Giving Tuesday Suggestions & Christmas Ideas!

I want to share some organizations you could donate to today (or any day!), and why they mean something to me. Plus, some suggestions for how to double up and not only support an organization but check people off your Christmas list! There are also tips for organizations to maybe look into in your own community…do take a minute to wade through this post, please!

HEADERS ARE LINKS TO DONATION PAGES

Looking for a gift card to give that allows others to donate to a charity of their choice? Maybe as a Christmas gift for your child? https://www.tisbest.org/ has gift cards that the recipient can use to choose a charity to donate the money to. How cool is that?!

I am not an advertising affiliate of any company of organization in this post. I do not get compensation for sales, clicks, etc. I just want you to donate!

College Settlement Camp

I haven’t donated in a while myself, but if I had to choose my number 1 wish for people to donate to, it would be College Settlement. 

Most of all, they support kids from inner-city Philly. They also educate kids on the environment (I have strong memories of us putting on plays of The Lorax!) and offer school programs, and—as camps always do—are truly life-changing for not only the kids but also the counselors who work there. You can help send a kid that sees more blacktop than grass, to camp

Is there a nonprofit summer camp you went to as a kid? Google them to see if they are seeking donations! If you’re from New England, check out Camp Coniston.

Speaking of Philly, a friend just told me about Feast of Justice, a Northeast Philly organization that addresses hunger (I lived in Northeast Philly when I was little, so this appeals to me…)

grainy old pic from my days as a staff assistant at College Settlement

AARCH (African-American Resources, Culture, and Heritage Society)

This is a local Frederick organization supporting the African-American community. It’s no secret that I support racial justice. One of my commitments is to donate to organizations supporting Black communities. I joined last year and recently arranged for a children’s book donation through Maryland Writers’ Association. The organization is totally on my radar!

Poor people’s campaign

I only recently learned of this organization from my friend Patti, who is a huge supporter. In fact, the poetry collective Patti and Terri invited me into hopes to support the organization in the future. My awareness came from seeing Patti’s t-shirt “FIGHT POVERTY NOT THE POOR” (yes, wearing such clothing does get the word out!!)

Looking for a Christmas gift? Try this cool beanie!

Justice Jobs

I recently began volunteering for this organization, which helps job seekers who have barriers to employment, such as felony records. I’m a firm believer that if we don’t reduce the barriers for folks with criminal records (difficulties getting hired, inability to get government housing, support networks outside of parole officers, etc.), we foster recidivism instead of allowing people to re-enter society with a support system that will keep them on a successful path. I want to fight over-incarceration, so this is one practical way I can do it, one person at a time.

Innocence project 

Speaking of criminal records, I’m a fan of the Innocence Project. There’s not much that pisses me off more than injustice. The thought of innocent people incarcerated makes my blood boil.

They’ve worked on cases like Julius Jones‘. He has maintained his innocence for decades and supports that, but he was due to be executed last week. The governor waited until the last minute, but did finally spare his life.

And then there’s Kevin Strickland, who was just freed THIS WEEK, after 43 years in prison (FORTY-THREE YEARS). Through his case, I learned about Miracle of Innocence, which supports the released innocent, such as Strickland. Some states, including Missouri, do not provide dime to innocent people who lose 43 years of their life rotting in jail (which also pisses me off—shame on you, Missouri). In fact, now I’m mad again and I don’t know the last time I donated to the Innocence Project, so I’m donating right now. (Done.)

Looking for a Christmas gift for a baby? Check out this Innocence Project onesie!

Girl Scouts

If you’re family looking to donate to something that supports Sequoia besides buying nuts or cookies, you can donate to the council that supports our area. In fact, if you want to get credit for donating specifically on behalf of Sequoia’s troop, choose

Association – 37 and Service Unit – SU 37-08.

I’m a volunteer at the troop and service unit levels and I know the girls get something out of the organization, each how they choose. As they get older, they can take more individual paths, which Sequoia is currently choosing to do. 

Looking for a Christmas gift for your Girl Scout or an alum? Check out this cute blue fleece pullover that I just bought!

Speaking of volunteering with Girl Scouts, we have volunteered for…

Sleep in heavenly peace

I really like this organization that provides beds to children in need—literally builds them with lumber and supplies donated by Home Depot, Lowe’s, and private donors. Sequoia I have volunteered with the Frederick, MD chapter, doing a Bed Build, but you can find the chapter closest to you at the link I provided.

EPILEPSY FOUNDATION

As an epileptic with epileptic family members, this is a foundation that I care about personally!

What about you: Is there a medical issue that has affected you or a family member? One that you lost a family member to? There are probably support and/or research organizations out there–Google it!

Looking for a Christmas gift? These “Stomp Out Epilepsy” SOCKS are so cute!!!

Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women

While writing this post, I realized that none of my money was going to organizations that support Native Americans. One of the issues I advocate for is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, so I just donated to the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. 

Baltimore County Arts Guild

I’ve gotten pretty involved in BCAG activities over the past few months. They provide space for art shows, events like the ekphrastic show I just did, open mics (I sometimes show up!), author book talks, etc.  Practicing reading your poetry aloud in front of people is great in a safe and encouraging space. I love being involved in that community. Donations will help them provide opportunities for artists and programming for the local community.

Selfie with Artist Elaine Weiner-Reed in front of Stop Injustice, the painting I chose for the ekphrastic event at BCAG

Project Out

My friend Alyssa is a trans woman. She recently chose this organization as her birthday fundraiser on Facebook. She said “They are such good people and my life would have been easier if an org like that existed in Montgomery Co in the 80s.”

I encourage you to watch what your friends care about on Facebook—what they post or do fundraisers for.

Clarion art project

Do you love the thought of donating directly to specific art projects? I have donated to Clarion Alley, which supports the artists AND brings awareness to social issues via the murals.

I loved so many of the murals we saw! I have pics at the blog post I wrote about the trip.

Frederick Arts Council

Speaking of donating to the Arts…I recently became a member of the Frederick Arts Council (after realizing I hadn’t done so before!). You might have a local Arts council, too!

Looking for a Christmas gift? How about a canvas bag or sweatshirt featuring jazz musician Lester Bowie?

Weinberg Center

Still speaking of the local Arts community…I love the local theater the Weinberg Center! If you have a local theater, no doubt they’ve struggled through Covid shutdowns and could use your support now more than ever.

In addition to Frederick Arts Council and the Weinberg Center, I am also a member of the Kennedy Center.

Looking for a Christmas gift? How about kids’ art supplies from the Kennedy Center?

More organizations I donate to (and gift suggestions):

I donate to NPR. Find your local station here.

Looking for a Christmas gift? I love this “LISTEN” tee!

I’m a member of the Arbor Day Foundation (I like trees)

Looking for a Christmas gift? How about a coffee gift?

We belong to the Sequoia Conservation Fund (I especially love Sequoias)

I’ve donated to the ACLU.

Need a Christmas gift for your pup? How about this Civil Liberties Watchdog collar lol?

A local historical society: Me, personally, I donated to Catoctin Furnace after I learned that they’d published my friend Elayne’s book Catoctin Slave Speak. There are no doubt historical societies near you!

I’ve donated to this legal fund: Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Along that vein, a friend supports the Equal Justice Initiative.

Looking for a Christmas stocking stuffer? How about this magnet?

World Wildlife Fund.

Looking for a Christmas gift? OMG create a bucket of stuffed animals!

I’ve donated to the National Parks in the past. Here you can figure out where to donate to NPS, to your local parks, etc.

More suggestions: 

Animal lovers: I don’t donate personally, but I know this local organization does great things, providing support dogs for veterans with brain injuries: K9s for Warriors

I have a friend who works for the international relief and development agency Catholic Relief Services.

Don’t forget, some companies always donate. Bombas donates one of what you purchase to homeless populations (I love their socks–they’re like little hugs for your feet). Two Blind Brothers sell shirts they donate 100% of the proceeds of, to find a cure for blindness. (I once got the softest tee ever from them!)

Amnesty International (human rights)

Kennedy-Krieger Institute (pediatric brain research)

Donate to your local library! If you don’t have a local library, donate to my cousin’s in Exeter, PA 🙂

I have a friend on the board for Woman to Woman Mentoring, which supports young women in Frederick county ages 18-35 with Core and STEM program mentoring.

Local animal shelter. Local domestic violence shelter. Volunteer fire department. The United Way in your community.

There are so, so many organizations that rely on our support!

BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T AFFORD TO DONATE?

Give your time! I volunteer for several of the above as well as other organizations. Your time is worth money and they’d be lucky to have you!

Give your voice and your platform! Share the posts, pages, and tweets of the organizations you care about! Give them a boost on your blog (I present you this page as an example!). Help get them on the radar of people who can donate.n

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