My Secret Life as a Spaghetti Coder
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Lately I've been thinking about which charit[y|ies] I'd like to endow with $100 million dollars when I make my first billion. I know that sounds stingy, but considering the tax comes out first, that billion shrinks rather quickly.

Before I continue, I want to make it absolutely clear that I'm not endorsing any of the following charities, and I have not researched how well they do their purported missions, so they could be frauds for all I know. I just want to discuss the ideas.

Naturally, I wanted to look for computer-related charities, and more specifically, those with a focus on programming. I first browsed a couple of charity-ranking websites and didn't find anything that I was searching for.

Everyone knows about One Laptop Per Child, whose mission is to educate children in developing nations, who otherwise wouldn't have as much of an education, by providing them with a low-cost, low-energy required laptop.
OLPC is not, at heart, a technology program, nor is the XO a product in any conventional sense of the word. OLPC is a non-profit organization providing a means to an end - an end that sees children in even the most remote regions of the globe being given the opportunity to tap into their own potential, to be exposed to a whole world of ideas, and to contribute to a more productive and saner world community.
On a bit of a smaller scale, I found Computers With Causes, which like so many charities who will let you donate your car, take your donated computer and turn it into good for charitable purposes. Mac Heist puts on a two week bonanza of a sale and donates proceeds to the charity you choose. That's a start, but we could do better.

There is another group, charityfocus, which lets you volunteer your time to help build websites for different charities. That certainly sounds interesting, and more to my point - but it's not quite there.

These are all noble goals, but I'm more interested in a cause that's closer to home, one where technology is not ancillary, but where it is part of the goal. So, I thought I'd do a domain search and start one myself. One of the domains I entered was code4cause.org, but it turns out they're already doing some good work. They don't teach children to program, but they do take on your IT projects and donate proceeds to charities.

I was surprised I wasn't able to find more than what I did. Are programmers that selfish?

Of course not. We donate a lot of our time to open source, for one thing, and I'm sure there are plenty of us who have our favorite causes that aren't computer-related at all.

I like Code4Cause's mission - that would let programmers donate their time to projects and convert that into money to send to charity. But, Code4Cause is based in Europe and Asia, and I'm more interested in something closer to home (which for me, is the United States). What are U.S. software developers doing?

I don't know, but I wouldn't mind seeing something like Code4Cause in the US. Or, at least it would be nice if we could donate the money our time produces to whatever organization we chose. Ideally, I'd like to see something where programming is more of the point, but I'm not sure how it would work. Even if coding remained auxillary, something like Code4Cause would be still be great.

Anyway, where are the coding organizations? Do you know of any I haven't listed? Share them below. Interested in trying to start one yourself? Let me know privately, and if there's enough interest, maybe we can figure out how to start an organization, and what we'd like it to do.

Sorry I don't have any more answers - I'm just fleshing these thoughts out, and throwing them out there to see if it helps.

Hey! Why don't you make your life easier and subscribe to the full post or short blurb RSS feed? I'm so confident you'll love my smelly pasta plate wisdom that I'm offering a no-strings-attached, lifetime money back guarantee!


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