OK FOLKS. Let’s do something fun. I do love a surprise and this year we didn’t do a flash makeover and the one we had planned and worked on for months (still happening) I couldn’t travel to because of the Covid surge!!! But there are other ways. I don’t need to remind you that so many people have been negatively impacted from this year – physically, financially, mentally, and emotionally – some ALL of those things. So for those of you/us who haven’t and are able to help we wanted to create a fun way to do so. Right now volunteering or even doing a feel-good makeover doesn’t feel as safe and yet most of these small (and big) non-profits are still on the ground, helping others. So I thought it would be fun to do a “Giving Challenge” and see how much we can raise for small non-profits that are especially helping people, families and individuals, frontline workers, kids impacted from this special year from hell – but doesn’t have to be specific to that either.
We crowdsourced from you a list of mostly small non-profits (Thank you!) and researched even more. Of course, I don’t want to diminish the importance of in-person service and volunteering – I actually think the physical act is so much more meaningful than donating, but listen we all have different comfort levels, capacities, and situations right now and we wanted to create an easy and fun way to give.
So here is the list that you gave us that we split into different categories just to make sifting through them a little easier. We wanted to make sure that you had the full list in case another one spoke to you or was in your area (or near to your heart).
Housing Support (For Families And Individuals)
The first few in this group are LA organizations that I’ve personally worked with, and then rest are crowdsourced from you!
Pen and Napkin: We worked with them on the rummage sale and a surprise makeover for a family transitioning out of homelessness and I can tell you firsthand how passionate, amazing and generous they are. They work with volunteer designers to furnish families transitioning out of homelessness. I love them.
Selah: (Silverlake) I volunteered with this group and can tell you that they are awesome and I’ve seen the change they have made in our community in LA. They do so much outreach and research with the homeless on the eastside of LA. I was very impressed with them (the church that I attended in LA worked with them two days a week to provide food and showers).
San Fernando Rescue Mission: This was the family shelter that I designed and while it is privately owned (through thrift stores) it is incredible and I witnessed firsthand how much they helped families. They didn’t just house, but rehabilitated on every front (career development, health education, financial advisement, etc). Love them.
Miry’s List: I’ve worked with Miry a lot and I can tell you how wonderful she is and how many lives she’s improved. Miry’s List is a movement of neighbors and friends dedicated to welcoming new arrival refugee families into our community through inspired crowdsourcing solutions.
Path: People Assisting The Homeless. Path has a really great reputation in LA and I’ve met with them and can personally say they are run very well (been around 30 years in LA).
Northwest Pilot Program: Helping seniors find and attain affordable housing. (Portland, OR).
Clare Housing: Clare Housing uses affordable supportive housing to create homes, health, and hope for over 280 people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS each and every day.
Sonoma County Housing Land Trust: Providing homeownership opportunities to low and moderate-income families in Sonoma County while ensuring permanent housing affordability through the use of a land trust model.
Taking Ownership PDX: This community organization launched to help Black community members stay in their homes by fixing them up to create generational wealth. We’ve emailed and I’m hoping to work with them when we move up to Portland.
Small Sums (Minneapolis): They work to foster self-sufficiency among homeless individuals by helping them with the items they need in order to start back to work and back to more stable lives.
Spanish Coalition for Housing in Chicago: Providing education and tools for Latinx and other low to moderate-income families. Generational wealth!
A Sense of Home: A Sense of Home strives to prevent homelessness by creating first-ever homes for youth aging out of foster care with donated furniture and home goods. 50% of those struggling with homelessness are former foster youth. A Sense of Home believes the homeless crisis can only end through prevention.
National Coalition for the Homeless: The National Coalition for the Homeless is a national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others committed to a single mission: To end and prevent homelessness while ensuring the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and their civil rights are respected and protected.
My Friends Place: For more than 31 years, My Friend’s Place has been assisting and inspiring homeless youth to build self-sufficient lives. They offer comprehensive services to nearly 1,400 youth experiencing homelessness between the ages of 12 and 25, and their children, each year, helping homeless young people move toward wellness, stability, and self-sufficiency.
Illumination Foundation: Provides targeted, interdisciplinary services for the most vulnerable homeless adults and children in order to disrupt the cycle of homelessness.
Portland Homeless Family Solutions: They provide rent assistance and case management for 6-12 months to help families keep their housing long-term.
She Should Run: We LOVE THIS. We need more women in positions of power, especially in politics so they are determined to help do this.
Thistle Farms: Amazing recovery and job preparation for women – and you can support by buying their candles (Christmas present?)
A New Way of Life: I listened to Armchair Expert with founder Susan Burton and was so inspired by her story. She helps formerly incarcerated women by providing housing, job training, therapy – anything they need, really. An incredible story (and her book is supposed to be amazing – would be a great gift).
Step by Step (Washington): Transforms the lives of at-risk pregnant women, so they will deliver healthy babies, embrace positive parenting, and establish safe homes and secure futures. (Washington)
Project Free To Fly: Works with rehabilitation programs in our area to identify women who are ready to make the move from recovery to a sustainable life. They hire women and teach them the skills they need to manufacture the products sold in our shop and online.
Melanated Pearl: They seek to educate, uplift, and empower Black women by providing critical services that contribute to economic stability and mobility.
Safe Voices: The largest domestic violence resource.
Gender Justice: Advocating for gender equality, through the law (like the ACLU for women).
Global Village Project: Helping immigrant girls whose education was disrupted.
No More Secrets MBS: Ending Period Poverty. I didn’t know this was a thing until this year and it really affect underserved girls. Here’s the link to their current Go-fund me to get a space to distribute. Lack of menstruation products and education leads to shame/self-esteem problems as well as girls missing school, setting them back in their education.
Worldwide Fistula Fund: They help restore the health and dignity of the world’s most vulnerable women by preventing and treating devastating childbirth injuries.
Early Pregnancy Loss Association: The Early Pregnancy Loss Association (EPLA) supports women and families as they suffer early pregnancy loss. To provide this support, they distribute resources to care providers that directly aid women while they undergo the immediate physical and emotional burden of their loss.
Racial and Social Justice Advocacy Organizations
Equitable Giving Circle (Portland, OR): Supporting BIPOC through housing stability and community-based agriculture. Shifting the power structure has real change.
Don’t Shoot PDX: Black-led human rights nonprofit that advocates for accountability. Since 2014, they have implemented art, education, and civic participation within our programming to create social change.
The Loveland Foundation: Committed to showing up for communities of color in unique and powerful ways, with a particular focus on Black women and girls. Their resources and initiatives are collaborative and they prioritize opportunity, access, validation, and healing.
First Nations Development Institute: Their mission is to strengthen American Indian economies to support healthy Native communities. They invest in and create innovative institutions and models that strengthen asset control and support economic development for American Indian people and their communities. They are also trying to help with Covid relief in native communities which are being so horribly impacted.
Black Women’s Blueprint: Providing a blueprint for Black liberation through a feminist lens.
The Conscious Kid: I’m not alone in relying on this Instagram (and organization) to help me learn and teach anti-racism to our kids. It’s fantastic and I’ve learned so much from them (and will continue to donate).
Transgender Law Center: Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, they employ a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender-nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation.
Celebration Nation: This looks very new but they are dedicated to helping Latinx farmers, agriculture workers, and their families in California.
Native American Rights Fund: Since 1970, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) has provided legal assistance to Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide who might otherwise have gone without adequate representation.
Okra Project: The Okra Project is a collective that seeks to address the global crisis faced by Black Trans people by bringing home-cooked, healthy, and culturally specific meals and resources to Black Trans people wherever we can reach them.
Until Freedom: Until Freedom is an intersectional social justice organization rooted in the leadership of diverse people of color to address systemic and racial injustice. At Until Freedom, they believe that those closest to the pain are closest to the solution, therefore, they focus on investing in those who are the most directly impacted by cyclical poverty, inequality, and state violence.
Black Lives Matter: If you don’t know already they are a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.
Black Mamas Matter Alliance: A Black women-led cross-sectoral alliance. This non-profit focuses on centering Black mamas to advocate, drive research, build power, and shift culture for Black maternal health, rights, and justice.
Detention Watch Network: A national coalition building power through collective advocacy, grassroots organizing, and strategic communications to abolish immigration detention in the United States.
Black Girls Code: To increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.
Native Wellness Institute: NWI is the leading training resource for Native communities and organizations. We provide an array of training and technical assistance services.
Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO): To organize with our community to accomplish environmental justice in Little Village and achieve the self-determination of immigrant, low-income, and working-class families.
Foster and Youth Programs (Including Arts!)
My Friend’s Place: Providing a place for homeless or impoverished youth to drop in, be safe, and provide resources. They are real leaders in LA on helping impoverished (and especially unhoused) youth.
Horizons For Homeless Children (Massachuttetes): Full services for homeless children. They do heartbreaking and beautiful work.
With Love Oregon: Foster Family support in Oregon to help both the families and the kids have support and resources.
SPY: To empower young people experiencing homelessness to thrive by providing lasting, community-driven solutions that address racial and social inequity. You can even buy their art as Christmas gifts to help support!
Life Pieces to Masterpieces: Uses artistic expression to develop character and leadership, unlock potential, and prepare African American boys and young men to transform their lives and communities.
Friends of Outdoor School (Oregon): Helping every Oregon student attends a week of Outdoor School – because many have never been on a hike or to the beach, and the education/inspiration you can get from nature is very impactful.
ACS (Boston): Their goal is to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by providing the professional mental health services children need to improve their long-term health and well-being. They do this by providing children and families with access to direct, no-cost mental health care and assistance navigating the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Jess’ friend works here and can attest to the amazing work they do.
ParentChild Plus: Ending inequality starting at the beginning (child education).
CASA: Supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every child who has experienced abuse or neglect can be safe, have a permanent home, and the opportunity to thrive. They work with a lot of foster children and I’ve heard really good things about them.
A Sense of Home: A Sense of Home strives to prevent homelessness by creating first-ever homes for youth aging out of foster care with donated furniture and home goods.
Baby 2 Baby: Provides children living in poverty, ages 0-12 years, with diapers, clothing, and all the basic necessities that every child deserves.
Inspiring Children: Mental health for struggling youth. The leadership program provides youth with a “psychology for life” to change the children’s mindset, help them deeply appreciate their opportunities, and give their best in everything they do.
Project Hope Alliance (SoCal): They work alongside kids and youth to eliminate barriers brought on by homelessness that could impede their ability to learn and succeed in school. Educational tech support is especially in need during covid.
Playtime Project (Washington, DC): They partner with homeless shelters in Washington, D.C., to create safe and fun play spaces for children living in shelters. I love that so much.
CreateNowArts (Los Angeles): Helps kids in poverty, abuse, and homelessness through writing, drawing music – all the arts.
Young and Healthy (Pasadena): Connecting underserved youth with medical and dental (and helps families navigate insurance and paperwork).
Inside Out Writers: The mission of Inside Out Writers is to reduce the juvenile recidivism rate by providing a range of services that evolves to meet the needs of currently and formerly incarcerated youth and young adults.
Project Lemonade (Portland, OR): They support foster youth and provide resources for them to realize their gifts and gain confidence, so they achieve success in school and life.
America Needs You: America Needs You fights for economic mobility for ambitious, first-generation college students.
Unravel Pediatric Cancer: Unravel is a nonprofit working to bridge the gap in funding for pediatric cancer research. With the help of warrior families and their communities, Unravel raises awareness of the need for this research and the funds to support it.
Nashville Diaper Connection: This nonprofit provides diapers to an average of 3,392 babies in need every month, which only meets 8.2% of diaper need for babies living in poverty. You can help them by donating funds or participating in their first-ever virtual diaper drive!
Youth in Focus: Provides after-school, summer, and partner programs of digital and darkroom photography for teens aged 13-19 furthest from educational justice.
Classroom Law Project: Prepares youth to become active, engaged, and informed participants in a democratic society.
Mending Matters: Mending Matters works with school districts and community partners to offer customized therapeutic services for middle and high school students.
Concrete Jungle Foundation: An international non-profit organization that builds skateparks and runs youth development programming in underserved communities around the world.
Larkin Street Youth Services (San Francisco): Since 1984, Larkin Street Youth Services has given more than 75,000 young people a safe place to rebuild their lives. They provide housing, education and employment training, and health and wellness support to help these young people get off the street for good.
Girls On The Run: Girls on the Run is an after-school program designed to inspire girls of all abilities to recognize and embrace their inner strength.
Treehouse Foundation: Promotes public investment in our most vulnerable children. They inspire, implement, and support innovative child welfare practices to ensure children who experience foster care find forever families and supportive communities, empowering them to lead fulfilling, productive lives.
Disease Research & Prevention, Mental Illness Support, and Disability Programs
Wounded Warriors: Committed to helping veterans and their families who have had a physical or mental injury since 9/11. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.
Headstrong: Headstrong provides cost-free, bureaucracy-free, stigma-free, confidential, and effective mental health treatment for post-9/11 veterans and their families. They even manage the paperwork. 🙂
Darkness to Light: I went to a fundraiser for them a couple of years ago and was highly impressed by their program to prevent sexual abuse in kids. They are a child abuse advocacy and education non-profit where they teach parents how to talk to kids about sexual abuse in order to prevent it.
Art Enables: Art Enables is an art gallery and vocational arts program dedicated to creating opportunities for artists with disabilities to make, market, and earn income from their original and compelling artwork.
Stand Up To Cancer: Stand Up To Cancer’s mission is to raise funds to accelerate the pace of groundbreaking translational research that can get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. By galvanizing the entertainment industry, SU2C has set out to generate awareness, educate the public on cancer prevention, and help more people diagnosed with cancer become long-term survivors.
National Fragile X Foundation: The National Fragile X Foundation serves all those living with Fragile X with a focus on community, awareness, and research in the pursuit of treatments and a cure. Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited intellectual and developmental disability. An estimated 1.5 million Americans have the gene premutation, and an estimated 100,000 Americans have Fragile X syndrome.
Fountain House: Fountain House’s vision is for people with mental illness everywhere to achieve their potential and be respected as workers, neighbors, and friends.
Project HEAL: Their programs help people with eating disorders get the care they need and have been repeatedly denied by providing insurance navigation, treatment placement, and cash assistance.
Food and Covid Resources
Jose Andreas World Central Kitchen: So many people recommended this one and it looks incredible. World Central Kitchen uses the power of food to empower communities and strengthen economies. They tap restaurants all over and have made a HUGE impact during covid.
Hunger Free Oklahoma: Local food pantry program that I’m sure has been tapped for resources and could use more to help feed people.
Urban Sprouts (San Francisco): Urban Sprouts plants the seeds of social equity to build healthy and thriving neighborhoods in San Francisco.
Plant Based Food Share (Seattle): Working to eliminate food insecurity and improve the health & well-being of the diverse & underserved communities impacted by hardships due to COVID-19, poverty, and dietary racism. I love this so much.
Packed with Pride (Portland, OR): Packing and delivering food boxes to school families in need.
Homey Made Meals: I wish this were in the mountains so badly. People make homemade meals from their own homes for the un-housed (and low-income) during Covid.
Conscious Alliance: A movement of artists, musicians, food makers, and music lovers on a mission to end hunger in underserved communities nationwide. You can buy artwork there, too! (Presents?)
Feeding America: The Feeding America network is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, working to connect people with food and end hunger.
Council of Peoples Organization (NYC): COPO is a non-profit organization in New York City serving the South Asian community providing multiple services. Through their broad range of programs, they help to fulfill the dreams of Asian Americans and other neighbors across New York City. To learn more listen to this The Daily episode.
Giving Kitchen: Giving Kitchen provides emergency assistance to food service workers through financial support and a network of community resources.
Appetite For Change (Minneapolis): Through youth and workforce development programs, social enterprises, and policy initiatives, they build community capacity to engage with the food system in a fresh and sustainable way.
Los Angeles Regional Food Bank: They distribute food and other essentials to children, seniors, families, and other individuals in need.
The Net FW (Fort Worth): Seeking to connect those in need (poverty and immigration) through networks – to restore dignity through relationships. I love how holistic this sounds.
Little Hands Can: Connecting kids with service projects. YES. Temporarily closed, but wanted to include them because I think it’s so important for kids to do acts of service – for them and for the future of our country.
Come Alive outside: works closely with partners in healthcare, public health, outdoor recreation, and the landscape profession in order to get people off the couch and back outside in communities across North America!
The Cabin (Idaho): Forging community through reading and literacy for both kids and adults.
Heart Studios: This actually launched today and I’m sure it would be lovely to give then a burst of funding. They exist to break the generational cycle of abuse and trauma by transforming the Heart through creative expressive therapy.
Black Artists + Designers Guild: This one is obviously very important to us and our industry. BAD Guild works to build a more equitable and inclusive industry for independent Black artists, makers, and designers in creative industries.was created to build a more equitable and inclusive industry for independent Black artists, makers, and designers in creative industries.
GiveDirectly: An evidence-based model where you can, yes, GIVE directly to a million different causes.
Slow Food Lake Tahoe (CA): Their goal is to connect our community to the enjoyment of good, clean, and fair food by inspiring a self-reliant food culture. We educate the community about growing, preparing, and accessing local and sustainable food. Good, clean, and fair food for all.
This Whole Life Foundation: Seeks to help individuals and businesses live well, feel whole, and grow sustainably by providing education and/or scholarship funds to obtain wellness services or opportunities.
Built By Community (Iowa City): They provide services related to crisis intervention, suicide prevention, food insecurity, poverty, and more.
Rainbow Service: Provides trauma-informed services for survivors impacted by the cycle of domestic violence.
Generation Serve (Houston, TX): A volunteer program teaching families how to serve and connecting them with service projects. Amazing.
L.A. Goal: Providing Services to adults with developmental disabilities, and they make and sell art (yes, online:))
Because People Matter (PDX): A people to people non-profit. They work to create relational environments that provide and deliver mobilization, relief, and development for the underserved.
Inclusive Action For the City: Their mission is to bring people together to build strong, local economies that uplift low-income urban communities through advocacy and transformative economic development initiatives.
Preemptive Love: Provides relief on the frontlines of conflict – food to help families survive, shelter to remake home, and medicine to mend the wounds of war.
RefugeeOne (Chicago): RefugeeOne creates opportunities for refugees fleeing war, terror, and persecution to build new lives of safety, dignity, and self-reliance. They walk alongside refugees from the moment they land at O’Hare International Airport—welcoming them to Chicago and providing furnished apartments, English classes, job search support, mental health care, youth programming, and mentors to help them adjust to life in the U.S.
Big Table: Provides support for food industry workers due to the fact that “more of the WORKING POOR work in the food industry than any other place in the nation. Caring for them means caring for people who are already doing all they can on their own and still not making it.”
Animals And The Environment
Intersectional Environmentalist: This is an inclusive version of environmentalism that advocates for both the protection of people and the planet. It identifies the ways in which injustices happening to marginalized communities and the earth are interconnected.
Wagmor Pets (Los Angeles): Dog rescue in Studio City. They are slammed with vet bills right now because of the dogs they are taking in from Bakersfield. They never turn a dog down.
A Purposeful Rescue (Los Angeles): This one SAVES DOGS FROM HIGH-KILL LOS ANGELES AREA SHELTERS (and they’ve got quite the Instagram following).
The Wildwoods Foundation (Los Angeles): The mission of the Wildwoods Foundation is to equip the children, families, and educators of Los Angeles to practice the principles of ecology in creating sustainable, harmonious communities.
Sierra Club: Promotes climate solutions, conservation, and movement building through a powerful combination of strategic philanthropy and grassroots advocacy.
Phew. I know that we are missing so many (please leave in comments!).
Pulling together this post was the most inspiring 8 hours of my 2020. Reading about each organization, their mission statement, who they are helping, and “how” made me (A.) want to join them and do more good in the world and (B.) made me feel optimistic about human beings and our future. Despite the shit show that was 2020 there a lot of people dedicating their time and resources to helping other people, and to make the world better (for all of us). If you can’t donate anything today, or in the future just reading about what they are doing, might put you in a good mood and give you hope. It did me. If you can donate with me, thank you 🙂
The Giving Challenge
I’d love to show these organizations some love so I am donating to most of them to spread the love around. I went back and forth about picking 5 and matching your donations up to $1000 each, but ultimately I want them all to get love today and thought it best for you to choose what speaks to you.
The challenge: Any of you who can, read and pick any that speaks personally to you, and donate, again if you can. If you are able to, then email your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org because it would be fun to see the total that EHD raised (not necessary, just a fun thing to do). If you can’t give this year, PLEASE no guilt, know that even learning about some of them, following on social media, and giving them more awareness is a very very good thing 🙂
Side note! I’m personal friends with Andrea who is very closely involved with Darkness to Light – a child sexual abuse education organization. They teach parents and educators how to talk to kids about pedophilia and thus to prevent child sexual abuse as well as rehabilitate. When I reached out to her to feature she said that she would match up to 20K of donations to Darkness to Light 🙂 I can vouch for the organization myself and have gone to a fundraiser where I learned how amazing it is. Here’s how to donate: Go to D2L.org and at the top of the homepage is a big banner for donations. Once you click on the banner, all you have to do is put the amount and then check that it’s a gift in honor of someone and write in Emily Henderson. That way they can track that way and they don’t need to enter address or email at all.
Lastly, obviously there are a MILLION non-profits out there and we would love to include more. We pulled these from the comments and DMs as well as those that we’ve personally worked with but we know there are so many more. But please leave others in the comments!! I’m going to be bookmarking this post (and feel free to send it to your friends who want to help but just aren’t sure how right now). xx