Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Holiday gift ideas: part one, memberships and donations

Out of the string of "Black Friday," "Small Business Saturday," and "Cyber Monday," holiday shopping promotions. there is also an effort to develop "Giving Tuesday," as a national day of giving as a focused element of the holiday shopping and giving season--many nonprofits ask donors to give before the end of the year, in part to be able to take advantage of possible tax deductions.

Many people plan to give such gifts anyway, but Giving Tuesday puts a focus on it and aims to get more people thinking about it and donating.

So this is a good time to start thinking about joining groups and giving donations as part of your holiday shopping.

Here are some ideas, but there are other idea sources as well, such as last week's City Paper's Annual Guide to Holiday Do-Goodery.

1.  Membership to a national (advocacy type) organization such as Rails to Trails Conservancy, League of American Bicyclists, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, GreenAmerica, or the National Gardening Association.

2.  Membership to a state advocacy organization such as Preservation Maryland or Futurewise, the state smart growth advocacy group in Washington, the Virginia Bicycling Federation or BikeMaryland.

Or a multi-state/regional group like the Sightline Institute or Ecotrust, both based in the Pacific Northwest, or the Civil War Trust.

3.  Membership to a regional, county, or city preservation, mobility, or land use advocacy organization such as DC Preservation League, the Landmark Society of Western New York, Cleveland Restoration Society, Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, Transportation Alternatives of New York City, SPUR--San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, Gotham Gazette, Chicago Reporter, Municipal Arts Society of New York, Regional Plan Association (New York), WalkBoston, Washington Area Bicyclists Association, etc.

In the DC area we have the Coalition for Smarter Growth.  In Richmond, there is the Partnership for Smarter Growth.

4. Membership in a local history museum, including  state railroad museums and house museums, such as the Detroit Historical Society, Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, the New-York Historical Society or the Museum of the City of New York, the Valentine History Center in Richmond or a regional trolley or transit museum like the NYC Transit Museum, the Baltimore Trolley Museum, or the National Capital Trolley Museum or a local nonprofit cinema such as the Byrd Theatre in Richmond, the Tampa Theatre, or the Avalon Theater in DC, etc.

The Market Street Railway organization in San Francisco publishes an awesome newsletter for members...

And it turns out there is a great friends organization associated with the Gettysburg National Battlefield Park, Friends of the Gettysburg/Gettysburg Foundation.

5.  Membership in local arts museums.  They get a lot of members already, but still.

6.  Membership to a neighborhood organization such as a friends group for a local library or park, a neighborhood preservation group such as the Capitol Hill Restoration Society or Historic Takoma, a friends group for your community library, etc.

7.  Membership in a citywide friends group for parks or libraries.  I am truly jealous of Atlanta's Park Pride park support organization.  Of course, there are local groups too.  Related parks groups in our area include the Anacostia Watershed Society and Potomac Riverkeeper or trails organizations like Catonsville Rails to Trails outside of Baltimore.

8. Membership in other types of local groups doing good things, such as a building materials resale organization like Community Forklift in Prince George's County Maryland or Loading Dock in Baltimore, your local Habitat for Humanity or Rebuilding Together housing development and repair organization, etc. The BRIC arts and media group in Brooklyn is awesome...

9.  Membership in your local public television station, public radio station, or community media outlet.  Despite all their on-air fundraising campaigns which can be bothersome, they do need money, and it's total b.s. that "the Internet" and "cable and satellite television" substitute for these kinds of media resources.  Hell, most of the shows on "History Channel" and "Arts & Entertainment Channel" are reality shows that don't have much history.  We need PBS and local affiliates, public radio, including low power community media, like Radio CPR in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of DC.

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