I’m careful with my charitable donations, since I want them actually to help people, which means to help them to become independent when possible, and to do so efficiently. Two that I support are the Fistula Foundation, which funds ahospital in Addis Ababa that rescues young women from the horrors of being damaged during labor and then thrown out to be eaten by hyenas. A relatively small donation can save the life of a woman. The other is Mercy Corps, which has an admirable record of providing the kind of help that poor and oppressed people actually find useful. They are very active in Darfur, Sudan and remain active in Iraq. (You can specify which program you wish your donations to support.) And, of course, I also support groups that help to educate people about liberty, such as the Foundation for Economic Education, the Institute for Humane Studies, the Institute for Economic Studies – Europe, the Council on Public Policy, and others. (I think that the latter provide excellent value for money in educating Europeans about the values of freedom, entrepreneurship, and the free market.)
And, naturally, I encourage people to become involved with the Cato Institute as Sponsors. Cato has a good 15,000 financial Sponsors, who provide about three quarters of Cato’s funding. Having such a broad base of individual sponsorship helps to keep me and my colleagues on our toes; I meet lots of Cato Sponsors when I travel and that makes me aware that when I make a decision at Cato that involves spending any money, it’s their money that I’m spending. Our Sponsors have entrusted me and my colleagues to spend their money — for which they worked — wisely. It does tend to focus the attention and make one more careful.