Here’s How You Can Actually Make a Difference This #GivingTuesday

Illustration by Sam Woolley/GMG
Illustration by Sam Woolley/GMG

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day similar to Black Friday and Cyber Monday in that it’s a combination of an adjective and a day of the week set during the holiday season, but different in that it encourages people to donate to various charitable causes instead of merely purchasing material items like the mindless consumerist monsters that we are.


Giving Tuesday, the social media fueled “holiday” dedicated to the spirit of humanity, is only five years old, but it is estimated to raise $200 million for various charities—kind of a drop in the bucket in light of the $5 billion reportedly spent on Black Friday, but a noble push nonetheless.

Donating to charities and other non-profits are acts of compassion (unless that charity doesn’t actually give much of the proceeds to the beneficiaries), but in the age of Trump, they are also a form of activism. With various government support programs being slashed and vulnerable communities under attack, donating to certain charities isn’t just kind, but a crucial way to fight against the institutions that create the disparities and injustice that lead to the need for them in the first place.

So we’ve compiled a (not at all comprehensive) list of worthy causes that you can donate your money to this Giving Tuesday. And if it’s revenge you’re looking for, why not make a donation to a worthy cause in your racist/sexist/LGBTQ-phobic aunt or uncle’s name! It’s all about creativity.


Donors Choose supports public schools, allowing donors to find a classroom project, whether it’s iPads for classrooms, science lab kits, or Spanish language books, and donate accordingly.

While there are a variety of local school supply donation opportunities, Volunteers of America’s Operation Backpack provides children living in poverty or dealing with homelessness with new backpacks full of school supplies.

School Lunch Fairy is one of several funds dedicated to wiping out school lunch debt, setting up emergency lunch funds at public schools and working toward ensuring students from low-income families aren’t denied lunches at school.



Americans for the Arts is a non-profit that works on advancing arts education, providing affordable access to the arts, building public policy to protect and promote the arts, and of course, save the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.


Cool Culture provides low-income families in New York City free access to various museums and cultural institutions in the city, seeking to improve early childhood education and community engagement. If you’d like to support low-income families accessing museums outside of New York, feel free to donate to museums that participate in Museums for All, a national initiative that provides free or heavily discounted admissions for low-income families (or encourage your local museum to join the program).

Other specific art institutions you can donate to include: the National Museum of African American Music, the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, the Arab American National Museum, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, among others.


The Black Artisans Scholarship aims to support black and/or women attending the American College of the Building Arts with tuition, housing, books, fees, and other educational and living costs.


The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund works toward transgender equality through legal efforts, education initiatives, and policy.


The Sylvia Rivera Law Project works to support low-income people and people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming, providing legal services, access to healthcare, as well as public education and policy.

The Ali Forney Center is dedicated to protecting and supporting LGBTQ homeless youth, providing shelter and meals as well as health and mental health services, and preparing them for independent living.


Immigrant Advocacy

CASA works to improve the state of Latinx and immigrant communities in the country through education and vocational training, employment advocacy, providing health and legal services, supporting community schools, community organizing, and legislation.


Make the Road is a New York-based non-profit that similarly promotes justice for Latinx and immigrant communities that also focuses on housing, LGBTQ, and environmental justice along with workplace, education, and immigrants rights initiatives.

United We Dream is a youth-driven immigrant justice organization that focuses on political campaigns, like combatting deportations, as well as advocating for access to higher education for immigrant youth.


Criminal Justice

Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration is a Chicago-based organization that advocates for mothers affected by racial and economic injustice and their children. You can donate to their Holiday Solidarity toy drive, which provides toys to the children of incarcerated mothers.


The Bail Project combats the economic inequality in our mass incarceration state, helping to pay bail for low-income people, who could sit behind bars for years without being tried or convicted because of the cost (or worse, plead guilty to a crime they didn’t commit just to go home).

On a similar note, the Chicago Community Bond Fund pays bonds for people in Cook County, IL, charged with crimes who cannot afford to pay bond themselves while advocating for the elimination of the money bond. As CCBF points out, “Inability to pay bond results in higher rates of conviction, longer sentences, loss of housing and jobs, separation of families, and lost custody of children.”


If you don’t have the means to donate but have a computer and want to help the bail cause, check out Bail Bloc, a “cryptocurrency mining tool” that you can run on your computer that “mines” a cryptocurrency called Monero and donates it to the Bronx Freedom Fund.

See Also

The Lakota Peoples’ Law Project’s (Lakota Law) Legal Defense Fund aims to raise money for the legal representation of Lakota people who protested against the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock.


Coworker helps workers at companies that don’t have unions address workplace issues like paid parental leave or adding a tip option for ride-sharing services and advocate for themselves through collective organizing.

The Asomugha Foundation offers college-bound students of color in the U.S. mentorship and opportunities to visit campuses while also supporting widows and orphans in Nigeria and other African countries with educational and vocational training.


The Unidos Disaster Relief Fund to Support Puerto Rico is a collaboration between community organizations, elected officials, and the Hispanic Federation to help victims of Hurricane Maria and recovery efforts.

Isha is a staff reporter who covers pop culture, representation in media, and your new faves.