You guys, I am amazed and, frankly, a little misty.  Over 115 comments for College Summit!  That means that, with the matching, you all will have helped get them more than $168 in donations in less than 24 hours.  Awesome.  Thank you thank you thank you!

Now, as I explained on Monday, it’s time for our Friday vote feature.  All week, people have been suggesting their favorite charities and causes for feature in today’s post.  I have selected five finalists from the awesome list of choices.  I selected based on a highly scientific system including factors such as “I hadn’t heard of them before and they rock,” “I had heard of them before and they rock and they were nominated by multiple people,” “they operate using a cool or innovative model that I want to support,” “they address an issue that is important to me,” and “tugs at my heartstrings.”  (I told you- highly scientific.)

In no paricular order, our five finalists organizations are:

  • 1. A Women’s Fund (nominated by rayne of terror): A Women’s Fund is an organization in Urbana, IL that provides assistance and support to women who are victims of domestic violence.

From their website:

It takes courage to survive domestic violence or to begin healing from sexual assault. The role of our two programs – A Woman’s Place and Rape Crisis Services – is to help survivors recognize that courage within themselves.

If you or someone you care about has been sexually assaulted or abused in a relationship, A Woman’s Fund can help. Our services are free of charge, and help is available 24 hours a day just by calling one of our crisis lines. We’re here to support victims to make their own decisions – whatever you decide, we’re on your side.  We depend on community support to provide these services free of charge.

  • 2. Young at Heart Pet Rescue (nominated by Samantha and Kristin):  Young at Heart is an organization dedicated to the rescuing and rehoming of dogs and cats three years old or older.

From their website:

Imagine a senior pet, once dumped by their family with no hope of ever making it out of a pound alive, living out their golden years in a place full of love and laughter, with room to roam and stretch, where ear scratches and belly rubs know no bounds.

  • 3. WATCH (nominated by NGS):  WATCH is a local organization in Minnesota that trains court monitors to ensure that the justice system functions in ways that increase safety for women and children.

From their website:

WATCH trains volunteer court monitors to observe hearings. In a typical year, close to 100 volunteers monitor more than 5,000 hearings. Based on what we see in court, WATCH makes recommendations for changing the justice system to increase safety for women and children.  WATCH’s mission is to make the justice system more effective and responsive in handling cases of violence, particularly against women and children, and creating a more informed and involved public.

  • 4. Feel Good World (nominated by Rocco): Feel Good is trying to change the way the developed world views hunger, and has a model for building leadership on U.S. college campuses that will get students involved in ending world hunger.

From their website:

Over 850 million people are currently dying from hunger. People suffer from chronic, persistent hunger not because there is a shortage of food. The world produces more than enough food for everyone, and most countries produce enough food for their people. Chronic hunger and abject poverty are symptoms of underlying social conditions that systematically deny hungry people the opportunity they need to end their own hunger. The most important of these are the severe subjugation of women and poor people’s lack of voice in the decisions that affect their lives.

FeelGood believes that conventional aid hasn’t worked and won’t work. That is why we have identified and are funding and expanding the work of organizations that operate under a completely different paradigm than that of conventional aid. FeelGood only funds development strategies that have ALL of the following three components: empowerment, gender equality, and partnership.

FeelGood’s innovative idea for lasting change is to use the powerful vehicle of a retail franchise to create a culture of generosity and a world free from hunger. Our vision is to empower our future leaders – college students – on every college campus to run non-profit delis where 100% of the proceeds are invested in sustainable development and where a new perspective on humanity is fostered.

  • 5.  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (nominated by a bunch of you):  St Jude is a research hospital that treats children suffering from cancer or other catastrophic illness.

From their website:

St. Jude is unlike any other pediatric treatment and research facility. Discoveries made here have completely changed how the world treats children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. With research and patient care under one roof, St. Jude is where some of today’s most gifted researchers are able to do science more quickly.

St. Jude researchers are published and cited more often in high impact publications than any other private pediatric oncology research institution in America. St. Jude is a place where many doctors send some of their sickest patients and toughest cases. A place where cutting-edge research and revolutionary discoveries happen every day. We’ve built America’s second-largest health-care charity so the science never stops.

All pateints accepted for treatment at St. Jude are treated without regard to the family’s ability to pay.

So!  Congratulations to our finalists!  Check out the links, think about it, and cast your vote.  Then, if you’re so inclined, lobby your friends to come vote, too.  I’ll leave voting open until 8pm central standard time on Sunday.  The organization that receives the most votes will receive a $50 donation.

Now- want to do even more charitible giving without paying a penny?  Go check out PT Law Mom, who is running the same feature this week!  Wahoo!