If you find yourself looking for last minutes gifts, consider the following:

Music-related gifts


Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix. Author Gary Golio and Coretta Scott King award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe have created a lyrically and visually rich book that explores the future guitar god’s vivid imagination as a child.  This recently released children’s book, targeted to grades 4-8, will make a great holiday gift for budding music aficionados everywhere.  You can get it from Amazon and the like, but consider supporting your local bookstore.


The Family Stand’s In A Thousand Years.  Set your own price (minimum $5) and $1 from each download goes to the Prevent Cancer Foundation.  Get your groove on here.

Speaking of donations, if you just want to give money, here are some options:

DonorsChoose. Contributions go towards helping teachers get the supplies and equipment they need for their classrooms.  Find a school in the area of your choice.  My family has donated through this organizations and made gifts in the names of others via this site.  More info here.

JustGive. Similar to DonorsChoose, but is not limited to schools and kids. You pick the zip code and the project that you want to support.  The site also breaks charities into 19 different groups, which lets you find and support charities based on your interest, i.e., arts & culture, feeding the hungry, mentoring for kids, women’s/human rights, etc.  I also like the fact that you can purchase gift cards that others choose charities they’d like to support.  Check it here.

Specific organizations.

Black Rock Coalition.  Going strong for 25 years.  The simplest way to support this progressive arts organization is to become a member.  Individual memberships are still only $25 for the year.  I’m re-upping my membership when it expires next month, and you should, too.  Hit their site and click on the “join” link.

My Facebook fam suggested these organizations:

  • Leesa Keys suggests Broadway Inspirational Voices, founded by our Carnegie Mellon classmate Michael McElroy. BIV raises awareness, provides spiritual support, helps raise funds for people in need through music.  It is a multi-ethnic, religiously diverse choir of singers, actors and dancers who have performed on Broadway, national tours, and regional theatres. BIV uses the power of Gospel music in rousing live concerts and benefits, as well as a dynamic outreach program for children. More info here.
  • Sabrina Lamb suggests two organizations: Harlem School of the Arts and her own WorldofMoney.org.  HSA, now in its 46th year, offers kids and adults in Harlem and beyond the opportunity to develop their interest in dance, music, visual arts and theater.  A community institution, HSA fell on hard times and is mounting a major capital campaign.  Show your support here.  Sabrina’s WorldofMoney.org is now heading into it’s 6th year and focuses on teaching underserved youth, ages 12-18, the five tenets of a sound financial life, i.e., learn, earn, save, invest and donate.  You can donate to WorldofMoney.org via their homepage.
  • Laurel George suggests Elizabeth Streb’s S.L.AM. (STREB Lab for Action Mechanics) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Streb, a recipient of a MacArthur Genius grant, is a noted choreographer, who founded SLAM in 2003 as a new kind of artist-driven community and cultural center.  Her idea is that dance and movement can be exciting and accessible to everyone and, in fact, be an integral part of a community. Videos and more detailed info here on STREB’s offerings.  Donate here.
  • Valerie Graves suggests Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre.  Now in its 40th continuous year of production, the NFT has been an incubator of many of our finest African American actors, including Denzel Washington, Samuel Jackson, Ruby Dee, Morgan Freeman, etc., but still needs our contributions to continue in its mission of bringing the best of black theater to diverse audiences.  Donation info here.
  • And speaking of theater, don’t forget our friends at the New Black Fest, which I was involved in earlier this year.  This fledgling theater festival is focused on supporting emerging voices in the theater from across the African Diaspora, and it’s off to a great start.  They’re just under halfway to their $30K fundraising goal, and could use your help.  Donate here.
  • Leslie Robertson suggests G.R.A.C.E. Africa, the Grassroots Alliance for Community Education, which is a Kenyan-based NGO whose mission is to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in that country by empowering people and organizations on a grassroots level.  More info on their mission is here.  Make donations here.
  • Finally, if you want to support an organization that facilitates international adoption, Wide Horizons For Children is a great one.  They helped us bring our daughter into our family and are hard at work placing deserving kids from 16 countries, including Ethiopia, where there are an estimated 5 million orphans right now.  More info here on the organization, and donation options here and here.

By now, you’ve figured out this is in no way an exhaustive list.  Have other worthwhile suggestions?  Shout ’em out (with a link, please!) in the comments section.

Happy and merry!

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