I was going to entitle this posting “What Charities Does the CIA Support?” but in a saner moment I thought that maybe that was not such a bright idea….

I have received several emails from potential members who have indicated that they are reluctant to pay a membership fee for charities without knowing exactly what those charities are.  Fair Enough!  A couple of these people have also indicated that they aren’t convinced that I am giving all of the money raised to charity, but that some of it is being used to line my own pockets.   To which I have numerous comments, but will simply say, instead, “Good Grief!!!”   But just to be sure everyone understands, do let me say again – I am not making a single penny from this venture.  It is all done to support charities that deal with issues of poverty, hunger, and homelessness.

I don’t know yet whether I’ll be glad, in the long run, that I’ve taken on this task, as it is very time consuming and I have mind-numbing demands on my time otherwise, as do most scholar/teachers that I know.  My reason for starting the Blog, though, is simple.  I have long been deeply concerned about those who suffer from hunger and homelessness – even more, for some reason, since I became an agnostic, some 15 years or so ago.   I give a sizeable chunk of my income to charities that deal with these problems, but I never can find the time to volunteer – for example, at the local soup kitchen.

And then it occurred to me at the suggestion of some friends that I could volunteer in another way, a way that makes particular sense for me and that can be unusual and distinctive.  And this Blog is the result.  I volunteer my time dealing with issues in my field of expertise and raise money for the causes I deeply believe in.

Back to the point: people want to know, or may want to know, which charities, exactly, this Blog supports.  Again: fair enough.  I will eventually make this information part of the site itself (I can’t now, since my amazing web-designer is gone on vacation for a week) (he is someone many of you should get to know, if you are interested in getting help on web design).  For now I can just give the simple information.

Funds raised from this site (all of them: I pay for the administrative costs out of my own pocket) go to support four charities, two of them “local” and two “international.”

• The one nearest and dearest to my heart is the Urban Ministries of Durham, which is the agency that deals with hunger and homelessness in my own locale.   It is an absolutely amazing “ministry” (it is not religious in anyway; the term is used in the secular sense), and I wish I could do more and more for it.  Anyone interested in seeing what a local organization can do, and do brilliantly, should check out their work at http://umdurham.org/ — and please, donate some money!

• The other “local” is a terrific agency that deals with food distribution to the needy throughout my part of the state, the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.  They do an amazing job; the logistics sometimes boggle the mind.  You can see what they are about at http://www.foodbankcenc.org/site/PageServer?pagename=FBCENCHome

The other two agencies that the Blog supports are well known and do not need much comment from me.  I have supported their work for years and am a true believer in what they do.
• CARE.  Dealing with heart-rending problems with dignity and integrity: http://www.care.org/
• Doctors without Borders.  A bright light shining in our universe. http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/

I deeply wish I could do more for these groups than I do.  But I hope the Blog will do some good in meeting the overwhelming and crushing needs that these groups all face and deal with.

If anyone has any concerns or issues with any of these groups or with the mission of the Blog, please let me know.  The CIA is always interested.  🙂