Philanthropy on the Fifth is a special day for us Fives that takes place each month. After traveling around the world (and sometimes even just down the street) it is clear that there is a lot of need. From children needing clean water and basic shelter, to wild places needing support to help keep them wild. Although we can’t solve all of the world’s problems, we wanted to feel that as a family we were doing our part to make things better.
On the fifth day of every month each member of our family is responsible for presenting a charity or cause that they think is deserving of our monetary support. We then cast our votes and the charity/cause with the most points receives a donation in the name of FivesOnTheFly. See below for the most recent Philanthropy of the Fifth winners.
November 2017 – Council for the Homeless
Since moving to Vancouver, Washington, we’ve seen a lot of homelessness both here and in Portland. We see this as a reflection of our nation’s priorities. As a country we spend trillions of dollars on invading / bombing other countries (and trillions more in interest on the money we’ve borrowed) and on redistributing our collective tax dollars to the super rich. However, we refuse to spend the modest amount needed to ensure all Americans have basic housing, food, and health care. While homeless relief organizations are not going to fix the underlying problem of wealth distribution, we are grateful they are doing their best to help out those individuals and families the system has left behind.
October 2017 – UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund and Montana Wildfire Relief Fund
While hurricanes like Maria have been dumping rainfall in the Caribbean, places like Montana have experienced a prolonged dry season that has burned more than 1 million acres. Disasters expose the underlying inequalities that are at the heart of climate change, where the most vulnerable places and people become sacrifice zones. We support relief that helps those most in need while promoting a just distribution of power and resources.
September 2017 – Oaxaca Earthquake Relief
With Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the headlines, not many people are paying attention to the 8.1 magnitude earthquake that struck off Mexico’s western coast on September 8th. The states of Oaxaca and Chiapas (where we lived for a month) were particularly hard hit. This fundraiser is through the Cuentos Foundation, which has deep ties to the region and will use the funds to distribute food, water, and medicine through local community organizations. Read more about the earthquake and this relief effort.
August 2017 – Trees, Water & People
As we prepare to drive cross country to the East Coast, we wanted to focus on green energy projects in awareness of the carbon we’ll emit during our trip. Trees, Water & People work with indigenous peoples in Central America and the United States to provide quality of life increasing solutions to basic needs that also reduce the environmental impact. They are a partner in the Pine Ridge Reservation’s Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, which is a Native-led training program promoting solar, straw bale construction, wind, and other technologies to create good jobs while promoting energy independence.
July 2017 – Community to Community Development
As we’ve been feasting on backyard cherries, we been thinking about the people who do the strenuous work of harvesting the food we buy at the store. C2C works in the Washington State area (where many of the berries we buy come from) to promote food justice and farm workers’ rights. They also see the larger picture and are active in the racial, gender, and environmental justice movements as well.
June 2017 – Against Malaria Foundation
This month in home school we learned a great deal about Malaria and its large scale effect on human history. The Younger Fives were amazed on what an impact Malaria has had throughout history and how many people it still affects today. Since Malaria is transmitted through mosquitoes we learned that preventing mosquito bites can really help combat the spread of the disease. Therefore this month we donated 15 mosquito nets that people in regions where Malaria is present can sleep under to prevent mosquito bites.
May 2017 – The Guardian and The Intercept
May was a difficult month in Montana politics as we watched in horror as Greg Gianforte assaulted reporter Ben Jacobs from The Guardian. In our opinion this is inexcusable behavior for an adult, let alone a publicly elected official. We were disappointed to say the least with how the police and courts handled the situation. Ben Jacobs was just doing his job to let the public know more about how Gianforte viewed the Affordable Care Act overhaul. To show our displeasure towards the treatment of Ben Jacobs we are using our Philanthropy on the Fifth money this month to donate to two news organizations that we find worthy.
April 2017 – Immigrant Legal Resource Center
This month in homeschool we are learning about immigration to the United States. In particular we are learning about the issue surrounding illegal immigration and the way that the U.S. government is handling refuges from central america that are seeking asylum. In learning about the tremendous difficulties that individuals and families go through in order to enter the United States we wanted to give to an organization that works to help immigrants and refuges. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center seemed like the perfect organization to donate to as they work to provide legal training, education materials, and advocacy to advance immigrant rights.
March 2017 – Oxfam International
Oxfam is an organization that we feel really proud to support because of how much they do around the world to help end poverty. From providing assistance to refugees and people that have experienced natural disasters, to campaigning for social justice and increasing education, they are work very hard to provide solutions to hunger, poverty and social injustice. With a presence in more than 90 countries Oxfam works tirelessly to combat the global injustice that is poverty.
February 2017 – Kiva
The money that we lent last January to a farmer in Samoa through the organization Kiva was recently repaid. So, this month we decided to go ahead and use that money to help finance another micro-loan. This time we lent money to a baker in El Salvador who wants to buy more equipment for his home-based bakery. Kiva is such a wonderful coordinating organization for these loans and we love that once the money is repaid we can lend it out again.
January 2017 – Flathead Audubon Society
As we begin our Family Big Year we have been fortunate to use the resources of the Flathead Audubon Society. Their educational trunk Common Birds of the Flathead has been very helpful in familiarizing ourselves with area birds. We all voted unanimously to use our January philanthropy funds to become members of the Flathead Audubon Society and support their work of conservation and education.
December 2016 – Standing Rock Medic + Healer Council
The water protectors working to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline continued to be in our thoughts this month as we donated to the Standing Rock Medic + Healer Council. This amazing group coordinates the medical and healing supplies and administers medical and healing aid to the water protectors. In one evening they cared for over 300 water protectors that were sprayed with water and mace by the Morton County Sheriffs office in freezing conditions. Their tireless work to ensure the health and well being of people standing up to protect our water is truly admirable.
November 2016 – Red Warrior Camp Legal Defense Fund
This month our family decided that it was important to make another donation to the legal defense fund of the water protectors that are taking part in direct action to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department has showed extreme use of force against peaceful protectors who are trying to ensure safe drinking water for all people. Watching armed officers mace, attack, and arrest people peacefully praying and demonstrating is such an eye opener to how the wishes of the wealthy are put above the rights of the people. We encourage everyone to go to the Internet and Facebook to learn about what is going on the front lines of the No DAPL Movement.
October 2016 – Montana Talking Book Library
Since we moved to Helena, Montana we have had the pleasure of volunteering as a family for the Montana Talking Book Library. This amazing program is part of the Statewide Library Resources Division and provides alternative reading materials to Montana residents who are unable to read standard print. For this month’s Philanthropy on the Fifth we were excited to purchase braille books to be added to the Montana Talking Book Library collection.
September 2016 – Legal Defense Fund Sacred Stone Spirit Camp
We are so proud of the people on the front lines of the protests to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Giving a donation to the legal defense fund of those who have been arrested, or brought up on charges for protecting the right to clean water for all citizens seems like the least that we can do. The Camp of the Sacred Stones and the work that is going on to stop oil pipelines is so inspiring.
August 2016 – BrazilFoundation
With the 2016 Summer Olympics taking place this month in Brazil we wanted to focus on a charity that offset some of the social costs of Rio hosting the Olympic Games. We have read numerous reports regarding the number of people who have been forcibly moved from their homes to make way for stadiums and Olympic infrastructure. The BrazilFoundation works with local leaders, organization and a global network of supporters to promote equality, social justice and economic opportunity for all Brazilians. We like that you can choose to fund specific projects that the BrazilFoundation is currently sponsoring.
July 2016 – The Friendship Center
For this month’s Philanthropy on the Fifth we wanted to focus closer to home. The Friendship Center is the only shelter in the area that provides a safe haven for people that have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking. Not only do they provide safe shelter but they also offer counseling, survivor groups, community education, and advocacy. All of the services that The Friendship Center offers are free and confidential, and the work that they do to help people in the surrounding counties is phenomenal.
June 2016 – E+ Green
When we moved to Helena, Montana and signed up for electricity and heating service through NorthWestern Energy we were very excited to find out that they had a program that allows us to offset our monthly household energy use with renewable wind power. As such this month’s Philanthropy of the Fifth is a bit different in that it will continue on a monthly basis. For an extra $6 a month NorthWestern Energy buys energy from renewable sources to offset the amount of energy that we consume each month. Many energy companies are starting to offer this service around the country and we are really excited to be a part of increasing renewable energy in the United States.
May 2016 – Give Local Helena
As new residents to the city of Helena, Montana we were excited that this year’s Give Local Helena lined up perfectly with our monthly Philanthropy on the Fifth. This great fundraiser allows you to donate to a large list of non-profit organizations and charities operating in Helena. The kids were excited to donate to many of the organizations that they will be taking summer classes through such as the Holter Museum of Art, Exploration Works!, and Grand Street Theater.
April 2016 – Bernie Sanders for President
Bernie Sanders represents so many ideals that our family passionately cares about. His stance on environmental issues resonates very strongly with each member of our family and is why he was our overwhelming choice for this month’s contribution. Senator Sanders acknowledges that climate change is very real and that if elected president he will work swiftly to switch our country to renewable energy sources. His straightforward pledge to put people before polluters is exactly what our family is looking for in a presidential candidate.
March 2016 – Cetus Research & Conservation Society
After spending several months exploring and learning about the ocean environment off of Vancouver Island both Five Spice and Five Ball felt strongly that we should give to an organization that helps protect this wonderful ecosystem. We were particularly interested in supporting an organization that helps remove “ghost nets” or “derelict fishing gear” from the oceans. We were very excited to find Cetus Research & Conservation Society based out of Victoria, BC who work to remove derelict fishing gear from the waters off Southern Vancouver Island.
February 2016 – First Nations Development Institute
In February Five of Hearts introduced the family to the First Nations Development Institute. This Colorado based organization works to support healthy Native communities by improving economic conditions for Native Americans. Five of Hearts particularly liked their “whole approach” to building a healthy community in which they focus on the sustainable, economic, spiritual and cultural well-being of Native communities.
January 2016 – Kiva
Kiva is a wonderful organization that works with microfinance institutions to provide loans to people that don’t have access to “traditional” banking systems. You make a donation for as little as $25 and 100% of that money goes towards funding a loan that is eventually paid back to you. The Kiva web site allows you to decide what projects you want to loan money to. We have actually been giving to KIVA for several years now, but our most recent loan was repaid in January so we decided as a family to loan that money out again. This time to a farmer Farmer in Samoa to help buy taro roots, banana tube (seedlings), and small scale farming equipment.
December 2015 – Project For Awesome
Project for Awesome was started in 2007 by brothers Hank and John Green (of the famed CrashCourse series). During this two day event people post videos to advocate for charities that will help “decrease world suck”. All of the Fives were excited to take part in this year’s Project for Awesome which raised $1,546,384. We truly admire John and Hank Green not only for how much they have taught us, but also for how hard they work to make the world a better place.