Check with Charity Navigator before you decide to donate. All the well-known charities are listed and are rated — look for four stars. Many new charities have been recently formed due to the explosion of civic activism. For those, check to see if listed but don’t necessarily be deterred if they are not rated.

As you look through Charity Navigator, you will see many well-run and well-respected charities that may be good recipients for your donations. Other sites that also provide ratings and information about charities are Charity Watch and Global Impact.

Donate to your favorite library, campsite, park, school, college, homeless shelter, medical organization, animal assistance, food bank, environmental organization, museum, the arts and/or various drives put on by governmental organizations. Every one of these institutions is supported by Federal tax dollars, either directly or indirectly, and could always use additional funds to carry out their mission.

Eugene Lang, the man who promised to send hundreds of Harlem students to college in 1981, said

“Giving should not be mechanical. It should be the fruit of one’s feeling, love and sense of responsibility. Giving is not giving back. There is no quid pro quo. Giving is self-fulfillment.”

Don’t feel a need to donate a lot. A token of support, combined with thousands of other tokens of support, can become a huge overall contribution to an organization.

Below are a very limited list of possible recipients for your donations and support. There are literally millions of other excellent nonprofits and charities worthy of your consideration. This list is just a beginning. The watchdogs, information providers and fact checkers are not usually on charitable lists but they can be found here. These organizations are in the front line of preserving democracy and a free press for Americans.

Below are sites that can help you get started


Behind the scenes, and for years and years, many organizations have been focused on providing oversight, articulating what they find and providing analysis of complex issues. For the most part, these organizations are unknown, unrecognized and are not familiar names to the general public.

With the dire need for facts and bipartisan, neutral analysis, these organizations need financial support to continue and expand their influence. Quite literally, we would have no idea of what was going on in the political arena now without these organizations.


  • Campaign for Accountability — “Holding the powerful accountable. Campaign for Accountability is a 501(c)(3) that uses research, litigation and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life. Millions of Americans’ lives are negatively impacted by decisions made behind the doors of corporate boardrooms, government offices, and shadowy nonprofit groups. Advocacy groups do not always have the capacity or will to take on the opposition directly. We will hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.”


  • Bright Line Watch — “Political Scientists Launch New “Bright Line Watch” Initiative to Monitor the Current State of American Democracy via a Collaboration by Scholars at Dartmouth College, University of Rochester and Yale University Evaluates the Status of Democratic Practices in the U.S. 23, 2017 — With the 2016 presidential election over and a new and historically unique administration in office, the practices and norms that define U.S. democracy are coming under challenge. Political scientists from Dartmouth College, the University of Rochester and Yale University have collaborated to launch a new initiative, Bright Line Watch, that will monitor the status of democratic practices and highlight potential threats to American democracy.”


  • Democracy 21 — “Democracy 21 is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to making democracy work for all Americans. Democracy 21, and its education arm, Democracy 21 Education Fund, work to eliminate the undue influence of big money in American politics, prevent government corruption, empower citizens in the political process and ensure the integrity and fairness of government decisions and elections. The organization promotes campaign finance reform and other related political reforms to accomplish these goals.”


  • Center for Responsive Politics — “The Center for Public Integrity was founded in 1989 by Charles Lewis. We are one of the country’s oldest and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organizations and winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism. Our mission: To serve democracy by revealing abuses of power, corruption and betrayal of public trust by powerful public and private institutions, using the tools of investigative journalism.”
  • Pew Charitable Research — “We generate a foundation of facts that enriches the public dialogue and supports sound decision-making. Our empirical research on a wide range of topics helps U.S. and international policymakers, civic leaders, educators and the public at large understand and address some of the world’s most challenging problems. Our public opinion surveys allow the voice of the people to be heard, and our de­mographic, economic and political analyses provide context to understand how the world is changing. We are nonprofit, nonpartisan and non-advocacy. Our mission is to inform, not to prescribe. We believe that better information can build a better world. “Fact-based information is the fuel democracies run on—the raw material from which societies identify problems and construct solutions.”
  •  The Council on Governmental Ethics Laws — “(COGEL) can trace its origins to a December 1974 conference at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC., organized by an ad hoc group of executives of newly-formed federal and state “ethics” agencies.   The conference brought together 43 representatives of agencies responsible for the administration and enforcement of conflict of interest, campaign finance and lobbying laws. The meeting was made possible by a grant from The George Gund Foundation of Cleveland, Ohio, and the assistance of the Council of State Governments in Lexington, Kentucky. A major purpose of the meeting was to facilitate the exchange of information among the various newly-created governmental ethics agencies.”


There are many great organizations to support but these three stand out as great tools available to us for organizing and finding facts. In the spirit of supporting the online content, donating annually to all three of these is an action we can take to demonstrate that support. In this political world of swirling propaganda, deliberate misinformation, manipulation and scams, it is a beacon of hope that such fine organizations exist. Subscription article

  • Ballotpedia (the Lucy Burns Institute)– “Ballotpedia is the online encyclopedia of American politics and elections. Our goal is to inform people about politics by providing accurate and objective information about politics at all levels of government. We are firmly committed to neutrality; The mission of the Lucy Burns Institute is to empower our audience to engage in democracy by delivering exceptionally high quality information. We strive to equip our readers with the truth so it can be used in positive, powerful, and unforeseen ways. Informed voters are the foundation of democracy and positive change starts with them.”
  • Wikipedia Foundation — “The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual, educational content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. The Wikimedia Foundation operates some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, a top-ten internet property. Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s our commitment.”
  • The Mozilla Foundation — “The nonprofit Mozilla Foundation believes the Internet must always remain a global public resource that is open and accessible to all. Our work is guided by the Mozilla Manifesto.”




Never has there been more of a need for fact-checking organizations. The following organizations not only provide fact checking but are a wealth of accurate information on every single political topic. They are on the front lines of defending our democracy and deserve our respect, admiration for their work and financial support.

  • – “A nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding. is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would address public policy issues at the local, state and federal levels.”
  • Open Secrets– Open Secrets is a nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, run by the Center for Responsive Politics, which is the nation’s premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy.  Open Secrets are by far the best source for discovering how much and where candidates get their money.  They also track lobbying groups and whom they are funding.
  • Snopes – Snopes has been the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation for a long time.  Snopes is also usually the first to report the facts.
  • The Sunlight Foundation – The Sunlight Foundation is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses the tools of civic tech, open data, policy analysis and journalism to make our government and politics more accountable and transparent to all.  Sunlight primarily focuses on money’s role in politics.
  • Poynter Institute– The Poynter Institute is not a true fact checking service.  They are however a leader in distinguished journalism and produce nothing but credible and evidence based content.  If Poynter reports it, you can count on it being true.
  • Flack Check – Headquartered at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, is the political literacy companion site to the award-winning The site provides resources designed to help viewers recognize flaws in arguments in general and political ads in particular.



There have been radical changes in US media as a result of the rise of the internet as our prime source of communication over the past twenty years. Newspapers and magazines, as an industry, have had to weather this storm and make radical changes in how they operate. For our part, we, the public canceled our subscriptions, began reading on line, standing back and watching the industry cope. We are now paying a price for abandoning the news industry and journalism. the result is a reduced set of accurate choices and much less support for investigative journalism, especially at the local level. Who knows where we might have been in we had more extensive, old-style investigation prior to the 2016  election?

Behavior can be changed. Paying for online subscriptions as a means of support for good journalism is a way to support a free press. Often we don’t subscribe because we have no time to read, can get the news we want online for free, do not want the hard copies to store and then be required to dispose the product. An approach that might make this more sense is to view subscriptions as support for a free press rather than a requirement to read so many publications. These organizations need our support to ensure that we have a free press, an essential foundation of preserving democracy.

There are several extensive lists under the Media section on  this website that are organized by focus and bias. For national mainstream media, the most well-known mainstream media entities are

  • The New York Times
  • The Washington Post
  • The LA Times
  • The Guardian
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Associated Press
  • Reuters
  • Christian Science Monitor
  • The Economist
  • The Atlantic



There has been a huge impact on local news organizations from the changes in the news industry. Many communities live is a very different media world compared to the way it was twenty years ago.

More to come.



  • American Civil Liberties Union — “For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
  • The Center for Constitutional Rights —  ” . . .is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.”


  • The Tax Foundation — ” . . . is the nation’s leading independent tax policy nonprofit. Since 1937, our principled research, insightful analysis, and engaged experts have improved lives through smarter tax policy.”
  • The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy — “(ITEP) is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization that works on federal, state, and local tax policy issues. ITEP’s mission is to ensure that elected officials, the media, and the general public have access to accurate, timely, and straightforward information that allows them to understand the effects of current and proposed tax policies. ITEP’s work focuses particularly on issues of tax fairness and sustainability. ITEP works directly with lawmakers, non-governmental organizations, the public, and the media to achieve these goals.”
  •  Tax Policy Center The Tax Policy Center “(TPC), a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, has been educating the public and its leaders about tax and budget policy for over a decade.”
  • The Peterson Institute for International Economics — “(PIIE) is a private, nonpartisan nonprofit institution for rigorous, intellectually open, and indepth study and discussion of international economic policy. Its purpose is to identify and analyze important issues to make globalization beneficial and sustainable for the people of the United States and the world and then develop and communicate practical new approaches for dealing with those issues. The Institute attempts to anticipate emerging issues and to be ready with practical ideas, presented in useful, accessible formats, to inform and shape public debate. Its audience includes government officials and legislators, business and labor leaders, management and staff at international organizations, university-based scholars and their students, experts at other research institutions and nongovernmental organizations, the media, and the public at large.”
  • American for Financial Reform Americans — ”  . . ,  for Financial Reform is a nonpartisan and nonprofit coalition of more than 200 civil rights, consumer, labor, business, investor, faith-based, and civic and community groups. Formed in the wake of the 2008 crisis, we are working to lay the foundation for a strong, stable, and ethical financial system – one that serves the economy and the nation as a whole. AFR has been called “the leading voice for Wall Street accountability” in Washington (by Zach Carter of the Huffington Post).”
  • End Citizen’s United —  “The Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. F.E.C. completely changed the landscape of American elections. It further established the legal basis for the idea that “corporations are people” and opened the door for billionaires and special interests to spend unlimited, untraceable money in America’s elections.”
  • Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington — “CREW  uses aggressive legal action, in-depth research, and bold communications to reduce the influence of money in politics and help foster a government that is ethical and accountable. We highlight abuses, change behavior, and lay the groundwork for new policies and approaches that encourage public officials to work for the benefit of the people, not powerful interests.”
  • Economic Policy Institute –The Perkins Project on Worker Rights and Wages is a policy response team tracking the wage and employment policies coming out of the White House, Congress, and the courts. This watchdog unit of economists and lawyers keeps an especially close eye on the federal agencies that establish and defend workers’ rights, wages, and working conditions, including the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Perkins Project is headed by former Labor Department Chief Economist Heidi Shierholz and is named for Frances Perkins, Labor Secretary under FDR and principal architect of the New Deal labor reforms. Inspired by Perkins’s legacy, the Perkins Project monitors, analyzes, and publicizes any attempts to dismantle the laws and regulations that protect worker rights and wages. Perkins Project reporting on this site arms activists, journalists, lawmakers, and lawyers with the facts they need to fight for working people.
  • Washington Center for Equitable Growth — We are a new research and grantmaking organization founded to accelerate cutting-edge analysis into whether and how structural changes in the U.S. economy, particularly related to economic inequality, affect economic growth.


  • The News Literacy Project — “(NLP) is a nonpartisan national education nonprofit that works with educators and journalists to teach middle school and high school students how to sort fact from fiction in the digital age. NLP provides these students with the essential skills they need to become smart, active consumers of news and information and engaged, informed citizens.”


  • — “We believe in a safe climate and a better future — a just, prosperous, and equitable world built with the power of ordinary people.”
  • The BlueGreen Alliance — ” . . . unites America’s largest labor unions and its most influential environmental organizations to solve today’s environmental challenges in ways that create and maintain quality jobs and build a stronger, fairer economy.
  • Friends of the Earth — ” . . . strives for a more healthy and just world. We understand that the challenges facing our planet call for more than half measures, so we push for the reforms that are needed, not merely the ones that are politically easy. Sometimes, this involves speaking uncomfortable truths to power and demanding more than people think is possible. It’s hard work. But the pressures facing our planet and its people are too important for us to compromise.We are one of 75 national member groups of Friends of the Earth International, a global network representing more than two million activists in 75 different countries. In the United States, we advocate in the halls of Congress, in state capitals, and with community groups around the country. With offices in Washington, D.C., and Berkeley, CA, and members in all 50 states, we urge policymakers to defend the environment and work towards a healthy environment for all people.”
  • Environmental Defense Fund — “Clean air and water. Abundant fish and wildlife. A stable climate. Our work protects nature and helps people thrive. What sets us apart is how we make this happen: By creating solutions that also carry economic benefits.”
  •  Sierra Club –– “Founded by legendary conservationist John Muir in 1892, the Sierra Club is now the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization — with more than two million members and supporters. Our successes range from protecting millions of acres of wilderness to helping pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. More recently, we’ve made history by leading the charge to move away from the dirty fossil fuels that cause climate disruption and toward a clean energy economy. For more information, see our Mission Statement and Strategic Plan Overarching Visionary Goals.”


  • The Wilson Center —  ” . . . seeks to be the leading institution for in-depth research and dialogue to inform actionable ideas on global issues. The Wilson Center, chartered by Congress as the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson, is the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community.”
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies — “Established in Washington, D.C. over 50 years ago, the  (CSIS) is a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to providing strategic insights and policy solutions to help decision-makers chart a course toward a better world.”
  • Atlantic Council — :”Working Together to Secure the Future. Renewing the Atlantic Community for Global Challenges.The Atlantic Council promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the Atlantic Community’s central role in meeting global challenges. The Council provides an essential forum for navigating the dramatic economic and political changes defining the twenty-first century by informing and galvanizing its uniquely influential network of global leaders. Through the papers we write, the ideas we generate, and the communities we build, the Council shapes policy choices and strategies to create a more secure and prosperous world.”
  • Syria Deeply — “Syria Deeply is an independent digital media project led by journalists and technologists that explores a new model of storytelling around a global crisis. Our goal is to build a better user experience of the story by adding context to content, using the latest digital tools of the day. Over time the hope is to add greater clarity, deeper understanding and more sustained engagement to the global conversation. . . . We receive no government funding, instead earning our revenues through a mix of foundation grants and digital-design services. Our client partners include the World Economic Forum, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and the Baker Institute at Rice University.”


  • The Trace — “The Trace is an independent, nonprofit journalism startup dedicated to shining a light on America’s gun violence crisis. Every year in our country, a firearm is used in nearly 500,000 crimes, resulting in the deaths and injuries of more than 110,000 people. Shootings devastate families and communities and drain billions of dollars from local, state, and federal governments. Meanwhile, the problem of gun violence has been  compounded by another: the shortage of knowledge about the issue.

5 Organizations Taking a Stand Against Gun Violence

The Washington Post reviewed gun violence organizations in 2015

  • The Brady Campaign — “The mission of the Brady organization is to create a safer America for all of us that will lead to a dramatic reduction in gun deaths and injuries.”
  • The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence — “CSGV seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy.”

  • Newtown Action Alliance — “Newtown Action is an action-based grassroots organization founded by Newtown residents in the weeks after December 14, 2012. We are dedicated to reversing the escalating gun violence epidemic in this nation through the introduction of smarter, safer gun laws and broader cultural change.”

  •  States United to Prevent Gun Violence — “States United to Prevent Gun Violence is a national non-profit organization dedicated to making our families and communities safer. Our mission is to support state-based gun violence prevention organizations and to bring new partners into the movement.”

  • Everytown for Gun Safety — “Everytown is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.”


  • The United Nations — ” . . . came into being in 1945, following the devastation of the Second World War, with one central mission: the maintenance of international peace and security. The UN does this by working to prevent conflict; helping parties in conflict make peace; peacekeeping; and creating the conditions to allow peace to hold and flourish. These activities often overlap and should reinforce one another, to be effective. The UN Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security. The General Assembly and the Secretary-General play major, important, and complementary roles, along with other UN offices and bodies.”
  • The American Immigration Council — “(“Council”), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is a powerful voice in promoting laws, policies, and attitudes that honor our proud history as a nation of immigrants. Through research and policy analysis, litigation and communications, and international exchange, the Council seeks to shape a twenty-first century vision of the American immigrant experience.”
  • International Refugee Assistance Project –The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) organizes law students and lawyers to develop and enforce a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. Mobilizing direct legal aid and systemic policy advocacy, IRAP serves the world’s most persecuted individuals and empowers the next generation of human rights leaders. IRAP believes in action, accountability, innovation, and candor. We are nimble, collaborative, and nonpartisan. We believe in the power of individuals to change their own circumstances. And we believe in results.


  • Southern Poverty Law Center — ” . . . is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.”
  • Anti Defamation League — “We are activists, educators and experts. We fight anti-Semitism and all forms of hate. We advocate for a safe and secure democratic Jewish State of Israel and combat efforts to delegitimize it. We help shape laws locally and nationally, and develop groundbreaking model legislation. We work with students to respect inclusion and to challenge bias and bullying. We train law enforcement officers about extremism, terrorism and hate crimes.”


  • Kaiser Family Foundation — Kaiser is a non-profit organization focusing on national health issues, as well as the U.S. role in global health policy.  Unlike grant-making foundations, Kaiser develops and runs its own policy analysis, journalism and communications programs, sometimes in partnership with major news organizations. We serve as a non-partisan source of facts, analysis and journalism for policymakers, the media,  the health policy community and the public. Our product is information, always provided free of charge — from the most sophisticated policy research, to basic facts and numbers, to in depth health policy news coverage provided by our news service, KHN, to information young people can use to improve their health or the general public can use to understand the health reform law.”
  • Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) — ” . . .is a private, international association. The association is made up mainly of doctors and health sector workers and is also open to all other professions which might help in achieving its aims. All of its members agree to honor the following principles: MSF provides assistance to populations in distress, to victims of natural or man-made disasters, and to victims of armed conflict. They do so irrespective of race, religion, creed, or political convictions. MSF observes neutrality and impartiality in the name of universal medical ethics and the right to humanitarian assistance and claims full and unhindered freedom in the exercise of its functions.”



  • American Association of Retired People —  “AARP enhances the quality of life for all as we age. We champion positive social change and deliver value through advocacy, information, and service. Our Vision Statement: A society in which all people live with dignity and purpose, and fulfill their goals and dreams.”
  • Social Security Works –“The mission of Social Security Works is to 1) Protect and improve the economic security of disadvantaged and at-risk populations 2) Safeguard the economic security of those dependent, now or in the future, on Social Security 3) Maintain Social Security as a vehicle of social justice.”
  • National Committee To Preserve Social Security and Medicare — “The National Committee is one of the most effective and trustworthy sources for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid advocacy. Since 1982, we have been working for generations of older Americans who want our nation’s health and income security programs secured for the future. Join us and learn more about how you can be a part of our intergenerational crusade.”


  • Planned Parenthood — “In October 2016, Planned Parenthood turned 100 years strong. Planned Parenthood was founded on the revolutionary idea that women should have the information and care they need to live strong, healthy lives and fulfill their dreams — no ceilings, no limits. Learn more about how 100 years of care, education, and activism have changed everything.”
  • NARAL  — “We are made up of pro-choice women and men across the United States. Together, we protect a woman’s right to choose.”
  • National Organization of Women — “As the grassroots arm of the women’s movement, the National Organization for Women is dedicated to its multi-issue and multi-strategy approach to women’s rights, and is the largest organization of feminist grassroots activists in the United States. NOW has hundreds of chapters and hundreds of thousands of members and activists in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since our founding in 1966, NOW’s purpose is to take action through intersectional grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.”
  • All* Above All — ” . . .unites organizations and individuals to build support for lifting bans that deny abortion coverage. Our vision is to restore public insurance coverage so that every woman, however much she makes, can get affordable, safe abortion care when she needs it.”

If you are inclined to support Republican candidates or causes, be well assured that there are millions and millions or billions, shooting for trillions of dollars supporting your positions and perspective.

If you are inclined to support Democratic candidates or causes, open your wallet, your position is not well funded, or maybe not funded at all.

More to come.

So, how to get started. Some are in the habit of donating routinely, and have already “vetted” their charities or political organizations, so it is an easy matter to add or subtract from the list of organizations to receive donations. Most of us are either not in the habit or we don’t donate at all.

We have to stop thinking we don’t have to donate and we have to start donating — it is just a sign of the times. Below is an easy way to get started.


  • Once a year, make a list of your favorite donations.I now add subscriptions to newspapers and magazines as part of my “donating” even though they are for profits. As we transitioned from paper to online in the last decade, we didn’t support our journalists enough and now have a weakened system. We also now have a tremendous need for a free press given the current full-on assault on the media. The three donation categories are:
  • Media — newspapers and magazines
  • Political — anything and everything
  • Cause — anything and everything


  • Enter the list of organizations into an annual budget in Excel. See attached. Note: There are many great programs to track your finances. This one, though, has the virtue of simplicity. It takes about an hour to set it up for the first time, about half an hour to roll it over to a new year and minutes throughout the year to update.
  • Enter your favorites into your bank’s online banking system or however you pay your bills.
  • Decide how much money, in total,  you think you can contribute for a year.
  • Divide by 12 to determine how much you can donate each month.
  • Either set the donation up automatically or enter it manually. If you receive automatic deposit each month, and know you want to make a small monthly donation (even $ 3.00 makes a difference), set it up for automatic payment
  • Or set it up to pay from a travel credit card and earn miles


  • Make the donation at the same time you pay a regular bill like electricity
  •  If using the spreadsheet, highlight each line item as it is paid.
  • And, if you don’t have the money that month, skip the donation.

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