Charities that Appeal to the A/V Fan

It’s the holiday season! Time to read every A/V site’s gear guide, round out your wish list, and snag the perfect present for that hard-to-buy-for friend. But if you’re anything like me, after the Black Friday frenzy dies down, you start to feel as though you want to do a little more. If the holidays put you in a giving mood, I’d like to offer you a different sort of gift list: Charities that appeal to the audio/video/tech enthusiast’s heart. Ready to have your heart grow three sizes? Read on!

If you want to:

Give the gift of an educational laptop to an impoverished child. Access to a computer can mean a world of difference to a young student in a poor country. In areas where books are scarce, and school funds nearly non-existent, simply having regular access to a computer can mean a brighter future. With a laptop, millions of books, educational materials, and teaching software suddenly are within reach. By donating to One Laptop One Child, you help provide each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop. Find out more at

Brighten the lives of children in hospitals and domestic violence shelters by providing them with games. For kids stuck in the hospital or a shelter, days can be long, lonely, and frightening. Child’s Play is an organization that gives kids in these difficult situations games, consoles, books, and toys. What’s extra fun is that there are a few ways to donate. Not only can you make a monetary contribution via PayPal, you can also choose a local hospital or shelter and donate a specific item via an Amazon wish list made by the kids and staff who’ll receive your gift.

Provide musical instruments and lessons to students in under-funded music programs. Before we can play the next generation of great artists’ music through our home audio system, they’ll need to have access to instruments and training. But for many kids, school budgets simply don’t have funding for the arts. The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation provides durable, high-quality musical instruments to deserving, under-funded music programs nationwide. Your donation helps to enable grants provided to worthy, but financially struggling music programs all over the US.

Find a deserving home for your lovingly preserved, but rarely used A/V gear and other tech. Since you’re reading Sound + Vision, chances are that you have your eye on a shiny new “something-2.0” this holiday season. But what to do with version 1.0? Why not gift it to a charity that can put it to use? Donate Technology is a website that helps to connect you to nonprofits in your area that are in need of equipment. Search by zipcode and mile radius, and then see the type of equipment and specs of what’s needed. Many recipients will even come to pick the gear up. It’s a great way to not only give back, but prevent last year’s model from going to waste.

Give the Gift of Music to the Elderly and Infirm. Studies have found that elderly patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive and physical challenges show marked improvement when provided access to their favorite music as part of their daily therapy. Hearing a familiar beloved song can trigger lost memories, ease anxiety and depression, and bring life back to patients who were not otherwise socially engaging. Music & Memory provides donated ipods loaded with hand-picked playlists specific to the recipient to elderly and infirm patients living in long term nursing care facilities. You can choose to donate your gently used portable music device, or make a monetary contribution to help fund the purchase of ipods and music.

Whatever worthy group strikes your fancy, I hope that this little list will aid you in finding a way to pay it forward. May you and yours have a safe, fulfilling, and meaningful holiday season and a wonderful new year!