7 Wonderfully Wacky CharitiesPoet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “The life of a man consists not in seeing visions and in dreaming dreams, but in active charity and in willing service.” Here at MainStreet, we’re inclined to agree with him. Of course, people choose to donate their time and money to a variety of different organizations, depending on personal belief or preferences.
Whether it is their cause or their execution that is unique, MainStreet applauds these charities for taking honorable intentions off the beaten path.
Photo Credit: Annie Mole
The Critter Connection
You can save the whales, dolphins, giraffes and polar bears, but why do big creatures have to get all of the attention? Operating under the banner “great loves comes in small packages,” the Critter Connection rescues and rehabilitates abandoned or neglected guinea pigs. According to its website, the Connecticut-based charity, started in 2004, has sheltered more than 700 guinea pigs abandoned due to owner surrender, unexpected pregnancy or government-sanctioned seizure.
Charitable donations are used to provide bedding, food and other supplies to the homeless creatures. Animal lovers can adopt or foster an abandoned guinea pig through the organization’s website. Guinea pigs typically live between four to eight years.
Photo Credit: 00dann
The Naked Clowns
This nonprofit organization was started by members of a clown conservatory after their teacher, world renowned juggler Judy Finelli, became wheelchair-bound by her multiple sclerosis. Originally intended to raise money for her medical expenses, the clowns started holding benefits where they performed au natural, though no actual nudity was depicted in the performances.
These performances ultimately gave way to the organization’s current fundraising initiative: a yearly “Naked Clown” calendar that depicts the performers in various portraits and situations. Each clown uses props, equipment and positioning to strategically "dress" themselves while giving the overall impression of nudity. Proceeds benefit the Judy Finelli Fund, which finances multiple sclerosis research.
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Tall Clubs International FoundationRemember that weird college scholarship we told you about, which awards men and women of tall stature $1,000 in financial aid? Well, it’s furnished by Tall Clubs International (TCI) Foundation, a nonprofit organization “created to benefit the interest of tall people.”
According to its website, the foundation’s primary purpose is to fund scholarships given to Tall Clubs International members under 21, who meet the minimum height requirements of 5'10” for women and 6'2” for men.
TCI has 50 clubs and 2,000 members throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Photo Credit: Doug Letterman
The Institute of Noetic Sciences
Noetic theory, according to Google, is a branch of metaphysical philosophy concerned with the study of mind and intuition, and its relationship with the divine intellect. Since we’re not really sure what that means, we’re also confused about what The Institute of Noetic Sciences, a nonprofit organization founded in 1973 by Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, does.
According to its website, the California-based organization is dedicated to “advancing the science of consciousness and human experience to serve individual and collective transformation.” Apparently, this includes holding educational retreats on metaphysics, awarding bi-annual grants for “creative altruism” and teaching yoga. They also host wine tastings. Sounds (sort of) fun.
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American National CattleWomen Foundation
The American National CattleWomen Foundation offers leadership development, education, volunteer opportunities and national programs for women who share a passion for the U.S. beef industry. The nonprofit’s six special programs aim to “spotlight the positive impact the cattle industry has on the economy and families.”
The ANCW also offers a yearly $3,750 college scholarship to students who promote and support the beef industry. You can check out its website for more “beef-related” resources.
Photo Credit: cliff1066
LongHopes Donkey Shelter
Those looking to adopt a donkey can do so at the Colorado-based LongHopes Donkey Shelter, which gives homes to unwanted donkeys, preventing the animals from being slaughtered at local sales barns.
You can adopt a donkey through this charity for any price between $150 and $350, depending on the animal’s age, health and training. All applicants are screened to make sure that the animals will go to proper homes. According to the website, the shelter has rescued almost 460 donkeys and found homes for more than 400 since its launch in 2000.
Photo Credit: pmarkham
The Order of the Azure RoseThis Colorado-based nonprofit organization is attempting to bring chivalry back by holding Renaissance fairs that double as etiquette lessons. The group, founded in 2009, provides demonstrations and educational materials for a schools, youth groups, community recreation activities and Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. These historical recreations, according to the group’s Facebook page, promote “the values of Chivalry and Courtesy for 21st century audiences.
All donations and monies received are tax-deductible and used solely for the nonprofit’s educational purposes and operational expenses. Proceeds from some of the events also benefit other public charities.
Photo Credit: imataman
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