Using My Time & Talents

Everyone has something positive to contribute to their community and beyond. Of course, what people want to and can contribute differs radically across people and across a single person’s lifetime. In my case, I prioritize pursuing justice, sustainability, and shared knowledge.

Mutual Aid / Freely Given Non-Academic Labor

Moving to Chicago has given me the chance to learn a lot about mutual aid and get involved with the great stuff being done by mutual aid groups around the city. In particular, I’ve enjoyed working with the Chicagoland Food Sovereignty Coalition to rescue and redistribute LOTS of food.

I’m also currently working with Climate Reality Chicago, but in the past, I’ve done lots of other types of community involvement/service, including:

  • Regular participation in the Forward STEPS poverty alleviation initiative at Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana (formerly TEAMWork for Quality Living) (2015-2020)
  • Blood donation to the American Red Cross (starting in 2002)
  • Volunteer English language conversation facilitator: Literacy Source (2009–2010)

Service to the Profession of Philosophy

  • Referee for:
    • Australasian Journal of Philosophy
    • Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
    • European Journal of Philosophy
    • Hypatia
    • Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour
    • Journal of Ethics
    • Journal of Philosophy of Emotion
    • Journal of Social Philosophy
    • Oxford University Press
    • Palgrave MacMillan
    • Philosophia
  • Editorial Board member: Journal of Philosophy of Emotion
  • “Jealousy” Editor: PhilPapers (2014-present)
  • Invited participant in Philosophy in an Inclusive Key (PIKSI) workshop for mentors of underrepresented philosophy students (January 2016)
  • Session Chair: American Philosophical Association (Pacific 2012, Eastern 2014, Central 2021)
  • Editorial Assistant: Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy (2011–12)

Service to Schools, Departments, & Students

  • Steering Committee Member: Ball State Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) (2020-2021)
  • Dean’s Faculty Advisory Council: BSU College of Science and Humanities (2019-2021)
  • Advisory Board: BSU Office of Institutional Diversity (2018-2019)
  • Career Discovery Event Series Organizer: BSU Philosophy & Religious Studies Department (2017-2019)
  • Philosophy Club Co-Advisor: Ball State University (2015-2019)
  • Student Awards & Activities Committee: BSU Philosophy & Religious Studies Department (2015-2019)
  • Salary Committee: BSU Philosophy & Religious Studies Department (2016-17)
  • Led the creation of a Philosophy Majors’ Handbook: BSU Philosophy Program (2016)
  • Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Task Force: Colby-Sawyer College (2014-15)
  • Undergraduate Research Task Force: Colby-Sawyer College (2014-15)
  • Pre-law Advisor: Colby-Sawyer College (2014-15)
  • Philosophy Curriculum Conversion with Craig Greenman: Colby-Sawyer College (2013–14)
  • Graduate Admissions Committee: UW Department of Philosophy (2009–10)
  • Co-organizer, “Approaching Dementia: Creativity and Ethics in Caring” (April 2010)
  • Research Assistant: UW Program on Values in Society (2009–10)
  • Registration Manager, Hypatia 25th Anniversary Conference (October 2009)
  • Assistant, Program on Values Conference on Global Justice (April 2009)
  • Curriculum Committee: UW Department of Philosophy (2008–09)
  • Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Coach: Regional and National Competitions (2007–08)
  • Graduate Student Conference Planning Committee (2006–07)

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

Sometimes, in my ethics classes, we talk about donating to charitable organizations of various kinds. Some students raise questions about which organizations are trustworthy or efficient, or just about which organizations are out there trying to deal with the problems under discussion. Simply put, those are great questions, but I do not have all the answers to them. Even if I did, I would want students to decide for themselves (based on good reasoning!) which causes they care about the most, and what priorities should govern any choices they make about donating their money, time, or other resources.

Nevertheless, it would feel dishonest to pretend that I don’t have opinions on these matters, and I would be giving up a chance to support causes that I really care about if I were never willing to talk candidly about them. So below I list some of the organizations that I have supported financially, in no particular order. I point curious people in this direction, in the hope that it will give them a starting place for further research and reflection.

Speaking of further research, some organizations, like GiveWell, are devoted to researching, reviewing, and recommending charitable organizations on the basis of clearly articulated, objective criteria, so I recommend making use of that kind of information in your decision-making.

And if you do decide to donate money to some organization or other, I recommend setting up a regularly recurring, automatic donation. The amount can be quite small and still make a big impact, since organizations can do their best work when they are able to rely on regular donations spread throughout the year. Setting up regularly recurring, automatic donations also allows you to plan your budget around your values, and commits you to making good on your intentions.

  • Give Directly (distributes electronic cash transfers to very poor families, to be used for what those families know that they need the most, since they are the experts in their own lives and their local conditions)
  • Cool Effect (crowd-funds carbon emission reducing projects that are independently vetted by scientists)
  • Planned Parenthood (provides reproductive health care, education, and advocacy worldwide)
  • Equal Justice Initiative (supports racial justice, with special focus on ending mass incarceration, the incarceration of children, and the death penalty)
  • Jobs with Justice (advocates for workers’ rights and economic justice)
  • National Domestic Workers Alliance (organizes to protect millions of nannies, housekeepers, and home health care workers, many of whom are immigrant women and women of color, to provide basic labor protections, fair wages, safety from abuse, and respect)
  • The Humane League (creates reforms that reduce the suffering of farm animals and encourages people to make more compassionate food choices)
  • Vote Smart (provides free, factual, unbiased information about candidates and elected officials to all Americans)
  • Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival (fights poverty, not poor people)
  • RE-volv (provides financing and other supports for non-profits, co-ops, and other community-serving organizations to install solar power systems)
  • ACLU (protects the rights & liberties guaranteed in the Constitution and other US laws)
  • The Bail Project (provides free bail assistance, including bail payments, court date reminders, and other advocacy & support , to low-income people who are legally presumed innocent)
  • Southern Poverty Law Center (uses litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy to fight hate & bigotry and to seek equal justice and equal opportunity for all)
  • Oxfam (working to eliminate the global injustice of poverty by addressing its structural causes and providing humanitarian assistance during disasters and conflicts)
  • Vera Institute of Justice (works to secure equal justice, end mass incarceration, and strengthen families and communities)
  • Mayday (a bipartisan political action committee  devoted to reducing the influence of money in American politics)
  • Democracy Now! (independent, reliable news daily from around the world)
  • NPR (National Public Radio, a publicly funded source of news and entertainment)
  • Reed College (a school that transformed my life in profoundly positive ways)
  • American Philosophical Association Fund for Diversity and Inclusiveness (supports projects designed to increase the presence and participation of underrepresented groups in academic philosophy)