Justin and I learned from a coworker today (thanks, Lani!) that ANA, All Nippon Airways, has a refund policy that would be unthinkable in the US: a 50% refund of any ticket (including those labeled "nonrefundable") at any time, for any reason. Justin called today and they were willing to refund half the value of our Sapporo tickets, or approximately $180.
We had already checked our budget and decided to write off the plane tickets as we shifted our plans to Taiwan. This $180, therefore, is money we can spare. So we decided that it would be most appropriate to donate the money to a charity active in the Japan earthquake and tsunami.
Which charity? Well, we thought that would be neat to turn over to you! I've chosen a few charities that Justin and I would feel comfortable supporting and placed a poll on the right hand side of the page on the blog (click through to http://thesenseitions.blogspot.com for email subscribers) You can vote through next Saturday, when we come home from Taiwan. Alternately, you could leave a comment or send an email
Search Dog Foundation: They have at least twelve teams working in Japan right now. Not only do they train dogs for search and rescue, they rescue the dogs! If you were around for our Korea blog, you know how we feel about animal homelessness. What's cooler than rescued animals rescuing people? Charity Navigator rating - 4 stars.
Samaritan's Purse: A Christian organization with a pre-existing presence in Japan, now focused on delivering basic necessities like food, water, and blankets people in shelters around the affected area. Have delivered four tons of supplies already and are preparing to follow up with a 90-ton airlift sometime today. Charity Navigator rating - 3 stars.
Architecture for Humanity: As we've seen in so many other disasters, the destruction of buildings and infrastructure is going to haunt Japan long after the headlines move on to something else. Architecture for Humanity is raising money now to dedicate to reconstruction efforts in cities which have been essentially reduced to scrap. These guys are in it for the long haul. Charity Navigator rating - 4 stars.
Brother's Brother Foundation: Our "homer" pick, this Pittsburgh-based charity is partnered with the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania to collect money and then use it in response to local request. In the 1995 Kobe quake, they supported an orphanage. I secretly love their vintage web site- shows the money is going into programs instead of themselves. Charity Navigator rating - 4 stars.
We reserve the right to choose a charity ourselves should the poll be trolled or hijacked by internet bots, not that I think The Senseitions is really that high on anybody's list.
So please vote! We look forward to seeing the results!