Picks from the people who bring you the Boulevard Sentinel
Giving Tuesday, when nonprofits urge you to give to charity during the holiday season, falls on Tuesday, Nov. 30.
There are many worthy causes. One way to choose is to give locally so that your donations support work taking place in your own community.
Here, in the Boulevard Sentinel’s 6th annual giving guide, are 25 groups that work tirelessly to provide services in Northeast Los Angeles.
The first four are new to our list; these are nonprofits we learned about in the course of reporting for the Sentinel this year. The remaining 21 are local groups from our previous giving guides that have kept up the good work(s) they do, day in and day out, to make NELA a better place to live.
The 117-unit “tiny home” village for the homeless in Highland Park, which opened in November, is operated by the nonprofit Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission. The 48-unit tiny home village in Eagle Rock, opening soon, will be operated by the nonprofit Union Station Homeless Services. The two groups were selected to run the NELA villages based on their long, successful and inspiring efforts to help the homeless.
In addition to running NELA’s tiny home villages – a big operational task — Hope of the Valley and Union Station also offer extensive help to homeless individuals and families by providing shelter, meals and showers and facilitating access to housing, medical and mental health care and jobs.
The People’s Pottery Project in Glassell Park, established in 2019, is a nonprofit ceramics business that provides formerly incarcerated women, trans and nonbinary individuals with paid training, meaningful employment and a welcoming environment. Part workshop, part showroom, part classroom, the People’s Pottery Project lets participants explore all aspects of the business, from creating pottery to teaching ceramics classes to inventory management and marketing.
Ilka Perkins, a former inmate and a founder of People’s Pottery, recently told the Sentinel that acceptance from the art community has “allowed me to change my thoughts, so instead of making something from hands that were once violent, I can make something beautiful that people accept, love and want in their house.” Donate to People’s Pottery Project here.
Calling all Franklin alumni, friends of Franklin and fans of Highland Park. The nonprofit Franklin High School Educational Foundation provides scholarships to college-bound Panthers. In 2021 alone, the foundation gave a total of $182,000 to 163 students, including top awards for three students of $9,600 over four years, followed by awards for three students of $3,200 over four years and one-time awards of $900 for 157 students. Since 1963, when a group of Franklin alumni, staff and supporters began fundraising for Panther scholarships, some $2.5 million has been granted to 4,300 students.
Financial hardship is the reason that many students do not complete college. Scholarship money from the Franklin High School Educational Foundation helps to ensure that Panthers who start college are able to finish. Donate here.
Here are 21 more ways to make a difference, grouped in 14 different issue categories: Art, Environment, Health, History, Homelessness, Housing, Immigrants, Performance, Pets, Poverty Reduction, Refugees, Social Services, Urban Agriculture and Youth.
Arroyo Arts Collective: Local artists, poets, performers and craftspeople who promote creativity and culture in NELA. Donate here. You can also support the collective by purchasing a gift at the group’s holiday art market at Avenue 50 Studio through Jan. 8.
Arroyo Seco Foundation works to protect and restore the Arroyo Seco watershed from the San Gabriel Mountains to NELA. A recent effort has centered on preserving the potential for stream restoration in Sycamore Grove Park in Highland Park. Donate here.
Audubon Center at Debs Park This urban oasis remains closed for construction, but the center has resumed some outdoor activities, including volunteer days for habitat-restoration, community bird walks and live music under the trees. Donate here.
Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) Located in Cypress Park, FoLAR is the leading organization of the movement to create a swimmable, fishable, enjoyable L.A. River. One of its signature events, an annual clean up of the river basin by hundreds of volunteers, returned in 2021 after a pandemic hiatus, as small, in-person groups organized by FOLAR tidied up the river. Donate here.
The Wall Las Memorias Founded in Highland Park a generation ago to respond to the HIV/Aids pandemic, The Wall Las Memorias has become a leader in providing support, information and advocacy to improve the health of Latino, LGBTQ and other under-served groups: Donate here.
The Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society has steadfastly built, tended and added to the historic archives of Eagle Rock. The ERVHS also sponsors talks that explore the past and, in the process, help explain the present. Donate by becoming a member ($20) here.
Formed in 2017 to help the homeless in Silver Lake, Echo Park, Los Feliz, Atwater and Hollywood, the SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition opened chapters in Northeast Los Angeles in 2019. Since then, SELAH volunteers have visited local homeless people and encampments weekly, providing one-on-one support while getting to know the homeless as individuals and gaining their trust. This knowledge and trust have proven crucial in designing effective programs to help the homeless leave the streets and find stable housing. Donate here.
LA-Más, an urban design nonprofit in Elysian Valley, has pioneered collaborations with local residents to create affordable housing solutions. Its vision is “a Northeast Los Angeles where communities of color have equitable access to the power and resources needed to shape their futures.” Donate here.
The San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity , which includes Eagle Rock, Highland Park and Montecito Heights in its service area, has continued throughout the pandemic to accept and process applications and complete low-cost exterior repairs for veterans, limited-income families, disabled individuals and senior citizens. Donate here.
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network is in the forefront of efforts to ensure worker rights for immigrants. Its efforts for social and economic justice include shining a light on the disparate impact of Covid-19 on immigrant workers. Donate here.
The storied Bob Baker Marionette Theater in Highland Park survived the pandemic by staging road shows and Zoom performances and by holding a fundraising drive that tapped into the support of audiences dating back to the theater’s founding in 1963. Performances have resumed; masks and proof of vaccination for ages 12+ required. Donate here.
A pet rescue organization, betterTogether forever helps pet owners in low-income and under-resourced L.A. communities access the services and supplies they need to keep their pets safe, healthy, happy – and off the streets and out of shelters. Donate here.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic volunteer organization known for its large thrift store in NELA, provides free food, clothing, shelter, emotional support and other resources to the poor and homeless of any religion. Donate here.
Founded in Eagle Rock in 2016, Miry’s List uses innovative approaches and programs to help meet the needs of newly arrived refugees. When refugees from Afghanistan began arriving in the U.S. this year, Miry’s List was one of the oft-cited organizations that was ready and able to help. Donate here.
The Mexican American Opportunity Foundation, founded in 1963 to serve disadvantaged individuals and families, includes Highland Park, Glassell Park and Eagle Rock in its service area. The organization has taken a leading role in outreach related to Covid-19, ramping up its child care services and providing reliable, trusted information about safety protocols and vaccines. Donate here.
The Los Angeles Community Garden Council gives organizational support to community gardens, such as those in Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, Highland Park and Elysian Valley and sponsors volunteer opportunities for people interested in gardening. Donate here.
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, including nearly 740,000 pounds of diverted scraps in 2020 alone. Its website is a one-stop center for learning how and where to compost. In October 2021, the group resumed its annual gratitude party for volunteers, participants and supporters. Donate here.
Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services in Highland Park serves abused and neglected children, teens and other at-risk youth and their families. Year-end gifts are especially helpful for buying holiday gifts for the resident youth. Donate here.
And remember to contribute to the Boulevard Sentinel. The Sentinel is not a nonprofit, but your contributions help us to bring you the local news.