Impressive Performances

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Foolanthropy 2006 Donations
Charity Amt. Raised
Co-op America $169,425
NFTE $91,341
Rare Conservation $30,047
Room to Read $25,266
Half the Sky $21,350
TOTAL $337,429
As of January 9, 2007
Foolanthropy 2006
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By Selena Maranjian
December 28, 2006

Here in Fooldom, many of us are used to occasionally having some company knock our socks off. For example, consider how a share of Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) stock has grown by an average annual rate of more than 30% for a full 20 years. That's enough to have turned $1,000 into more than $200,000. Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO) has grown at an average annual clip of 18% over 25 years. Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) has advanced at an annual average rate of 25% over the past 20 years.

Another kind of impressive
But it's not just for-profit organizations that can impress. Plenty of nonprofits do, too. Consider, for example, the five worthy outfits we're raising money for in our 10th annual Foolanthropy charity drive. Over the years, we've raised more than $2 million for some exciting and inspiring organizations, with your help.

Here are this year's organizations:

  • Co-op America works directly with businesses, investors, and consumers to solve social and environmental problems. It has helped more than 200 magazine publishers switch to recycled paper, it helps people and companies reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and it's helping launch a solar revolution to achieve globally affordable prices. As we explained in our overview of the organization: "You see the fingerprints of Co-op America's work when you read that companies like Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) now offer Fair Trade coffee, helping farming families around the world. When you learn that companies like ExxonMobil finally admit that climate change is real and they have an obligation to develop a carbon emissions reduction plan. Or when you hear that giant retailers like Costco (Nasdaq: COST) have committed to selling organic food and reducing their greenhouse gases."

  • Half the Sky provides nurturing care and enrichment programs for thousands of orphaned children across China, often all the way to adulthood. Its trained staff develops deep emotional bonds with the children in their care -- bonds that neuroscientists have found are crucial for healthy development.

  • The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) helps young people from low-income communities do better in business, school, and life by teaching them entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Since 1987, NFTE has helped more than 150,000 youngsters create original business plans and hone skills in math, reading, writing, thinking, teamwork, and decision-making.

  • Rare Conservation is building a global conservation movement by giving individual communities meaningful reasons to protect water, save forests, stop poaching, and build more sustainable livelihoods. Through training and outreach in more than 40 countries, Rare is systematically reducing threats to some of the world's most important species and ecosystems.

  • Room to Read is breaking the cycle of poverty through education. Partnering with communities throughout the developing world and intervening early in the lives of millions of children, it establishes schools and libraries and funds girls' scholarships. A lifelong gift of education can empower people by improving socioeconomic conditions for families, communities, countries, and future generations.

There's a lot more to know about these organizations, and they'd love for you to dig a little deeper. Do so, and then consider joining us in supporting them. Even just a few dollars can make a big difference, since there are so many of us. At the very least, take some time to learn more about the organizations.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Costco and Microsoft. Microsoft is an Inside Value recommendation. Costco and Best Buy are Stock Advisor selections. The Motley Fool has a full disclosure policy.