The last year has been tough on many. Many people have been and are getting killed in wars and conflicts (Iraq, Sudan/Dafour), got devastated by Tsunamis, starve due to famines and loose their lively-hood and sometimes even lives due to Hurricanes and Taifuns such as Kathrina and Stan. And now we have the devastating earthquake in the northern Pakistan/Indian/Afghanistan area. My thoughs and wishes are with all the people that have suffered greatly and I hope they will be able to rebuild.
I am glad that Microsoft is very generous in matching donations (and now even time) and that it has a yearly Giving Campaign (hint: it is currently on. MS employees: please consider giving [internal link]). I would recommend that everyone who can give, thinks about giving to at least one of the causes to help the affected and asks his or her employer to provide matching funds. As often, unless you can provide a specifically needed skill, it is often better to donate money.
Here is a list of some organizations that can benefit (feel free to add in the comment section, but please only list no-strings attached, well-regarded organizations):
- International Comittee of the Red Cross
- The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
- Mercy Corps
- United Nations humanitarian affairs and relief agencies
- The American Red Cross (or your own local Red Cross Society)
And please do not forget the long-term issues (refugee issues, long-term famines, forgotten wars, inequality and injustices, the need for environmental protection of our biosphere) over the short term catastrophs.