Giving Tuesday Now: Here’s How to Donate and Pay It Forward Around Chicago

Giving Tuesday Now Better Chicago

On Tuesday, May 5, not only will we celebrate Cinco de Mayo by ordering from our favorite Mexican restaurants, but we get to honor a new holiday that will impact millions around the globe: Giving Tuesday Now. From the group that brought us Giving Tuesday, this new day of global giving and unity is an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

Of course, one of the most impactful ways you can help a nonprofit is with a donation. But with many of us finding ourselves in difficult monetary situations right now due to job loss and shutdowns, Giving Tuesday Now has listed other ways to lift others up on this day, because every act of kindness makes a difference.

This includes:

  • Support: Show your support for your favorite nonprofits by posting on social media or sending an email to help get the message out.
  • Volunteer: There are many ways to help out virtually. See a list of nonprofits in need here.
  • Kindness: Safely check in on your neighbors, family and friends. Connecting and showing kindness is extremely important during this time, for our mental health and others.

Chicago Nonprofits Seeking Donations

If you’re looking to create the most impact, you can trust those who have won our Philanthropy Awards, some of which you’ll find below in addition to other worthy nonprofits.

Donate Giving Tuesday Now Better Chicago

A Safe Haven

Created to help Chicagoans struggling with addiction, A Safe Haven also provides shelter to the homeless as well as those working through recovery. Currently, they are looking for donations of white linens, toiletries, clothing (new with tags), and monetary donations.

For a full list of donations and to give visit their site.

Bernie’s Book Bank

This beloved nonprofit, a Philanthropy Award winner, offers free books to low-income readers around the Chicago region. Due to the pandemic, they’ve launched the “Change Their Story” campaign to effectively respond to the escalating literacy crisis, asking for donations of just $12 to send 12 books to a reader in need. Thanks to Bernie’s efficient sourcing, a single dollar buys one book. And with school out for the foreseeable future, kids need to be reading a lot at home — help Bernie’s Book Bank make that possible.


Founded in 1969, BUILD (Broader Urban Involvement & Leadership Development) is one of Chicago’s leading gang intervention, violence prevention, and youth development organizations. Their mission is to engage at-risk youth in schools and on the streets to help them realize their potential and contribute to their communities. They focus on hard-to-serve youth in some of Chicago’s most challenging neighborhoods. BUILD is a Philanthropy Award winner.

Chicago Community Covid-19 Response Fund

In partnership with the City of Chicago and United Way of Metro Chicago, The Chicago Community Trust has launched the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund to unite the funds raised by Chicago’s philanthropies, corporations and individuals to be disbursed to nonprofit organizations. Within the first week of its launch, over $10 million was raised—with $8 of that million raised in only one day. Funds will go directly to organizations supporting Chicago’s most vulnerable, ensuring they have access to basic needs in this time of crisis.

Connections for the Homeless

Another charity that serves the indigent population of Chicago, Connections for the Homeless is seeking canned and shelf-stable foods, adult clothing (men’s boots and belts) and new, unopened toiletries and healthcare items. They are not currently accepting other clothing items or household items.

Greater Chicago Food Depository

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Chicago Food Depository is hard at work responding to the increased need for food. Their food pantries are providing basic pantry items, school lunches, public benefits like SNAP and Medicaid assistance and more.

Habitat For Humanity

For those without a stable, affordable place to live, the hardship brought on by COVID-19 is massive. Your double-impact gift will empower these families to rebuild their future.


Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly, an organization that offers Chicago’s lower-income seniors everything from intergenerational housing, home repair services, a shopping bus to moving assistance. The organization, a Philanthropy Award winner, is seeking monetary donations to ensure that buildings have the food and supplies people need, and that the organization can continue to keep programs running. They are also accepting unwrapped new games, puzzles and magazines for their residents.

Ignite — Futures With Promise

This organization works to help teens experiencing homelessness and unstable housing, and these at-risk youth are even more at-risk in our current environment. Ignite is looking for a wide variety of donations, including gift cards to restaurants and grocery stores, a wide variety of clothing, hygiene items and household goods. With all the extra time on your hands, perhaps now is a good opportunity to clean out your closet and donate some gently used clothes.

Northwestern Settlement

Northwestern Settlement is responding to the surge in unemployment by ramping up activities and services to meet the needs of our neighbors out of work and struggling to make ends meet during this crisis. Their pantry has seen twice as many people picking up groceries and supplies.

Sarah’s Circle

This organization works to assist women experiencing homelessness in Chicago and has a wide-ranging list of necessary donations during this crisis. Sarah’s Circle is looking for donations of cleaning supplies and gloves, toiletries, personal care and home items, but not clothing. You can also use their Wish List on Amazon to ship items directly if you’re not in the Chicagoland area.

Snow City Arts

Philanthropy Award winner, this organization helps bring art of all kinds to children in hospitals through one-on-one sessions with a variety of artists. Currently, Snow City has had to suspend on-site programming at all hospitals in order to ensure the health and well-being of its clients. That means it’s even more important to provide monetary support so the program can get up and running again as soon as the pandemic winds down.

United Way of Lake County

United Way of Lake County has established the Lake County COVID-19 Community Response Fund to help local nonprofit organizations as they continue to serve Lake County’s most vulnerable neighbors. They are seeking monetary donations to help increase access to emergency food and basic supplies, offer rent and mortgage assistance, and assist with utility bills.

There are so many deserving nonprofits that need your help right now. For more organizations to support, check out the nonprofits on our Better List or GoFundMe, where they’re matching donations on Giving Tuesday Now for select charities.

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