New Years Resolutions:
1) Get fit (can't help with that).
2) Volunteer more!
This one is easy! Volunteer Match (volunteermatch.org) can help you find every way to volunteer ever. Go to it!
DoingGoodTogether.org is a family focused Minneapolis-based national nonprofit that works to make volunteering and service, along with daily kindness, easy. The site offers some wonderful ideas for simple things you can do with minimal preparation to create a positive impact.
CharityNavigator.org lists dozens of charities in areas in a variety of areas with perfect scores for accountability and transparency. Less than one percent of thousands of rated charities get a perfect score. In other words, they won’t use their foundation to buy portraits of Trump with your money.
Here's just one:
VEAP— Neighbors Serving Neighbors in Need is a Twin Cities charity that helps to alleviate the financial stress low-income individuals and families face as the result of unexpected expenses or lapses in income. You can volunteer at the food shelf or donate!
Equip yourself with new knowledge. Attend a lecture or event at your local university and simply learn more about a topic that interests you. Not everyone knows this, but public universities in every state have great—and free—lectures and events with experts in every field you can imagine, and they're always open to the public. I work at the U of Minnesota, which lists all of its events on a central calendar. Your local U does, too!
Action Against Trump is a comprehensive list of resources that either recommend or discuss concrete actions citizens can take against the president's own actions.
The Natural Resource Defense Council are a savvy group of environmental lawyers—Think of them as the “ACLU of the environmental movement.” Donate and learn about NRDC issues.
The Union of Concerned Scientists works to create solutions to the planet’s most pressing scientific problems through research, advocacy, and policy. These peeps are pretty smart.
350.org runs action oriented climate-focused campaigns and projects led from the bottom-up by people in 188 countries, but especially the U.S. It's Bill Mckibben's group so you know they really get it done. Lately they've fought the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines pretty hard.
The Environmental Defense Fund was called by The Economist as “America’s most economically literate green campaigners" for its work in climate, oceans, ecosystems, and health. They do it all, but they need your support.
Money matters, and so does where you put it. If you're one of the lucky few to work at a company with a 401k, they probably give you the option to choose some or all of your investment funds (and if they don’t, write your HR dept.). Socially & environmentally responsible funds are everywhere and people like you are moving their money to them at an astonishing rate, and many do very well. Even shifting 10% of your retirement contributions will make a difference. If you support healthcare for all, don’t put your money in companies that don’t provide it or that don't pay their workers enough to afford it (Think Costco, not Wal-Mart). If you try to be "green," don’t profit from fossil fuel industries—or whatever you care about. Learn about what it means to invest responsibly. A start: Kiplinger has 7 Great Socially Responsible Mutual Funds.
This is tiny, but we all hate seeing trash laying around, and yet we never pick it up--it's someone else's job. You say, "this is insignificant" in the face of Trump. I say, "make it your small side hobby!" As inspiration and validation, read this wonderful Fitbit and David Sedaris trash adventure.
Spend 5 minutes, make 5 calls.
5calls.org is a site for our times, and probably one of the best activist sites around, if only for its simplicity. They say "Turn your passive participation into active resistance. Facebook likes and Twitter retweets can’t create the change you want to see. Calling your Government on the phone can."
Hold your representatives accountable with this practical guide for resisting the trump agenda, created by former congressional staffers who reveal best practices for making Congress listen. The site also features a location map for small group gatherings and ways to get involved locally throughout the country.
Attend a local resistance recess event: save our health care, our communities, and our democracy. Just enter your zip code to see what's happening, where.
Know your legislators and politicians—and contact them often
Find your elected officials, the bills they've introduced, committees they serve on, and political contributions they've received. Call Congress at (202) 225-3121 to connect to any member.
Or go local: Attend a town hall or city council meeting.
Countable is a new app that offers clear, concise summaries of bills going through Congress. You can use it to see what others think, then take action--easier than ever.
Sign a petition at Whitehouse.gov. Does it have an impact? Well, if it hits 100,000 signatures, the White House at least has to respond. If it hits 1 million, yeah, they'll start paying attention.
The Knight Foundation is a national foundation that invests in journalism and in the arts in order to foster informed and engaged communities, which are essential for a healthy democracy.
Without Freedom of the Press and of expression, you will not have a democracy for long. PEN America works to protect free and open expression in the U.S. and across the world through literature and writing.
The Committee To Protect Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide. We defend the right of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. CPJ will need your help to cover Trumps administration and fight for journalistic protection.
Of all news media, public news media is consistently agreed to actually be fair and balanced. Trump is probably going to divest the federal gov't from public broadcasting, as well as all arts and humanities endeavors. They make up .02% of the federal budget, but this will somehow trim the national debt. Support PBS and NPR. You know you've been feeling guilty for years by not contributing during the pledge drives!
Writer a letter to the editor of your local paper and connect a local issue to national policy. Not a writer? Share your letter with a friend and discuss—then improve it!
Don’t care about anything? Sure you do! Here’s a list of some of the most popular social issues to get you started.
The United States has a long tradition of welcoming refugees fleeing persecution and conflict, but it's not perfect--we turned many Jews away in the 1930s & 40s. Let's not make the same mistakes. We live in a great country—for most of us, that means we were lucky simply to be born here—and that leaves us with a great responsibility. There are more than 65 million people displaced in the world today. The International Rescue Committee helps refugees to survive and rebuild their lives.
People who enter the U.S. are not to be feared—they’re way more fearful of us, of a new place, longing for their lost homes and family members. And they already go through a 2-year process to enter the U.S., one of the most intensive of any nation in the world.
Ka Joog literally means to help kids “stay away” from negative influences such as drugs, violence, radicalization, and other behaviors that can be detrimental to their development and future. Ka Joog helps Somali kids and their families in Minneapolis.
The International Institute of Minnesota helps new Americans achieve self-sufficiency and full membership in American life in Minnesota. You can donate money or spend time helping refugees with everything from finance to learning how to ride the bus!
Welcoming America, a nonprofit, non-partisan organization.
Mercy Corps provides direct aid to Syrian refugees.
Save the Children provides emergency food for Syrian children and supports education in refugee camps.
UNICEF assists Syrian children with healthcare, nutrition, immunization, water and sanitation, and classes.
United We Dream is the largest youth-led immigrant organization in the nation. They operate in 26 states.
The National Immigration Law Center is dedicated to fighting for the rights of low-income immigrants through litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, and various other methods. Attend a local or online training!
Trump has taken issue with Muslims, Somalians, Syrians, Hispanics, (basically any immigrants) and even handicapped people. The Southern Poverty Law Center fights hate groups and bigotry using education, litigation, and advocacy.
Trump has been involved suing or being sued 3,500+ times. This presidency is going to take a lot of lawyering to keep it in check. Donate to the ACLU, and help them to defend our freedoms.
In Minnesota: Don't just say "speak the language." Teach the language! There are many opportunities to volunteer teaching English to immigrants and refugees, no experience necessary. The Minnesota Literacy Council provides training and connects volunteers with opportunities.
Donald Trump admitted to committing sexual assault and harassment (bragged!), and yet, here we are. It's a huge problem in our society. RAINN is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, and they partner with more than 1,000 local organizations across the country. You can donate, or there are many ways to get involved; whether you have five minutes or five months, you can make a difference in the lives of sexual violence survivors.
Remember how you always shop at the same grocery store, in the same area of town (we live most our lives in our neighborhoods) because it's so comfortable? Go on an adventure in a new part of town (try one in a community with a totally different socioeconomic status than yours)! Try a new grocery store adventure for starters! Make a point to chat someone up! You'll find new foods, too!