visually Impaired’ near me which has a very large store. There’s also a branch of the National Federation of the Blind for my state. Check to see if your state has one, too.

Facebook fundraisers

Have you seen posts by your Facebook friends with wording such as “Instead of a birthday present, this year I’m supporting the ... organization.”? This is a big trend on Facebook where you can easily create a fundraiser to get donations for a non-profit organization of your choice. It will show up on your personal Facebook page and sometimes on the page of the organization.

When I checked the specific statements about fundraisers on Facebook, they said that donations are processed by Facebook who take care of any processing fees. They said that means that Facebook sends 100% of the donations you get to the organization you've chosen. To learn more about this feature, you can go to the Facebook Help Center.

Macular degeneration and low vision charities

These are the organizations that support Facebook fundraising as well as traditional fundraising activities. I’ve added the word ‘*research’ to those groups that emphasize research. This list is in no particular order:

  • American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
  • Foundation Fighting Blindness US (FFF) *research
  • Prevent Blindness (look for chapters in your state)
  • National Federation of the Blind - has chapters in many states
  • Guiding Eyes for the Blind
  • Macular Degeneration Research (*research)
  • BrightFocus Foundation (*research)
  • Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired Northern California
  • Lighthouse Guild NY
  • The Chicago Lighthouse
  • Macular Degeneration Association
  • American Printing House for the Blind/VisionAware
  • Macula Vision Research Foundation (*research)
  • Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) (*research)
  • American Council of the Blind

There are others, I’m sure. As I said about the National Federation for the Blind, check for chapters of these charities near you.

Pay it forward

Not many people choose to contribute to charities rather than exchange gifts with friends and loved ones. I totally understand. If you also contribute to good causes, perhaps you'll consider one of these.

OK, there are some years that I do miss the new pair of funny socks or the cute dust catcher that I might get as I have in the past. Admittedly, I have been known to buy myself a gift of some kind but only when it’s on sale after Christmas. ::smile:: Most years, I feel good that I’ve done something that might help others. I have a lot to ‘pay it forward!'

Happy Holidays!

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