‘Tis the season of bell-ringing Santas and charity drives, and if you’re in a place to give back this year, finding organizations that match your values can be as difficult as dealing with holiday visits from relatives who want to set you up with a “nice young man.” Consider Autostraddle your Queer Charity Matchmaker. We’ve put together a list of some of the best North American charities whose missions focus on the LGBTQ community, and weeded out the charities that aren’t friendly to every aspect of the rainbow. This list also includes an overview of each charity’s mission statement, so you can give local or find the charity that’s most relevant to your interests. Happy giving back, homos!
Ali Forney Center
Provides housing for homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City, as well as medical and mental health services, substance abuse support, career and educational counseling and life skills mentoring.
Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
“Astraea was founded in 1977 by a small group of multi-racial, multi-class women in order to address the lack of funding for women-specifically lesbians and women of color.” Philanthropic organization supporting international LGBTQI causes.
Audre Lorde Project
“The Audre Lorde Project is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color community organizing center, focusing on the New York City area.”
Summer camps for gender-variant and trans* youth, with locations in New England and California.
“FORGE is a progressive organization whose mission is to support, educate and advocate for the rights and lives of transgender individuals and SOFFAs (Significant Others, Friends, Family, and Allies).” Provides support via a number of projects, based primarily in the areas of aging, anti-violence, and local projects in Wisconsin.
Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute
“The Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute works to achieve full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by building, supporting, and advancing a diverse network of LGBT public leaders.” Programs offered include internships, scholarships, leadership conferences, and training for political candidates and campaigns, as well as an international directory for openly LGBTQ political leaders.
Jim Collins Foundation
Provides financial assistance to transgender individuals for surgery and medical expenses.
LA Gay and Lesbian Center
Provides a wide number of resources for the LGBTQ community, including resources for LGBTQ youth, LGBTQ elderly, and queer families.
SAGE Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders
“Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults.”
“SMYAL supports and empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the Washington, DC metropolitan region.” Services offer include support groups, peer education program, leadership training, HIV testing and counseling, social activities specifically for LGBTQ youth, and community education.
Sylvia Rivera Law Project
“The Sylvia Rivera Law Project works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence.”
The Harvey Milk Foundation
“From targeted programs that support cross cultural discussions, working to harmonize and share best advocacy practices on a global level, to Harvey’s very unique but critical focus on building a foundation for societal change through face to face conversation with communities that have traditionally opposed LGBT equality, the foundation works to realize a dream that Harvey began and that is up to all of us to create.”
The national LGBTQ scholarship fund, provides scholarships and financial assistance to LGBTQ students, as well as leadership training, mentorship, and community service training.
Transgender Law Center
“Transgender Law Center works to change law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.” Based in San Francisco, California.
The Trevor Project
Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth, including a 24 hour hotline, education resources, and training for youth and adults.
“ASTT(e)Q aims to promote the health and well-being of trans people through peer support and advocacy, education and outreach, and community empowerment and mobilization.” Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec (ASTT(e)Q) works for the trans* community in Quebec through advocacy and activism. Important note: ASST(E)Q is one of only a few organizations that specifically focuses a portion of their programs on trans sex workers and the promotion of safe and positive working conditions.
National leadership retreat for LGBTQ youth. “It focuses on building and nurturing their leadership potential and personal resiliency in an effort to help them learn how to make significant contributions to their own lives and to their schools, home/group-home environments, and communities.”
Aims to eliminate LGBTQ discrimination in schools and youth communities via educational programming, conferences, arts programs, community involvement, and support for youth-led initiatives.
Provides scholarships and funding to LGBTQ academics and research that supports the LGBTQ community.
Out on Bay Street
“Out On Bay Street provides resources and opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally (LGBTQA) students, young professionals and pro-LGBTQA organizations across Canada.”
Rainbow Refugee Committee“Rainbow Refugee Committee (RRC) is a Vancouver based community group that supports and advocates with people seeking refugee protection because of persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status.”
“Salaam is an organization dedicated to Muslims who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual/ transgender and or intersex, as well as those questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity, their families and friends.”
Ten Oaks Project – “The Ten Oaks Project engages and connects children and youth from LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirit, queer) communities through programs and activities rooted in play.”
Feel free to comment with the charity near and dear to your heart!