Disclaimer: I am not a paid advocate for any of these charities/foundations found on this list. The charities listed are either: a) endorsed by celebrities I am familiar with or b) highly regarded by their respective markets. Each section is something that I am passionate about and feel should get more attention in the media. As always, this is an opinion article and should be noted as such.
I have decided that this week for “My Opinion Monday” to make a list of things I personally regard as important matters. My focus is on charities for five distinct causes. Be aware that these aren’t the most important causes in the entire world, and they aren’t the most important causes even to me. However, they are important causes to me and things that I believe get overlooked too often in the media today in favor of bigger name charities. If you are the giving type, a tried and true everyday Santa Claus, then please consider donating to any of the following charities:
Why it is important to me: Once upon a time, my own child underwent extensive therapy to determine the cause of his severe developmental and social delays. Things went so far as us going to a renowned children’s hospital to see if our child was Autistic. Even though we were able to pinpoint a series of medical issues that were causing the symptoms, not everyone can chalk up the differences in their child to a collective of other issues. I want those families with individuals diagnosed with Autism to have the support that they need and reliable foundations to best help them give their loved ones a quality life.
Why it should be important to you: ONE IN EVERY SIXTY-EIGHT CHILDREN ARE DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM. Not only does that mean that the chances are incredibly high that you’ve met someone with Autism, but that means if you have children in school – there could be as many as a dozen students in the system that are autistic. No differently than your children or relatives, these children deserve a quality education. Their families also deserve to be extended resources the best ensure their ability to care for their children.
Also, children who are special needs or disabled inevitably are treated differently than their “normal” counterparts. Below I have listed almost verbatim form this website some ways in which disabled and special needs children are treated differently. You should want to prevent that by supporting organizations that will bring awareness and better the experiences of individuals afflicted with a variety of diagnoses, such as Autism.
1) Students with disabilities (or special needs) are more likely to be bullied.
2) Bullying hinders one’s ability to focus and learn.
3) Bullying based upon an individual’s disabilities (or special needs) is harassment.
4) Disability Rights qualifies as a Civil Rights matter as dictated by federal law.
5) On a state law level as well, there is legal recourse for bullying of disabled (and special needs) students.
6) Adult intervention is extremely vital.
7) Students with disabilities (and special needs) are extended resources that are designed specifically to assist him or her academically.
8) More than half of all bullying ceases when a peer intervenes.
9) Speaking up for yourself is important.
10) Bullying happens, and disabled (or special needs) victims are not alone in the matter.
Charities for Autism: Here are three charities for Autism that I have hyperlinked for your review. Beneath each I have copy and pasted the missions statements and or company vision for that particular charity. You will notice that Autism Speaks is not listed, and that is because I’ve been contacted personally about Autism Speaks being under fire for less-than-ethical practices. As a result, I have decided to include it at this time.
“The RT (Reece Trahan) Autism Awareness Foundation is an organization dedicated to making people aware of Autism and the effects it has on individuals and their families.
The diagnosis of Autism is an emotional one for families, and the RT Autism Awareness Foundation wants individuals and families to recognize that they are not without help.”
“Grant a Gift Autism Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization helping children, youth and their families fight Autism by providing diagnostic and treatment funding, support services, vocational training, transition planning, and education.
Our goal is to provide family centered care through one or more of our programs and services, and help prepare individuals with autism to live as independent adults with functioning roles in our community.
We act as a community safety net by filling in treatment and funding gaps not covered by state and federal resources or insurance. Our organization achieves this by collaborating with other organizations, state agencies, or providers to give children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, growing up in Nevada, a better quality of life and future as they transition into adults.”
“Our mission at the Northwest Autism Foundation is to improve the lives of those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders through the mobilization of resources and by championing innovative solutions.
The original goal of NWAF was to “provide education, resources and information to parents, family, friends, caregivers and professionals treating children on the autism spectrum on a donation only basis.” Shortly after its inception, NWAF expanded its goals to include facilitating early diagnosis and effective treatment for individuals with ASD.
Most recently, we have adopted a Lifespan Framework to help conceptualize and direct our ongoing efforts.”
LGBT / LGBTQUIA
Why it is important to me: My first exposure to someone who was not heterosexual was when I was ten. My (late) cousin typed onto her computer screen that she liked girls and boys. I accidentally read it aloud not thinking about it being ‘wrong,’ but there was a look of horror on her face as she told me to stop joking around… I guess I never realized that liking someone of the same gender could get someone intro trouble. After that she would tell me in secret about a girlfriend she had at school and how everyone made fun of her and told her she was a sinner for liking girls. It became so bad that her girlfriend told everyone that it was a disgusting joke that my cousin was playing to get attention. Very few people knew about the emotional struggle she had over the last two years of her life, keeping her sexuality and the bullying a secret from nearly everyone in her life.
After that, I found that a friend from elementary school was gay. He kept it a secret from all but two or three people. He tried dating another friend of mine to convince people he was straight simply because his parents were religious and he feared the image it bring upon them. When I was fourteen, one of my closest friends revealed that she identified as bisexual and secretly maintained a relationship with another girl in the seventh grade for a few months before they decided it was a fleeting interest.
Having always been exposed to people who identified as bisexual or homosexual really allowed me to see without the tunnel vision of my predecessors that these people are just the same as everyone else. Knowing that still in 2015 people are treated differently because of the genders they choose to have sex with, or because of the sex identity of themselves… Why?
Why it should be important to you: People that you love, people that you know, and people that you work with could still be in the closet about his/her/ce sexuality and/or gender identity. There is a deep psychological damage that develops when someone believes that he/she/ce cannot express him/her/ceself. Someone else’s inability to function at healthy levels can bleed into your life and affect you, especially if you are very close to that person.
Furthermore, these people can make a difference in the world no differently than you or I can as heterosexual individuals. There is not a single job in the world in which your sexuality interferes with your ability to do that job. Your gender identity does not determine your ability to complete a task in the workplace. As such, we should do all we can for the people that need support to become effective members of society. Individuals may deserve equal and quality living, but not everyone has the same resources available to him/her/ce. You should want to change that because if the tables were turned – you would want the same courtesy.
Charities for LGBT / LGBTQUIA: Here are three charities for LGBT/LGBTQUIA that I have hyperlinked for your review. Beneath each I have copy and pasted the missions statements and/or company visions for that particular charity. Endorsements come from Miley Cyrus, Laverne Cox, and TIME magazine, but there’s no harm in bringing more attention to these organizations.
“Our mission is to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations.
People who say WE can’t change the world ARE wrong. We will make some noise and cause a scene! We will challenge each other and the world & will stop pointless judgment. We know that the people sleeping on the sidewalk could have been us or our closest friends if our lives were just a little bit different. And the people we see sleeping on the sidewalk COULD be our friends if we gave them the chance.
It’s time for us to speak up for the people in our streets, our cities, our world. It’s time for us to grow our passion, shine bright and change the future. John Lennon said it best: “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is a reality.” It is essential to our lives to do good for others! The only way we can truly be happy is if we are making others happy!
That is this Hippie’s goal!
“Each year, Powered With Pride donates to a non-profit charity partner whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of people in Louisville and beyond! Our 2015 charity beneficiary is YMCA Safe Place Services. YMCA Safe Place Services is committed to making our community stronger by providing help, hope and healing to teens and families in crisis. Their mission is to accept, affirm and advocate for youth by empowering them to reach their full potential in spirit, mind and body.”
“Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.”
Ladies in Crises / Feminism
Why it is important to me: I am a lady and that is justification enough. More deeply, though, I have faced sexual abuse and harassment since the age of seven. Although I have been able to save myself, there are not many people who have the same resources that I had to do the same. In addition to this, I know so many women who discredit themselves as the result of their situations. Never should a woman believe that because she is a woman that she is less. The effects of this corrupt thinking can be seen everywhere, in every crevice of the planet, and I dare to hope that it is eradicated swiftly.
Why it should be important to you: If you are living and reading this it is because a woman birthed you. Life cannot continue without women to contribute to reproduction. However, the treatment of women can contribute to one’s desire and/or ability to reproduce. As a women, why would you want to devalue your peers and make her feel as if she is worth less and that her decisions are without substance? As a man, why would you want to devalue your peers and make her feel as if she is worth less and that her decisions are without substance? See what I did there – I made the same statement twice because women are equal to men no matter what. And yet, today there are still inequalities present as the result of sex identification, and thereby gender identification as well. This standard could be a roadblock in your life that you cannot control, and it could be affecting women that you love dearly.
As the result of rape culture, woman are over sexualized and blamed for the sexual abuse that she may experience. This being present in society detracts any first world status we [America] has simply by allowing women to not only be paid less, but to be judged as inferior and worth little more than a temporary sexual pleasantry. Women are disrespected and judged for something a natural as menstruation. All of these realities are disgusting and as unnatural as rape. There is a woman in your life doing something for you and you owe it to her to do what you can to ensure she has resources that she needs in order to be respected, and to have recourse for the inadequacies she faces in life.
Charities for Ladies in Crises & Feminism: Here are three charities for ladies in crises & feminism that I have hyperlinked for your review. Beneath each I have copy and pasted the missions statements and/or company visions for that particular charity. Understand that while each organization is targeted at a specific group of people you should not overlook it, as the services provided are priceless.
“To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.”
“UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.”
“INCITE! Women, Gender Non-Conforming, and Trans people of Color* Against Violence is a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and our communities through direct action, critical dialogue and grassroots organizing.
INCITE! is made up of grassroots chapters and affiliates across the U.S. working on particular political projects such as police violence, reproductive justice, and media justice; a national collective that works to leverage this grassroots organizing on a national and transnational platform; an advisory collective that helps increase the capacity of national organizing; and thousands of members and supporters.”
Food & Hunger
Why it is important to me: I love food, I think I actually qualify as a “foodie” in my newfound obsession. That aside, as important as international issues are, there are plenty here [in America] that matter too. There are struggles we [Americans] face that we should not as a first world country. Food is not only vital to our survival in terms of nutrition, but it is in large part the livelihood of many people. Grocery stores, farmers, and restaurants – almost every facet of the free world is in some way related to food. We know it is important but do we really realize just how important it is?
Why it should be important to you: Well I imagine that you like food, and I imagine you like when people work to bring food to you. Can you imagine a life without a server to bring food to your table in a restaurant, or a life without a chef to prepare it? Can you imagine a world with grocery stores? Can you imagine a world without farmers? Do you want to go back the most rudimentary form of hunting and gathering?
Nah, I don’t really think you could. Food is important to you because without it your body will quit. Also, it is a huge convenience to have business that make obtaining food easier. And more still, there’s a pretty good chance that at some point your life or the life of your loved ones that income was earned from a food service job. Your life would be radically different without the food industry and, you know, food.
Aside from that, you should want to help your fellow men and women who struggle for food. As you know, you can’t live without it. There are people here [in America] that don’t know when they are going to eat again, many of those being children. That could be your loved one, or someone a loved one cares about, and if that person passes away as the result of malnutrition or starvation… the impact that can have cannot be measured. Think about that.
Charities for Food & Hunger: Here are three charities for food & hunger that I have hyperlinked for your review. Beneath each I have copy and pasted the missions statements and/or company visions for that particular charity. Big names endorse these organizations, such as: Food Network, Marcus Samuelsson, and (queen bee) Beyoncé Knowles.
“NO CHILD SHOULD GROW UP HUNGRY IN AMERICA. But 1 in 5 children struggles with hunger. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending childhood hunger in America by connecting kids in need with nutritious food and teaching families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. You can help surround kids with healthy food where they live, learn and play.”
“Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), a national non-profit, works with public schools to prepare underserved high school students for college and career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality industry. C-CAP offers:
- job training and internships
- teacher training
- curriculum enrichment
- college advising
- life-time career support and
- culinary scholarship
Since its inception in 1990 C-CAP has awarded over $43 million in scholarships, and classrooms have received $3.8 million worth of supplies and equipment. Many C-CAP students find rewarding careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry.”
“Fostering education via nutrition, The Lunchbox Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a daily meal for orphaned and vulnerable school children in township and rural areas of South Africa, a country where 65% of all children live in poverty. Receiving food encourages these children to stay in school and obtain their education. When a child stays in school, his or her risk of HIV infection, abuse and unwanted pregnancies is greatly reduced.
It’s quite simple. Regular lunch programs increase enrollment at schools and reduce truancy rates. Students participating in a school feeding program attend school more frequently than those who do not. Academic performance also improves with test scores increasing in students who have access to a daily meal through a school feeding program.
Today, 19.6% of all children in South Africa are orphans, with approximately 1.9 Million of those children orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS. Unemployment is a severe problem where we work, resulting in many of the students at our partner schools not having access to adequate nutrition or basic health care.
The simple act of providing each child with protein-rich peanut butter sandwiches and a piece of fruit, or hearty soups, stews with vegetables or enriched porridge, makes a substantial difference as it nurtures and encourages each child’s attendance and performance at school. Not only is it often their only guaranteed meal of a day, but children are more likely to attend and stay in school to obtain this basic sustenance.”
…because this list would never end if I tried to make sections for every single thing I get passionate about…
Why I care so much about everything: My education is in law (as a Paralegal) and in business. Originally, I had every intention of getting into psychology, and as such have acquired a significant amount of self-taught understanding on the subject. Humanities are something that I’ve always been interested in and passionate about because in my heart of hearts, I’m a writer. To be a writer I have to understand people and what motivates them and what defines them. I have to be able to think in thousands of different ways to create diversely believable and relatable characters for my readers. As I educate myself, I find the flaws in humanity, and I want to change that in spite of my love for all things fictional.
Everyone faces adversity in some way, even if they are CIS white privileged people. As such, it is our responsibility to do more and be more – for ourselves and those around us. This cannot be done if we don’t make ourselves aware and if we sit idly by doing nothing to change the world. If you can’t donate money or time, you can donate awareness. Bring up the name of a foundation you care about in conversation, use social media to generate buzz around something that you care about, think about charities you care about when doing school projects as a way to get the younger population motivated for change; there are tons of ways to help without going broke. Not to mention, you can volunteer your time for charity related events.
Every single person can do something!
Why you should also care this much about everything: As a human you should care about humans. There seems little other reasoning required, but just in case that isn’t enough…
People you know and love and interact with face struggles that sometimes you cannot see. Sometimes they carry burdens that you have never bore. Even though you may not understand, or cannot understand, you would want the best for those people. That’s what everyone wants in life – the best for themselves and for the people they love. Unfortunately, in our selfless selfishness (oxy moron, but accurate) we forget the needs of humanity as a whole.
As we become increasingly inhumane towards the quality of life others experience we will inherently taint our own. Filling a world with racism, sexism, prejudice, and strife will only bring about the extinction of humankind. I don’t know about you, but being alive is pretty darn amazing. There is value in life and too many don’t see that, so you should want to help these people enjoy their time amongst the living.
Charities for the Grab Bag: Here are three charities for the Grab Bag section that I have hyperlinked for your review. Beneath each I have copy and pasted the missions statements and/or company visions for that particular charity. At some point in my life I have heard about or been exposed to these organizations and have been moved by the stories and premises of each.
“Curing childhood cancer, one cup at a time.
Our mission is to raise money and awareness of childhood cancer causes, primarily for research into new treatments and cures, and to encourage and empower others, especially children, to get involved and make a difference for children with cancer.”
“Our vision is a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty has ended – together we can move the world for animals.
We are World Animal Protection
We end the needless suffering of animals
We influence decision makers to put animals on the global agenda
We help the world see how important animals are to all of us
We inspire people to change animals’ lives for the better
We move the world to protect animals.”
“To motivate young children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF’s highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8.”
I know that this article was less informative than past MOMs, but I feared the read would be dry if I just threw statistics and psychological reasoning out to you. One thing that I have always believed is that everyone is responsible for becoming informed. You, as a reader, have taken the first step by reading my blog today, and I encourage you to check into these charities further as you are interested.
Maybe you can’t make regular donations, but maybe you can buy a t-shirt that you wear to an event at work or at school. It can grab someone’s attention that could donate regularly, or make a large donation. Sharing posts and articles about your favorite charities and organizations can spread the word, maybe getting someone else to buy merchandise and share posts. The impact may feel small, but thousands of “small impacts” make a difference.
One of the most important lessons in life is that every voice matters. Your voice can make a difference. You are capable of much more than you think, and by using your strengths you will make a difference. Maybe it’s in one life, maybe it’s in thousands, but it is still a difference.
And isn’t making a difference basically the meaning of life?
*For this particular post I have chosen not to utilize a References of Redirect References due to the number of resources used in the writing of this article. You are welcome to leave a comment with any questions or concerns below and I will respond to you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding in advance.