It is easy to forget how fortunate having health, family, friends, food, and a home is. If you have these essentials, you're among a small minority in the world. A majority of people lack at least one of these needs in adequate amounts, if not several of them.
Thankfully, most of us reading this column possess not only shelter, adequate food, and generally (I hope) good health, we also have disposable income, a rarity in the world. We have income to invest in stocks in hopes of an even better future, or to invest in leisure time, or to invest in other people.
Two-thirds of charitable giving takes place during the last three months of each year. This is the time of year that many people consider how fortunate they are and give what they can (if they can) to others they usually don't even know.
For the past four years, The Motley Fool has made it convenient for Fools everywhere to give to high-quality, effective charitable organizations that the Fool's Foolanthropy team finds with the help of readers. We give to organizations where the majority of our dollars will go to help others, rather than helping to fund the organization itself. Just as we invest in efficient companies, we give dollars to the most-efficient charities so we know they'll be put to good use. Last holiday season, Fools around the world gave more than $800,000 in stock and money to five charities through the Fool's site, making it the second-largest online charity event, to our knowledge, anywhere in the world.
This year, the Fool offers a choice of five charitable organizations again, to which you can contribute as little as $1, or as much as you wish. Every small amount helps someone in the world. Even $20 can provide a new livelihood to a family in a foreign country through the gift of farm animals, which are provided by one charity that we're supporting again this year, the Heifer Project International.
Read about the five charities that Fools are supporting this year and, if you can and wish to, consider giving something if you haven't already. You can donate online through the Fool, safely and quickly, with a check or credit card, or you can donate stock. (Also, for every post that you make on our discussion boards this month, the Fool is donating 2 cents to charity.) Your donations are tax deductible and after donating you can list your name on our "Ship of Fools" list of donors, which remains on the site into January. You can even list your donation in someone else's honor.
Thank you for taking this time out with us for charitable thoughts, and thank you for considering being a part of the Fool's Foolanthropy (philanthropy) drive to help others.
Have a great holiday and Happy New Year, Fools!