Charities For Nerds

During tough times, the holidays are when we all throw our budgets out the window in order to show our friends and family a little appreciation. It's also the time of year when those in need are most deserving of that something extra. It's easy to forget that despite the stress from my current job and the lack of funds I face from time to time, I still have a job, something 1 in 10 adults in this country don't have. Many of those people don't have the luxery of cutting back on purchases in order to pay for Christmas presents because there is no budget to cut.

Fans of comic books are no strangers to charity. Many of our most beloved characters give of themselves selflessly year round, serving as role models for us all to aspire. We may not be able to save lives in the heroic manners that Supes and Spidey do, but the faceless charity donor makes a difference in lives, too. Since this is a blog in appreciation of all things nerdy here is a list of some of the best charities for comic book fans:

The Hero Initiative
"The Hero Initiative creates a financial safety net for comic creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. Since inception, the Hero Initiative has been fortunate enough to benefit over 40 creators and their families with over $400,000 worth of much-needed aid, fueled by your contributions! It's a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment." 

Straight from their website, the Hero Initiative helps creators in an industry that doesn't provide health or retirement benefits for the hardworking individuals behind the scenes. I have previously written about this organization's charity auctions at conventions, which often benefit specific creators. My purchase of a life-size Batman cardboard cut-out helped a creator in need. You can help in many ways, whether it is donating directly via pay-pal, signing up to be a volunteer at one of the convention booths, or if you are a creator that would like to donate artwork for auctions they will gladly accept that too! This is a perfect opportunity to give back to the creators that have given us all so much to love.

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

"Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers. The CBLDF provides legal referrals, representation, advice, assistance, and education in furtherance of these goals."
You know that jar of change sitting next to the register at your local comic book store? The one you see every week but don't always bother to drop change into? That jar is what helps protect the First Amendment rights of the creators that made the comics you just purchased! It's worth donating for that reason alone, but they do more than fight outdated censorship laws. Comic book creators up against Goliath-like corporations who don't know the difference between copyright infringement and parody, store owners facing criminal charges for selling adult content to other adults, even individuals facing the entire US government for owning manga; all of these individuals have received help from the CBLDF in what would otherwise be hopelessly daunting cases. Your donations keep the scales of justice balanced and fair in a country that has a looong way to go in appreciating the art form of comic books.

Can't Stop The Serenty / Equality Now
"We are here to support equality. We hold true to the the ideas that people should “aim to misbehave” if it means doing the right thing, that a government shouldn't destroy the rights of its citizens, and that anyone can make a difference even if they don't believe it. We support our causes and do what we do because we live in countries that give us the freedom to do so. But there are other people out there who can't do what we do. So, once a year, we hold Can't Stop the Serenity: a charity screening to raise money for Equality Now."
Fans of Joss Whedon's Firefly may already be familiar with this annual event that combines love for the short lived television series with charity. Proceeds from screenings of Serenity which happen all over the world, go toward Equality Now, a foundation that raises awareness for women's rights. Joss Whedon knows a thing or two about strong women, and his fans are more than happy to help make our world a little more Whedonesque. You don't have to wait for the next year's screenings to help out; donate today!

These are only a few of the charities one can choose to contribute to this year. Whomever you decide to give your time and money, be sure that that they are legitimate representatives of a charitable organization; comic books aren't the only place you'll find diabolical individuals looking to take advantage of the giving!