16 Bay Area Charities to Donate to this Holiday Season

100 Marin

100MARIN, the county’s premier giving circle, was created by a group of local, community-minded individuals with the complementary objectives of amplifying each circle member’s overall giving impact and developing and strengthening the network of people dedicated to supporting the local nonprofit community. The giving circle concept is not new. A group of individuals commits to an annual donation schedule, then convene to hear presentations from three to five local nonprofits. At the end, a vote is conducted to determine which organization will receive the group’s pooled donations. Awareness and engagement opportunities for both the nominated charities and the nonprofit community at large are increased.

A $100 donation goes toward creating a major impact gift for one of five nonprofit “nominees,” similar to the $37,000 recently awarded Marin Center for Independent Living at the fall giving circle event.

2. Beyond Differences

Beyond Differences is a student-led organization based on the belief that change for youth can only be true and lasting if the agents of that change are the youth themselves. It is the only organization singularly focused on ending social isolation. Social isolation is often the precondition to the bullying, teasing and violence that often occurs in our schools and communities.

A $50 donation sends a backpack with everything a school needs to hold a No One Eats Alone Day, a student-led initiative that encourages middle-schoolers to sit at lunch with kids they don’t know and include others who might feel left out too. The backpack contains the curriculum, armbands, balloons, links to videos and conversation-starters, posters and more.

3. Guide Dogs for the Blind

Guide Dogs for the Blind is more than an industry-leading guide dog school; it is an enthusiastic community that serves the visually impaired. Guide Dogs for the Blind prepares highly qualified guide dogs to assist and empower individuals who are blind or visually impaired. All of the services for clients are provided free of charge, including personalized training and extensive post-graduation support, plus financial assistance for veterinary care, if needed.

A $250 provides a kit containing leash, puppy jacket, veterinary products and take- home dog equipment for a volunteer puppy raiser.

4. Halleck Creek Ranch

Halleck Creek Ranch is a nonprofit agency that has helped people with disabilities live a life without barriers through therapeutic horseback riding for over 42 years. Therapeutic horseback riding is a valuable form of physical and mental therapy, as well as an effective way for people with disabilities to access wild landscapes. Situated on a 60-acre historic West Marin property, the ranch pairs gentle horses with dedicated volunteers, creating a dynamic team that carries the riders into the rugged Nicasio countryside. As one of the largest and oldest weekly therapeutic riding programs in the San Francisco Bay Area, Halleck Creek Ranch is a pioneer in the field.

A $500 donation provides a full scholarship to a rider in need for 16 consecutive weeks of therapeutic riding.

5. Headlands Center for the Arts

Headlands Center for the Arts
Artist Kai Chen at Headlands Center for the Arts. Photo by Andria Lo.

Headlands Center for the Arts provides an unparalleled environment for the creative process and the development of new work and ideas. Through a range of programs for artists and the public, we offer opportunities for reflection, dialogue, and exchange that build understanding and appreciation for the role of art in society.

A $5,000 donation produces a free-to-the-public, monthlong art exhibition.

Hungry Owl Project. Photo courtesy of iStock/Timothy S. Allen.

The Hungry Owl Project’s mission is to reduce the need for pesticides and rodenticides by encouraging natural predators through conservation of habitat, nesting boxes and education. Owls are stewards of the environment and an ambassador species. By protecting owls and their habitat we can educate future generations about the preservation of wild animals and the environment.

A $10,000 donation helps install and maintain owl boxes in Marin County.

7. Little Wishes

Little Wishes grants the immediate and ongoing little wishes of chronically and critically ill hospitalized children to help ease discomfort, provide distraction and bring moments of joy. What makes the program unique (and why wishes are kept little) is that a qualified child may make another wish 14 days after receiving a first wish and every 14 days thereafter. Little Wishes offers meaningful support to children who endure frequent hospitalizations or who have been in the hospital for weeks, months or even years.

A $1,000 donation allows 10 seriously ill hospitalized Bay Area children to have a wish granted during treatment. Over 90 percent of each dollar goes directly to meet- ing such requests; something as simple as a Disney princess dress, Spiderman figure or cozy bed- ding makes a huge difference in these kids’ quality of life.

The mission of the Marin Foster Care Association (MFCA) is to achieve consistent, safe, quality care for the well being of all foster children by providing support services and advocacy to Foster and Adoptive Families, Relative and Non-relative caregivers and the children in their care.

A $50 donation purchases a new pair of shoes, 20 pairs of socks or a backpack for a child being placed in foster care.

9. Marin Homeless Aid

The concept of “home” is embedded in every human being. Marin Homeless Aid’s mission is to inspire the people of Marin County to be part of a solution for helping Marin’s homeless population that starts by putting a roof over the head of everyone who finds themselves living on the streets. Awareness of homelessness causes and cures is raised through an annual benefit concert.

A $2,500 provides a rental deposit to move a homeless family, senior or veteran into permanent housing.

10. Marin Humane

Marin Humane transforms lives through exceptional animal care, humane education, and advocacy. Every day, we inspire compassion and positive relationships between people and animals.

A $2,500 donation enables training and care of therapy dogs to brighten the lives of seniors, bereaved children or others who can benefit from the human-animal bond.

11. Naturebridge

NatureBridge connects young people to the wonder and science of the natural world, igniting self-discovery and inspiring stewardship of our planet.

A $100 donation provides a scholarship for one child to attend a two-and-a-half-day NatureBridge program at the Marin Headlands. Exploring trails and conducting science investigations, kids connect with their peers and the environment, inspiring stewardship of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and beyond.

12. Side by Side

Side by Side’s mission is to walk with young people impacted by adversity toward a future with connection and meaning.

A $500 donation supports enrichment activities at Side by Side’s Irene M. Hunt School, including field trips and access to the gardening and creative arts programs.

13. Syzygy Dance Project

Syzygy Dance Project is a non-profit organization working to transform lives through dance. SDP affirms that everyone can dance — from the able-bodied to people in wheelchairs, at hospitals and under other con- straining circumstances. Syzygy Dance Project offers mindful movement and dance classes to different populations including inmates, veterans, recovering addicts, chronic illness patients and the elderly. SDP uses music, sound and movement to facilitate awareness, self-exploration and change.

A $5,000 donation funds training of Bay Area health care professionals in using movement and dance to improve lives of elderly patients.

14. Whistlestop

Older adults, individuals living with disabilities, and other community members in need access vital services, including nutrition, transportation, social interaction, and education, through Whistlestop’s diverse programs. Founded in 1954, Whistlestop now provides more than 109,000 meals and 291,000 rides annually, bridging the gap between our older neighbors and the resources they require. Our mission is to promote the independence, well-being and quality of life for older adults and people living with disabilities in Marin County through a comprehensive, integrated program of active aging services and activities.

One in five Marin County residents is food insecure, unsure where the next meal is coming from. A $1,000 donation sponsors a volunteer- driven Meals on Wheels delivery route to provide fresh, nutritious food, regular check-ins and social interaction to home-bound individuals.

15. Wildcare

WildCare advocates for wildlife for a sustainable world.

A $250 donation provides a visit from WildCare’s Nature Van, full of specimens and amazing facts about local nature and wildlife, for a classroom at any Bay Area school.

16. Youth in Arts

Youth in Arts builds visual and performing arts skills through innovative and in-depth programs that foster confidence, compassion and resilience in students of all abilities. We develop capacity among educators and teaching artists, advocate for equitable access to arts education and offer opportunities for youth to share their creative voices.

A $10,000 donation will provides a visual arts program for 75 kindergartners at a low-income school.

This article originally appeared on www.marinmagazine.com. For a comprehensive list of charities to donate to, view the full article here.


Kasia Powlowska

Kasia Pawlowska loves words. A native of Poland, Kasia moved to the States when she was seven. The San Francisco State University creative writing graduate went on to write for publications like the San Francisco Bay Guardian and KQED Arts among others prior to joining the Marin Magazine staff. Topics Kasia has covered include traveltrendsmushroom hunting, an award-winning series on social media addiction, and loads of other random things. When she’s not busy blogging or researching and writing articles, she’s either at home writing postcards and reading or going to shows. Recently, Kasia has been trying to branch out and diversify, ie: use different emojis. Her quest for the perfect chip is a never-ending endeavor.