2016 i finally behind us, so let us focus on something so so much better: 2017. Everyone has New Year’s resolutions that they’re going to fail – are you really going to start going to the gym 5 days a week?
Are you really going on that juice diet? Maybe you are, but like, you’re probably not – instead of thinking of yourself, try starting this year by thinking of others. Here’s a list of some amazing charities you might not have heard about that could use a dose of your leftover holiday cheer:
• Feminist Majority Foundation
Founded in 1987 (woo Second Wave!) with a focus on “consciousness raising” and feminist issues such as reproductive rights, women’s equality and “recruiting and training young feminists.” FMF “utilize[s] research and action to empower women economically, socially and politically” through education, leadership and policy development. In 2017 they have some really exciting events coming up, such as the Global Women’s Rights Awards and the National Young Women’s Leadership Conference.
If you’re interested in learning more, or donating to a great cause:
• Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
This leading national civil rights law and policy center was founded in 1979 with the purpose of helping individuals and families with disabilities or children with disabilities. They focus on legal advocacy, training, education, public policy and legislative development such as: educating lawyers and government officials about disability civil rights laws, educating poeple with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities about their rights, as well as working on ground breaking legistlation such as the 1990 American with Disabilities Act or the IDEA Amendments Act.
For more info and this totally sweet, able and life changing group:
• American Association of University Women
This organization has been around for over a hundred years, since 1881, and has focused on “crush[ing] the patriarchy” and empowering women since the get go. With 170,000 members this group focuses on battling stereotypes in nine main ways: research, creating/empowering campus leadership, focusing on STEM education, public policy, case support for discrimination trials, education funding, global connections and development, member leadership and helping with salary negotiations.
If you’re interested in learning more, or donating to a great cause:
• Native American Rights Fund
Founded in 1971, this group focuses on legal rights and representation of various Native tribes nationwide. They primarily focus on legal activity, such as tribe sovereignty, treaty rights, natural resource protection and Indian education programs. By centering on Native peoples, their wide array of focuses and resources becomes more condensed and helpful. They prioritize tribe recognition and religious freedom, as well as environmental sustainability, within the USA and Native American reservations.
If you’re interested in learning more, and learning how to work with these awesome peeps:
• Running Start
This group focuses on young women becoming more politically active, through mentorship, fellowships and leadership conventions, as well as “plant[ing] the seed of interest in politics.” Through programs like “Elect Her” and #Ilooklikeapolitician this group works to empower young girls to see their political strength and and achieve their political power. They emerged from Women Under Forty Political Action Committee, which “financially supports” women running for federal office, but Running Start was officially founded in 2007.
To learn more about leaning in and smashing that glass ceiling:
• Sierra Club
Founded in 1892 by John Muir, this is a huge organization with over 2 million members. Their purpose is to “explore, enjoy and protect the wild places of the earth” – not only nature reserves but educating people about their local ecosystems and exploring the 250 million protected acres of super awesome wildlife. They focus on passing legal action such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, as well as clean energy and finally getting rid of fossil fuels.
To check out more green clean fun:
• Point Foundation
This is one of the biggest scholarship granting groups for LGBTQ students. They acknowledge that LGBTQ kids face a lot of specific challenges and work on changing this by promoting furthering education and becoming an ally. They focus on financial scholarships, mentorship, leadership development (meaning internships and conferences about becoming #BOSS) as well as community service. Since it’s establishment in 2001, this group has grown exponentially – awarding 84 scholarships this year, as well as raising 18 million in scholarship money.
To check out how to become an ally, donate, or find resources:
• Engender Health
This group functions internationally to improve family planning, maternal health, HIV?AID services, clinical health quality, as well as engaging men to become partners in reproductive health programs and advance policies. They are “committed to ensuring that every pregnancy is planned, every child is wanted, and every mother has the best chance at survival” which they do by training health professionals and working with governments and communities to make this health care accessible and responsible. 84% of their operations expenses go to health services, with 70 years experience in family planning and reproductive health they are staffed with physicians, nurses, and do-gooders.
Check out their website to learn more about their cause, and their concerns for public health:
An international organization serving 29 countries works to “harness the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty” meaning they link people with entrepreneurs and corporations to gain skills in business. They “encourage self-sustaining economic activity” and “connect businesses to capital, networks and suppliers.” They estimate 1.6 million peoples benefitted from their programs through 36.5 in private sector investments in farms and businesses.
To expand your business acumen and help growing farmers/businesses:
• Homes for our Troops
You can guess what these guys focus on: building mortgage-free, specially adapted homes nationwide for severely injured Veterans post-911. Having a home that works best with multiple limb amputations or paralysis or severe traumatic brain injury gives these Veterans the independence and comfort they deserve. They’ve built 229 homes since its founding in 2004, with 60% of their budget coming from private foundations and individual donors. Their core values are: Commitment, Accountability, Respect, Excellence and Service (C.A.R.E) focusing on homeownership and financial planning as a cornerstone to recuperation and independence.
To learn more about these Veterans building homes and futures:
Let’s get the earth working out again – just kidding, this group focuses on “protecting communities and the environment from the adverse impacts of mineral and energy development while promoting sustainable solutions” meaning they’re all about clean air, clean water and corporate accountability. They work with local, national and international advocates to solve these growing threats on natural resources, clean water and biodiversity. They support #NoDAPL water protectors, oppose fracking and work to expose the health, environmental, economic and social impacts of mining and irresponsible energy extraction.
So put your earth saving cape on and find out how to help:
• 4 Paws for Ability
Without walking on all fours this group does some great work connecting service animals with disabled children, veterans and more, increasing their independence as well as enriching their lives after trauma. They work not only by matching up service dogs with those in need, but by educating the public on the import role of service dogs and making them accepted in more public places.
The service dogs have various specialities: working with inmates, Diabetic alert dogs, mobility assistance, seizure assistance, hearing ear dogs, as well as multipurpose assistance dogs.
Whether to volunteer, train, or get matched up with your own service dog
• National CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Association
This group works together with local and state programs and court-appointed volunteer advocacy groups to help every abused child find safe and permanent housing. Once volunteering, a judge appoints each to watch over and advocate for an abused or neglected child to make sure they are not “lost in the overburdened legal and social service system.” There are approximately 600,000 children in foster care, but barely enough volunteers to advocate for them – so in 1977 one judge ruled that citizen volunteers could speak up for the interests in abused children and from there groups like CASA and more have sprung up all around the country.
To learn more how to help out these great, innocent, and deserving kids
• Alliance for International Women’s Rights
By “supporting women leaders and future women leaders in developing countries” this group helps tons of rad gals become #BOSS. They currently have a focus on Afghanistan, but primarily focus on a global community. Their main point is to bring together professionals who are “searching for meaningful ways to use their skills” to help empower and create connections between different cultures, resulting in more international empathy and a “life changing” experience for members.
If you’re interested in learning more, or donating to a great cause
• Government Accountability Project
Founded in 1977, this group focuses on the power of protection: they work to protect thousands of “whistleblowers” or people who inform the public about people or organizations involved in illicit activity. They focus on litigation of whistleblowers cases, expose the wrongdoing to the public and promote accountability in government agencies and corporations. They work internationally and hugely support First Amendment rights, by not only representing them in the courtroom, but developing and implementing whistleblower protection policies.
To find out more about this group and their work
This international organization trains and supports citizens using “video in their fight for human rights.” Most people have a camera in their phone, and if you’re anything like me you literally always have your phone -this is the premise of this group, that we all have the opportunity to record and report human rights abuses. They work with tech. companies to create tools and apps to keep these videos operational and safe, as well as teaching all how to use effective and ethical filming techniques.
To learn more about participating or donating:
• Innocence Project
There is a shocking amount of innocent people who remain incarcerated in our country, and this group’s mission is to change that. They work to reform our judicial system by exoneration, reform, support and improve the judicial system from the inside out. Since its founding in 1992 they are worked to exonerate the wrongly convicted through DNA testing, providing background information and legal representation.
The Innocence Project functions as a group of independent organizations with this focus, and by volunteering they hok you up with your local group.
To find your local Innocence Project member or to donate to help innocent people