The season of giving is upon us, and the options for choosing which charitable organizations you will donate to are practically limitless. November and December are the busiest times of the year for philanthropic giving, often motivated by fundraisers’ requests for bequests on Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday) and the tax breaks for those who itemize their deductions.
If you’re feeling benevolent but bombarded, here are some ways to whittle down your end-of-year giving options, along with a list of 10 great and reputable charities in the DMV region.
First, list your passions.
Animals? Children? Homelessness? Church? The arts? A political cause? Everyone has certain causes that spark their emotions. Use this list to search out the nonprofits that support them. You can choose from our list below, or use our list as a starting point for your own list.
Next, vet your choices.
Several online sites deliver quantitative and qualitative evaluations of charities. Here are four of the most popular.
- CharityWatch reports on the legitimacy of nonprofits and issues ratings on an “A+” to “F” scale, priding themselves as “America’s most independent, assertive charity watchdog.”
- GuideStar offers an easy search to match your specific social conscience with like-missioned charities and then provide you with data to make an informed decision.
- CharityNavigator is another research tool you can use to find charities that align with your values. They use data from the IRS and the charities themselves to rate each organization.
- Give.org is the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance addresses four areas of charity accountability: governance, results reporting, finances, and truthful transparent communications. It also offers a “Scam Tracker” that you can access and file a complaint if you feel you should.
Here are just 10 of the many charities in the DMV that are worthy of your attention. These organizations earned four-star (highest) Charity Navigator ratings.
106 Island Farm Lane, Boyce, VA 22620
The Blue Ridge Wildlife Center is the only wildlife teaching hospital in northern Virginia. The staff and volunteers of BRWC work to care for native wildlife by integrating veterinary medicine, rehabilitation, education, and research.
215 W Montgomery Ave, Rockville, MD 20850
The mission of Rainbow Place is to provide women emergency overnight shelter during the hypothermia season and assist them as they transition to a better quality of life.
750 Miller Drive, Suite A-1, Leesburg, VA 20175
Loudoun Hunger Relief is a food pantry that provides emergency food supplies in the form of nutritionally-balanced meals.
2001 S St NW #700, Washington, DC 20009
Through education, research, advocacy, and a focus on young adults ages 14–25, Active Minds is opening up the conversation about mental health and creating lasting change in the way mental health is talked about, cared for, and valued in the United States.
777 6th Street, Ste. 700 Washington, DC 20001
Referred to as “the voice of America’s national parks,” the National Parks Conservation Association works to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for present and future generations.
2111 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 401 Arlington, VA 22201
This organization uses science to address the social, educational, and treatment concerns of autistic people, parents, autism professionals, and caregivers. They disseminate new, useful information to as many members of the autism community as possible, and direct all research and programs initiatives toward enhancing the quality of life for autistic individuals and the families that give them love and support.
515 King St., Ste. 420, Alexandria, VA 22314
ZERO is the leading national nonprofit with the mission to end prostate cancer and help all who are impacted. The organization advances research, provides support, and creates solutions to achieve health equity.
7101 Wisconsin Ave, Ste. 800, Bethesda, MD 20814
Established in 2005 to serve injured service members as they returned home from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Yellow Ribbon Fund continues to enhance the lives of military families facing medical crises.
1001 Connecticut Ave. NW, Ste. 1100, Washington, DC 20036-5522
This respected nonprofit health research center conducts, analyzes, and explains the latest research and works with patients, consumers, and opinion leaders so that they can use the information to improve their own health and to develop better programs, policies, and services.
655 New York Ave. NW, WeWork 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20001
FRESHFARM is a nonprofit that works to create a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable food future. They develop innovative ways to solve critical food problems and connect people to their food through hands-on education, farmers markets, and food distribution programs.
In addition to these organizations, CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty works to help the communities we serve and the world we live in. Our commitment expands far beyond the buyers and sellers that we represent. Visit Redwood Gives Back to learn more: https://www.c21redwood.com/gives-back/.