Every year, your friendly neighborhood Geek has dropped you some snarky and quirky gift ideas for the Geek in your life. Well, this year is gonna’ be something completely different. Not that you fine readers need reminding, but money is tight for darn near everyone right now. (If not, please to be dropping some cash over here). With that in mind, I am skipping all the fun and geeky gadgets and books that seem to make every pop culture-themed web site this time of year.
Instead, I present to you the Top-5 Geek Charities* that need your help this time of the year…Number 5 – Operation Sequential Art – One of the newest Geek-themed charities to launch. Operation Sequential Art works to get comics, graphic novels, and Sci-Fi book to the men and women in uniform serving overseas. More specifically, to the people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Based on my own personal experiences, members of the military tend to be big comic book fans. Getting to read the adventures of their favorite childhood heroes is tricky in a war zone. Operation Sequential Art hopes to change that. While no Portland comic book shop is a member (it is a very new group), they still list ways you can donate your books directly to a solider or through them. Give those men and women a little taste of home, and what is more American than a good comic book read?
Number 4 – Free Geek – The little non-profit that could. I’ve mentioned Free Geek many a time on this little site. In fact, Geek in the City may never have happened were it not for Free Geek. During the darkest of unemployment days, Free Geek helped me get a computer up and running… For writing and job hunting. You can donate money, computer equipment, and even your time to this fantastic group. Indeed, I recommend you donate a few hours at Free Geek. Not only will you be helping the tech community, but you will walk away with new computer skills, whether you wanted to or not!
Number 3 – The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund – Sadly, censorship is still alive and well in the United States. Hidden under the guise of “protecting the children”, comics have been a target of a moral minority for years. While other forms of media seem free from censorship, comics societal view as a “kiddie medium” have left them open for attack since Seduction of the Innocent first hit the press. With donations still needed for pending (and future) cases, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a worthy charity. In addition to sending funds, you can also purchase special one of a kind art and writing from working professionals. Who watches the watchmen indeed?
Number 2 – Independant Publishing Resource Center – Helping writers and artists get their work out to the public, the IPRC has been a Godsend to many an aspiring creative person. The IPRC conducts workshops on everything from printing your own work, to avoiding legal pitfalls in the already tricky publishing industry. In addition to their fantastic workshops, the IPRC also has mentor programs and access to fantastic tools needed for publishing. If you ever had the dream of producing your own zine, comic, or novel, the IPRC is your one-stop resource in Portland.
Number 1 – The HERO Initiative – Your friendly neighborhood Geek’s personal favorite. The HERO initiative helps comic book professionals from the past, present, and future. Originally started as a non-profit to help long-retired comic book professionals, the HERO Initiative has expanded their services to helping all professionals working in the comic book industry. Most of the people that create and write about our heroes do so, on a freelance basis. Such a life leaves little room for health insurance, and that life gets even harder if they get sick. Can’t write? Can’t draw? Can’t ink? No money for you! The HERO Initiative seeks to end that problem. I’ve heard directly from writers and artists that got to keep their apartment (and even kept them alive) thanks to the donations from the HERO Initiative. As their motto states: “Because everyone deserves a Golden Age”.
Happy Christmas everyone, from Geek in the City to you!
*Not that one of these groups are any more important than the other. We’re just so used to lists that I went with it.