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Why I Donate to the Nonprofits I Work With

By Wendy Margolin, owner

There’s this thing when you’re Jewish that you give back 10% to charity. Kinda like a tithe. Actually, exactly like a tithe.

If that sounds like a lot of money, it’s because it is. Until you realize that you lose nothing and have a whole lot to gain by giving it.


True story:

The first time I gave away a lot of my personal money was in college after a road trip with a campus organization. When they dropped me back at home, I decided to give a donation for gas. I’m so old that $40 was equal to a tank for each way, but in the end I decided to give $60. That was a lot of beer and pizza money. I left the car feeling pretty unsure UNTIL I got to my mailbox to find an unexpected check from my Papa. Good old Gramps had dropped $60 and a note in an envelope just for nothing. Coincidence? You decide.

I’ve been happily giving charity ever since. I mostly work with small businesses, but for the nonprofits I coach, I always think they’re worthy. I give my 10% charity right back to them. I think of my Papa every time.

In addition to the nonprofits I work with, following are a few to consider this #GivingTuesday:

Charity: Water: Nearly 1 in 10 people worldwide live without access to clean water, and many of them walk hours every day to haul water you wouldn’t let your dog drink. $30/month provides one family with clean water. Access to clean water means education, income and health – especially for women and kids. 100% of your donation goes toward clean water projects because some really rich people cover all this organization’s overhead. Sweet!

Holiday Toy Drive: There are so many holiday toy drives this time of year, so be sure to give to at least one of them. My favorite is from my high school yearbook buddy, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, whose charity work on the side is just as impressive as her Netflix shows.

Make Every Vote Matter: Make Every Vote Matter is an apolitical, nonpartisan movement to promote the election of the president and vice president by popular vote. Currently, whichever candidate gets the most votes in your state gets all the Electoral College votes from your state (unless you live in Nebraska or Maine). That means that, if you didn’t vote for the winner in your state, your vote doesn’t matter to the Electoral College. MEVM is working to change that so that the winner of the popular vote becomes president.

Jewish United Fund: I started my career at JUF News, and I’ve been a big cheerleader ever since. There’s a reason Chicago has the best Jewish Federation in North America and that their Charity Navigator score is one of the best around. There are few I trust more to spend my charity dollars locally and around the world more wisely than JUF/JF.

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