There’s no doubt about it that we’re living in unprecedented times. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic and the resulting economic collapse. Millions have lost their jobs and over a hundred thousand have died in the United States alone.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, we are once again dealing with the issues of police brutality and systemic racism in this country. The resulting protests, while mostly peaceful, have also wrought destruction upon American cities with rioting and looting.
In these trying times, it’s easy to feel helpless and just throw in the towel. Trust us, we feel the same. On the one hand, we feel compelled to join the protests that are filling the streets, while on the other, we’re trying to minimize the spread of the virus.
The thing is, we’re not helpless. And neither are you. There are a lot of organizations out there doing important work right now that need our support. As such, we are continuing our pause on the travel content. Today we’d like to share with you 20 organizations worth supporting in 2020 and show you exactly what you can do.
How We Have Decided to Help
We know that times are tough and can relate. We’ve seen bookings with our online English teaching jobs decrease drastically in recent weeks. I’ve lost the vast majority of my writing work. Our blog traffic has plummeted along with the meager revenue we get from it.
That being said, we also realize how fortunate we are. We are still employed. Thanks to the kindness of family, we have a roof over our heads and a car we can use. We are both healthy and we have each other. This is more than a lot of people can say right now.
With so many things going on, it’s pretty overwhelming trying to decide how to help. After discussing it over and over, we decided the best thing we can do is shine a light on some amazing organizations that are working tirelessly to address the many issues we’re facing.
We realize that for many people, monetary donations simply aren’t possible at the moment. There’s much more you can do than donate, though. Even just going to the websites and social media pages for some of these organizations helps them out, as does signing up for e-mail lists and signing petitions.
We have very limited financial resources but realize that even a little goes a long way. As such, we are personally donating what we can to each and every one of these organizations. We encourage you to donate to at least one if possible and to show your support in other ways to as many as you can.
Organizations We Are Supporting in 2020
There are so many great organizations out there doing important work. To compile this post, we chose several organizations that we were already familiar with.
We also reached out to friends and family as well as our audience for recommendations. Our idea was to cover a wide variety of issues that we are passionate about, including human rights, the environment, mental health, addiction, hunger, and more.
While most of them are based in the United States, many have branches and projects all over the world. Here are 20 organizations that we believe are worth supporting in 2020:
Black Lives Matter
What started out as a hashtag in 2013 has evolved into a global movement. They now have around 20 chapters in the US and Canada. They have also organized protests and rallies all over the world, from Australia to Japan to Germany.
Their mission is “to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.” It started after the death of Trayvon Martin and became nationally recognized after the subsequent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
At the moment, they are focusing on their #WhatMatters2020 campaign. They are looking at the issues of police brutality, criminal justice reform, access to quality education, and voting rights, among many other important issues. They’ve also launched a “What Matters” video series on their YouTube channel. You can check out Part One here:
There are many ways you can support the BLM organization. Their website is full of resources, such as social media graphics and downloadable toolkits. You can also join their global movement and show your support through their shop.
Color of Change
This nonprofit is the largest racial justice organization in the country. Formed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, their mission is to strengthen Black America’s political voice.
They focus on criminal, economic, and media justice to build real power for Black communities. Some of their many initiatives include ending profit incentives for mass incarceration, ending voter intimidation, stopping predatory lending, and much more.
Color of Change has over 7 million members in its online community. Their membership has quadrupled in recent weeks! Click here to join the movement and find out about online petitions and in-person events that you can contribute to.
They even have their own platform where you can launch your own online campaign to help enact change in your community.
NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
The homepage of the NAACP reads: “Our mission is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. And we’ve been doing it since 1909.”
They focus on a variety of issues, namely federal advocacy, economic opportunity, and criminal justice. Through their many efforts, they seek to create a society where all individuals have equal rights.
In the wake of the coronavirus and the tragic killings of Black Americans, they have started a new movement called #WeAreDoneDying.
Now more than ever they are in need of volunteers. Their focus this year is rallying and mobilizing Black voters.
ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)
The ACLU has been around for exactly 100 years, and the amazing work they do is more important than ever. Their motto is “Because freedom can’t protect itself” and they seek to defend and preserve the freedoms that every person in the US is guaranteed under the Constitution.
They work on so many different issues, including LGBTQ rights, free speech, immigration, and religious liberty. Their website has an entire section called “Know Your Rights” that’s full of free resources.
The ACLU provides legal services in cases where civil liberties have been violated and have participated in more Supreme Court decisions than any other private organization. They also advocate for policy positions such as eliminating discrimination against women and ending the death penalty.
In addition to donating, there are several other ways you can support the ACLU and the work that they do. Head over to their “Take Action” page to see more.
Equal Justice Initiative
With 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its prison population, it’s clear that the United States has a problem with mass incarceration and excessive punishment. That’s exactly what EJI is fighting against.
The organization dates back to 1989. It was founded by a public interest lawyer named Bryan Stevenson, who is also the author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.
If that name looks familiar, it’s because the 2019 film was based on it. Speaking of the film, you can actually watch it for free right now. This should be required viewing in every American household. Click here to watch.
As their website says, EJI is “committed to changing the narrative about race in America.” There are a lot of ways you can get involved with them, starting with educating yourself about the issues. Head over to their website to learn more.
NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws)
One of the main reasons for police mistreatment of Black and Brown Americans as well as the massive prison population in this country is the criminalization of marijuana. Far too many people are sitting behind bars for simple possession of marijuana. In fact, 40% of drug arrests in 2018 were for marijuana – a whopping 663,000!
While marijuana is now officially legal in 11 states for personal use and for medical in 33, there’s much work to be done. This is especially true in regard to the racial disparities that exist in the enforcement of marijuana laws. Although Blacks and Whites use it at about the same rate, Blacks are about four times more likely to be arrested.
According to their website, NORML’s mission is “to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high-quality marijuana that is safe, convenient and affordable.”
One of the best ways you can help the cause is heading to their action center to learn more about pending legislation across the state. They make it easy to get informed and contact lawmakers in your state.
Let’s stop locking up non-violent pot smokers and free up police resources to deal with more important issues in our communities!
While the coronavirus pandemic is getting all the headlines, another pandemic has been ravaging the US for years – opiate addiction. I’m turning 35 this summer and the list of people I know who have lost a battle with opiates is already far too long.
In researching this post, I found data from 2018 showing that 128 people die in the US from overdosing on opioids every day. EVERY DAY!
Addiction is a disease, yet it is not treated as one in this country. Rather than getting quality treatment, addicts are stigmatized and shunned. Far too often, this lack of adequate treatment leads to relapse, incarceration, or death.
One organization that is working to solve this massive problem is Shatterproof. Their founder lost his son to addiction and has since poured his heart and soul into this important cause. It’s an incredibly powerful story and one I recommend reading (click here).
There are many ways you can get involved with Shatterproof. They often have fundraising events like a 5K walk/run that you can attend, or you can even create your own. You can also advocate for change and share your story or that of a loved one.
Head to their website to find out more.
World Resources Institute
Let’s not forget about one of the biggest issues facing humanity – climate change. The World Resources Institute’s mission is “to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations.”
They are focused on seven urgent challenges around the globe – climate, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean. The world is on an unsustainable path and the work that they are doing to change that is incredibly important.
The WRI has active projects in over 60 countries and offices in all corners of the globe, including the US, Brazil, and China. They are a top-rated charity year after year, so you know your donations are being put to good use.
We can really get behind the mission of this grassroots environmental organization – Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet. We’re not the only ones, either, as they are 3.8 million strong at the moment!
The Sierra Club dates back to 1892 when it was founded by the legendary preservationist John Muir. In case you’ve never heard of him, he’s known as the “Father of National Parks.”
They do a lot of very important work in preserving our natural environment, including their #OutdoorsForAll campaign. Spending time out in nature is incredibly beneficial to your mental, physical, and social health. They have local outings, tours & treks, and much more. Click here to learn all about the great work they do.
If you’re interested in helping out, you can volunteer, become a member, fundraise, and sign current petitions. Head to their “Take Action” page to get started.
HeadCount is a non-profit whose mission is to use the power of music in order to register voters and encourage democratic participation. They are non-partisan and have registered over 600,000 voters in total.
You can actually register to vote on their website in just two minutes. Click here to get started.
I don’t care who you vote for. Just vote! Democracy is not a spectator sport, people.
If you’ve been going to concerts or music festivals in the last decade, you’ve probably seen them. We’ve actually volunteered with HeadCount a few times at concerts for some of our favorite bands. It’s a great feeling knowing you’ve registered even one person to vote at a show!
While there may not be concerts or festivals at the moment, they will be back and HeadCount will be looking for volunteers. You can click here to check out their schedule and sign up for an event.
In addition to registering people to vote, HeadCount works on a lot of other initiatives and projects. At the moment, they have a big “Vote from Home” campaign going on to help people vote safely during the pandemic.
This is another familiar face to those in the live music world. Their slogan is “Art That Feeds” and that’s precisely what they do!
Conscious Alliance runs food drives at concerts and festivals. They deliver food to economically isolated communities, including Native American reservations.
Take for example the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. They feed 50 families on a weekly basis and help 5,000 school children.
There are lots of ways you can help support this amazing organization. You can donate, volunteer, or become a member. You can also pick up some awesome posters with your donations, like this one reminding us to “Stay Positive.”
World Central Kitchen
Hunger is a problem all across the globe, especially in times of disaster. The World Central Kitchen was founded by celebrity chef José Andrés in 2010 in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti.
Their efforts after the devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico a few years ago received a lot of attention and rightfully so. They served more meals there than both the Salvation Army and Red Cross, at over 2 million in the first month.
World Central Kitchen has a lot of amazing programs going on, including its Clean Cooking initiative. They have built or rehabilitated over 150 kitchens in Haiti and Guatemala to make them safer for people and the environment.
During the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve also been a part of the #ChefsForAmerica program. They have purchased over 2 million meals from local restaurants and delivered them to communities in need. This helps feed people and keeps restaurants open across the country. Click here to learn more.
Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
While we’re on the topic of food, this local organization in my hometown of Detroit is doing great work. The Motor City has many areas that are considered “food deserts,” as do many other urban areas in the country.
Never heard of a “food desert”? This refers to an urban area where it is difficult to find affordable or high-quality food, and it’s a huge problem in this country.
The DBCFSN is working to ensure that the African American population of Detroit participates in the food movement. They do this through youth education programs, their urban farm (D-Town Farm), and the community-owned Detroit People’s Food Co-Op.
I’m excited to learn about this organization and look forward to visiting them next time I’m home for a tour of their farm. It’s now a 7-acre farm in Detroit’s Rouge Park where they grow 30 different types of fruits and vegetables, do large-scale composting, keep bees, and much more.
Mental Health America
It’s becoming more and more obvious that mental health is a critical issue that must be dealt with. The MHA has been around since 1909 doing just that and is the nation’s leading non-profit dedicated to the issue.
The many programs and initiatives of the MHA work towards their mission of promoting overall mental health across the country. Their B4Stage4 Philosophy seeks to treat mental health issues before they reach a critical condition.
There are so many ways that you can help this important organization, including volunteering, hosting a charity live stream, or creating a memorial fund. Head on over to their website to get all the information you need.
The Trevor Project
This non-profit organization was founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award-winning film Trevor. If you’re unfamiliar with the movie, it’s about a gay 13-year old boy who attempts to take his own life when rejected by his peers.
Their mission is to end suicide among gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning young people. They provide counseling and resources to young LGBTQ people who are considering suicide and advocate for laws that will make their lives better.
The Trevor Lifeline is the only 24/7 suicide prevention helpline for LGBTQ youth in the country and can be reached at 1-866-488-7386. They also have a text option and online chat. Click here to get all the info and send it to someone in need.
There are many ways you can help this great organization, including volunteering and attending events. Click here to explore all the options.
The issue of mental health and suicide really hit home for us and others in the live music community recently. After too many tragic losses of musicians, a group of 50 professionals got together and launched this much-needed organization.
Mental health can be difficult to address in any situation, but it’s especially true for those who live on the road. They provide resources to music industry professionals and their families to help create a safer and more supportive environment.
They have a lot of great free resources on their site that can be beneficial to anyone in these difficult times, like tips for dealing with isolation and how to stay fit. Click here to check them out.
NILC (National Immigration Law Center)
The NILC has been operating since 1979, working tirelessly to defend and advance the rights of low-income immigrants in the United States. Their vision is “a society in which all people — regardless of race, gender, immigration or economic status — are treated fairly and humanely” and something we fully support.
One of their main issues is DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which allows children who were brought to the US illegally to receive a renewable 2-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit.
Ahead of a big Supreme Court decision, it has widespread support across party lines. Show your support of their #HomeIsHere movement at this crucial time.
UPDATE: This decision passed the Supreme Court!
Global Fund for Women
Since 1987, this non-profit has been working diligently on women’s human rights initiatives all over the world. In that time, they’ve awarded over $100 million in grants to 4,000 different organizations in 170 countries.
Their vision is summed up as such: “Every woman and girl is strong, safe, powerful & heard.” Their focus is on sexual & reproductive health and rights (strong), freedom from violence (safe), economic justice (powerful), and leadership (heard). Click here for a detailed description of their key issues.
In addition to their signature grantmaking, they also work on a variety of initiatives with different partners across the globe. Head to their website for more details.
They also share the stories of brave women and girls fighting for human rights through various campaigns. One of their current campaigns is a series of short films called Fundamental: Gender Justice. No Exceptions. Click the link for more info and watch the trailer below:
We’ve been teachers for over a decade now and realize just how important a good education is. The problem for many people in the US is that it’s simply not financially attainable. That’s where Scholarship America comes in.
This is the largest private scholarship organization in the nation. Since its inception in 1958, they have distributed over $4 billion to 2.5 million students.
Here’s a great quote from their founder, Dr. Irving Fradkin: “The most valuable asset this country has is not gold or oil, but the minds of young people.”
They have several programs including Dreamkeepers which help students stay in college after an unexpected financial emergency. In addition, they have a Families of Freedom program that provides assistance to dependents of those who were killed or permanently disabled due to the 9/11 attacks.
This coronavirus pandemic has been disastrous in many industries, including those nearest and dearest to our hearts. With no concerts or festivals going on, our beloved music industry is in big trouble at the moment.
The MusiCares Foundation is part of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. It has been giving musicians a place to turn for help since its founding back in 1989.
In times of financial, medical, or personal crisis, MusiCares helps people in several areas. They provide financial assistance, addiction recovery, and more.
At the moment, their COVID-19 Relief Fund is providing much-needed assistance to those who are out of work due to the pandemic. Be sure to check out the auction that they’re having in September to support this amazing cause by bidding on one-of-a-kind items from legends like Robert Plant and Willie Nelson!
It was very difficult narrowing this list down to just 20 organizations to support. We realize there are so many more out there that really need help and wish we had the resources to help them all.
What we can do is ask you, our readers, to leave a comment below with other organizations that you personally support. We will gladly check them out and do what we can to support them.
As I mentioned at the top of the post, it’s easy to feel helpless in these difficult times. Since I started writing this post, though, I have been filled with optimism for the future.
In the week that I’ve spent writing this, several major achievements have happened in regard to these important issues.
The Supreme Court voted to uphold DACA and also make it illegal for someone to be fired based on their gender or sexuality.
There was also a major victory for environmentalists when the Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act that will provide much-needed funding to our national parks.
Mayors all across the country have also declared Juneteenth a city holiday. Hopefully it will soon be a national holiday and something that is taught in schools across the country.
I can’t think of a better day to get this post out there and share these organizations that we’re passionate about supporting.
Happy Juneteenth! Thank you so much for reading this to the end. We so greatly appreciate your support, as do all the organizations listed here 🙂