Holigay Gift Guide: Support Nonprofits And Celebrate Your Loved Ones

Since the November 8, something like 72,000 people have made donations to Planned Parenthood in honor of vice president-elect Mike Pence. His harrowing anti-woman and anti-LGBT record suggests he may not be thrilled about all those thank you notes clogging up his mailbox.

What sweet viral revenge! And you can be a part of it! This holiday season, give your friends and family a gift that will make a difference in the lives of people most likely to be affected by a Trump-Pence administration by supporting a worthy nonprofit or activist organization in their name. Redistribute your capital to hard working organizations instead of (or at least in addition to) corporate retail chains. December is the most important fundraising month for most nonprofits, and your gifts will help organizations hit the ground running in 2017.

To get you started, check out this list of national and regional organizations that make it easy for you to honor someone with your donation. Of course, organizations working in your city may be the best choice for your funds! And some of these larger organizations will have local chapters. Many nonprofits will send a thank you letter or email to your honored friend or family member, though it would be a nice touch to write them a card to explain why you chose that organization to celebrate them. Choose an organization your loved one is committed to, or one you think would be meaningful to them. Or one you know they will hate! Depends on the tenor of your holiday gatherings, I suppose.

Also, take a look at Mo’ Money Mo’ Progress, a queer-run organization that has created an extensive list of vetted organizations and offers customized certificates that you can send to let someone know about the gift made in their honor for $4.50.


LGBTQ Organizations

In this post-November 8th world, LGBTQ organizations are going to need us to come together in solidarity, and one way to do that is money.

Trans Justice Funding Project

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The Trans Justice Funding Project distributes funds to local grassroots organizations run by and for trans people. They don’t require their recipients to be registered 501(c)3s, which is radical — this status requirement is a barrier to access for funding from most larger foundations and umbrella organizations.

Southerners On New Ground (SONG)

“SONG is a Southern cross-class, multiracial membership organization that works towards a vision of liberation for working class, poor, Black, Brown, people of color, women, immigrants, and rural LGBTQ people. Your support is critical to advancing a movement of skilled up, fired up, interconnected Southern LGBTQ organizers to fight and win for our safety, communities, and lives.”

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is a hotline for queer and trans youth who are in need of crisis intervention and suicide prevention support. This crucial service is more vital than ever as queer and trans youth face some of the most dire risks under the new administration.

Sylvia Rivera Law Project

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project offers stickers with their logo and a short message that lets you tell your loved one you have made a gift in their honor. Get a sticker with a minimum donation of $5. “SRLP works to improve access to respectful and affirming social, health, and legal services for our communities. We believe that in order to create meaningful political participation and leadership, we must have access to basic means of survival and safety from violence.”

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Civil And Human Rights Organizations

We have to stand up for our civil rights, because no one else will. These organizations have a proven track record of protecting marginalized groups in the face of unconstitutional efforts to deny them their rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union

What better way to show someone you care than by making sure the rights of immigrants, incarcerated people, religious minorities and other marginalized people are protected — not to mention our right to freedom of speech and expression!

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Southern Poverty Law Center

The SPLC has been vigilantly tracking the impacts of the Trump-Pence election — for example, we have them to thank for the widespread awareness of the horrific number of hate-motivated crimes that have occurred in recent weeks. SPLC promotes tolerance through education and defends all Americans against hate.

National Immigration Law Center

“The outcome of the national elections will likely usher in changes for our country, and there are alarming signs that concrete steps are already being taken to turn the ugly rhetoric we witnessed during the campaign season into reality. The National Immigration Law Center will fight against unjust new immigration laws and policies at every turn, using the courtroom if necessary.”

Standing Rock

After a tenuous victory and amid rising uncertainty, now is the most important time to support the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux and allies against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Donate directly to the DAPL donation fund, support the Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund, or give to the Medic and Healer Council (note: the Amazon Wishlist for the Medic and Healer Council seems to no longer be active, if anyone has a current link please post in the comments and I will update!). None of these organizations currently have the option to formally dedicate your gift to someone, but I trust you can find some stationery and make it happen.

Seemingly Apolitical Organizations That Are Actually Radical

Maybe you’re trying to figure out how to bring your more conservative or non-politically-engaged family members into the struggle. And maybe you don’t want to give a gift in their honor to an organization that they don’t believe in (yet!). Here are some ideas for organizations that don’t approach any political hot buttons but that are in fact doing crucial work that impacts marginalized communities.

National Center for Families Learning

LITERACY Y’ALL! Full disclosure, I work at a child literacy center and let me tell you that teaching reading to people who have been failed by our educational (and economic and justice) system(s) is a baseline step toward fueling the revolution. As the NCFL puts it, “None of the social or economic challenges we face can be overcome unless all members of our communities have the literacy skills they need.”

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

For 20 years, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has been providing around the clock services to enable victims of abuse to get the resources they need to seek safety. And, if there is a domestic violence shelter or resource center in your community, I guarantee they need your financial support this holiday season.

Feeding America

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Feeding America is a nationwide network of food banks. The organization “work[s] to get nourishing food – from farmers, manufacturers, and retailers – to people in need. At the same time, we also seek to help the people we serve build a path to a brighter, food-secure future.”


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Audrey is a writer, a Texan and a sometimes-heretical Presbyterian. They write about bisexuality, gender, religion, politics, music and a whole lot of feelings at Autostraddle and wherever fine words are sold. They hope to adopt a dog some day. Follow Audrey on Twitter @audreywhitetx.

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6 Comments

  1. Thanks for this idea! as a person with a lot of wealthy liberal white ppl in my circle, I think I will use giving in people’s name to nudge their giving towards PoC led groups. E.g. If I know someone supports Sierra Club, I can give to Indigenous People’s Project in their name and explain how they are supporting the planet. Or if I know someone supports HRC, give to Audre Lorde Project and explain what they are doing. There’s a PoC-led group for basically every issue that liberal white people like to support. Thanks for the ‘secretly radical’ orgs – I didn’t know about them.

  2. In Germany, Switzerland, and Austria there is Queer Amnesty (I’m not sure if groups exist in other countries). Queer Amnesty is a branch of Amnesty International which fights for the rights of and protects LGBTQ people and HIV+ people around the world. In Germany they are also active in the remembrance of LGBTQ victims of the holocaust and and of the old laws in Germany which led to the imprisonment of gay men up until the 90s. For example the local group where I am active is raising money for a memorial for LGBTQ victims of the holocaust from the city where I live. The local groups are small and have little resources for their work and would be really thankful for all donations. Here is the link to the German website: http://www.queeramnesty.de

  3. I adore this! Every year my family and I donate a small amount to an org in someone’s name for the holidays/birthdays. I think it’s a wonderful tradition!

    That being said, if anyone wants to ALSO do something other than money for the holidays, Black and Pink is an organization that supports incarcerated queer people! I’ve worked closely with them and they are TOTALLY RAD. AND THEY ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR PEN PALS!

    So if you guys are feeling the need to contact/don’t have money to donate to a charity, consider signing up to be a pen pal to write and listen to a LGBTQIA+ person in prison!

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