Dust off the holiday glitter, and give
Dear Readers: Many of us are now in the recovery mode of the holiday season after gorging on gingerbread and eggnog and letting the glitter of the season release us from December’s gloom. And so I present my annual roundup of charitable groups that readers should consider supporting.
Your donation may go further at a small local nonprofit than at a large charity. All contributions count. So do non-monetary acts of kindness.
This is a subjective list, based on my interests. Your giving should reflect your interests and values. Most listed below have a top (four-star) rating on Charitynavigator. org — an excellent source for researching a nonprofit.
The mission and the work of Cradles to Crayons (cradlestocrayons. org) is simple: to provide the physical necessities of childhood. From clothing, to equipment and supplies, this group takes in donations, offers community volunteer experiences, and distributes goods from its network of warehouses.
This hero-entertainer is providing over 1 million books each month to children through her Imagination Library (imaginationlibrary.com). She is a force for good in the world (dollywoodfoundation.org).
Their motto is “School supplies. Changing lives,” and they donate school supplies nationally to schools (and kids) in need. Children who do not have the tools cannot do the work.
This group starts assisting students in ninth grade, making a 10year commitment to provide services and scholarship money to students who otherwise would not be able to attend college. Being the first member of a family to attend college will change a family’s future.
Last year I was honored as a “distinguished American” by this scholarship group. Not bad for a farm kid who grew up in a single-parent household. I would not have made it to, or through, college without scholarship help, and it is the honor of my lifetime to give back through this group that provides scholarships to thousands of students each year.
This is the country’s largest charity supporting Native access to higher education. I am a supporter.
This group operates in 50 states and 70 countries, delivering medicine, staffing clinics and providing medical safety nets to underserved populations. Founded in California after World War II by an immigrant, the mission was spread by other immigrants.
Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC delivers lifesaving care to people fleeing conflict and natural disaster. The IRC worked to resettle refugees in Europe dislocated from conflict in World War II, and its work continues worldwide.
I became aware of the work of Polaris through a family member’s advocacy. Human trafficking is modern slavery, and victims are often vulnerable people who are coerced, dislocated and then forced into slavery — often in the sex trade. Victims of trafficking are sometimes in our midst, at bus stops, motels and truck stops. Law enforcement, clerks and long-haul truckers are being trained to spot and rescue these individuals. Victims can text BeFree (233733) and be connected with an advocate.
Founder and chef Jose Andres and his teams of cooks bring their mobile kitchens with food supplies and water everywhere, serving storm- or disaster-ravaged populations and first responders.
This group raises money and turns the funds into action — building a new home or adapting an existing home for accessibility. The finished home is given to a disabled veteran. All services and materials are donated.
Mills is a retired soldier who became a quadruple amputee as the result of an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. He guides other warriors and their families toward recalibration at a storybook property in northern Maine. Their work is truly inspiring.