It’s that time of year again — the recommended charities post. Listen — I understand housing isn’t on the top of everyone’s list, and I totally respect that. If you’d like to donate to Housing Policy Watch, great. If housing just isn’t your thing — here’s a list of charities we know and love. There’s something for everyone on this year’s list! (List is in no particular order.)
- Public Justice Center does a lot of work on fair wage issues, workplace justice, immigration, and civil right to counsel.
- 1000 Friends of Maryland works for smarter development across Maryland, and environmental issues.
- Healthcare for the Homeless — that’s pretty self-explanatory.
- Roberta’s House is a safe place for people, particularly children, who are mourning the loss of a loved one. They offer counseling and a summer camp for families in need.
- BARCS and the Maryland SPCA help abandoned animals find new homes and promote responsible pet ownership. The SPCA also advocates for stricter penalties for those who are found guilty of animal cruelty.
- Baltimore Heritage works hard to preserve and promote Baltimore’s many historic structures. They also offer walking tours, happy hours, and other events to get communities involved in historic preservation.
- Maryland Legal Aid is a nonprofit legal services provider that works with people who are primarily low-income. Contrary to what I’ve heard people say — Legal Aid is not the same as the Public Defender’s Office, nor is it a state agency. They’re one of the few resources for people who are in need of representation in a civil matter.
- Another nonprofit legal resource to those with limited means, the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service assists people statewide in a variety of legal areas — all attorneys are volunteers who work for other law firms.
Thank you for your generosity!
As you’re contemplating the many deserving charities for your end of the year giving, here are some of our favorites — they’re all local, and they all work hard to make Baltimore a better city, despite the odds. Give often, and give generously!
A few new additions to the list for 2012, some of the same great groups from 2011:
- Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning
- Baltimore Heritage
- Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake
- Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service
- Community Law Center
- Public Justice Center
- 1000 Friends of Maryland
- Homeless Persons Representation Project
- Healthcare for the Homeless
- Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc.
- Lauren’s Luggage (This one is not yet a 501(c)(3) but they have applied. Consider donating anyway — there’s a compelling story behind this one.)
- Maryland Legal Aid
Why these charities and not others that might be equally as deserving? I have experience with all of them in some way. I know the executive directors, or I’ve watched them carefully over the years. These organizations have a few qualities in common:
- They spend more on programs and/or direct services than they do on swank office space or fundraising/admin costs.
- They’re organizations that work on the ground, directly making a difference — they “do” more than they “talk”.
So please — be generous. Without these organizations, Baltimore would surely suffer even more than it already suffers now. We can’t build a better city without them.