January 7, 2015
The holidays may be over, but the good will and spirit of sharing doesn’t have to stop. In fact, the winter weather continues for at least a couple of months and we have far too many neighbors and residents in our cities spending frigid nights outside, with no shelter. If you were overcome by activities over the holidays, maybe now, in the new year, you’ll have a chance to help those in need. Here are some organizations that work year round, collecting warm coats, shoes, and blankets. Hopefully you will be moved and encouraged by their stories to help those in your own community who are in need.
A “bag of love” filled with a handmade blanket, a stuffed animal, and a few of life’s necessities give a child a sense of security in uncertain times. Top-rated by GreatNonprofits in 2014, Bags of Love, based in Eugene, OR, has distributed over 5,000 bags to children in crisis since 2008. As one volunteer states: “…each person plays an important role in making Bags of Love reach as many children in our community as possible, whether it is sewing bags and quilts, filling bags or delivering bags, serving on the Board, or helping with fundraising events.”
In partnership with firefighters, Rotary and other civic clubs, local
businesses, and community agencies, Operation Warm provides brand new winter coats to at-risk children who live in need. The gift of a brand new winter coat brings a child happiness and warmth and empowers her to attend school and play outside on cold winter days. Located in Chadds Ford, PA, Operation Warm helps kids across the US. “Working with this organization has opened my eyes not only to the problems facing the underprivileged in our country, but that there are thousands of volunteers and campaigns to do something to stop it.”
Cradles to Crayons (C2C) provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play. With locations in Boston and Philadelphia, C2C’s special “Gear Up for Winter “campaign supplies kids with the cold weather gear that they need to stay warm and safe from October through February. At the Boston office, kids over the age of five are welcome to volunteer. Kids and adults inspect, sort, and package all new and like-new donations into customized “KidPacks.” It’s never too early to start teaching your kids how to give back to their community.
From its headquarters in San Francisco, CA, One Warm Coat (top-rated by GreatNonprofits in 2014) works to provide any person in need with a warm coat, free of charge. What a simply stated, heartfelt goal! The organization began as a coat drive on Thanksgiving weekend in 1992. Last year over 600,000 people in need received a coat of their own and over 17,000 children received a new coat. When a recipient puts on a new coat, he or she is warmed physically and spiritually, by knowing that someone cared.
The staff and volunteers at My New Red Shoes believe that every child, regardless of his or her circumstances, should feel confident and positive about going to school. Ultimately, their goal is to provide new shoes and clothing to as many young people in need as possible. For those who give, My New Red Shoes cultivates compassion by connecting the broader community to its mission and the children they serve through volunteerism. As one volunteer said, “Growing out of a simple idea to offer homeless children the dignity they deserve on the first day of school, the organization impacts thousands of youth in our community.”
What good can a simple item, like a warm coat, do? According to Operation Warm, a recent survey sent to organizations that receive coats recorded these positive answers from respondents:
- 99% believed that the coat reduced the financial burden on their family.
- 75% believed the coats had a positive impact on school attendance.
- 100% believed the coats had a positive impact on their children’s emotions and self-esteem.
Survey respondents went on to state that the coats helped their children feel happy, smart, proud, or worthy.
It’s not too early to start a little spring cleaning. You might find a little used or gently worn coat that would be the perfect gift for someone in your community who could really use it. Check out your local churches, social service or local government agencies that serve your area. Chances are, someone can direct you to an organization that would gladly take a coat or two off your hands. Or check out the organizations described above; they all accept online donations. GreatNonprofits is another wonderful source of information about caring organizations in your neighborhood and across the globe.
December 29, 2014
Image courtesy of Charity Defense Council
It’s the home stretch for donors to make tax deductible charitable gifts in 2014. To help donors choose wisely during this season of giving, some websites focus on overhead costs to judge a nonprofits’ effectiveness. But contrary to popular belief, overhead costs don’t tell the whole story. “Don’t ask if a charity has low overhead. Ask if it has big impact,” according to entrepreneur and author Dan Pallota. (more…)
November 5, 2014
So the day we’ve all been waiting for is here! #GivingTuesday – a national movement and brainchild of the 92nd Street Y– The idea is to create a daylong national effort to help charities raise money online during the holiday season – and right on the heals of Cyber Monday and Black Friday. We’ve been preparing for months. But what do you do when the day is here? Here are tips depending on who you are!
July 2, 2014
It’s Never Too Early to Help
It’s easy to forget how lucky we are. We get in a particular groove, driving the kids to school, cheering them on at sporting events, helping them with homework. But are we teaching them how to pitch in and help others who are not as fortunate? How do they learn that not every child can ask a parent for basketball shoes and have them in time for next team practice? Do our kids realize that the crystal-clear drinking water that comes out of the tap is not an endless flow?
May 22, 2014
Amid Central Florida attractions such as Walt Disney World and SeaWorld lies Give Kids The World Village, a 70-acre nonprofit storybook resort that hosts children with life-threatening diseases, along with their families. Founded in 1986 by Henri Landwirth, a successful hotelier who survived five years as a child in Auschwitz, children come here from every state and 75 countries for complimentary vacations, intended as a respite from the weight of their illnesses. In addition to accommodations in one of the Village’s 144 villas, their vacation includes meals, entertainment and donated tickets to nearby attractions like SeaWorld, Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World. (more…)
April 2, 2014
Amid the woods and swamps of rural Citrus Country, Fla., Mission in Citrus—a small nonprofit offering homeless shelters and services—has garnered a whopping 178 reviews on GreatNonprofits. Despite the fact that it operates on a shoestring budget with two paid employees, Mission in Citrus also receives an average rating of five stars (the highest rating possible). We inquired with its founder, Pastor James Sleighter, to learn more about how Mission in Citrus earns such high marks from those it serves. (more…)
March 14, 2014
Four Ways Your Spring Cleaning Can Be Used For Social Good.
Housebound by bad weather? Why not do a little pre-emptive spring cleaning. Start small; maybe you have a linen closet or a bookshelf that could use some pruning. Don’t think of it as chore, but as a way to pass along items you no longer need to someone in need. Here are four things you can do: donate books, linens, clothing, or if you’re selling on eBay, donate a portion of the proceeds. You’ll be surprised how good you’ll feel and how much you can help. (more…)
January 30, 2014
GreatNonprofits, in collaboration with America’s Charities, invites you to participate in the Snapshot 2014 survey. Your participation in this survey will provide valuable insights into how nonprofits work with companies and their employees to build strong partnerships, and how nonprofits demonstrate impact from the contributions they receive.
Your input is vital to Snapshot 2014. The findings will be published by America’s Charities and shared with corporate funders in April 2014. We will also provide you with a copy of the report. To participate in this short, 15-minute survey, click this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/0114GNP
Please complete the survey by February 7, 2014. Your responses will be kept anonymous and will only be used in an aggregated format. Thank you for your help and contribution to this important topic. (more…)
January 30, 2014
Guidestar – our partner – has declared February the month of February Nonprofit Love (we concur!). To help nonprofits, Guidestar is launching a series of webinars that are coming up in February. Both of these webinars are topics we at GreatNonprofits care about – transparency and feedback. And, we’re speaking at one of the events. So please, come one, come all. Register for the events below. Collectively, we can’t wait to have you.
January 3, 2014
As the Hollywood awards season begins to rev up, all eyes are front and center on the celebrities who will be strutting their stuff at the Golden Globes. Celebrities receive much critical acclaim for their work on the silver screen, but beyond the glitz and the glamour of showbiz, many of these household names are quietly serving on the sidelines as active philanthropists. Many celebrities are doing far more than just writing a check or turning up at a gala or cocktail party – some of the headlining nominees at this year’s Golden Globes are passionate volunteers, advocates, or founders of their own nonprofit organizations. Here are some of the 2014 Golden Globe nominees who are dedicated to causes far away from the lights of Hollywood.