In this season of giving, many Americans are generous to worthy organizations, as well as their loved ones. These are a few of my favorite charities. I am involved directly with some of these and admire others from a distance.
• The Atlas Network (AtlasNetwork.org), also known as the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, collaborates with some 470 free-market think tanks in the U.S. and 90 countries abroad. As an Atlas senior fellow, I am honored to assist Atlas' efforts to offer financial, technical and moral support to such groups as New Delhi's Centre for Civil Society (ccs.in) It promotes school choice for India's children. "Fund students, not schools" CCS argues.
Great Britain's TaxPayers' Alliance won last year's Think Tank Shark Tank contest, one of Atlas' many competitions. TPA used its prize money to design and deploy cardboard beer coasters in pubs around the U.K. These conversation starters informed British beer drinkers that "your pint is 1/3 tax." Ensuing pressure from beer lovers encouraged the British government to cancel a proposed 3-cent per-pint tax hike and, instead, cut it by a penny.
Among many other initiatives, Atlas translates books about individual liberty, limited government, and free enterprise into such languages as Arabic, Malay, Persian, Russian and Vietnamese.
On principle, Atlas refuses government money. Supporting Atlas with private funds will fight creeping socialism with creeping individualism.
• The Harlem Educational Activities Fund (heaf.org) also relies on private capital. HEAF provides mentoring, college-preparation, and broader horizons to low-income secondary-school students, nearly always at government schools in New York City. While many receive public assistance, HEAF's students excel in almost other-worldly ways. Though only 72 percent of U.S. high school seniors graduate, 100 percent of HEAF's seniors did so last June. Of these, 100 percent started college this fall (versus 38 percent in the U.S.). Thirty-five percent of HEAF's scholars earn graduate degrees, versus just 9 percent across America.
HEAF exposes these 69 percent black and 27 percent Hispanic junior and senior high students to everything from writing business plans to visiting Northern Ireland to study its peace process as a model for tranquil conflict resolution in their own Gotham neighborhoods.
"No excuses," says HEAF founder Dan Rose. "Every child can learn." As HEAF expands into Brooklyn, it confirms what private resources, high standards, and great expectations can deliver after hours — even as union-controlled classrooms too often fail their students between the opening and closing bells.
• The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (www.searchdogfoundation.org) rescues puppies and people. NDSDF identifies clever canines in shelters and grooms them to become the valiant and tireless dogs that race through the rubble looking for survivors of tremors, tornadoes and other tragedies. Dogs that wash out get placed in loving homes. Incredible: These valiant animals save humans in exchange for biscuits and belly rubs. Good dogs!
• Led by journalist James O'Keefe, author of the eye-opening book "Breakthrough," Project Veritas (www.projectveritas.com) unmasks corruption. Its undercover cameras recently caught Obamacare navigators urging applicants to lie about their health and incomes to secure lower premiums and higher subsidies. At least four of these navigators have been sacked. PV's findings led Congress to defund ACORN. Among other states, New Hampshire required voter IDs after PV proved how easily fraudsters can attain other people's ballots when photo IDs are not in the picture. Project Veritas generates enormous results from limited resources. Seldom have so few done so much with so little.
• WBGO-FM brings jazz, Latin jazz, and the blues to New Yorkers and listeners worldwide via wbgo.org. Unlike other National Public Radio stations, Newark, New Jersey-based WBGO eschews Leftist diatribes. Instead, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Arturo Sandoval, and Lonnie Brooks effervesce from its transmitter — all without commercials. While it receives government grants, 80 percent of its budget flows voluntarily from contributors who know good music when they hear it. What better Christmas present than to displace its government subsidies with 100 percent private cash?
Deroy Murdock is a Fox News contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.