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Charity as religious community

Some time before I started this blog, I began asking myself the question:  where are the Pagan charities?  Doing good deeds is good PR, and generally Pagans are good people, so didn't it follow that there was a place for Pagan charities to help that along?

The real problem is that I was asking the wrong question.  What I should have asked was, "To what causes do Pagans donate?"  Charitable donations can be a good thing, but as Elani Temperance wisely pointed out, there is value to Pagans giving publicly, too.  Our disparate community doesn't have any meaningful charities of its own, so how can we maximize the value of public giving?

One of the readers of the aforelinked Baring the Aegis suggested a way that the Hellenic polytheist community can do so, an idea which has quickly been formed into Pandora's Kharis, a charity circle that will make a monthly donation to a cause of the group's democratic choosing.  

The name is inspired; it speaks of the gifts of a woman who is rather maligned, and the ideas of homage and grace or favor.

Ms. Temperance has set up systems to discuss suitable charities, select one, and make contributions to it based on community input; it's amazing to see how quickly this idea has taken off.

Perhaps even more exciting -- at least from a business perspective -- is that the idea is easily replicated.  Wiccans, Heathens, polytraditional solitaries all could create their own groups for amplifying the power of their giving.  By narrowing the focus from the incredibly broad and often contradictory beliefs of Pagans down to the ethics and values of a particular subset of the Paganiverse, we are likely to see more public giving by Pagans.

I'm incredibly excited and honored to be one of the first to join this movement.  May there come a day when Pagan giving circles are more plentiful than political action committees.

Last modified on
Terence P Ward is a business writer and journalist who blogs under the rather cumbersome moniker of True Pagan Warrior.  He can generally be found at home, tending to his gardens and the many demands of his cats; in the alternative, follow TPW on Facebook. 


  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard Monday, 21 October 2013

    I can think of quite a few Pagan charities--there are three in the little town I call home. I'm not sure how you define "meaningful," but food pantries, community gardens, prison ministries, energy assistance loans and grants all seem meaningful to me. And I suspect they are very meaningful to those on the receiving end.

  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward Tuesday, 22 October 2013

    When I refer to Pagan charities, I'm drawing a simple comparison to agencies founded and funded by other religious communities. Catholic Charities, for example, is pretty clearly a Catholic charity: their mission "is to provide service to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call the entire church and other people of good will to do the same." They are doing charitable work in the name of the specific deity and faith.

    Tell me more about the three charities in your community that you call Pagan: are they outwardly honoring a Pagan path, in the way that Catholic Charities outwardly honors the Roman Catholic one? That's what I would use as the bright-line test of whether or not a particular charity is Pagan. I envision the Hestia Food Pantry or Tyr's Fund for Fallen Warriors.

    But that's just my definition; I'd very much like to learn from yours, Ms Ballard!

  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard Wednesday, 23 October 2013

    Certainly. The two with whom I am most familiar are the Coalition of Earth Religions and Mother Grove Goddess Temple. Mother Grove has an active food pantry, collects household goods for families in crisis, has done energy assistance grants, coordinates a prison ministry, and more--all in the name of the Goddess/es. None of the local non-profits flies under the radar--they are definitely Pagan/Heathen groups. Small, yes--but might of heart! :)

  • Melia/Merit Brokaw
    Melia/Merit Brokaw Tuesday, 22 October 2013

    Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the publishing branch of Neos Alexandria, contributes profits from their books (only a relatively small amount is kept aside for administration and publishing costs). Recently 5 charities have been chosen to receive quarterly payments for the next year.

  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward Tuesday, 22 October 2013

    I'm glad to learn of it! Obviously asking questions in better forums (fora?) is also a good thing. I'm glad to know there are groups out there doing similar work.

  • Jamie
    Jamie Tuesday, 22 October 2013

    Mr. Ward,

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

  • Jay Logan
    Jay Logan Wednesday, 23 October 2013

    My coven Chalice Hart - ATC started what we call the Healing Hearts Fund seven years ago, the monies of which go towards helping those in our community who are facing unexpected life challenges and are in need of assistance, due to circumstances which are beyond their control. We raise the money for the fund annually by putting on the Healing Hearts Psychic Fair, a community outreach service event that provides readers and healers of various modalities, as well as a marketplace fo local vendors to sell their wares. To date, I'd estimate that we've raised over $20,000 towards charity.

    More info can be found on our Facebook page :) :

  • Jay Logan
    Jay Logan Wednesday, 23 October 2013

    \ Shameless plug. lol

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