Picks from the people who bring you the Boulevard Sentinel
The charitable giving season launched on Tuesday, December 1 — “Giving Tuesday” – when nonprofits remind you to donate online at the holidays and spread the word by posting about your donation at #GivingTuesday.
There is no shortage of worthy local nonprofits to choose from.
Throughout the pandemic, local organizations have worked to meet increasing needs for food, clothing, health care, child care and job assistance. They have created opportunities for art, reading, culture and recreation. They have nurtured projects and programs to protect pets and the environment.
And they have done all this while struggling to survive amid limitations on in-person activities and fundraising events.
The following list – our 5th annual Charitable Giving Guide – can help you target your donations.
The first three groups are local organizations featured in stories that ran this year in the Boulevard Sentinel. The remaining 25 are local groups that appeared in our previous giving guides and continue to fight the good fights for a better community.
SELAH volunteers deliver supplies and check in on a person living in a tent. | Photo courtesy of SELAH
The beloved 57-year old puppet theater company had been in its new location in Highland Park for only four months in March when the pandemic shut down live performances. Since then, the company – including nearly 3,000 handcrafted puppets – has continued to delight audiences with online puppet shows, pre-recorded performances, a look-don’t-touch Peek-a-Boo Stroll through the theater and socially-distant performances from the traveling Marionette Mobile.
But the cancellation of live performances has been devastating financially, leading the theater, a nonprofit enterprise, to launch a fundraiser with a goal of $365,000 to make it through 2021. Donate here.
There are nearly 3,000 handcrafted puppets in the Bob Baker Marionette Theater company. | Photo courtesy of Bob Baker Marionette Theater
The pandemic has temporarily closed public access to the cherished archives of the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society (ERVHS), stored at the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock. But the ERVHS continues to describe, confront and preserve the area’s history via online newsletters and online meetings. The ERVHS has also invited residents to submit their experiences of the pandemic for inclusion in the 2020 Pandemic archive. (Email your submissions to webmaster @eaglerockhistory.org or mail them to the ERVHS, 2225 Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90041.)
An ongoing – and costly – project of the ERVHS is to scan its archive into an electronic database for easy access by researchers and the public. Donate here.
A photo from the archive of the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society shows the founders of the Eagle Rock Kiwanis in 1924. | Photo courtesy of ERVHS
Here are 25 more ways to make a difference, grouped in 13 different issue categories: Art, Environment, Health, Homelessness, Housing, Immigrants, Pets, Poverty Reduction, Refugees, Social Services, Students, Urban Agriculture and Youth.
These following five organizations have continued to serve the community during the pandemic by shifting to online classes, exhibitions, art competitions and in-person appointments to view and buy art. They have also steadfastly advocated for the arts and supported artists during the pandemic.
The Latino Arts Network: An alliance of individuals and organizations devoted to strengthening the Latino arts community, including advocacy to establish a National Latino American History museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Donate here.
These four organizations have sponsored petitions and online meetings with the public and elected officials to ensure that the area’s environmental problems are not sidelined in the face of other crises. They have also created and maintained a compelling presence on social media to keep the public informed and engaged and to invite input in the process of setting the environmental agenda.
Audubon Center at Debs Park This urban oasis expects to remain closed to the public until at least January 2021. But it has used the hiatus to make improvements, including installing a new roof and solar system, and will resume its workshops, classes, volunteer opportunities and family activities when pandemic conditions allow. In the meantime, the hiking trails of Debs Park remain open. Donate here.
Mujeres de la Tierra supports women and families interested in becoming participants and leaders on local issues, especially social and environmental issues. The group’s tools and tactics range from community building, to art and theater, to political action. Donate here.
The Wall Las Memorias Founded in Highland Park at the start of the HIV/Aids pandemic, The Wall Las Memorias has become the indispensable source for support, information and advocacy to improve the health of Latino, LGBT and other under-served groups: Donate here.
The Shower of Hope, which operates mobile shower trailers for the homeless, has increased the number of locations where it operates during the pandemic from 16 to 22, including weekly shower events in Lincoln Heights and El Sereno. Donate here.
LA-Más, an urban design nonprofit in Elysian Valley, has pioneered and championed collaborations with local residents to create affordable housing and to identify commercial and mixed-use spaces that can be used in ways to meet neighborhood needs. Donate here.
The San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity includes Eagle Rock, Highland Park and Montecito Heights in its service area for low-cost exterior home repairs for veterans, limited-income families, disabled individuals and senior citizens. Donate here.
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network is in the forefront of efforts to ensure worker rights for immigrants. The organization also operates Radio Jornalera, the only radio program focused solely on defending the rights of migrant and low-wage workers, a particularly crucial undertaking at this time when the coronavirus is disproportionately impacting Latino workers. Donate here.
Home Dog L.A. offers low cost veterinarian care, pet food and other supplies to pet owners who otherwise might not be able to keep their pets. During the pandemic, it has set up a hotline where pet owners can leave messages for help and make appointments to pick up the goods and services they need from a distribution point in the parking lot of the North Central Animal Shelter in Montecito Heights. Donate here.
Homes Fur All began as an effort by local realtor and animal lover, Brian Fitzburgh, to urge homebuyers to adopt or foster a pet. It grew into the popular Bark! pet-adoption events in Glassell Park and Eagle Rock. With the Barks! on hold during the pandemic, Fitzburgh has rebranded the effort as “REresuce” which stands for “Real Estate Agents to the Rescue,” to teach other realtors about turning homebuyers into pet rescuers. So far, 65 new members have signed up. At the same time, Homes Fur All/RErescue continues to work with high school volunteers to launch pet-care projects. Donate here.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, known for its large thrift store in NELA, is a Catholic volunteer organization that provides food, clothing, shelter, emotional support and other resources to the poor and homeless of any religion for free. Donate here.
Founded in Eagle Rock in 2016, Miry’s List uses innovative approaches and programs to help meet the needs of newly arrived refugees. The pandemic has increased these needs because many refugee families arrive without basic supplies they need to quarantine safely and comfortably. Donate here.
The Mexican American Opportunity Foundation, founded in 1963 to serve disadvantaged individuals and families, includes Highland Park, Glassell Park and Eagle Rock in its service area. The organization has ramped up its food delivery and child care services during the pandemic to meet the growing needs of the community. Donate here.
Access Books refurbishes and restocks outdated and underfunded school libraries in Los Angeles. During the pandemic, Access Books has teamed up with the Book Foundation to deliver thousands of new, high-quality books for all grade levels to help students learn and to bring them the joy and comfort that comes from reading good books. 100% of donations are used to buy new books for children. Donate here.
The Los Angeles Community Garden Council gives organizational support to community gardens, such as those in Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, Highland Park and Elysian Valley, including resources on how to garden during Covid. Donate here.
Since its founding in 2013, L.A. Compost has diverted tons of food scrap from landfills to compost bins, where it is turned into rich organic matter to nourish the soil. During the pandemic, L.A Compost is operating a drop off location for scraps at the Elysian Valley Community Garden (1816 Blake Avenue) on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Compost options are also available for members of community gardens in Glassell Park, Highland Park and Elysian Valley. Donate here.
Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services in Highland Park serves abused and neglected children, teens and other at-risk youth and their families. Year-end gifts are especially helpful for buying holiday gifts for the resident youth. Donate here.