Pagan Charities


While doing Google research to generate my list of charities, I saw a lot of discussions leaning one way or the other on the subject of pagan charities.  Either we don’t need specifically pagan-run charities, or we do.  There didn’t seem to be much in the way of middle-ground discussion.

On the one hand, who but pagans and pagan-friendly people would donate to an obviously pagan charity?  Unfortunately, there are too few friendly non-pagans in this world, probably fewer than we like to think.  Could an openly pagan-run charity even be able to thrive?  One or two charities that I found (see the links below) have been around for more than a decade, which is a good indication that there is the possibility of success.  But with so few charities to begin with, it’s difficult to tell.

On the other hand, a pagan charity would promote an image at odds with the image many people seem to have of pagans–that of the evil devil worshipers.  But then we get into issues of proselytizing.  Many religious charities do appear to proselytize and promote their religion or their version of their religion.  Since [the majority of] pagans don’t proselytize, it opens the question of whether an openly pagan charity would be proselytizing or not.

Circle Sanctuary has a list of pagan charities and groups that hold charitable events on their website.  I checked to make sure all the links are still good.  The links for Lovecry and Correllian are bad, however, but they might be able to be found elsewhere.  There are a number of charities that are interesting and a number that have the word “pagan” in their names.

Theologies of Immanence have a list of pagan-friendly charities on their website that are friendly to pagans (duh) but which aren’t strictly pagan or necessarily operating from general pagan religious views.

Now for my schtick about giving: although the holidays are over for now, please don’t forget that there are people out there who are in need at all times of the year.  Believe me, I know full well that the times are hard right now for many people.  But giving to others, even just a few dollars, can help to make a difference.  A few dollars can buy a bit of food for a hungry person.  You don’t have to give a lot to help someone; just give what you can, when you can, and that will always be enough.

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5 responses to “Pagan Charities

  1. I don’t understand why we shouldn’t have openly pagan charities. I think that all the concerns that people have regarding the concept can be handled with the right type of branding and a savvy president or public persona. First, just because the charity is openly pagan, that doesn’t mean that it has to proselytize. It could be part of the mission statement and exist in the background, helping the board and the other employees understand where the money needs to go, what decisions need to be made, and where to take the future of the organization. Second, I believe that positioning the charity correctly would bring a lot of non-pagan supporters. An example of correct positioning might be funding earth science students who are looking into environmental issues. Maybe the would write an essay about why their particular project is important to the future of the environment and why that project goes much deeper than the science they are anticipating studying. If the charity gave out money to people who were operating on pagan principles whether the people were actually pagan or not, a lot of people would buy in. Who but pagans and pagan-friendly people would donate to this type of charity? Well, I can think that an earth scientist, a science professor who thought the charity did a lot of good during their tenure might leave their estate to the charity in his or her death. The government looking for green resources might consider giving some money if the charity didn’t make its decisions on religious grounds. (There is a difference between being motivated by religious ideology and using that motivation secularly and actually using the religious ideology as the corner stone of what you are doing.) Average (non-religious) people who want to do good and are not devout rightwing Christians would donate. I know plenty of Christians who are very liberal and they don’t buy in hook, line, and sinker into what the Christian Right or the Catholic Church declares as right or whatever. They would be more interested in the goodness of the cause than in the religious affiliation of the people administering the good cause. Finally, I think you’re right that something like a charity would go a long way to improving the public image of what a Pagan is.

  2. Hi, I was doing a similar search myself (that’s how I found your site). Someone on a forum of a site called Magicka School mentioned Kiva – a charitable site where you can affiliate yourself with a particular religion or group if you wish to. Have a look at http://www.kiva.org/team/wiccan_neopagans_witches if you’re interested…

  3. I’m curious what a lot of these donations go to. I would imagine pagan events and all, but I suppose it could go to proselytizing. I guess my feelings on pagan charities depends on where the money is going ultimately (which is my standard for all charities). Any insights?

    • If the website of the group/charity doesn’t say explicitly what they do with the money, you can try contacting them through their preferred contacts. Or just not donate to them. A good website to use for just this sort of checking-out is http://www.charitynavigator.org. However, even if a charity isn’t listed with them, that doesn’t necessarily mean the charity isn’t legit. Charity navigator admits that they haven’t listed all the registered charities yet. Just use some common sense–if the usage of donations isn’t disclosed and you can’t contact the group to find more information, probably you should choose a different group.

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