Our Favorite Charities
By Gretta Monahan
It’s holiday gift-giving time, so buying season is in full swing. And sure, scented soaps and fruitcakes will always put a smile on the face of anyone receiving them, but this year is already different than most, with so many people forgoing material gifts in lieu of charitable donations that help improve the world.
Whether you donate officially in honor of your recipient (in which case they’ll usually receive a personal thank you from the organization) or give and write your loved one a note letting them know you donated in their name, you’ll be giving to your dear ones, and again to the charities and nonprofits that need help to help others.
Here are some of my favorite local organizations and local branches that do incredible work for Boston and the region.
Art beCause Breast Cancer Foundation
One of my favorites, this wonderful and unique nonprofit was founded 15 years ago by survivors of breast cancer. They had no family history of the disease whatsoever (It turns out that 90 percent of those diagnosed don’t!), which led them to believe there must be another reason that so many get the disease. The organization they created now raises funds for research on the environmental causes of breast cancer, and to educate the public on how we can finally achieve prevention. Give here.
Room to Grow
This fantastic and caring locally based national group is dedicated to enriching the lives of babies born into poverty through their critical first three years of development. Starting before babies are born, families are welcomed into the nonprofit’s space every three months for one-on-one meetings with social workers and support staff, until the child turns 3. The group makes sure families have all of the baby items, information and guidance they need to make for a healthy and secure start for their child. Give here.
Victim Rights Law Center
Sexual assault awareness has risen in our culture in a big way this past year. This charity group helps victims of assault get the free and top-notch legal representation they need to speak out against their attackers, thanks to the work donated by some of the best Boston lawyers, who are brought in and coordinated by VRLC. Give here.
The first women’s shelter in the country, Rosie’s offers poor and homeless women a nurturing environment to maintain their dignity, look for employment, and find safety and security in their lives. It provides food, shelter, education and future housing help for more than 12,000 women every year — and doesn’t accept government funding, so it relies on individuals like you and me to keep them going. Of every dollar given, 88 cents goes directly to helping poor and homeless women. Give here.
American Civil Liberties Union
Nope, it’s not just a “liberal” organization. The ACLU legally protects and defends free speech for all Americans — of every economic class, race, gender and political stance — no matter what they believe. This holiday season, any relatives or loved ones who especially love to share their opinions publicly will appreciate that you have their back in supporting the people who have their back. Buy them a membership here.
The fight against climate change needs all the help it can get these days, and here in Massachusetts, Sierra Club has been protecting the environment — fighting for clean air, endangered species and clean water acts — with successful political and educational campaigns for nearly 50 years. Give here.