What organizations should you support on Giving Tuesday? Consider these

‘Tis the season for giving. Sure a lot of the giving tends to be in the form of toys, books, sweaters, and other consumer goods, but the #GivingTuesday is a reminder to spread our generosity beyond our friends and families. I encourage you to give to organizations serving the greater good. Even small donations help. Give to one group or spread your gifts across a variety groups. Oh, and if you don’t give on #GivingTuesday that’s okay too; charities and non-profits accept donations all year! If you can’t spare any money at this time (or even if you can) consider donating your time and talents to a cause you believe in. Together we can make the world a better place.

What organizations should you donate to on #GivingTuesday? There are many worthy options. Here are 40 charities that resonate with me, most of which I have I have supported in some way over the last few years with donations of money, time, or goods. I’ve tried to group them into categories although some could fit into multiple groups. I hope you will consider some of these in your charitable giving on #GivingTuesday or any day.

Hands holding holiday lights
Photo by Josh Boot on Unsplash

Fighting Homelessness, Hunger, and Poverty

  • Care for Real – I’ve worked closely with this organization that provides food, clothing, and counseling services for people in need in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood, including an annual toy drive and distribution for the holidays
  • Connections for the Homeless – My children and I recently had the pleasure of volunteering at this shelter, food pantry, and clothes closet for the homeless and under-employed in Evanston, Il
  • Heartland Alliance – An anti-poverty organization serving the around U.S. and internationally through health, housing, and justice programs
  • The Night Ministry – Offers housing, healthcare, and other support for people in Chicago in need
  • Habitat for Humanity – Builds affordable housing for people and communities in need

Disaster Relief

  • Hispanic Federation Unidos – Support for the people of Puerto Rico because they still desperately need it
  • Community Foundation of Greater Flint – Speaking of people who still desperately need help, the Flint Child Health & Development Fund focuses on support for the youngest victims of the Flint water crisis, who are most likely to suffer long term effects of lead exposure

Support for the Environment

  • Alliance for the Great Lakes – My husband has volunteered for years with this group that works to clean and preserve the Great Lakes as a source of water, recreation, and natural habitat

Charities for Kids

  • St. Baldrick’s Foundation – Research and support to conquer childhood cancers
  • Funny Bones – An improv group that entertains children in hospitals, primarily in Chicago and New Orleans
  • Hak4kidz – Ethical hacking events that encourage creative thought and teach technical skills to children
  • Midnight Circus in the Parks – A performing group that has raised over $800,000 for Chicago’s parks and playgrounds while bringing affordable circus performances to neighborhoods throughout Chicago
  • Burgh Baby’s Christmas Crazy – Every year Michelle collects toys and gift cards for kids staying at domestic violence shelters in Pittsburgh
  • Climb to Safety – Teaches financial literacy to children
  • CASA of Lake County – Support for children who have been abused or neglected
  • After School Matters – After school and summer programs for kids in Chicago

LGBTQ Organizations

Support for Women and Girls

  • Planned Parenthood – Provides a wide array of affordable health services for women
  • Girl Forward – Mentorship and safe spaces for refugee girls
  • Support the Girls – Provides bras and menstrual hygiene products to the homeless
  • Hip Circle Empowerment Center – A non-profit yoga and fitness center in Evanston, Il. supporting the physical strength and confidence of women and girls regardless of their ability to pay

Civil Rights 



Sadly I would have loved to include Books for America in this list because they had a been an amazing support of literacy, but they closed down in 2016 due to financial issues, which shows the importance of donating to organizations you believe in!

  • Open Books – Provides books and community programs to promote literacy
  • Archive.org – A non-profit, online library for websites, books, and more

Independent and Public Radio

  • WBEZ Chicago Public Radio – My local NPR member station and the producer of national shows such as This American Life and Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me
  • The Current – This Minneapolis radio station is my go to music station, especially on Saturday mornings from 8-10 during their retro “Teenage Kicks” show
  • CHIRP Radio – The Chicago Independent Radio Project has been online since 2010 and recently started a terrestrial broadcast at 107.1 FM

Small Theatres and Arts Organizations

I can speak from experience when I say that small donations can make a big impact on small arts organizations that produce on budgets of only a few thousand dollars per show (or sometimes per year!). Here are a few groups I support, but there are many more:

  • Stage Left Theatre – Performing plays focused on political and social issues
  • Pivot Arts – Produces music, theatre, and arts events (some of which are free) by a variety of artists
  • Idle Muse Theatre – Their mission is to do plays that are “transporting, timely, and true”
  • The Plagiarists – A theatre group who specializes in creating innovative new works from old works
  • Raven Theatre – A longtime neighborhood theatre that does outreach for area students
  • Gemini Theatre – Children’s theatre performances, classes, and camps in Pittsburgh, Pa.


I’ve written before about how museum memberships make great gifts, which can let this type of donation double as Christmas shopping, or if you don’t need that, you can just give a one-time gift. If you value a museum, they are a great target for your support. (I already hit my 40 recommendations above, so I won’t go into my list of favorite museums, which is long on its own and includes MSI Chicago, The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, Lincoln Park Zoo, The Mattress Factory, and Telfair Academy to name just a few.)

Other organizations to consider

I asked my Facebook friends to let me know what charities they have personal experience with either by working with them or benefiting from their work. A lot of their suggestions included organizations I’ve listed above, but here are some additional organizations they named:

Whatever organization you choose to give to you can know that you made a difference.

RELATED POST: 8 Christmas gifts for people who don’t need more stuff

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