Author Jaime Clevenger is donating all her book proceeds this year and needs your help

The other day my five-year-old asked why the man outside the grocery store was ringing a bell. When I told her that they were raising money for people who were poor or homeless, she immediately wanted to donate. I told her that she could (she gets an allowance and a third of it goes into a share jar exactly for this reason), but that I didn’t feel good about giving money to a group that doesn’t have a good track record with gay people. Of course, then my nine-year-old asked why. I explained that it probably wasn’t anything personal. If they met our family, they’d probably like us a lot.

We passed the red pail and my five-year-old decided not to donate after all. But then we got in the car and she wanted to know who she should give money to. Each month we donate to our local food bank. Wanting to pay for meals for folks who don’t have enough to eat, especially this time of year, makes sense to my kids. As does donating to organizations that take care of women like Planned Parenthood and RAICES helping refugees and immigrant families. So I mentioned all three of these organizations and we planned to send a little extra money this month.

But this conversation made me stop and think. I have a roof over my head and can keep my family warm, well fed, and happy this cold December. We can have hot cocoa with marshmallows whenever we want (though not as often as the five-year-old would like). And there’s more. I’m married to the woman I love and a legal parent to the kids she carried. I have a job where I can be out and still be successful. I write stories about women loving women and my parents tell their friends.

I’m not naive. I know that none of this happened simply because I worked hard. Other people worked hard for me to get to this place. Maybe, I realized, it’s time to pay something back in a bigger way than my annual HRC membership.

This is where you come in. I would like to donate all the proceeds I’ve earned from the sale of my books this year. Yep, all of it. But I want help picking where the money should go. Here are my top choices:

 

1) Inside/Out Youth Services

“The mission of Inside/Out is to empower, educate and advocate for lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gay, intersex and questioning (LGBTIQ) youth from Southern Colorado….providing much needed assistance to homeless youth rejected by their families and forced to live on the street. With the help of contributions from people such as yourself we are able to purchase clothing, toiletries, food, and help fund activities to provide life experiences these kids wouldn’t otherwise be able to.”

 

2) Point Foundation: National LGBTQ Scholarship Fund

“Point Foundation’s purpose is to empower LGBTQ students of merit, many of whom might otherwise be at an academic and social disadvantage as a direct result of their sexual orientation or gender identity. While empowerment is a lofty goal, Point Foundation achieves it by providing education, mentorship, leadership development, and community service training; as well as the financial ability to attend the nation’s foremost institutions of higher education; to our scholars. ”

 

3) Sylvia Rivera Law Project

“The Sylvia Rivera Law Project works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence.”

 

4) Audre Lorde Project

“The Audre Lorde Project is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color center for community organizing, focusing on the New York City area. Through mobilization, education, and capacity-building, we work for community wellness and progressive social and economic justice. Committed to struggling across differences, we seek to responsibly reflect, represent and serve our various communities.”

 

5) The Trevor Project

“The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning youth.”

 

Which would you pick? Tell me in the comments below. And here’s to a very merry and gay holiday!

 

You can find Jaime Clevenger’s books here.

 

 

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15 Comments

  • nerdgirl
    Posted December 18, 2018 9:48 am 0Likes

    Pointe Foundation. There are so many homeless LGBTQ youth, or youth trying hard to make it on little money who want to go to school. Scholarships are so important.

  • Dawn betts-green
    Posted December 18, 2018 9:51 am 0Likes

    Point Foundation! I’m a Point Scholar myself, and I can tell you, they make one hell of a difference.

  • Bonnie
    Posted December 18, 2018 11:32 am 0Likes

    What a great gesture!!!
    I believe I would pick The Trevor Project!!
    Thank you for doing this and please keep writing.

  • Wendy
    Posted December 18, 2018 12:27 pm 0Likes

    Can you split the money among all the organizations?

  • Mary Beth Koehne
    Posted December 18, 2018 12:29 pm 0Likes

    My choice would be Point Foundation.

  • Rachel Rasmussen
    Posted December 18, 2018 2:44 pm 0Likes

    As the family member of a wonderful transgender woman I think my pick would be the Trevor Project. It is so important to reach out to people who don’t have the support of their families and communities.

  • Carryl A Robinson
    Posted December 18, 2018 3:55 pm 0Likes

    Point Foundation. Having the money for a good education is hard enough for a lot of straight kids, to be further disadvantaged because of your identity is awful.

  • Helen Daly
    Posted December 18, 2018 4:17 pm 0Likes

    What a perfectly lovely thing to do! I might go with inside/out since I think southern Colorado is particularly bad at supporting LGBTQ youth AND at supporting homeless youth. The need seems tremendous.

  • Corina
    Posted December 18, 2018 7:47 pm 0Likes

    I’d say Inside Out Youth Services. In this fundamentalist town, there is so much need for support of queer youth in our community. And it would be great to start building some kind of ongoing relationship with them.

  • ELaine
    Posted December 18, 2018 8:00 pm 0Likes

    Whichever charity you choose will be fine with me. I am honoured to support your decision financially.

  • evelyn dar
    Posted December 19, 2018 5:04 pm 0Likes

    They all seem like AWESOME causes. I’d pick the Trevor Foundation just because I’m familiar with them and they provide much-needed help for teens.

  • Karen
    Posted December 19, 2018 10:42 pm 0Likes

    As an educator, I like the Point Foundation. Our youth need education so they can be the leaders of the future.

  • Lisa R Smith
    Posted December 20, 2018 3:42 am 0Likes

    Ms Clevenger, I think since you live in Colorado you should donate to InsideOut Youth Services. Charity begins at home and in your own back yard. If kids are in trouble there, your donation would be greatly appreciated. Are you familiar with the people who run the organization? Will they put your money to good use? Anytime you can feed and clothe a lost kid it should be done.

    I have several of your books and would be honored to purchase more.

    From my family to yours, have a Happy Holiday.
    Lisa R Smith, retired geologist, avid reader, wife, mother, queer

  • CArla
    Posted December 20, 2018 10:42 pm 0Likes

    Good for you Jaime! I’d pick inside out. I consider myself pretty lucky even though my coming out story isn’t very happy. I know there are lots of kids out there rejected by their families that are a lot less fortunate. Best wishes to you and yours!

  • Jaime clevenger
    Posted December 27, 2018 12:08 pm 0Likes

    Thank you all for the comments and ideas! I decided to split the money and donate half to Point Foundation and half to Inside Out. Next time I think I’ll go with Trevor but they’re all good causes and it was hard to choose!

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