I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks 2021 has somehow managed to go by in a flash, yet also feel it’s been five years long at the same time. Halloween was a blip, which means the holidays are upon us and the end of the year scurry is super real.
No matter which holidays you celebrate, for many, ‘tis the season of sharing and giving. And one of my favorite days around this time is Giving Tuesday. The Tuesday following Black Friday and Cyber Monday was created to shift the focus toward generosity, specifically aimed at nonprofit organizations. While I certainly advocate for giving back on any day of the year that you are able, Giving Tuesday has become quite the phenomenon since its inception in 2012 and, because of that, there are now often donation-matching opportunities that yield even bigger benefits for nonprofit organizations during this time of year. The last two years with the pandemic have been especially hard on nonprofits, which already often struggle to raise enough funds, so every little bit helps! (Of course, 2020 and 2021 have been financially hard on many of us individually too, so if you are not in the position to donate money for Giving Tuesday, that’s more than okay. You can always give back with goods, time, or labor if you are able to, or you can even just spread the word about an organization and all that they do for their community.)
Since this time of year can also feel overwhelming enough already, sifting through and picking which organizations to donate to might feel extra daunting. So I thought I’d share some of the ones that I have selected to include in my giving this year. Movement and public health are super near and dear to my heart both personally and professionally, so I’ve picked 501c3 organizations (which is a designation that provides tax exemption) that specifically focus on some aspect of wellness, and are mostly centered around BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled communities. This includes mental health, fitness, nutrition and food security, housing security, reproductive health, social justice, and on and on. This is most certainly only a handful of organizations; there are many, many amazing ones out there! I’m always looking to learn about new ones, so please send me a note with any that are near and dear to you!
Created by Rachel Cargle, this foundation started as a way to bring financial assistance to Black women and girls seeking therapy nationally. In addition to this, Loveland Foundation now also supports healing and opportunities for communities of color by also providing fellowships, residency programs, listening tours, and more. Here’s how to donate.
This global organization is currently in 18 countries (with 28 chapters in the US and 42 internationally) and was created to “transform the lives of people with disabilities through athletic programs and social connection.” Their main focus is on running, and they have a signature Hope & Possibility race as well as specialized programs that focus on wounded military personnel and veterans (Achilles Freedom Team), school kids (Achilles Kids), and expansion into biking and swimming (TriAchilles Team). Donation opportunities include monetary as well as racing as a charity participant. Here’s how to donate.
A national nonprofit, AFHK aims to make schools healthier places for kids to thrive. It focuses on helping schools in underserved areas, providing grants and resources for their three key areas: food access and nutrition education, physical activity and active play, and social emotional behavior and risk behavior prevention. Here’s how to donate.
This organization is working for equal access to reproductive health for Latina/x communities. According to their values they strive to “build power in Latina/x communities to exercise autonomy over our bodies and secure equal access to reproductive health as a human right.” This ranges from policy advocacy, shifting culture through storytelling and transforming the narrative, and community organizing and mobilization. Here’s how to donate.
National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network is an organization at the crux of social justice and mental health. A healing justice organization committed to transforming mental health for queer and trans people of color (QTPoC), NQTTCN seeks to “build the capacity of QTPoC mental health practitioners, increase access to healing justice resources, [and to] provide technical assistance to social justice movement organizations to integrate healing justice into their work.” Here’s how to donate.
Created by Ayesha and Steph Curry, ELP focuses on these three pillars for a healthy childhood: nutrition, education and physical activity. The organization started in Oakland (which is also near and dear to my heart!), but they also do work nationally with their advocacy around hunger. Just one of their initiatives? They are piloting a bus with a free bookstore and pantry to serve as a mobile resource for the Oakland community. Here’s how to donate.
Girls on the Run is an international, physical activity-based youth development program with a research-based curriculum for girls in third to eighth grade that teaches life skills through “dynamic, interactive lessons and running games.” (In fact, the program culminates with the completion of a celebratory 5K!) They have worked with over two million girls, and there’s peer-reviewed evidence of program impact (be still my heart!) to back up their programming. Opportunities for donations and volunteering are available. Here’s how to donate.
This is a national organization—now in 14 major cities—that “seeks to revolutionize the way society approaches homelessness” by using the power of fitness and community. BOMF recruits individuals at shelters and treatment centers, and these members commit to a running program three days a week. From there, members earn their way to various milestones that help them on their road to independence. This includes financial literacy workshops, job skills training, and financial aid. The organization offers practical training and employment resources, an environment of accountability, and a community with compassion and hope. Aside from monetary donations, there are other ways to get involved too, such as through volunteering, a shoebox recycling event, and racing charity miles. Here’s how to donate.
Founded in 1968, the Special Olympics is a global organization that provides year-round sports training and athletic training for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Through their pillars of sports, inclusive health, unified schools, and leadership, the Special Olympics tackles inactivity, isolation, stigma, and injustice that people with intellectual disabilities face. They aim to use the “transformative power of sports to instill confidence, improve health, and inspire a sense of competition.” You can donate here.
There are so many great organizations out there, so I hope this serves as just a jumping off point for those who might not be sure where to start with helping wellness-focused organizations. Whether you choose to volunteer or donate with any of the above organizations or others that you currently support this Giving Tuesday, I hope you are able to participate or spread the word about one of my favorite days of the year!
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