2016 has been a rough year and with an uncertain 2017 ahead of us, the desire to give to those less fortunate than ourselves and to do good in any way possible feels especially strong during this holiday season. Despite our good intentions, it can sometimes be hard to know where to donate and what causes are most in need of our assistance.
To ensure your gift makes the greatest possible impact on the causes you care about, we’ve compiled a list of programs and charities in need of support this year.
If you’re worried about the impact of Trump’s presidency on minorities in the U.S., give to:
American Civil Liberties Union: ACLU fights for the protection of a myriad of rights for minority citizens—from the right to have an abortion to social justice for everyone.
Human Rights Campaign: This organization is focused on the protection of civil rights for the LGBTQ community.
National Center for Transgender Equality: If North Carolina’s House Bill 2 really pissed you off, this is a great transgender issues focused nonprofit to donate to.
The Trevor Project: This organization provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQ youth.
The money given toward these organizations help them afford the work spaces, employees, and supplies required to provide the programs, services, and social campaigns to benefit the people whose lives they aim to help and protect.
If you’re disgusted that our president elect bragged about sexually assaulting women and that our vice president elect is unapologetically pro-life, donate to:
Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network: It is the largest anti-sexual violence organization, and does a variety of work in both preventing sexual assault and helping victims of sexual violence.
1in6: This organization helps men who have experienced unwanted or abusive sex.
Uplift: They seek to combat sexual abuse in online communities through education and advocacy.
Donations to these organizations are used to provide help lines, educational materials, and health services as well as fund social campaigns to educate the world and fight for legislation that aids these causes.
If you’re concerned about the future of the Affordable Care Act and the issues faced by people living with chronic illness and disability, give to:
The Autism Society: They work to improve the lives of people with autism. The organization’s advisors include a panel of esteemed people in the autism community who provide expertise and guidance on all areas of TAS’ work.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation: This organization funds research for a cure as well as drug development, and also helps people with CF to get access to the health care and support they need.
Cancer Research Institute: They are working to create a new class of cancer treatment that improve the immune system’s natural ability to fight cancer cells.
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America: This organization provides care and services to individuals with dementia as well as support to their caregivers and families.
Guide Dog Foundation: They provide guide dogs and training free of charge to people with visual impairments. It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and home a guide dog, which is not financially feasible for most people.
These organizations not only strive to make the future better for people with disabilities or chronic illness, whether through finding a cure or better treatment options or legislation, but also to make their present lives as comfortable and easy by providing community, services, and education. The burden and difficulties that come with chronic illness and disability are not something that should be beared alone.
If services and support for people with mental health issues weigh heavy on your heart, donate to:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: This organization raises awareness, funds scientific research, and provides support to those affected by suicide.
To Write Love on Her Arms: This nonprofit presents hope and provides help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation: They award grants toward scientific research that will lead to breakthroughs that will help people who have mental illnesses.
Treatment Advocacy Center: This organization supports policies and research to better provide treatment for people living with several mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Donations go toward scientific research, educational materials, social justice movements, and services for those who need support with these issues. Acknowledging and reaching out for help takes bravery, so it is important that good, accessible services and resources are available to everyone.
If you’re worried about the future for our children and their education, give to:
Save the Children: This program helps children in the U.S. and around the world get the things they need to be safe from illness, natural disasters, and the ramifications of poverty so they can grow up successfully. From goats that provide milk to newborn care packages to education supplies, you can shop their catalog and give a specific item. Or you can sponsor a child in the U.S. or around the world.
She’s the First: This organization provide scholarships to girls in low-income countries.
Days for Girls: They’re working to provide girls everywhere access to sustainable hygiene and health education.
Pencils for Kids Pencils for Kids provides funding for programs and school supplies for students around the world.
Child’s Play They provide games, toys, and books to children in hospitals and domestic violence shelters. You can either donate money that will go toward purchasing these items, or you can locate a hospital on their map and send them a gift from their Amazon wishlist.
These organizations use donations received to purchase educational supplies, medication, food, books, and toys to help children dealing with poverty, illness, abuse, and natural disasters so that they can overcome these disadvantages and have a happy, healthy, and successful future. Without access to education, medical treatment, nourishing food, and books, these children do not have a chance of breaking out of the cycle of poverty, abuse, and illness that prevents them and their countries from thriving.
If you want to encourage the prosperity of books, music, and other creative outlets, direct your money toward:
We Need Diverse Books: This organization works to provide and support diverse literature as well as increase accessibility to it so young people can engage with a variety of narratives and perspectives.
The Book Truck: Located in Los Angeles, The Book Truck provides books to teens in low-income and foster homes in Los Angeles.
Books for Africa: This organization works to end the book famine in Africa by shipping age-appropriate books to classrooms and school libraries in African nations.
Patreon: If you’re looking for a more personal, direct way to support creators worldwide, this website offers a way for creators to earn a sustainable income through support from their fans. Different creator-decided perks are awarded based on how much you donate.
Having access to a wide variety of literature is crucial to educating and encouraging disadvantaged youth, and giving them the foundation they need to be successful. Likewise many small creative and educational companies rely on the support of patrons to continue to provide the content they do.
If the environment and climate change are important to you, give to:
Earthworks: This nonprofit protects communities and the environment from the impact of mineral and energy development and provides sustainable solutions.
Environmental Defense Fund: Through the collaborative efforts of a variety of people, the Environmental Defense Fund provides practical solutions to urgent threats our environment faces.
Global Coral Reef Alliance: This small nonprofit is dedicated to growing, protecting, and managing coral reefs.
Wildlife Waystation: This organization provides a sanctuary for abused, abandoned, orphaned, or injured wild animals as well as education to the public on how to co-exist with native wildlife. You can even sponsor a specific animal.
These organizations pull together a diverse group of people, resources, and ideas to protect the wildlife and environment we have now, as well as prepare for and protect against future threats. Your money supports the people who work for legislation and solutions as well as nurtures the environment and wildlife that have been impacted by civilization.
If you’re interested in helping with the issues faced by people who live outside of the U.S., donate to:
The UN Refugee Agency: This organization is committed to protecting the rights and safety of people seeking asylum. In March 2016, author and YouTuber John Green traveled and met with people living in refugee camps on behalf of UNHCR. He posted several videos about his experiences and thoughts on his vlogbrothers channel.
Against Malaria Foundation: They provide supplies and education to protect people from malaria.
Water.org: This organization works to provide safe, accessible, and cost-effective water and sanitation to people around the globe.
Doctors Without Borders: They deliver emergency medical aid to people in places like Syria, Afghanistan, and Africa. They provide care and treatment for illnesses such as cholera, measles, HIV/AIDS, ebola, malnutrition, and malaria.
Direct Relief: This organization works to improve the life and health of people affected by poverty, natural disasters, or civil unrest. Recently, they’ve provided aid to those affected by Hurricane Matthew and the Syrian Refugee Crisis.
World Food Programme: They work to fight hunger worldwide, providing food specifically affected by war, civil conflict, and natural disasters.
Donations help bring food, medical supplies, clean water, and other services to people and countries that struggle to access them easily. They also work toward legislation and education that protects these endangered and impoverished people as well as informs others on how they can assist the less fortunate.
If you’re grateful for your furry friend, you can help other animals find forever homes by supporting:
Best Friends Animal Society: This group rescues, rehabilitates, and re-homes pets as well as provides education and support to programs in the effort to ending the homeless pet problem in the U.S. This organization is best known known for rescuing and rehabilitating many of the pitbulls seized from Michael Vick’s property (there’s a documentary available on NetFlix about this).
Your Local No Kill Animal Shelter: Through the No Kill Network, you can locate your nearest shelter and donate time, money, and supplies.
Animal shelters and rescues do important–and often unnoticed–work in our communities. Shelters in low income and rural areas often suffer the most as there is little funding and great need. Funds not only go toward the care of animals in the shelter, but also toward important programs like Trap, Neuter, Return, which prevent stray animals from continuing to reproduce and thus increase the amount of homeless animals. I highly recommend giving time to your local shelter, as animals in shelters suffer mentally and emotionally from a lack of human contact and the distress of shelter life. Many of them pick up unwanted behaviors or become shy, and thus are even harder to find homes for.
No matter what you’re passion about, there’s a way to give back to what matters most. Let giving to others become a 24/7 365 days of the year activity; the needs of others do not end along with the holiday season.
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