Give Time, Things, Support: 6 Ways to Make a Difference Around Chicago This June

There are so many impactful nonprofits around Chicago and the suburbs doing critical work to serve our communities and they are always looking for volunteers and donations. Here are just a few with specific needs you can help fill this month. For more deserving local nonprofits in need of your support, visit the Make It Better Foundation and learn more about our Philanthropy Award winners.

Bernie’s Book Bank

Give: Time

Bernies Voluteer AThon-25
Since 2009, Bernie’s Book Bank has provided millions of free books to Chicago’s kids living and learning in underserved areas. The nonprofit operates under the premise that reading is the single most important skill a child needs in order to contribute and function competently within society and obtain a better life. Bernie’s Book Bank has an ongoing need for volunteers to help sort, sticker and pack its books for Chicagoland’s children, with volunteer slots open Mondays through Saturdays for both individuals as well as groups. Bernie’s Book Bank was a 2013 Make It Better Foundation Philanthropy Award Winner.


Give: Things

RefugeeOne assists hundreds of refugees from war-torn countries such as Afghanistan and Ukraine, enabling them to take up residence in Chicago. On June 11, RefugeeOne is collecting summer related gear and goods during its Summer Fun Donation Drive. The drive will benefit refugee youth in Chicago who will attend the nonprofit’s 6-week summer camp— helping kids and teens continue to learn, grow, and develop over the summer. Some of the requested items include swimsuits, beach towels, sporting and play equipment and bike helmets. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 11 only, please deliver items to the Unity Lutheran Church located at 1212 W Balmoral in Chicago. RefugeeOne was a 2014 Make It Better Foundation Philanthropy Award Winner.

The Night Ministry

Give: Time and Support

TheNightMinistry_Chicago Street Medicine
The Night Ministry provides housing, healthcare and human connection to those who are struggling with homelessness or extreme poverty in Chicago. While they accept donations year-round, the nonprofit is hosting an in-person fundraiser, Lighting Up the Night, on June 13 at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Along with a reception, live auction and raffle, the organization will share an update on how they have helped Chicago’s most challenged citizens during the past two pandemic years. The organization also has an ongoing need for volunteers to support its mission. The Night Ministry was also a 2021 Make It Better Foundation Philanthropy Award Winner for Social Services. Learn more about the organization by watching this recent CBS Chicago segment.

Care for Real

Give: Support

Care for Real, serving the Edgewater and Rogers Park communities, helps vulnerable neighbors with overcoming food insecurity. The organization is experiencing nearly 350% growth in first-time clients visiting its food pantries, and is looking for financial support from the community in order to keep up with demand. Donations of any size are welcome, or they may be sent to the organization via mail. How it helps: a $50 donation covers a few hours salary for a warehouse associate; $100 pays for gas for food donation pick-ups at retail partners; $500 helps purchase more grocery carts for food distribution.

Her Rising Initiative

Give: Support

Cherie Animashaun Her Rising Intiative
Cherie Animashaun, Non-Profit Leader and Author
Founded by teen non-profit leader and author, Cherie Animashaun, Her Rising Initiative works to provide scholarships to students as well as provide materials and food for at-risk youth battling COVID 19 across the globe. The organization is asking for assistance either through donations or by purchasing mindfulness books written by the founder. You can contact Cherie via the Her Rising email.

Side Street Studio Arts

Give: Things

Side Street Studio Arts was founded in 2013 as an outlet for the Elgin arts scene. Run by artists, it provides educational and creative resources and an inclusive space for arts education, offering all services to young people free of charge. The nonprofit is asking for art and other supplies to keep its programs going. It has an online art supply wish list, or donors can also drop off supplies at its gallery, located at 15 Ziegler Ct. in Elgin, on Saturdays between 12 and 6 pm and Sundays between 11 am and 3 pm.

How to Help:

Do you know of a deserving nonprofit in need of time, things or support? Submit their requests here and encourage them to apply for a Make It Better Foundation Philanthropy Award.

More from Better:

Donna Berry Glass
Donna Berry Glass is a freelance writer in Marin County who writes mostly about family and kid-oriented topics. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family exploring the natural beauty of Marin, snuggling with her Cavalier King Charles spaniel while reading a good book or whipping up something delicious in her space-challenged kitchen. Donna is a supporter of the California Academy of Sciences, a world class science museum and research institution, and the Institute on Aging which provides much needed services to seniors and disabled individuals.

  Who We Are       NFP Support       Magazine       Programs       Donate