27 Organizations to Donate To This Holiday Season

Because a lot of times, giving feels better than receiving.
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Adobe Stock / virinaflora / Morgan Johnson

This has been a year of loss, grief, and change, and you might be wondering where to donate to help. On top of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, we have also faced an international reckoning over racial justice and police brutality, and the historic California wildfires, among many other events. If nothing else, 2020 has opened many people’s eyes to the injustices around us, and you might be wondering where to donate so you and your loved ones can make a positive impact this holiday season.

Ahead, 27 organizations that are working every day to make the world a more habitable, just, and equitable place for everyone. All of these organizations have been rated at least three stars by Charity Navigator and are classified as 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Not only do donations make thoughtful last-minute gifts for you or anyone on your list, but they also make a tangible difference in the world around us.

COVID-19

Direct Relief

Direct Relief aims to improve the health and lives of those impacted by disaster and emergencies. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has worked to provide integral PPE and critical care medication to health care workers across the country. Since the beginning of this year, Direct Relief has provided more than $36 million in financial support to health facilities responding to the pandemic, covering 46 million masks, 8 million gloves, and more. Donate here.

United Way of New York City

The New York City branch of humanitarian organization United Way is dedicated to serving lower-income New Yorkers. Throughout the pandemic, United Way of New York City created the COVID-19 Community Fund, which provides resources to partner agencies and community organizations that work with those who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Donate to the COVID-19 Community Fund here.

Racial Justice

Equal Justice Initiative

The Equal Justice Initiative challenges racial and economic injustice, aims to end mass incarceration and excessive punishment, and advocates for basic human rights among the marginalized. The organization provides legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons. It provides reentry assistance to people who were formerly incarcerated, advocates for the end of the death penalty, and more. Donate here.

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund uses litigation, advocacy, and public education to expand democracy, eliminate racial disparities, and achieve racial justice. It continues to defend civil rights and has worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to challenge threats that the Black community faces disproportionately, including evictions and foreclosures, fair elections, economic support, and confronting racism. Donate here.

Immigrant Rights

United We Dream

United We Dream is made up of documented and undocumented immigrant youth who address the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrants and people of color. It has won protections for immigrants through DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), and continues to defend against deportations, improve access to education for immigrants, and advocate for LGBTQ+ immigrants. Donate here.

The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Legal and Education Services (RAICES)

RAICES defends the rights of immigrants and refugees by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees. The Children’s Program, developed by the organization, has provided legal services to 4,700 detained children. In addition, it has spent nearly $12 million to release people from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention. Donate here.

Indigenous Rights

Native American Rights Fund

The Native American Rights Fund provides legal counsel Native American tribes, organizations, and individuals to defend their civil rights. It has achieved results in tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, national resource protection, protecting voting rights, Native American education, and more. It focuses on applying laws and treaties already in place to guarantee that state and federal governments live up to their obligations. Donate here.

American Indian College Fund

The American Indian College Fund invests in Native students and tribal college education to empower young people and provide them with access to quality education. The organization provides scholarships and funding for tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), which allow students to receive a higher education from accredited institutions near their reservation communities. Donate here.

Climate Action

Amazon Conservation Team

The Amazon Conservation Team partners with indigenous and other local communities to protect tropical forests and allow traditional culture to thrive. Communities reach out to the organization to help defend the Amazon forest and its people. The ACT gives their community partners tools to monitor and care for ecosystems and help them develop nondetrimental methods of forest harvesting and subsistence agriculture. Donate here.

Environmental Defense Fund

The Environmental Defense Fund’s mission is to preserve the natural systems that all lives depend on. The scientist-backed organization works with similar organizations, businesses, governments, and communities to preserve oceans, ecosystems, and the climate. The EDF was integral in legislation to curb methane emissions, lower power plant pollution, reduce fertilizer pollution, and more. Donate here.

LGBTQ+ Services

OutRight Action International

OutRight Action International works to secure and fight for LGTBQ+ rights on a regional, national, and international level. They fight against discrimination or abuse based on a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. They have a permanent spot in the United Nations Headquarters to advocate for progress among LGBTQ+ people. Donate here.

Trevor Project

The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ people under 25 years old. LGBTQ+ young people are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers, and the organization mitigates that through phone and text hotlines, suicide-prevention trainings and workshops, and community resources, including TrevorSpace, a safe space social networking site for LGBTQ+ youth. Donate here.

Reproductive Rights

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood provides reproductive and complementary health care services in settings that protect individuals’ privacy and rights. It advocates for reproductive rights policies and provide quality sex education to communities. Not only does the organization provide access to a safe abortion procedure, but it also provides birth control, HIV services, and pregnancy and STI testing, and more. Donate here.

Center for Reproductive Rights

The Center for Reproductive Rights employs attorneys who are experts in reproductive rights, including contraception, abortion, maternal health, funding for reproductive health care, and more. It has helped keep safe abortion policies in place and overturn unlawful policies on the local, state, and federal levels. Donate here.

Veterans Services

Give an Hour

Give an Hour provides free mental health care to active-duty military members, veterans, and their families, as well as other vulnerable populations. It develops and empower 1,400 volunteers who are licensed and capable of giving mental health care to veterans and others. It also partners with Veterans Affairs (VA) to ensure that people have access to community-based providers who understand military culture and current evidence-based treatment approaches. Donate here.

Homes for Our Troops?

Homes for Our Troops builds and donates specially adapted homes across the United States for severely injured post-9/11 veterans. The organization builds the home wherever the veteran wants to live, and continues the relationship after the construction is complete. It also provides free financial planning services to the more than 300 veterans and their families they have helped since the organization’s inception. Donate here.

Mental Health Services

Mental Health America

Mental Health America addresses the needs of people living with mental illness and promotes overall mental health for everyone. It is committed to protecting the rights and dignity of those living with mental illness through education, public policy, peer advocacy and services, and more. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it has advocated for increased funding toward mental health services, which are more integral now than ever before. Donate here.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and providing hope for those affected by suicide. It funds scientific research, provides education about mental health and suicide prevention, advocating for mental health public policies and supporting those affected by suicide. Since it began, it has founded local chapters in all 50 states. Donate here.

Poverty and Hunger

Feeding America

Feeding America is dedicated to feeding people experiencing hunger in the United States. It partners with manufacturers, farmers, and retailers to get food to 200 local member food banks. It has multiple food assistance programs that help vulnerable communities and populations, schools, and disaster-struck areas. Donate here.

CARE?

CARE is a humanitarian organization with women and girls at the center that fights global poverty. As advocates for global responsibility, it provides economic opportunity and food and nutrition assistance, addresses discrimination, aids in disaster relief, and influences policy decisions. The organization works in more than 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people annually. Donate here.

World Central Kitchen

World Central Kitchen donates fresh meals to American communities in need, since many schools, food banks, and city food programs are struggling to make ends meet. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the organization has purchased 12 million meals from local restaurants to feed people experiencing hunger. To date, World Central Kitchen has provided more than 33 million meals in more than 400 cities. Donate here.

Disaster Relief

Americares?

Americares is a health-focused organization that responds to disasters and poverty. It supplies medicine, medical supplies, and health programs to communities in need across the world. It also provides emergency programs to help communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. Every year the organization spends $600 million for transformative health programs and quality medical aid. Donate here.

Other

GlobalGiving?

GlobalGiving is an organization that connects people with smaller vetted nonprofits across the world so that they can get the tools, training, and support they need to help their communities. Individuals can use the search function to find exactly what kind of nonprofit they’re looking to support. Donate here.

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN)

RAINN is the nation’s largest anti–sexual violence organization. It created the Sexual Assault Hotline and operates the Department of Defense Safe Helpline. RAINN partners with more than 1,000 sexual assault service providers across the United States. It offers survivor services and education and advocates for laws and regulations that make communities safer. The organization also leads the national effort to end the rape-kit backlog, which is one of the biggest obstacles to prosecuting perpetrators of sexual violence. Donate here.

Overdose Lifeline

Overdose Lifeline is on the front lines of the opioid crisis in Indiana, helping individuals, families, and communities who have been affected by addiction. It offers opioid training and courses about naloxone and removing the stigma surrounding addiction, as well as support groups and call lines. It spearheaded the effort to make naloxone available over the counter and developed the only youth opioid awareness prevention program. Donate here.

Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society aims to conserve the world’s largest wild places, which are home to 50% of the planet’s biodiversity. It employs scientists who research what wildlife species need to thrive, and then works toward abating threats. It manages accredited zoos across the United States and has established hundreds of conservation projects in 60 countries. Donate here.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to Americans by the Constitution and U.S. laws. Throughout the last 125 years, it has aided in historic wins for civil, reproductive, LGBTQ+, privacy, and more rights for Americans. Donate here.

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