The Giving Season: Twenty Nonprofits That Make NELA a Better Place to Live

2018 Editions November Picks

Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27 this year, is the day on the holiday calendar when nonprofits ask you to give – and to remind others to give by posting about your donation on #GivingTuesday.

But with so many worthy causes, how do you choose? One way is to focus your giving on local nonprofits so that your money is used in your own area. The list below can help. The first five entries are local organizations that the Boulevard Sentinel got to know in the course of putting out the paper in 2018. The next 15 are nonprofits we featured in our coverage of Giving Tuesday in 2016 and 2017. All 15 are still active in NELA, so we are including them in our giving roster again this year. 


The Latino Arts Network (LAN), an alliance of individuals and organizations, has been sponsoring events and advocacy to strengthen the Latino arts community since 1997. Starting in 2017, LAN became a force behind the annual “Latina Writers Conference,” an extraordinary two-day meeting with panels, workshops, performances, speeches and informal gatherings by and for Latina writers.  Held at Plaza de la Raza in Lincoln Heights, the conference provides the professional know-how and mutual support that writers need to pursue their craft and their careers. To donate or become a member ($25 a year) visit:


Motivated by the belief that all people should have access to parks, green space and healthy communities, The City Project was instrumental in creating the Rio de Los Angeles State Park in Cypress Park and the L.A. State Historic Park north of Chinatown and in gaining National Monument status for much of the San Gabriel Mountains. Now, the multicultural Latino-led team at City Project has emerged as an important voice for communities in NELA facing displacement as a result of the L.A. River revitalization. The aim is to ensure that the greening of the L.A. River leads to more opportunities, not fewer ones, for lower-income communities in Glassell Park, Cypress Park and Elysian Valley. To donate:


The San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity (SGV Habitat), which includes Eagle Rock, El Sereno, Highland Park and Montecito Heights in its service area, is ramping up its “Home Preservation Program” for lower-income homeowners. Eligible homeowners – typically senior citizens, veterans and the disabled — receive help with exterior home repairs, including interest-free loans from SGV Habitat to cover the cost; the loans can be repaid over five years or when the house is sold. The repairs help to restore a home’s safety and bolster its value. Equally important, they help to restore a homeowner’s pride of ownership. To donate:


Best known perhaps for its large and well-stocked thrift store in NELA, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a Catholic volunteer organization that serves the poor and homeless of any religion for free. The help it offers includes providing food, shelter and emotional support, clothing, furniture and appliances, as well as assistance in connecting the disadvantaged to helpful resources. To donate money: To donate vehicles or other items to the thrift store: and


The Los Angeles Community Garden Council is an umbrella organization for dozens of community gardens in L.A., such as those in Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, Highland Park and Elysian Valley. The gardens are oases, where residents can rent a plot of land to grow their own healthy food, teach their children to garden and support urban agriculture. The L.A. Community Garden Council provides gardening workshops as well as organizational support to help ensure that the gardens are well run from year to year, decade to decade. To donate:

Fifteen More Ways to Make a Difference


Arroyo Arts Collective is a grassroots organization of artists, poets, performers and craftspeople who promote creativity, innovation and culture in NELA. To donate:

Avenue 50 Studio, in Highland Park, is a hub of Chicana/o and Latina/o culture and visual arts. To donate:

Center for the Arts in Eagle Rock teaches, exhibits and sponsors art, music, dance and other forms of creative expression for children, adults and the community at large. To donate:

Elysian Valley Arts Collective unites artists and business owners to build community in Frogtown through teaching, creating and displaying art. To donate or become a member ($30) visit:


Arroyo Seco Foundation works to protect and restore the Arroyo Seco watershed from the San Gabriel Mountains to NELA. To donate:

Audubon Center at Debs Park in Montecito Heights a gathering place for bird- and nature-lovers to learn about and observe migrating birds and native fauna, tend native plants and strategize about environmental challenges. To donate:

Friends of the Los Angeles River in Cypress Park works to create a swimmable, fishable L.A. River, with walkways and recreational areas. To donate:


The Wall-Las Memorias, in Highland Park, advocates for better health for Latino, LGBT and other underserved groups. To donate:


Recycled Resources for the Homeless, in Highland Park, provides walk in services for the homeless, and runs a pilot program for moving homeless individuals into affordable, sustainable housing. To donate:


The National Day Laborer Organizing Network connects legal, labor and immigrant groups to help ensure the humane treatment of day laborers. To donate:


Home Dog L.A., run out of the North Central Animal Shelter in Montecito Heights, offers low-cost veterinarian care and other aid to pet owners who otherwise could not afford to keep their pets. To donate:


Miry’s List, founded in Eagle Rock in 2016, uses innovative, comprehensive approaches to meet the needs of newly arrived refugees. To donate:


Access Books mobilizes volunteers to refurbish and restock underfunded and outdated school libraries in L.A. To donate:


The GRYD Foundation puts on Summer Night Lights, the program that keeps rec centers in NELA open late, well-lit, well-patrolled and full of activities all summer long. GRYD – which stands for “Gang Reduction and Youth Development” — recently launched Fall Friday Night Lights at selected rec centers. To donate:

Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services, headquartered in Highland Park, serves abused and neglected children, teens and other at-risk youth and their families. To donate: