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Thursday, January 3, 2013

It’s Matthew’s End of 2012 Letter


This is the end of year letter that I send to family, friends and others randomly on my email list. As I need to stick it somewhere online and as I still own THCB even if I appear as an author all too rarely now, here it is for the very very end of 2012. Happy New Year everyone.- - Matthew Holt
I’ve been writing these end of year letters about causes and charities for more than a decade now. Looking after a toddler (or at least helping Amanda look after her and trying to stop Coco’s 24/7 torturing of the dog) seems to take all my time so this letter is very short. If you want to see a proper version with all the reasoning–Here’s last years.
Amanda moved to new company Recommind and is working too hard but seems to be enjoying the challenge, With Indu Subaiya and a cast of dozens I’m still running Health 2.0 which had a banner year. Coco is perhaps the world’s most precocious and demanding 18 month old–Somehow when Amanda gets her ready to go to daycare it takes about 30 minutes, but when I do it’s more like 2 hours. More on that topic with photos on my Facebook page
Basically I use this letter to remind myself of who to donate money to at the year end, and I hope that one or two of you will look at the causes & charities I support. If anyone else reads it and maybe takes a look or even donates, that’s a bonus. No grumpy commentary this year! (Plenty of that in years’ past)

Health care stuff (mostly educational): Engage with Grace is a place to start a conversations about what you want at the end of life.  MyDirectives is a very useful site to actually set up all the documentation for those wishes. Foundation for Arts & Healingis helping patients with PTSD including soldiers, kids post Sandy & Newtown. Give here. ISIS uses technology to help educate young people about sex and the safe use of technology. You can donate here or attend the great conference they run now calledYTHLive. 2 kid related issues. Whiteout is designed to prevent infants eating processed white rice cereal and has made big strides in educating pediatricians and parents.TiccTocc is about those vital 90 seconds after birth when the umbilical cord is routinely clamped and cut. Wait! No good reason to do it and lots not to!  And yes all of these are run by people I know and like.

Helping the very poorMercy Corps has multiple projects in the very poorest countries in the world mostly aimed at helping girls and women. Heifer International gives animals directly to the very poor in order to get them out of the cycle of poverty. Saigon Children’s Charity provides rice (and bikes and books and pens) to the families of school children in Southern Vietnam so they stay in school–I actually get school reports from “my” kids. Softpower Health works to prevent malaria and improve maternal and child health in Uganda. (Some big charities, some small, all helping people way less fortunate than anyone reading this)

Tech solutions for the developing worldHealth eVillages is a charity that we’ve helped at Health 2.0–it provides smart phones and medical information in them to clinicians in clinics across the developing world. The solar powered lightbulb from Nokero I bought last year actually worked, even after I left it outside in the rain for a year! !It replaces kerosene lamps which cause huge numbers of fires. Nokero has a list of NGO partners. I picked ChildFund’s Global Light to Learn Challenge. And one we saw a few years back, The sOccket co-founded by my Health 2.0 colleague Hemali Thakkar is a soccer-ball that really acts as a mini generator for lights and is charged as it gets kicked around, and you can buy one for a poor family for $75! Finally We Care Solar makes a suitcase-sized portable solar powered generator and supplies it to health workers in off-grid clinics across the world–give here.

Poverty in the US:  San Francisco Food Bank.Track down your local equivalent by putting your zip code in here. I’ve been supporting Hamilton Family Center, a small shelter offering emergency and transitional care for a while now. Homeless Children’s Network supports care services for homeless kids–not exactly their fault! Delancey Street Foundation, a wonderful rehab facility that runs restaurants, cafe, tree lots at Christmas, a moving company and more, and has its main HQ across the street from us.

Torture and human rights: <Sigh> I support Amnesty International, the UK-based Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, and The American Civil Liberties Union..The environment Sierra Club (respectable) and Greenpeace (more radical), Marine Mammal Center (local to northern California) 
Drug prohibition–A chink in the armor this year. Two US states voted for outright Marijuana legalization and much of Latin America (with Uruguay leading the way) appears to be talking serious legalization too. But there are still terrible stories of people sitting in jail for decades for non-violent crimes in which they were barely involved. I support DRCNet home of the best blog and email newsletter, the Drug War Chronicle. You can subscribe for free as well as support their work. The Marijuana Policy Project supports medical marijuana patients. The Drug Policy Alliance is the big lobbying organization promoting “harm reduction”
That’s it for another year–stay in touch in 2013 and my best for a great year
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