Holiday gift ideas, part one: memberships
(Mostly this is a reprint from last year, but the content is evergreen. Reminders never hurt.)
The holiday season is a good time to join a membership organization promoting sustainable transportation, arts, history, etc. Here are some ideas:
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.
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.
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. 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.
6. Membership in local arts museums. They get a lot of members already, but still.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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...
10. 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.