Giving Tuesday 2022: 30 Ways to Give Back or Donate Around Chicago

“Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.” And as the season of giving comes around again, keep the momentum going this year by investing in Giving Tuesday — “a global giving movement” based on “radical generosity.” Annually celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving — this year Nov. 29 — get involved any way you can, and let our round-up of 30 worthy causes around Chicago guide you.


Red Cross Giving Tuesday

The life-saving work of the Red Cross has had a ripple effect across all humanitarian efforts. This year, invest in their mission to serve all those in urgent need following a disaster or emergency. All donated funds, unless specified otherwise, will go toward their critical responses to disaster — such as medical supplies and food distribution.

CBS 2 Chicago and the Illinois Red Cross will host their annual CBS Chicago Cares Day of Giving Telethon on this year’s Giving Tuesday to raise awareness and support for the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross. Throughout the day, CBS 2 Chicago will feature incredible stories of the Red Cross mission in action here at home, across the country, and around the globe. 

How to Help: Tax-deductible donations can be made any time prior to or post-Giving Tuesday. However, if you donate today you can double your impact: Better is proud to be a matching gift sponsor for the CBS Chicago Cares Day of Giving and will match all donations to the American Red Cross up to $10,000 during the Telethon broadcast.

Cradles to Crayons Chicago

children in coats, in snow, Photo courtesy of Cradles to Crayons
Photo courtesy of Cradles to Crayons

For children up to the age of 12 in low-income or homeless situations, Cradles to Crayons is a powerful resource that provides the essentials they need to thrive at home, school and in life. All items are distributed to Chicagoland kids free of charge.

How to Help: This year, all Cradles to Crayons donations will go toward their Gear Up For Winter program — which aims to collect and donate 50,000 winter coats to Chicagoland children. You can donate warm wear, fulfill a need on their Amazon Wishlist or send a financial gift.

North Chicago Community Partners

Photo courtesy of North Chicago Community Partners

North Chicago Community Partners uses a community-first approach to bridge the gap between families and students in need and available resources. Since 2008, NCCP has instituted programs that include free after-school programming, a food and resource pantry and so much more holistic good.

How to Help: This Giving Tuesday, donate to NCCP to help them kickstart their fundraising goals for the next year. And, if you need more reason to give, the first $5,000 will be matched.

Urban Autism Solutions

Photo courtesy of Urban Autism Solutions

A vibrant community life can be beneficial for all of us. Since 2012, Urban Autism Solutions has committed to helping young adults with autism do just that through advances in social and vocational opportunities.

How to Help: For the entire month of November, donations to Urban Autism Solutions of $150 will be matched in full. All donations will go to support their work of providing opportunities for people in the Chicagoland.

The Volunteer Center

Photo courtesy of The Volunteer Center

The Volunteer Center works to “promote volunteerism, support nonprofit organizations and engage people in meaningful volunteer service” in their respective communities. They work with over 165 nonprofit partner organizations to assist individuals, families and groups to find the best ways to volunteer their time and skill sets.

How to Help: Your donation will go to support everything they do from the thousands of volunteer referrals featured on their website, to their community-wide Days of Service and best practice management trainings for nonprofits — for both volunteers and the organizations.

The People’s Music School

One of The People’s Music School students, photo courtesy of The People’s Music School

The People’s Music School centers their work on creating access to high-quality, tuition-free music education for kids across Chicago. Through this educational experience, students at People’s grow in nearly every facet, not just musically. By developing the foundation of responsibility and self-esteem, the school motivates student to follow in their purpose.

How to Help: This year, in thanks to the Athena Fund, all Giving Tuesday donations will be matched up to $5,000. All donations will support 100% tuition-free music lessons for over over 775 Chicagoland students.

Care For Real

Photo courtesy of Care For Real

Care for Real’s mission is to foster healthy and equitable communities by helping neighbors and families overcome food insecurity with dignity. Through CFR’s Food Rescue Program, they annually secure about 1.5 million pounds of food for folks in need around Chicagoland.

How To Help: This year, CFR’s Giving Tuesday focus is on their “Fueling the Food Rescue Program” initiative — for which they are aiming to raise $7,500 to cover transportation costs and more. Even a $100 donation could afford a day’s worth of gas for their mobile services.

Jewish Community Center Chicago

JCC Chicago is a non-profit organization that centers on Jewish values, traditions and encourages all generations to create a more vibrant and inclusive community. This year their Giving Tuesday theme is “Amplify Your Impact,” with a few organizations matching donations.

How To Help: Donate to the JCC Chicago Annual Fund; the Sunrise Day Camp, a summer camp for children diagnosed with cancer and their siblings; or to Camp Chi, a 100-plus-year-old summer camp that unplugs Chicagoland kids from daily life.

Foundation for Culinary Arts

Photo courtesy of FFCA

FFCA is a nonprofit that empowers disadvantaged students through educational and career programming opportunities in the culinary field.

How To Help: Want to give a “gift that makes a difference?” FFCA is accepting donations to fund their Yes, Chef! Culinary Camps, which hosts CPS students throughout the year. For a larger, more immediate impact, donors can consider sponsoring a camper.

Common Pantry

Since 1967, Common Pantry has been serving groups, individuals and families on the North Side of Chicago with access to hot meals and groceries. At CP, even a $1 donation can purchase four meals — a low-cost way to ensure someone is fed this holiday season and beyond.

How To Help: Donate to Common Pantry or visit one of the businesses in Ravenswood that is sending a portion of their profits to CP — from Giving Tuesday through December 4. Businesses include: BadaBing Wings, Hazel, Indigo & Violet, KOVAL Distillery, Land & Lake and Starshaped Press.

Marillac St. Vincent

Photo courtesy of Marillac St. Vincent

Recognizing the need for food security in Chicago, the Marillac St. Vincent food pantry does what it can to serve those in need with nutritious food. For people who reside in specific zip codes registered with MSV, they can receive food monthly using the “Client Choice” model.

How To Help: An anonymous donor will match all Giving Tuesday donations this year, up to $10,000. And with the ever-rising inflation and cost of food, your donation could not be any more timely or impactful.

Metropolitan Planning Council

Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Planning Council

Since 1934, MPC has been at the forefront of positive change in the Chicagoland, from community engagement to policy shifting. Their projects advocate for Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) and have done policy work for over a decade to benefit Black and Brown communities while also fighting further displacement.

How To Help: Supporting MPC this year would help them on their mission to “improve economic development, individual health and the quality of life” for everyone they serve in the Chicago region. Visit their Giving Tuesday Impact Menu to find the best way to share your generosity this year.

GRIP Outreach For Youth

GRIP Outreach For Youth is wholly focused on investing in and bettering the lives of Chicago youth “through Christ-centered, Life-on-Life relationships.” Through these measures, they encourage thousands of youth to impact and contribute to their communities.

How To Help: This year’s giving initiatives — featured on an October NBC 5 segment — will support their ongoing mission to impact lives across the Chicago region through mentorship and more.

Facing Forward

Facing Forward’s mission? To end homelessness. Though their mission is simple, the lifelines they provide to individuals and families experiencing housing insecurity are not. Their approach revolves around offering holistic help regarding housing, education, social services and much more.

How To Help: This year, their goal is to raise $80,000 — a sum that could provide a full month of stable housing and support for 80 different families. And, in thanks to board members and donors, all donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $40,000.

Bear Necessities

This non-profit organization specializes in brightening and supporting the lives of children who are diagnosed with cancer, as well as their families. Through their various services and outreach programs, they instill joy in the lives of those touched by pediatric cancer.

How To Help: For Giving Tuesday 2022, they are raising $25,000 — a number they have surpassed in previous years. Funds will go to support their Bear Hugs initiative, which works closely with children and their families to bring a unique-to-them, joyful experience that helps “kids feel like kids again.”

Kesem

Through programs like their camp for kids, Kesem assists children as they cope with the cancer diagnosis of a parent. Specifically, they center on giving children the building blocks needed to regain their childhood and peace in the midst of this challenging time.

How To Help: Last year, Kesem’s network raised $2.2 million — and this year they want to do it all again, and more. The funds collected will go directly to the services that help children across the country shoulder the burden of a parent’s illness.

Environmental Law & Policy Center

“Advocate, innovate and litigate” is the three-tier system through which the ELPC protects the Midwest’s natural resources and environment. Whether they are securing electric buses or doing environmental policy work, ELPC is committed to doing the work necessary now, for generations of tomorrow.

How To Help: An even more enticing reason to give this year, all donations will be triple matched! With the help of this generous donation, ELPC could raise up to $120,000, their highest-ever total. All funds will directly benefit ELPC’s various programs that protect the beloved Midwest.

826CHI

Photo courtesy of 826CHI

This unique nonprofit organization works hands-on with students to better their creative writing skills and give them access to services through their publishing center. At the heart of what they do, they are amplifying the voices of Chicago youth who may otherwise not have the opportunity.

How To Help: Donate to 826CHI to help Chicagoland kids experience this kind of invested education. There are a number of ways to donate — financially, in-kind, planned giving and more.

Alzheimer’s Association

Photo courtesy of Alzheimer’s Association

Accelerating global research, spreading awareness about early detection, maximizing quality care and a plethora of other services are what drive the Alzheimer’s Association — who are working to eliminate Alzheimer’s, dementia and their related diseases.

How To Help: This year, AA is committing to a $300,000 Triple Match Challenge — which will triple match all donations in thanks to an anonymous donor. Now through the end of the year, donate to be a part of the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Greater Chicago Food Depository

Perhaps one of Chicago’s most widespread resources in the fight against hunger is the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Since 1979, their vital work as a food bank and support system for food insecurity has impacted nearly every part of the city.

How To Help: This Giving Tuesday, take advantage of their matching challenge that will double all donations, in thanks to generous Chicagoland donors. Help put food on the table for our neighbors in need and consider donating today.

Covenant House Illinois

For youth battling homelessness in Chicago, Covenant House is a vital resource. Their approach is not centered on housing alone, but connects folks 18-24 years old with other social services as well.

How To Help: Whether you are donating resources or your time, the community Covenant House serves is always in need of assistance — consider them this Giving Tuesday.

Infant Welfare Society of Evanston

Infant Welfare Society of Evanston accepts $5,000 donation check from Byline Bank

Nurturing and supporting families is at the heart of IWSE’s mission. More specifically, they offer care and education to these families who want to be effective parents that provide the best for their children.

How To Help: Donations to IWSE are always welcome. And this Giving Tuesday, join Byline Bank — who has pledged $5,000 to this organization, among others — to assist them as they continue to be a necessary part of Chicago-area families’ success.

Common Threads

As a national nonprofit organization, Common Threads is committed to bringing nutrition and education on food to people across the country. They encourage children and families — from any background — to follow cooking and nutrition education that can lead to healthy habits and contribute to wellness.

How To Help: For Giving Tuesday, all donations will support their continued efforts to “change the face of nutrition education across the globe.” Be a part of their journey to raise $30,000 — consider giving today.

Recovery on Water (ROW)

Photo courtesy of ROW

ROW is not just a rowing team, but a group of breast cancer patients and survivors who seek support and community through interactions with others similar to them. Not only that, but they aim to improve fitness, wellness and quality of life as well.

How To Help: Want to offer something this Giving Tuesday? Consider donating funds to keep their mission going; volunteering your time; or spreading the word on social media. Visit the ROW website for more opportunities.

North Shore Senior Center

Since 1983, NSSC has been a safe place for people with memory loss to feel valued and respected. Through care, programs and support systems NSSC brings socialization and services to our neighbors who need that certain type of connection.

How To Help: Donations for Giving Tuesday will help NSSC expand their critical programs that assist folks with memory loss, as well as their caretakers, through therapeutic small-group activities, case management and so much more.

Skin of Steel

Skin of Steel’s Junior Auxiliary Board | Photo courtesy of Skin of Steel

Skin of Steel’s mission is to bring about personal and institutional shifts in regards to melanoma and melanoma research. As an invaluable resource, Skin of Steel — which is also a Make It Better Foundation Philanthropy Award winner — supports the international melanoma tissue bank and local melanoma prevention, research and awareness programs.

How to Help: Donations to Skin of Steel will fund their ongoing initiatives to bring awareness and humanity to the fight against this silently fatal disease.

The Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center

The Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center is one of the oldest woman’s boards in the Chicagoland. The board works in partnership with the RUSH Medical Center to help it provide the best health care for the individuals and diverse communities that they serve.

How to Help: Donations will go to support a number of different initiatives under the RUSH Woman’s Board umbrella, including: a Tribute Tree Contribution, a Fall Benefit Contribution, Women’s & Children’s Hospital Gift Card Drive Donation and much more.

Selah Freedom

Photo courtesy of Selah Freedom

Founded in 2010, Selah Freedom actively works to end sex trafficking and bring freedom to the exploited through four different programs: Advocacy & Awareness, Prevention, Outreach and Residential.

How to Help: This year, donations are categorized into different groups. Whether you choose to Give Healing, Strength, Freedom or Support, know that your gift is invaluable to the survivors who lean on Selah Freedom for support.

Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois

Photo courtesy of Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels delivers nutritious meals and provides supportive services, among other things, to homebound elderly, disabled individuals and others who are unable to care for their nutritional needs.

How to Help: Your donation will directly fund Meals on Wheels’ various services and costs for operation, such as the cost of meal delivery. And, this year, all donations will be doubled up to $20,000.

A Safe Haven Foundation

A Safe Haven Foundation is an organization that helps people transform and sustain their lives as they transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency. A Safe Haven — who also won a Make It Better Foundation Philanthropy Award — provides the tools for each individual to overcome homelessness through a holistic approach, from housing and job training to other social services.

How to Help: ASHF is always accepting donations online, via check or even in stock. Visit A Safe Haven’s website for more information on their various services and donation logistics.


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