12 Places To Make a Donation in Lieu of Gifts This Year

Photo: Getty Images/Cavan Images
Every year, 63 million Americans—about 25 percent of the adult population—volunteer to serve their communities through soup kitchens, literacy programs, and by other means. Reports suggest that this commitment to others hasn't changed despite the garbage fire year that is 2020. In the spirit of the socially-distanced altruism, many folks have found a way to make holiday donations through time or money this year—and it's not too late for you to do the same.

To help you decide where to donate as the year draws to a close, we rounded up 12 organizations that spend every day working diligently to make the world a more equitable and compassionate place. Instead of gifts, make a donation in a loved one's name this year, and send to friends and family so that they know what to get you—or rather, what to get others—this year, if they can.

12 amazing organizations to keep on your radar for holiday donations and volunteerism this year

1. Anti-Racism Daily 

Nicole Cardoza's Anti-Racism Daily newsletter offers actionable steps you can take to practice anti-racism every single day. (Read a whole archive of past newsletters here.) You can donate to the newsletter via a monthly Patreon contribution or a one-time donation to make sure this vital information continues to percolate in 2021 (and every year after that).

2. Black Girls Breathing Reallocation Initiative

Black Girls Breathinga safe space for black womxn to practice 360-degree wellness—has set a $100,000 fundraising goal to continue dismantling systemic racism and promoting equity in the wellness space. They're hoping to hit it their goal by the end of 2020—and you can help them accomplish that.

3. Braid Mission Cards of Hope

Cards of Hope has a simple, yet powerful mission to make sure every single child receives a birthday card. You can sponsor the brand or send cards straight from your couch via the website. Who says you can't volunteer from the great indoors?

4. Love For Our Elders

Another one for those who love penpals, Love For Our Elders pairs you up so you can write letters to older folks who may otherwise feel lonely this holiday season. No emailed or typed letters will be accepted, so it's time to practice your cursive.

5. Off Their Plate

"In these times of crisis, we are providing economic relief to COVID-impacted restaurant employees and feeding families and individuals facing hunger," says the Off Their Plate website. You can help out by donating or volunteering, and restaurant-owners can even offer to donate food for frontline workers.

6. Seeding Sovereignty

Seeding Sovereignty is an Indigenous-led collective that's dedicated to empowering and uplifting indigenous communities. You can donate to their myriad of campaigns—and while you're at it, check out their decolonization educational resources, too.

8. The Okra Project

The Okra Project donates home-cooked, culturally-rooted foods to help Black trans folks experiencing food insecurity. "Based on individual donations, The Okra Project pays Black Trans chefs to go into the homes of Black Trans people to cook them a healthy and home-cooked meal at absolutely no cost to our Black TGNC siblings," says the website. Donate $90 today, and you can pay for an entire meal.

9. Dive in Well

Dive in Well is actively working to break down barriers facing women, particularly BIPOC women. Any and all donations will go towards paying people who work with Dive in Well, offering scholarships, and providing discounted offerings for BIPOC.

10. Naaya

Naaya works to de-center whiteness in wellness by creating space where BIPOC folx can get to the root of what makes them feel good in their own bodies. You can support the company by donating to The Check In, a plan to gather resources for BIPOC youth to help them unlock their own definition of what it means to be well.

11. The Essie Justice Group

The Essie Justice group provides a community for women with incarcerated loved ones and empowers them to fight the racial injustices within the prison system. You can donate money to help them continue that work.

12. This Is My Brave 

A support community for people living with someone with mental illness, This Is My Brave is always worth your support—but especially in the finale of a year that has ravaged many people's mental well-being. You can donate to the company via its website, or become a Brave Champion to help it grow its reach in the future.

13. Justice for Migrant Women

Justice for Migrant Women protects and advances migrant women's rights through education and advocacy. Consider donating to their Farmworkers' COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund. By donating, you can help keep farmworkers safe and support their immediate needs during the pandemic. So far, they have raised $34 million. With your support, you can help them reach their goal of $50 million.

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Additional reporting by Kayla Hui. 

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