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Charitable donations wrap up great gifts for the holidays

by Colleen M. Padia
Nov 25, 2008


CHARITY1

 CharityBlast.com

Web sites such as CharityBlast.com allow users to donate to charities while shopping at popular retailers online. A portiion of the purchase price of any item goes to a chairty of your choice.

It’s the perfect fit for the spirit of the season. Charities in the Chicago area make shopping easy with gift donations made in the names of family and friends. Don’t forget to check with your company to see if they offer a matching present for charitable donations, too. 

• You can purchase traditional gifts and donate to charities at the same time by shopping via CharityBlast.com. The Web site allows you to shop major retailers online such as GAP, Macy’s, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Target and a portion of what you spend goes to a specific charity. Using the site is free for the shopper and the charity, and CharityBlast.com also posts specials and coupon codes daily. “It allows shoppers to support charities while doing shopping they’d do anyway,” said Steve Tetrault, co-founder of the site.

• One local organization on CharityBlast.com is A Silver Lining Foundation, which provides low- or no-cost mammograms to underinsured or uninsured women in Chicago. A direct donation of $150 made through ASilverLiningFoundation.org can provide one woman with a mammogram but any amount is welcome. You can also buy holiday cards at CardsForCauses.com and donate a portion of your purchase to A Silver Lining Foundation.

• The AIDS Foundation of Chicago will send a holiday-themed card to someone for whom you make a gift donation. If you’ve got a big list, a donation of $500 over a calendar year will gain you membership into the group’s Red Ribbon Society, which includes invitations to special events and access to foundation updates throughout the year. “Donating to us means that you’re helping over 130 AIDS service organizations in the Chicago area to carry out their missions,” said foundation spokesperson Maude Carroll. Donations can be made online at www.aidschicago.org.

• You have two ways to give holiday gifts with donations to the American Diabetes Association. You can make a straightforward donation at www.diabetes.org, which will be acknowledged with a card to the honorary donor. You also can shop on the site for items such as candles, cards and Christmas tree ornaments from the association's Gift of Hope catalog. “Every penny of the sales goes to diabetes research,” said Chicago chapter spokesperson Kenya Harris.

• If your family or someone you know has been touched by cancer, a contribution to the American Cancer Society will support cancer research, advocacy, education and patient service programs. The society will send a personalized tribute card to the recipient for gifts made in honor or memory of someone. “It’s a great gift for the holidays, and Cancer.org is an easy way to make the gift,” said Chicago spokesperson Jennifer Lefkowitz.

• The American Heart Association also sends a card with a customizable message in recognition of gifts or memorial donations. You can make the donation and compose the message online at donate.americanheart.org, and you can send your own Heart-to-Heart holiday e-card through the site.

• The American Lung Association is currently accepting donations through its Christmas Seals holiday campaign, and will send a card of acknowledgement when you make a donation in someone else’s name at www.lungusa.org. It also has a special incentive to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the lung association. If you donate $100, you receive a copy of a coffee table book of cartoons from The New Yorker specially prepared for the association's centennial.