While donating monetarily is not (and should not be) the only way to affect positive change, it is a 100% helpful practice if you have the means, and it’s a great habit to get into year-round. Today (Giving Tuesday) is a great jumping off point, especially if you want to kick up your charitable activity for the holidays.
There are an incredible amount of organizations doing important work right now (and so many causes that need extra support this year in particular), so it can feel overwhelming to figure out where to direct your immediate attention. It’s often helpful to start at the community level; for example, making a monthly contribution to a mutual aid fund in your area can be a great way to ensure you’re supporting your community all year in ways that are much more direct than donating to a larger national organization. You might also consider giving back to your favorite places (museums, entertainment venues, bars and restaurants and other institutions affected heavily by Covid could likely use extra support right now) to ensure local spots come out of this strong.
Still stumped? The below suggestions (with a primary focus on social and racial justice) are by no means an exhaustive list of places you can/should donate, but we hope you’ll take away a bit of inspiration, and will consider making donations a regular part of your routine moving forward.
(Strapped for cash? You can inquire about donating your professional services to specific organizations, or consider joining a larger network like Creatives for Black Lives, where you can be sought out by people seeking pro-bono work. Many organizations also accept donations of things like food, toiletries, lightly used clothes and books, etc., so there’s always the option to get creative with how you give back.)
This nonprofit works to enhance the well-being of Black children, youth and families by encouraging philanthropy, community service and advocacy in the DC metropolitan area. It’s a great local spot to support, and you can donate here.
Girls For A Change
Over the summer we spoke with Mia Brabham about her new book, and she told us about Girls For A Change; the organization aims to at empower Black girls and other girls of color in Central Virginia by inviting them to design, lead, fund and implement social change projects that confront issues girls face in their own neighborhoods. They also focus on things like goal planning, financial literacy, skill building and more. Super cool initiative, and a great place to support whether you’re DMV-based or not.
INNER City Anglers INC
Started by Carmen Garner, a DC teacher, ICA aims “to instill social-emotional awareness, perseverance, self-confidence, empathy and other life skills along their paths to adulthood” by taking kids fishing. Great concept, and fairly new; help it get off the ground here.
Dreaming Out Loud
Food and land sovereignty are key issues in the fight for racial equity and justice, and Dreaming Out Loud does crucial work in this arena through education and by boosting access to healthy food; consider making a donation to support the important work they’re doing, especially considering it’s locally-focused. You can support them here.
Southeastern African American Farmers’ Organic Network
Based in Atlanta, SAAFON is a nonprofit network of Black farmers concentrated in the Southeastern United States that focuses on culturally relevant, ancestrally guided and ecologically sustainable agricultural-based living. Virginia and Maryland are included in the network, making this an especially great one to support if you’re in the DMV area.
Homelessness is obviously a huge problem nationwide, and Thrive is working to eradicate it in DC. They offer a variety of services, including substance abuse counseling, re-entry and employment programs and more, so be sure to help them continue their important work here.
Support the local immigrant community by funding Ayuda’s work, which includes legal services, social services, language services and more. The organization has helped over 100,000 immigrants since it began in 1973, so help them move strongly into the new year with a donation.
DCATS is a trans-led nonprofit organization that serves to advance the lives of DC-area transmasculine individuals by providing resources that help overcome the social, economic, and health-related barriers to living authentically.
The DC Center
The DC Center for the LGBT Community serves to educate, empower, celebrate and connect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities; while it’s closed due to Covid-19, it has shifted its important programming online, including a virtual World Aids Day event tonight. Support what they do here.
This is a local organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ youth in the DC Metropolitan area by providing leadership development opportunities, after-school programs, transitional housing and counseling services. LGBTQ+ youth involved in the program are able to build self-confidence, develop critical life skills and engage their peers and community through service and advocacy opportunities extended by SMYAL.
Casa Ruby is run by trans women of color, and it offers a wide variety of services to LGBTQ+ individuals including preventative health, mental health support for survivors of violence, immigration services, youth support, housing and social services and more. It’s bilingual and multicultural, and it’s also local, based right here in DC.
Muse 360 Arts
Baltimore-based organization Muse 360 Arts works to provide Baltimore youth of diverse backgrounds with access to high quality arts education through a variety of programs that promote leadership and entrepreneurship. In addition to an arts/dance focus, they offer workshops in financial literacy, advocacy, nutrition, goal-setting and more. Help fund their work here.
The Fishing School
The Fishing School (founded in 1990 by Mr. Tom Lewis) works to provide after school care to youth in DC grades 1-5. The program includes homework help, clubs and more to help empower and educate kids. Fund its thirty years of hard work here.
One Common Unity
One Common Unity is a DC-based nonprofit that engages underserved youth with high-impact music and art programs, as well as peace education; their aim is to create compassionate, healthy communities through these outlets, breaking cycles of violence and poverty through creative empowerment. A great way to support DC-area youth.
And moving beyond the DMV…
National Black Food & Justice Alliance
NBFJA is an coalition of Black-led organizations advocating for Black food and land sovereignty through visibility, institution building and direct action. From the website: “We work to ensure that Black people have not only the right, but the ability to control of our food, through means including but not limited to the means of production & distribution. Governance of food systems must be rooted in the right to healthy & culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound & sustainable methods, and the right to define our own food & agriculture systems.” This is tied to land liberation and self-determining food economies, and NBFJA is doing essential work to achieve those things. Support them here.
Soul Fire Farm
Soul Fire Farm is a BIPOC*-centered community farm committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. Be sure to tune into the below virtual programming (all times listed are ET), and support their work here.
Black Urban Growers (BUGS)
BUGS focuses on building community support for growers in both urban and rural settings, and uses education and advocacy to develop Black leadership in the realm of food and land justice; by strengthening networks across the country, their work is essential to achieve sovereignty. Support them here.
Planting Justice is an Oakland-based grassroots organization that aims to empower people impacted by mass incarceration and other social inequities with the knowledge and tools to cultivate food sovereignty, economic justice and community healing. Support their efforts here.
Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance
First Nations Development Institute
FNDI works to improve economic conditions for indigenous communities by providing support in a number of areas including technical training and assistance, advocacy and policy, and direct financial grants for programs like youth investment, community and household asset building, native foods and health and more. Fund their work here.
Native Wellness Institute
First Nations Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund
Indigenous communities have been severely impacted by Covid, and this fund is working to provide support to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian community emergency needs related to the pandemic. Really important cause, and you can help fund the work here.
Immigrant Defense Project
IDP offers legal services to immigrant communities, and works to ensure that immigrants know their rights in a variety of situations to protect themselves against ICE. Help them continue their efforts here.
Black Outside, Inc.
San Antonio-based Black Outside, Inc. is on a mission to reconnect Black/African-American youth to the outdoors, working to ensure they have access to safe and equitable spaces to explore both nature and self. Fund their efforts here.
The Brown Ascenders
TBA is a nonprofit organization created by BIPOC climbers for BIPOC climbers. Their goal is to boost accessibility of outdoor spaces, outdoor related education and recreation for BIPOC adults and youths, while cultivating outlets for community, representation, and growth. Donate to their work here.
Walking is a great way to get active and practice self-care, and GirlTrek is a nonprofit that’s working to promote it among Black girls and women. Aside from the walking, their members work to improve access to safe places to walk, protect and reclaim green spaces, and improve the walkability and built environments of 50 high-need communities across the United States. Help to fund them here.
Organized through NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers), SEEK (Summer Engineering Experience for Kids) program seeks to address the disparities in STEM participation among Black youth. There are no eligibility requirements necessary to participate in the 3-week program, and the age range goes from third to twelfth grade. A great initiative that you can help fund here.
Know Your Rights Camp
Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp works to educate and empower Black and Brown youth, and they’ve seen big results so far – a reported 98% increase in understanding of rights has been achieved among camp participants. They’re looking to expand to even more cities, and your donations can help keep the project growing.
Make a Chess Move
The school to prison pipeline is a huge problem in the United States, and Colorado-based Make a Chess Move works to disrupt it through the game of chess; they’ve designed a research-based curriculum to reduce youth risk in groups aged 8-24, and they try to employ those who’ve graduated from the program in leadership positions. Help them develop “tenacious learners, compassionate leaders and ethically-driven critical thinkers” by supporting their efforts here.
Black Girls Code
BGC is a super cool organization whose mission is to introduce programming and technology to the next generation of coders; using workshops and after school programs, they’re able to break down the digital divide and introduce girls to basic programming skills in languages like Scratch and Ruby on Rails. Empowering and important work; support them here.
Girls for Gender Equity
This is another crucial youth-focused organization that works to disrupt the school to prison pipeline (as well as the sexual assault to prison pipeline) by engaging all ages and genders to unlearn and undo practices and policies that perpetuate gender-based violence. GGE also empowers girls and women through education, organization and physical fitness. Support their important work here.
Black Girls Smile
BGS focuses on empowering young Black girls to take ownership over their mental health and stability, and works to increase dialogue and combat negative stigmas associated with topics surrounding mental health. They provide information and support, as well as a variety of programs and workshops to boost education and coping skills. Really important work to start young; support BGS here.
An AAPF initiative, the #SayHerName campaign is now in its 5th year of advocating for Black women and femmes through arts activism, policy advocacy and community building. This year their focus is building out a policy agenda focused on addressing intersectional state violence and its impact on Black women and femmes nationwide, and you can fund their efforts here.
The Black Trans Advocacy Coalition
The Black Trans Advocacy Coalition is the only national organization led by Black trans people that works to end discrimination and inequities faced in health, employment, housing and education to improve the lived experience of Black transgender people.
My Sistah’s House
This is a Memphis-based, trans-led nonprofit providing critical help in finding doctors, social groups and safe spaces for the trans community. They provide emergency housing, bail support and more, all of which you can help fund here.
Black Queer & Intersectional Collective
Based in Central Ohio, this grassroots organization works to uplift the needs, narratives and passions of Black LGBTQIA+ people with the ultimate goal of achieving liberation for all. Direct action, community organizing, education and safe space creation are all central to what BQIC does, and you can support them financially here.
The Okra Project
The Okra Project addresses food insecurity by paying Black trans chefs to visit the homes of Black trans people and cook them healthy, culturally-specific home-cooked meals at no cost. In instances where individuals are experiencing homelessness or can’t accommodate a chef’s visit in-home, the organization partners with institutions like Osborne Association and other community spaces to deliver foods. They also offer free therapy (Care Lanes) in honor of Nina Pop and Tony McDade; support their work here.
National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network
National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network is a healing justice organization committed to transforming mental health for queer and trans people of color through their QTPoC Mental Health Practitioner Directory, an interactive digital resource to connect QTPoC to QTPoC practitioners, and the Mental Health Fund, which provides supplemental financial assistance for QTPoC who cannot afford psychotherapy.
Rest for Resistance
Rest for Resistance serves LGBTQIA+ individuals, namely trans & queer people of color, by creating safe healing space; it promotes meditation as an act of resistance, and features art, essays, and a directory of intersectional mental-health resources.
Trans Lifeline is the only peer-support hotline where all operators are trans. The life-saving service is available in the United States and Canada, and operates in both English and Spanish. The organization also provides microgrants to trans and nonbinary individuals to cover the costs of updating and correcting names and/or gender markers on identifying legal documents.
Trans Justice Funding Project
This is a community-led funding initiative that supports grassroots, trans justice groups run by and for trans people. Every penny they receive goes to grantees, and centered areas of focus include trans people organizing around their experiences with racism, economic injustice, transmisogyny, ableism, immigration, incarceration and other intersecting oppressions. The application process is quick and simple so the selected organizations can get down to work, so make a donation to speed up the process even further.
Ruth Ellis Center
Ruth Ellis was a Detroit legend; she was recognized as the oldest surviving out lesbian and LGBT rights activist, living until the age of 101, and her work inspired the Ruth Ellis Center to open in 1999. REC focuses on trauma-informed services for LGBTQ+ youth, and young adults, with an emphasis on young people of color who are experiencing homelessness, are involved in the child welfare system and/or are experiencing barriers to health and well-being. They offer a variety of services including outreach and safety-net services, skill-building workshops, HIV prevention programs and more in hopes of building a better, safer and more equitable future for the LGBTQ+ community. Donate, and also check out the organization’s podcast here.
National Black Justice Coalition
The NBJC is another great LGBTQ+/SGL organization to support; it focuses on fighting federal policy-based initiatives that weaken family units and communities while simultaneously working to eradicate homophobia within the Black community, citing “Building Stronger Black Families” as a central goal. It’s very much rooted in intersectionality, and smartly seeks to bridge “the gaps between the movements for racial justice and LGBTQ/SGL equality” in its approach.
The Marsha P. Johnson Institute
The Marsha P. Johnson Institute provides direct relief to Black trans people; currently the focus is on Covid-19 relief, and all proceeds will be given to affected Black trans individuals.
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence by offering legal services, and by engaging in political education and organizing with incarcerated individuals.
LGBT Books To Prisoners
LGBT Books To Prisoners sends books and other educational materials, free of charge, to incarcerated LGBTQ people across the United States.
LGBTQ Freedom Fund
LGBTQ Freedom Fund posts bail for jailed and detained LGBTQ people, and raises awareness about the critical nature of this work; LGBTQ people are 3x more likely to be incarcerated, and they are at much higher risk for abuse in prison.
A New Way of Life Reentry Project
A New Way of Life does crucial work to provide housing, case management, pro bono legal services, advocacy and leadership development for women rebuilding their lives after prison. Their focus is on healing, empowerment and rights restoration, all of which are key to successful reentry. Support their efforts here.
The Sentencing Project
TSP works to end mass incarceration by addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for alternatives to incarceration. They do a lot of important research-based work which you can support here.
Founded by Macy Gray earlier this year, MyGood aims to support families and loved ones of police brutality victims by providing financial, emotional and mental health support. You can help fund this important work here.
Rebuild the Block
Alexis Akarolo started this fundraiser (now an official nonprofit) on GoFundMe, and it’s currently a fifth of the way to meetings its million dollar goal. The idea is to provide funding to Black-owned small businesses nationwide in order to help them get back on their feet after the economic crisis of COVID-19 and/or the looting destruction that may have taken place in June. You can assist here.
Change Today, Change Tomorrow
This is a Louisville-based nonprofit that is multifaceted in its efforts, which include food justice, public health, education and more. Some examples of campaigns are The Change Closet (which provides new and freshly-laundered like-new clothing to the community), Communal Bleach (which works to get bleach to members of the community who need it during the pandemic), The Umoja Project (which provides the community with hot and cold meals, as well as snacks and toiletries)…the list goes on. Great work, support here.
Color of Change
Color of Change does very important work by addressing injustice from a variety of angles, with focuses that include criminal justice, tech justice, economic justice, culture change and media justice, voting freedom and more. By challenging racist and anti-progressive policies and patterns and holding corporations and politicians accountable, they are able to build power and create real change for Black communities.
Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective
BEAM is a collective of advocates, yoga teachers, artists, therapists, lawyers, religious leaders, teachers, psychologists and activists who are advocating for the emotional/mental health and healing of Black communities. They achieve this through educational training, movement building and grant making. Due to the pandemic, their peer training sessions have gone virtual, but they focus on a wide variety of areas including healing justice, unconscious bias, masculinity and mental health, restorative justice and more. They have also created the Black Virtual Therapist Network, a directory of licensed Black therapists who are certified to provide telemental health right now. Support this organization and the crucial work it does here.
Black Women’s Health Imperative
BWHI is the first nonprofit organization created by Black women to help protect and advance the health and wellness of Black women and girls; they advocate for the empowerment of Black women and girls, and they are working to eradicate the racial and gender-based health disparities faced by Black women. Support this life-saving work here.
National African American Autism Community Network
NAAACN is a Black-led nationwide coalition of organizations dedicated to supporting and educating African American communities affected by autism. Through education, advocacy and strategic partnerships, they work to focus directly on families and communities through grassroots efforts. You can donate to Autism Speaks, which provides the coalition with technical assistance and other resources, or contribute directly to one of the organizations which falls under its umbrella here.
Broadway for Racial Justice
The Laundromat Project
This NYC-based nonprofit makes sustained investments in growing a community of multiracial, multigenerational, and multidisciplinary artists and neighbors committed to societal change via support of their artmaking, community building and leadership development. Donate here.
Art for Justice
Art for Justice makes direct grants to artists and advocates focused on safely reducing the prison population, promoting justice reinvestment and creating art that changes the narrative around mass incarceration. Their grantees work to reallocate government funding back into communities affected by poverty, violence and incarceration, as well as to repeal or reform excessive prison sentences and incarceration laws. They also work to promote reentry, and to use art as a critical tool for change. Support their important and multifaceted efforts here.
Where have you been donating lately? Is there someplace close to your heart that you’d like us to add to this list? Email [email protected] to get in touch.