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They Made It Easy for Us to Do Good Things

In the news business (*puffs cigar, leans back in chair, puts feet on desk), I often find myself saying things like, "Seems like there should be some kind of group that could ... ". Then, months later, I'll find out there's a nonprofit in the state that fills exactly that need.

Well, the Center for Nonprofit Excellence in New Mexico has gone a step further. It's compiled a comprehensive online list of New Mexican nonprofits.

The directory delivers contact information, website links, region and areas served, budget, staff size, etc.

"An estimated 6,000 nonprofits in New Mexico are conducting essential work," writes the center in a news release. These groups build "health care clinics, food banks, domestic violence shelters, job skill training programs, affordable housing, childcare, youth mentoring programs, after-school programs, arts and cultural centers, community gardens, and animal rescue and adoption sites."

The online list should make it easier for people to volunteer or make donations. You can use the search tool to find nonprofits that work in your corner of the state or on issues you care about. Plus, the center says, the nonprofits can find each other and collaborate.

Fantastic.

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Roadrunner Food Bank’s Souper Bowl

Buy a ticket, file into Roadrunner Food Bank's ginormous warehouse and knock back as many ramekins of hot, liquid loveliness from more than 40 chefs and restaurants as you can. The Souper Bowl is the most deliciously charitable way to help feed your fellow New Mexicans, ranked the hungriest citizens in the nation. Each $40 adult ticket ($10 kids 12-and-younger) goes right into the pocket of Roadrunner, which has distributed more than 170 million pounds of food since it started 30 years ago. There should still be some tickets at the door, but call the food bank at 349-8921 just to make sure.

Roadrunner Food Bank (5840 Office Boulevard NE) · 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

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MLK Day: Any Charitable Action in Albuquerque?

According to this article, Washingtonand the entire nationis using today to take action. U.S. citizens are impoverished, Haiti is destroyed, and so the day of remembrance has become a day of charitable work.

Is anything happening in Albuquerque? I looked around. There was the annual parade yesterday. Maybe there are some awesome charitable events coming up that I haven’t heard about. If there are, post info about them as comments here. We’d love to know.

In the meantime, text text “Yele” to 501501 to contribute $5 to the relief effort. (Yele is Haitian-born hip-hop star Wyclef Jean’s charity.) Or text "Haiti" to 90999 to kick $10 to the Red Cross. Donations are added to your cell phone bill.

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Don’t Get Scammed Donating to Haiti

(Do Send Contributions Through Reputable Charities)

Attorney General Gary King sent out a news release today warning against “groups and individuals who may try to take advantage of the situation to profit through fraudulent fundraising schemes.”

To make sure your money’s going where it should, check with the AG online or go to charitynavigator.org, charityguide.org, bbb.org/charity.

Or, if you prefer, you can call the attorney general at 1-800-678-1508 and ask for the Charities Unit.

Further cautions from King:

Be wary of appeals that are long on emotion. The hard luck tale is a favorite ploy of a phony operator. A legitimate charity will be specific about how it is using your money to address this disaster.

Ask lots of questions. How much of the money goes to the charity and how much to a professional fundraiser? Ask who employs the telephone solicitor, if your contribution is tax deductible and what the charity intends to do with any excess contributions that might remain after the victims' needs are addressed.

Beware of professional fundraisers who try to make their solicitations sound like they are coming directly from the charity itself or volunteers.

Do not pay by cash. Pay by check, and make it out to the charity (use its full name; don't use initials), not the fundraiser. Never give your credit card number to a fundraiser over the telephone. If the fundraiser directly approaches you, ask to see identification. It is best to mail your check directly to the charity.

If you are contributing over the Internet, make sure that the website you are visiting belongs to a legitimate, established, and registered charity. See if other legitimate Web sites provide links to that Web site. Also, make sure the site is secure and will offer protection for your credit card number.

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