13 Charities my readers are passionate about (Part 1)

boston fanueil hall holiday christmas lights

Before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season gets into full swing, I wanted to pause and find new ways to support my local community, as well as causes near and dear to the hearts of this online community! In looking for organizations to donate to, I asked you guys on Instagram to tell me about initiatives important to you. It’s been incredible reading about the many different causes from founders, employees, and volunteers alike amongst the readership of this blog!

If you feel inclined to give back but aren’t sure where to start, I’m excited to share a few of the nonprofit organizations that you guys are involved with. They range from small homegrown charities to more established ones, and there were a lot of submissions so I’ll share part 2 over the next few weeks! If there’s an organization or cause that you’re passionate about, please share with us by leaving a comment below!

And for Boston readers, stay tuned for a holiday drive we’re hosting locally in early December!

Children and Family-Related Causes
  • Cakes4Kids shared by Mary A., volunteer | California + Virginia
    “I volunteer and bake birthday cakes and cookies for underserved youth, including kids that are in group homes, at a domestic violence or human trafficking shelter, in low-income housing, or even homeless. The kids share their birthday treat wish (theme, flavor, colors etc…) and we bake a homemade cake or cookies for their special day. We are sure to include their name on the cake – many of the kids have NEVER had a birthday cake personalized just for them.”
  • Action for Childcare shared by Amanda G., board member | Michigan
    Our mission is to ensure that children have the opportunity to thrive in healthy and safe environments by providing health and safety kits and safe sleep equipment for low-income families. Many families can’t afford essential equipment like fire alarms, baby gates, or even safe places for their baby to sleep. In our first full year in operation, we provided equipment to more than 176 families, but there is so much unmet need. We are an all volunteer organization with very low overhead, and nearly all funds raised go towards our health and safety equipment.”
  • Generation Hope shared by Devon H., employee | Greater Washington, DC area
    “[Our organization] supports teen parents in college and their kiddos. Founded in 2010, our mission is to surround motivated teen parents and their children with the mentors, emotional support, and financial resources that they need to thrive in college and kindergarten, thereby driving a two-generation solution to poverty. We serve up to 100 teen parents in college each year, and advocate for policy change and increased support for the nearly 4 million student parents at colleges around the country working to complete their degrees.”
  • Pop-Up Birthday shared by Anonymous | Greater Austin, TX area
    Founded by a mama of 3, this organization also spreads birthday joy for children affected by the foster care system. Donations can go towards pop-up birthday boxes (put together by volunteers), which include a re-useable storage bin with party goods, a gift card for cake, a personalized card and gifts from the child’s wish list (a gift for FUN, a gift for NEED and a gift to READ).
Education-related causes
  • Education is Forever shared and co-founded by Irene H. | Greater Los Angeles area
    “In 2015, my then fiancé-now husband and I founded a scholarship fund, Education is Forever, in lieu of an engagement ring. We met at a school that serves 18-24 year old nontraditional students trying to earn their high school diplomas…Since then, we’ve been able to raise over $30,000 and grant 77 scholarships. Our scholarship fund is now a fledgling nonprofit, funded mostly through the salaries of my husband and myself, run by scrappy group of volunteers, that provides the following: Affordable dorm-style housing for homeless students, Mentorship and coaching in key areas that promote college success, Scholarships to help with non-tuition related expenses”
  • Embracing Equity shared and founded by Daisy H. | National
    “After teaching in Montessori education for 10 years, I finally decided to create a platform and learning community for educators to build the skills and capacity that we were not being trained on in our teacher preparation. [We] explicitly address equity across schools and geographic boundaries in an accessible, online learning platform and through in-person workshops.
    It’s a community of educators, parents, children and change-agents who are on a journey of integrated social justice, anti-bias, anti-racist education for every child.”
  • She’s the First shared by Hannah C., volunteer | Global (with 200 college chapters)
    “She’s The First is a [global] organization that’s dedicated to advocating for educational mobility for women, especially those in locations where education might not be easily accessible due to a multitude of factors. We have a chapter on Emory Campus and so far, we’ve worked hard to fundraise for our partnered girls in Nepal and India.
  • Gadgets for Future Graduates shared and co-founded by Courtney C. | Northeast Pennsylvania
    “We officially launched our charity this year and our goal is to raise money in order to purchase items for students in 7th-12th grade who are in need or experiencing hardships of one kind or another. We plan to gift students something they want/need around the holiday season in order to put a smile on their face and, hopefully, give them an incentive/motivation to work hard in school. This year we are focusing on students at my husband’s alma mater, but we have every intention of expanding nationwide, similar to a Toys for Tots but for teenagers!”
Women’s issues & empowerment Causes
  • Cozy Warrior shared by Anna W., founder (a dear friend whom I met through the infertility community)
    “The reason I started The Cozy Warrior is because I believe infertility is a lonely road but it doesn’t have to be…Our mission is to empower women struggling to conceive, offering them comfort, strength and community. We want to get each woman in the midst of her journey a pair of cozy socks, and eventually grants to give them a real helping hand. I wanted to encourage anyone with an infertility story to submit their story.
  • HAWC shared by Katrina T., volunteer | Salem, MA
    “A wonderful local charity is HAWC (healing abuse, working for change) – a Salem, MA nonprofit that provides free services to women and children who are victims of domestic abuse. It’s an amazing organization that I’ve worked to support numerous times through toy drives, back-to-school supply collections, and their annual Walk For HAWC fundraiser. They truly make such a difference in people’s lives, and their services have a direct impact on the Greater Boston community.”
  • The Women’s Fund shared by Katheryn G., volunteer | Greater Houston area
    “I’ve worked with this non-profit for three years now, and their mission is to teach health and resiliency skills to young adolescent girls in the Greater Houston area. I taught our “What About Me?” class which is a 10-week curriculum where our girls learn about skills like healthy eating, communication, personal relationships, goal setting, and the changes our bodies grow through as young girls during those middle- school years and how to manage your health as a young girl and ultimately, a woman.”
  • Planned Parenthood shared by Nancy V. | National
    “It’s not only important, it is essential that women have access to affordable care. Planned Parenthood doesn’t only perform abortions. They provide health services like: paps, birth control, STD testing for underserved communities … I’m lucky enough to not need [their] services now but when I was younger and in need of women’s health services, I was able to turn to clinics like Planned Parenthood. There are women out there who still need these services.” 
  • Rosie’s Place shared by Mary G., volunteer | Boston, MA
    “A Boston charity I feel really passionately about is Rosie’s Place, a homeless shelter for women. I have volunteered there in person and donated to them for years, and I’m astounded by their amazing work. Not only do they provide food and shelter, but also things like interview training to help women get back on their feet.”
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  1. Laura wrote:

    I also agree with you Mary. I was very disappointed to see it in this list. Such an evil organization that murders defenseless human beings. For those who support it, if you have an open mind, I recommend watching the movie “Unplanned” based on the real life of a once Planned Parenthood Director of the Year, who thought she was truly helping women with health care until she discovered what really goes on in this organization 🙁

    Posted 11.22.19 Reply
  2. Love love love this Jean — such a great way to connect more readers with fantastic charities!

    Happy Wednesday!

    Posted 11.21.19 Reply
  3. Kitty wrote:

    Lovely post!

    Posted 11.21.19 Reply
  4. Mary wrote:

    It was refreshing to see the title of this post and a joy to read about these charities until I read “Planned Parenthood” on the list. The other health-related services it provides do not negate the fact that Planned Parenthood performs abortions. I am saddened to see this organization included here.

    Posted 11.21.19 Reply
    • Trish wrote:

      I so agree with you, Mary. Thank you for speaking up.

      Posted 11.21.19 Reply
    • Lisa wrote:

      I agree with you, Mary. It also makes me sad to see this listed here.

      Posted 11.21.19 Reply
      • Denise wrote:

        Love the list, but ditto on the no on Planned Parenthood. The reason many people are celebrating this holiday season is because of an unplanned birth that did not end in abortion. I come from a long line of family who adopt. Giving to adoption charities gets my blessing.

        Posted 11.22.19 Reply
    • E. wrote:

      Precisely. Their business is abortion – not healthcare for women who need it. There are plenty of other clinics called Federally Funded Health Care Centers that provide real care for women and really need the money, because Planned Parenthood lies about how they are the only place we women can get healthcare. Donate to those organizations instead – that provide prenatal care, postnatal care, cancer screenings, mammograms, all the things Planned Parenthood lies about providing. There are so many more deserving women-centered organizations that do not kill babies.

      Posted 11.23.19 Reply
  5. SusieG wrote:

    Thank you for including Planned Parenthood, even though I am sure some will disagree. When I was a young woman, they provided the only healthcare that I could afford. And wonderful post all the way around … just in time for Giving Tuesday 🙂

    Posted 11.21.19 Reply
    • Emily Q wrote:

      I couldn’t agree more, glad to see it on this list even though it can be controversial. And also glad to see people here have voiced their opinions on both sides of the matter in a civil way.

      Posted 11.21.19 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      Jean , first I would like to thank you for this wonderful post and I know you did it with good intentions but Im just so sad to read these “appalling” comments(and appalling is the only way to describe them) regarding Planned Parenthood. Everyone is welcome to their own opinion but the only evil and hate I see here is not in Planned Parenthood but in these comments! So unfortunate when the true meaning of community spirit is respect for one another. If you disagree with Planned Parenthood’s mission then don’t support it or volunteer there but you have no right to judge those who do.

      Posted 11.22.19 Reply
  6. Maria wrote:

    Thank you for such a great post (and can’t wait to see part 2). Every year I try to tell people not to give me birthday or Christmas presents and instead to donate to a charity I care about (usually animal or healthcare related). I don’t really need more stuff and the money would help someone else more than it would help me. I even suggested to one of my friends that’s getting married to do that in lieu of wedding gifts.

    Posted 11.21.19 Reply
  7. Gwen Kennedy wrote:

    Jean thank you!! Some of my earliest memories as a child are donating my time (we didn’t grow up with a lot) with my mom and brother to charitable causes around Boston – wrapping gifts for kids in Children hospital at 3 years old… “adopting” an elder from a homeless shelter for a day to include in our holiday festivities. It is such an integral part of the holiday season, whether monetary contributions or the gift of time, and the true meaning of the holidays. Thank you for curating this list from your readers and including the vital organization Planned Parenthood. My warmest Thanksgiving wishes to you, Nick and Nori! 🙂

    Posted 11.21.19 Reply
  8. Shelley M wrote:

    These are great! Planned Parenthood was the only health care available to me when I was an 18 year old single mom since I was broke and my boss didn’t believe in healthcare for his employees. I owe them so much.

    Posted 11.21.19 Reply
  9. Ariel wrote:

    These are such great organizations! Another is Beds for Kids (https://www.ohaat.org/program-info), a charity organization in greater Philadelphia that provides beds, bedding, and evidence-based healthy sleep education to children living in poverty and without an individual bed to sleep in. Healthy sleep is critical for positive child development and the program has been linked to child sleep improvements (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/27655459/#)! As a board member, sleep psychologist, and researcher, I think this program is so important for supporting at-risk youth and their families.

    Posted 11.21.19 Reply
  10. Janine wrote:

    This is such an amazing blogpost, I am going to share this with friends and family! Thank you so much for using your reach and your community to raise awareness and showcase ways of being able to help.
    xx Janine

    Posted 11.21.19 Reply
  11. Carla Krae wrote:

    Tunnel 2 Towers. Any local cat rescue that focuses on TNR. World Vision provides livestock to families in developing countries so they can care for themselves, gives children the chance for schooling, vaccines and malaria nets, helps victims of human trafficking, etc. There are also several nice charities pairing rescue dogs/service dogs with veterans.

    Posted 11.21.19 Reply
  12. Rachel wrote:

    Thank you for reminding folks to give back – such an important message!

    I imagine most of your readers are from the U.S. I often remind myself how comparatively well-off most of us are here, compared to many other people in the world. For those who are interested in Global Health & Development Charities, I recommend looking at GiveWell’s recommended charities (https://www.givewell.org/).

    Posted 11.20.19 Reply
  13. Katie wrote:

    The Community Music Center of Boston! They welcome children and adults of all ages to learn music (from vocals to classical instruments) at an affordable price for families and individuals with scholarships.

    Posted 11.20.19 Reply

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