Get Involved and Give Back this Spring: Give Time, Things, Support to These 12 Chicago Nonprofits

This spring, consider the countless organizations that have worked vigorously to support our community during the pandemic.

Whether you can give your time by volunteering, things by donating unwanted or unused items, or support through monetary contributions — give back to these Chicago-area nonprofits and show your appreciation for their commitment to our city and suburbs.

Give Time

The Volunteer Center of N.E. Metro Chicago

The Volunteer Center helps residents and service groups of all ages and abilities in the New Trier Township, the North Shore and greater NE Metro Chicago area find meaningful and impactful volunteer opportunities with over 165 nonprofit partner organizations.   Visit their website to search thousands of opportunities to support dozens of causes with their nonprofit partners.

Forward4Tobi Foundation

Check signing ceremony at Kellogg Cancer Center in Evanston.

The Forward4Tobi Foundation aims to help ease the lives of breast cancer patients and their families by providing financial relief. The foundation covers childcare, medical assistance, rent and other needs. Tom Klonecki established the foundation in 2013 in honor of Tobi Lauren Klonecki when Tobi lost her battle with breast cancer that year. You can volunteer at the Forward4Tobi Foundation or make a donation by emailing

Give Things

Share Our Spare

Share Our Spare wants to ensure that every child in Chicago has the essentials to thrive for the first five years of life. Donate new and gently used baby items (clothing, toys, baby gear, etc.) through their designated donation drop-off times. Volunteer at Share Our Spare, as an individual, in a group or through your corporation. Donate money directly to the organization as well as set up recurring donations.

Donate Blood

The need for individual blood donations is greater than ever, especially if you have recovered from Covid-19. Find a time and location to give blood through Vitalant or the American Red Cross.

Open Books

Donate your unwanted books to Open Books. With four drop-off locations in Chicago, Open Books has made it easy and contactless to donate your books. No time? You can even request that Open Books pick up your donation through its Booksmobile service. Open Books transforms lives through reading, writing, and the unlimited power of books. Each year, the non-profit collects more than 1.5 million books to either provide literature for children or sell them at its two award-winning bookstores. All book sales support Open Books’ literacy programs and operations.

Give Support

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels Chicago delivers meals neighbors in need.

Donate to Meals on Wheels Chicago so it can continue to serve more than 10,000 Chicagoans who depend on it. Meals on Wheels Chicago helps seniors and individuals with disabilities access nutritious meal programs that improve quality of life and maximize independence. During the past year, Meals on Wheels’ client population increased by a whopping 67 percent, a testament to food insecurity being a major consequence of the pandemic.

Bernie’s Book Bank

Students at St Procopius receive their Bernie’s Book Bank book bags.

To support its COVID-19 response, Bernie’s Book Bank has launched the “Change Their Story” campaign. Please consider a $12 donation in support of its mission, which is truly critical for the more than 275,000 under-served children who receive books. Every $12 donation provides 12 quality books for a child.

GRIP Outreach for Youth

A GRIP mentor teaches students after playing basketball.

GRIP Outreach for Youth mentors Chicago inner-city children. To donate, please go to Donations help pay for mentorship training, supplies, scholarships and events. A contribution of $25 pays for a GRIP Care Package (for a student), $100 pays for one life-on-life relationship for a month, and $1,200 pays for one life-on-life relationship for a year.  

The Deer Path Art League

Art Fair on the Square in Lake Forest
Art Fair on the Square in Lake Forest.

The Deer Path Art League seeks to nurture creativity and promote community interest in the visual arts. The group’s annual Art Fair on the Square event was canceled last year and the Art League is seeking donations to help relaunch the event in September. 

George Pocock Rowing Foundation

The George Pocock Rowing Foundation supports high quality programs and facilities that promote access to rowing as a means to foster physical activity, health, leadership, and community engagement. Donate to help the foundation provide scholarships, coaching, equipment and transportation so more youth can benefit from the sport of rowing. Join Arshay Cooper of the A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Initiative and help provide on-the-water programs in cities across the country by attending their virtual event, the 13th annual Row to the Future benefit breakfast April 16.

Josselyn Center

Junior Board members model the T-shirts
they designed with messages about mental health.

The Josselyn Center provides affordable mental health services to make lives better for clients, their families, and communities. Contributions will support youth and teens, including individual and group therapy and psychiatry, and Camp Neeka, a therapeutic day camp for children. Your support will also help the center’s Junior Board of high school age teens who gather to learn about mental health and destigmatize mental health care.

Highland Park Community Foundation

The Highland Park Community Foundation provides grants to help children flourish.

The Highland Park Community Foundation is committed to improving the quality of life for residents of Highland Park and Highwood by providing funding for programs and services that children, teens, families, and seniors need to thrive or, sometimes, to survive. Donations to the Highland Park Community Foundation help the group nurture children, develop skills in teens, strengthen families, assist older adults, and support individuals with disabilities.

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