As hard as it is to believe, 2020 is almost over, and we’re heading into the holiday season.
A special part of this time of year is #GivingTuesday, which is the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The day was created to encourage charitable giving at the start of the holidays. Business giving has always been important to Don’t Panic Management. We’ve made a point to give to organizations that align with the company’s mission and values for years.
This year, the need for giving has only been amplified. With many people struggling as a result of the pandemic and a national reckoning with the continuing pain caused by white supremacy in our country, the importance of standing up for what you believe in and supporting causes that champion those values has never been clearer.
We reached out to our incredible, socially-engaged team to learn about the charities they love and support. Here’s what they had to say.
NB: We’ve included tags below the name of each organization so that you can easily see the type of work each charity does. Hopefully, this will make it easier for you to find an organization you’d like to give to!
The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation provides education, resources, and support for people living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and their families. From advocating for policy change, providing information for the newly-diagnosed, and running a summer camp for children with IBD, CCFA’s impact is wide-ranging. CCFA also invests in research to find a cure for these two lifelong diseases.
One in ten people globally lacks access to clean water. Charity: water funds local organizations in developing nations that build sustainable water projects. Founded in 2006, the organization has backed nearly 60,000 projects worldwide, providing clean water for more than 11 million people.
The Pennsylvania-based Clean Air Council is one of VA Emilee’s favorite local organizations to support. The Clean Air Council has been fighting against climate change and for individuals’ health since before the founding of the EPA. They tackle everything from blocking dirty energy projects to banning cigarette smoking at daycare facilities. They strive to make the Mid-Atlantic region the place with the cleanest air and the smallest carbon footprint in the US.
Day One aims to end dating violence among young people by providing education to all and direct services to survivors. Day One educators are embedded in New York City schools, where they teach all young people about healthy relationships, consent, and signs of abuse. The organization also provides legal services, social services, and counseling for those who have been victims of abuse.
The Dravet Foundation is dedicated to funding research, increasing awareness, and providing support for children with Dravet syndrome (also known as Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy), a rare and catastrophic form of intractable epilepsy that begins in infancy. Our VA Leslie supports this worthy cause in honor of her niece, Sophia.
Gun violence remains a pervasive problem in communities across the United States. Everytown for Gun Safety is a grassroots organization that supports pro-gun safety candidates and advocates for policy changes that will lead to greater gun safety on the local, state, and federal levels.
Girls on the Run helps girls in grades three through eight find greater confidence and build self-esteem through interactive lessons and physical activity. The group has supported more than two million girls nationwide, and 97 percent of girls who participated in the program said they learned valuable life skills.
The Global Fund for Women provides funds to women’s organizations and causes around the world. Their grant process allocates funds to projects to help achieve global gender justice, with a focus on intersectionality—the recognition that the fight for equality in gender, race, class, sex, and physical ability are all intertwined.
Habitat for Humanity is near and dear to our Director of Calm’s heart. Jess first began volunteering with Habitat in high school. The experience was so formative that it became the basis for Jess’s college essay, which helped her gain admission to her dream school. Habitat provides affordable housing to low-income families across the United States and in approximately 70 countries around the world.
VA Laura notes that there’s a saying: “Jazz was born in New Orleans and raised in Kansas City.” KC Jazz Alive celebrates the rich cultural history of Kansas City’s jazz scene, supporting local venues and artists, and connecting low-income student musicians with scholarships to attend workshops where they convene with other young artists from across the city to play jazz together.
The threat of climate change is looming, and as our world population continues to grow we must find sustainable agricultural solutions that nurture our planet and nourish our families. Kiss the Ground advocates for the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices, which focuses on topsoil regeneration as a way to improve biodiversity and increase resistance to climate change, all while feeding the billions on the planet.
VA Patrick supports his local community by giving to LA Food Bank, which serves over 300,000 hungry Angelinos every month. The Food Bank provides special programs aimed at children and seniors to ensure that each population’s unique nutritional needs are met.
MenzFit helps low-income men find gainful employment by providing professional attire for interviews and jobs, coaching and career development services, and financial literacy education. The clients that MenzFit serves typically have limited formal education; MenzFit helps them to build a lasting, fulfilling career.
The LDF has a long and storied history; it is the organization that litigated Brown v. Board of Education. They continue that vital work today, taking on issues in the criminal justice system—like capital punishment, juvenile life without parole, and jury discrimination—and economic justice—like fair housing, health care, and minority business discrimination. They also remain focused on access to education, offering scholarships to college and law school. The LDF’s dedication to fighting for racial justice in many areas of society is why VA Brianna is proud to support them.
Another charity local to our VA Laura, PFLAG Kansas City serves the local LGBTQ+ community and their family and friends. They offer scholarships to colleges and trade schools and create a community for those who have found themselves without a support system.
Planned Parenthood provides free or low-cost healthcare to uninsured or under-insured individuals across the country. While it’s often touted for being a vital lifeline for low-income women to receive well-women visits, essential screenings for cancer, and access to birth control, Planned Parenthood also provides health services for LGBTQ+ folks and men.
When you’re facing a critical illness, caring for your body and soul is just as important as receiving medical care. Project Angel Food delivers nourishing meals to critically ill people who are hungry and alone. The meals are medically-tailored, and the food is delivered personally by a team of dedicated drivers who are often the only person the recipient will see all week.
She’s the First wants to build a world where girls are “educated, respected, and heard.” By giving girls around the globe access to education and tools that put them in control of their own destinies, She’s the First is laying the groundwork for gender equality from an early age. Jess has been a long-time supporter of the organization and was excited when the co-founders recently released their book, Impact, to help others consciously create networks for positive change.
The outburst of national anger following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the spring highlighted for many the toxic role that racism continues to play in our society. SURJ is dedicated to toppling white supremacy by delegitimizing racist institutions and shifting the culture towards greater equity for all.
VA Laura is involved with the SMUUCh FUUD Pantry through her local church in Kansas City. The food pantry is open to anyone and everyone; no ID is required to access services. They aim to close the gap on food insecurity in KC and outlying areas.
The SPLC takes a three-pronged approach to fighting for social justice. They combat hate by monitoring hate groups in the US and bringing their actions to light, both in the media and with law enforcement. They provide resources to educators to teach courses on tolerance to young people. And they stand up for victims of discrimination and hate in court. That’s why our VA Adam is proud to support them!
The Public Theater is a New York institution, and their work with the Mobile Unit speaks to the heart of their mission: to make theater accessible to all. The Mobile Unit takes the show on the road (literally), bringing professional theater performances to correctional facilities, homeless shelters, libraries, and community centers.
The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth. They provide support nationwide via their phone, text, and chat lifelines. Plus, they give training for adults who work with youth, educating them about the specific challenges and risks LGBTQ+ youth face.
The Victory Center provides comprehensive support to cancer patients and their families in Toledo, Ohio. Their assistance is wide-ranging, from support groups for family members to access to exercise classes, massage sessions, and more for the patients themselves. Our VA Shannon supports this organization, as does her whole family. Her sister-in-law is a regular participant in their annual Over the Edge for Victory fundraiser, where she can be seen rappelling down the side of a building!
Our VA Jenn T. supports the Wikimedia Foundation because she believes that education should be accessible and that we should never stop learning. From the well-known free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, to Wikimedia Commons, which provides free access to over 65 million media files, this family of organizations grants access to a plethora of educational materials at no cost.
What if you can’t donate?
Let’s face it, 2020 has been a year of hardship for many. If you’ve found yourself unable to spare funds for a donation this #GivingTuesday, there are other ways to give back!
The easiest thing to do is to spread the word. There are many organizations out there who need and deserve our support. If you have a favorite organization, shout it out—on social media, in an email to friends and family, or over your Zoom Thanksgiving gathering.
For those who don’t have money on hand but do have time to spare, consider volunteering. Some organizations are providing virtual volunteer opportunities, and others still need in-person support. Getting involved can help you maintain connection and build community during what is otherwise a pretty isolating year.
However you choose to get involved, we hope you’ll carve out a little bit of time this #GivingTuesday to show your favorite organization some love. You’ll be glad that you did!