Every year, my friends ask me what to get me for Christmas - obviously I don't need more games, right? And my house has a limited amount of space. Much as I'd love to, I can't just buy every game that comes out.
Because of this, every year, I request that my friends give money to a charity of their choice. There are dozens of worthy charities out there, and all of them deserve more attention than they get.
This year, I'm going to suggest to my friends (and to you) the following:
1) The Jack Vasel Memorial Fund. This is a charity by gamers and is dedicated to helping gamers in need. That makes this - in my opinion - the ideal charity for gamers to support. They have an annual donation auction on BGG that recently wrapped up - and it raised a fair amount of money for them. But more money will never hurt. http://www.jackvasel.org/
2) Doctors Without Borders. These days, I like these guys more than the Red Cross. Not because the Red Cross is somehow corrupt or undeserving of attention and money, mind you. So far as I know, they're not. But DWB focuses strongly on getting medical aid there - the Red Cross has a much broader focus. And, in general, I much prefer to fund narrow-focus charities (it's a personal preference, not some sort of broad manifesto or anything like that). http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org
3) Anything on this list. No. Really. I grew up loving books, and - in large part - my love of books was what drove me into gaming. I think that an active reader will have an active imagination. So any charity which promotes literacy is a good one in my book. If you need me to narrow it down to just one, I suggest Reading Is Fundamental (http://www.rif.org).
4) Many of the charities which the Bundle of Holding has supported have also been excellent choices - and you get stuff, too! Stephanie and I have backed a ton of these - and not just because we want the stuff in the bundle. It's always interesting to see which charities various industry personalities choose to back. http://www.bundleofholding.com
5) Amazon recently set up Amazon Smile. By going to smile.amazon.com instead of www.amazon.com, Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase to a charity of your choice. AND it's compatible with affiliate links and Amazon Prime and any other special deals you may have access to. I currently have the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund set up as my charity of choice. http://smile.amazon.com