Temecula, Calif. — ’Tis the season to be jolly . . . and to write generous checks to worthy causes. The following organizations do excellent work and merit your consideration as you make year-end charitable contributions.
• The Washington, D.C.–based Atlas Network (AtlasNetwork.org) supports and cooperates with 471 free-market think tanks in America and 93 nations overseas. Atlas identifies intellectual entrepreneurs who embrace the core principles of individual liberty, personal responsibility, limited government, free enterprise, and the rule of law. As a senior fellow with Atlas, I, along with my colleagues, help these leaders develop best practices and make friends within Atlas’s universe. These new skills and contacts help think-tank personnel advocate more effectively for public policies that foster freedom and prosperity.
• Elon University soon will stop calling its new students "freshmen." Its co-eds apparently are too fragile to withstand that word’s rampantly sexist second syllable. But that is hardly the zaniest news from U.S. campuses. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (TheFire.org) fights politically correct speech codes and other assaults on academic freedom. FIRE, for instance, offered legal aid to Robert Van Tuinen when Modesto Junior College stopped him from distributing copies of the U.S. Constitution — on Constitution Day. Thanks to FIRE, MJC backed down, paid Van Tuinen $50,000, and let him freely distribute America’s founding blueprint.
FIRE also backed Chris Lee when Washington State University trained and subsidized students to disrupt his satire, Passion of the Musical. Evidently, some found it offensive. FIRE publicized and embarrassed WSU, which backed off and agreed to respect Lee’s artistic freedom.
Philadelphia-based FIRE has won more than 200 cases and boasts a speech-code-litigation success rate of 100 percent.
• The Goldwater Institute (GoldwaterInstitute.org) reaches far beyond its Phoenix headquarters. Atop promoting school choice and battling eminent-domain abuse, Goldwater recently pioneered the Right to Try. This humane reform lets terminally ill patients use promising drugs, even if they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA’s frequent retort — "No. It might kill you" — is cruel and absurd to people on their death beds. Thanks to Goldwater’s efforts, Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, and Missouri are now Right to Try states.
• The Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF.org) disproves the lie that poverty and "centuries of racism" — in New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s words — are impermeable barriers to minority success. HEAF provides tutors, mentors, college-preparation courses, and other after-school enrichment programs to government-school kids in New York City. These children are 69 percent black, 27 percent Hispanic, and 4 percent of Asian background. Nearly all are low-income. Many are subsidized-lunch eligible. HEAF accepts no excuses. In 2014, 100 percent of its students graduated high school, and 100 percent advanced to colleges, including Howard University, Mount Holyoke College, and Pennsylvania State University. HEAF’s alumni include physicians, professors, and entrepreneurs.
• The Underground Railroad is alive and well, and it runs through Pyongyang. Liberty in North Korea has rescued 300 people from the tyranny of the brutal Kim Jong Un dictatorship, which the FBI blames for this month’s hack attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. LiNK has resettled these liberated individuals in South Korea and America. It also provides translation services, scholarships, and other educational opportunities to help these men, women, and children thrive outside of their former Stalinist homeland.
• The National Review Institute occupies a Manhattan office with National Review and NRO. Not surprisingly, NRI also shares the conservative philosophy of those institutions founded by the late, great William F. Buckley Jr. NRI advances Buckley’s eternal ideas through educational seminars for motivated citizens outside of journalism and politics. These gatherings focus on the American Founding, the essentials of conservatism, and the contributions of its major intellectual pioneers.
Along with like-minded think tanks around the country, NRI co-sponsors appearances by NR(O)’s writers and editors. On January 15, in fact, NRI and the Beacon Center of Tennessee will present an evening in Chattanooga with NR senior editor Jonah Goldberg.
NRI also recruits and trains the William F. Buckley Fellows in Political Journalism. Under the guidance of Kevin Williamson, young writers such as Patrick Brennan, Ryan Lovelace, and Ian Tuttle have distinguished themselves and contributed to the national conversation on current affairs. Some, such as Robert V. Costa, have landed in such unlikely places as the Washington Post.
"While it is inevitably true that the number of those who knew WFB personally will dwindle," says NRI president Lindsay Young Craig. "It is my honor to expand the circle of those who are touched by his spirit and influenced by the principles he championed."
• "Helping Dogs. Helping Heroes" is the motto of Paws and Stripes (PawsAndStripes.org). This New Mexico organization rescues and trains shelter dogs to work with and assist military veterans who endure post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
"Duke helps me so much more than I ever thought was possible," a veteran named John says of his service dog. "He’s not just my buddy. He is my life-saver."
• The rallying cry of Open the Books (OpenTheBooks.com) is "Every dime. Online." It aspires to place every government-spending document on the Internet. Its recent deep dive into the Small Business Administration, for instance, discovered SBA loans and guarantees reaching Rolex shops, Lamborghini dealerships, Napa Valley wineries, numerous country clubs, and several Fortune 100 companies.
— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.