I could never be rich because I'd end up living frugally and giving all my money away! I finished "Half the Sky" and it's had a profound impact on my way of thinking. There isn't a day that it doesn't cross my mind about how my life is a treasure box and I need to use my time, effort, brains, and the little money I do have to help others.
The book does an excellent job of summarizing some simple ways to help and this is where I'm starting to figure out my next project(s). Here are some quick basic ideas - if you ever get a chance to get your hands on the book the information is in the back, by the appendix (my book is p.252).
These are some organizations that directly link you to the people who need the money. I've already discussed Givology and I'm still considering that option. However, there's also www.globalgiving.org and www.kiva.org.
"Global Giving lets you choose a grassroots project to which to give money in education, health, disaster relief, or more than a donzen other areas around the developing world."
"Kiva lets you do the same for microlending to entrepreneurs."
An entire section of the book was dedicated to microlending - being the financier of small loans (as little as $25) to help individuals expand their trade or business to become independent. This has proven very helpful to empower women in gaining their independence from abusive husbands, keeping them from prostitution, feeding their families, and providing income for their education and the education of their children. Not that these sites are solely dedicated to women, but you can search through the individuals and their business propositions to pick and choose who you want to support.
Another way to help is (a personal fave that I'm really thinking of going with now) Heifer International. I know some of you have gotten that catalog around Thanksgiving/Christmas time about donating money or a "gift" of an animal to a family in need. www.heifer.org I really believe this sort of hands on approach to help is beneficial. I've heard stories from those who have given and seen the benefits from this organization. Also, just the concept has proven true (even if not applied through this affiliation). Just yesterday my best friend (she's always in some way related to my better ideas) was telling me how she'll be incubating some chicken eggs and hatching baby chicks. And when those are done she'll receive some chickens that'll lay eggs - which she'll be able to use for food or extra income. Granted, she's doing all this through family and not an organization and it's just a small project she's chosen to do for herself, but imagine the possibilities for families who have nothing and NEED this type of help. Providing $10 could mean the share of a large animal....get 10 people together and you've got $100 for the whole animal. Or just $20 from one person is a flock of chicks (that's just $2/person is you've got 10 people to help out!). I'll put aside my Dunkin Donuts coffee for a day if 10 other people can do it and together we just donated baby chicks. Cheap, awesome, rewarding. Oh yea!