By T.A. Hendrickson
The charitable giving season kicks off this year on December 3, “Giving Tuesday,” when nonprofits ask you to donate online and to spread the word by posting about your donation at #Giving Tuesday.
But with so many pressing needs and worthy causes, how do you choose?
One way to narrow your options is to give to nonprofits that are active locally, so your donations benefit your own area. The list below can help.
The first five groups are standout local organizations featured in stories that ran this year in the Boulevard Sentinel. The remaining 19 are local groups we profiled in our charitable giving guides from 2016 to 2018. All of them are still going strong, so we’re giving them another shout out this year.
Mujeres de la Tierra supports women and families interested in becoming participants and leaders on local issues, especially social and environmental issues.
Based at the L.A. River Center and Gardens in Cypress Park, the group has created the Mujeres Leadership Circle, a forum for lectures, conversations and gatherings to learn about leadership.
Another signature program is Telenovelas in the Park, a grassroots theater group to educate families on environmental issues. Mujeres de la Tierra also organizes beautification and restoration projects, identifies solutions to ecological problems and partners with other groups to further environmental equity. Donate at: mujeresdelatierra.org
Mobile shower trailers from The Shower of Hope operate at 16 different locations in L.A., providing free showers to homeless people.
In Northeast L.A., the showers are available every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. at All Saints Episcopal Church in Highland Park; every other Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cypress Park Recreation Center and every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lincoln Park in Lincoln Heights.
The shower events also give homeless people a way to connect with groups and individuals in the community who want to help. Donate at: theshowerofhope.org
LA-Más, an urban design nonprofit in Elysian Valley, uses policy and architecture to help lower-income communities shape the growth of their neighborhoods.
Among its many projects, LA-Más has pioneered the “Backyard Homes Project,” which helps lower-income homeowners build accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on their properties in exchange for the homeowner’s pledge to rent the ADU to a low-income (Section 8) tenant for at least five years.
Currently, 17 homeowners are being vetted for the project and one will begin construction in 2020. The project is also set to expand in 2020 through a partnership with L.A. County. / Donate at: mas.la.
The Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF), founded in 1963 to serve disadvantaged individuals and families, includes Highland Park, Glassell Park and Eagle Rock in its service area.
MAOF’s transportation assistance program provides very low-cost door-to-door transportation for frail and disabled elderly individuals. Its food program provides very low cost delivery of meals for the elderly.
Other MAOF services include citizenship consultations and free tax preparation as well as early childhood education centers. Donate at: maof.org.
Since its founding in 2013, L.A. Compost has diverted tons of food scrap from landfills to compost bins, where it is turned into rich organic matter to nourish the soil.
L.A. Compost operates public drop off points for food scrap at the farmers markets in Atwater Village and Los Feliz and 22 drop off hubs, including in Highland Park and Elysian Valley. (To join a hub, fill out the form at lacompost.org/communityhub. It’s free!) The group also holds public workshops. Donate at: lacompost.org
Nineteen More Ways to Make a Difference
Arroyo Arts Collective: Local artists, poets, performers and craftspeople who promote creativity and culture in NELA: arroyoartscollective.org
Avenue 50 Studio: A hub of Chicana/o and Latina/o culture and visual arts in Highland Park: Avenue50Studio.org
Center for the Arts in Eagle Rock promotes art, music, dance and other creative expression for children and adults: cfaer.org
Elysian Valley Arts Collective unites artists and business owners in Frogtown to teach, create and display art: evartscollective.com
The Latino Arts Network: An alliance of individuals and organizations devoted to strengthening the Latino arts community, including recent advocacy to establish a National Latino American History museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.: latinoarts.net/membership
Arroyo Seco Foundation works to protect and restore the Arroyo Seco watershed from the San Gabriel Mountains to NELA: arroyoseco.org
Audubon Center at Debs Park in Montecito Heights is an urban oasis where you can learn about and observe birds, tend native plants and strategize about environmental challenges: debspark.audubon.org
Friends of the Los Angeles River in Cypress Park works to create a swimmable, fishable, enjoyable L.A. River: folar.org
The Wall Las Memorias in Highland Park advocates for better health for Latino, LGBT and other under-served groups: thewalllasmemorias.org
Recycled Resources for the Homeless in Highland Park provides walk-in services for the homeless and helps to move homeless individuals into housing: recycledresources.org
The San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity includes Eagle Rock, Highland Park and Montecito Heights in its program to provide low-cost exterior home repairs to veterans, limited-income families, disabled individuals and senior citizens: sgvhabitat.org/donate/
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network connects the efforts of legal, labor and immigrant groups to help ensure the humane treatment of day laborers: ndlon.org
Homes Fur All, a Mount Washington based non-profit dedicated to increasing the number of foster homes for rescue pets, and presenter of the Glassell and Eagle Rock Bark events: homesfurall.org
Home Dog L.A., which operates out of the North Central Animal Shelter in Montecito Heights, offers low-cost veterinarian care and other aid to pet owners who otherwise might not be able to afford to keep their pets: homedogla.org
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, known for its large thrift store in NELA, is a Catholic volunteer organization that provides food, clothing, shelter, emotional support and other resources to the poor and homeless of any religion for free. To donate money: svdpla.org/donate. To donate vehicles or thrift-store items: svdpla.org/online-vehicle-donation and svdpla.org/item-donation.
Miry’s List, founded in Eagle Rock in 2016, uses innovative and comprehensive techniques to help meet the needs of newly arrived refugees: miryslist.org
Access Books refurbishes and restocks outdated and underfunded school libraries in Los Angeles. Past recipients have included Griffin Elementary in Lincoln Heights and Toland Way Elementary in Eagle Rock:
The Los Angeles Community Garden Council gives workshops and organizational support to community gardens, such as those in Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, Highland Park and Elysian Valley: lagardencouncil.org/donate.
The GRYD Foundation puts on Summer Night Lights and Fall Friday Night Lights, two programs that keeps rec centers in NELA open late, well-lit, well-patrolled and full of activities: grydfoundation.org
Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services in Highland Park serves abused and neglected children, teens and other at-risk youth and their families: oyhfs.org
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