In a city/country/world with such an unfathomable amount of need, it’s not surprising that New York City is home to at least 35,000 non-profit organizations. I actually thought that number would be a lot higher. Regardless, it doesn’t make it any easier to decide which organizations you should donate to on Giving Tuesday (or any other day you feel like being generous). Here are a few of the most well-known NYC organizations you can donate to.
Henry Street Settlement
Still as relevant now as it was in the Progressive Era of the early 1900s, Henry Street Settlement was formed in 1893 to meet the needs of the residents of the Lower East Side by providing health care, education, and vocational training to neglected immigrant communities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Over a century has passed since Henry Street Settlement pioneered providing these types of social services to the public, but the 129-year-old organization is still at it, not just providing aid but also building a community.
NYPL/Brooklyn Public Library/Queens Public Library
Consider this: On its own, the New York Public Library, with its nearly 53 million items and 92 branches, is considered the third largest library system in the world, but combined with the Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Public Library, which have 60 branches with 3 million items and 62 branches with 7.5 million items respectively, I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say that NYC is home to the modern Library of Alexandria. Although these libraries are free, taking care of all these books (and computers and archival materials) isn’t cheap, so the three library systems rely on a mix of individual donations and city government funds. And no, paying your late fees doesn’t count as a donation, especially not anymore. As of 2021, all three library systems have eliminated fines for overdue books.
Say what you will about the neutrality and agenda of the news media in this day and age, but it’s still absolutely necessary for us to know what’s going on in our community and to support organizations that devote themselves to enlightening us about what’s happening. As an NPR station, WNYC provides New Yorkers with national and global news, while Gothamist, acquired by WNYC in 2018, keeps New Yorkers in the know on what’s going on in the city. As one of the last major local news outlets left in New York City, Gothamist, and by extension WNYC, is needed more than ever. Besides, where else would you find such an irreverent comment section.
God’s Love We Deliver
Founded during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the mid-1980s, God’s Love We Deliver prepares and delivers meals to people who are too ill to make meals for themselves. But these aren’t just beans and rice slapped on a paper plate; God’s Love We Deliver creates nutritious, illness-specific meals and they even provide illness-specific nutrition education and counseling. If you’re handy in the kitchen, this may be the perfect place to volunteer your time this holiday season, as they accept volunteers for both meal preparation and delivery.
New York Cares
If you have ever searched for a volunteer opportunity in NYC, chances are high that you’ve come across New York Cares, the largest network of volunteer opportunities in the city. Not only does New York Cares keep a database of what volunteer opportunities are available, but the organization also trains volunteers so they are less likely to be bumbling bimbos with best intentions that end up doing more harm than good. In addition to organizing volunteers, New York Cares holds an annual coat drive featuring the now-iconic illustration of Lady Liberty shivering from the cold and the Winter Wishes program, where you can fulfill the wish of a child or older adult who may not be receiving a gift this holiday season.
Have any other recommendations for NYC organizations we can donate our time and/or money to this holiday season? Share your favorite NYC charitable organization in the comment section.
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