Local orgs or charities to support that are making a difference right now?

flower in hands

photo: Flickr user Hamed Saber (CC BY 2.0)

I. emails (emphasis added):

In response to our current political climate, and in honor of the people fighting to protect our rights, I'd like to begin financially supporting organizations that are making an actual difference in peoples daily lives. National organizations are easy to find, but I'm hoping for some recommendations of local groups helping people in our community.
I'm particularly interested in groups that work with women and children - providing assistance to domestic violence victims, healthcare for children, diapers for parents who can't afford them, feminine hygiene products for homeless women, etc.

We get the feeling there are a lot of people like I. right now who are looking for ways to do something that makes a difference. And as we've mentioned before, focusing some of your energy on local issues and causes can be a way to do that.

So, know of a good local charity or org or cause for I. and others to support right now? Please share. And sentence or two about why to support that charity is appreciated.


Take a look at the Alliance for Positive Health: http://www.allianceforpositivehealth.org/about/welcome/

From Karin Maag-Tanchak:
This Saturday January 28, 11-4
Knit in for Charity
at The Periwinkle Sheep studio
40 Broadway at Fourth Ave
Albany, NY 12202
middle entrance, third floor.

Come knit and crochet with us as we make warm things for the homeless and refugees.
And because my birthday is coming up I'm also collecting dollar bills for the food pantries of the capital region. One dollar can supply 6.25 lbs of food. Read more on
However much we collect I'll add $50 to the the total.

So grab a friend or neighbor and join us this Saturday!!

I volunteer with Grand Street Community Arts and think it is a great way to contribute locally. Grand St sponsors programs such as Youth FX (introduces young people to digital film production) and is currently setting up a radio transmitter for WCAA (Community, Arts & Activism).
Money is always tight and every dollar goes towards helping Albany's youth express themselves while learning about opportunities in the creative economy. Website is: GrandArts.org
If you have any questions please feel free to email me at: Benjamin.Clark91@gmail.com

An organization that might not be on anybody's radar for this request,is the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society. Keep reading! They have a Safe Haven program for battered women and children whereby they keep the family pets until the family is in a secure situation. They provide animal food for the needy who are in a pinch to feed the pets. There is a low cost spay and neuter program for families who qualify. There might be more, but for these reasons, I think they deserve the recognition, at least.

Also, I forgot to mention this cool group that I haven't had a chance to visit myself yet:

Oakwood Community Center in Troy (building community through meals, food pantry, after school programs, learning events): http://www.oakwoodcommunitycenter.org/

City Mission in Schenectady
Trinity Alliance in Albany
Margination in Troy

The South End Children's Cafe serve healthy meals to kids and their families every day. I had the privilege to volunteer there yesterday for a little basketball coaching and found a wonderful, positive situation for kids who seemed happy to be there. They have an after school program and serve dinner to everyone there every night. (including the adults who pick their kids up)


Capital Roots! We have been working for 40 years to reduce the impact of poor nutrition on public health in New York’s Capital Region by organizing community gardens, providing healthy food access, offering nutritional and horticultural education for all ages and coordinating urban greening programs in Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady and southern Saratoga Counties.

Grass roots Givers in Albany super group, books for local kids and schools, clothing and household items to individuals and organizations in need. they have made Little Libaraies all over Albany for free books.
BLC quilters make and donate handmade quilts all over the area. the quitls go to AMC childerns unit, chemo unit & hospice at St Peters, local faimlies in need and others

Mary's Corner (Albany and Cohoes) for diapers and other needed supplies for families in need with young children

Circle of Mercy
Washington St

Circles was founded especially to help the women and children of the city and nearby environs. They are a VITA free tax preparation site, offer skills and technology classes for women reentering the work force, assistance with accessing social services, there's Kate's Closet - a place to donate and purchase gently used clothing, collection drives for back to school and Christmas, etc.

The YWCA of Northeastern NY, here in Schenectady is a fantastic organization for women and children. They have domestic violence shelters and lots of programs to help domestic violence victims have sustainable lives after getting out of their situations

So many places! Though I mainly know the ones in and around Schenectady.

Safe Inc. provides services to kids and teens who are vulnerable to sex trafficking: http://www.safeincofschenectady.org/home/donate-volunteer
COCOA House, which provides free after-school enrichment to disadvantaged students, is in danger of closing after 20 years: https://www.gofundme.com/cocoa-house-2016-fundraiser
Joan Nicole Prince Home provides hospice to the terminally ill with no other options or financial support; care for these individuals is based on donations: http://joannicoleprincehome.org/fundraising.php
XQuest provides free meals to disadvantaged children and their families: http://www.schenectadyquest.org/how-to-help.html

Others to check out: Bethesda House, City Mission, and Double H Ranch.

AVID Tutoring, Reading is Fun, the Boys & Girls Club, and Girls Inc. are always looking for dedicated volunteers as are almost all of the assisted living facilities in the area (e.g., Glendale Home, Heritage Home).

Here are a few organizations that are doing great things:

-Things of My Very Own - (http://thingsofmyveryown.org/)
Provides innovative programs and services to children that have endured the most extensive abuse and/or neglect within New York State.

-Capital Region Furniture Bank -( www.capitalregionfurniturebank.org)
Collects furniture (and financial donations) and gives to individuals and families moving out of homelessness and fleeing domestic violence as well as others struggling to make ends meet.

-The Food Pantries for the Capital Region - (http://www.thefoodpantries.org/)

- Capital City Rescue Mission (http://www.capitalcityrescuemission.com/) Provides meals, emergency shelter (for men and women), drug and alcohol recovery programs for men and women, medical clinic, clothing distribution center, learning center, and transitional living programs.

- FOCUS churches (http://focuschurches.net/wp/)
Food Pantry, Breakfast Program, as well as advocating support for economic and social justice struggles in the region and statewide. They work to advocate for a living wage, an end to poverty and homelessness, as well as reform of our criminal justice and immigration systems.

I love that you are running this question and the suggestions in the comments are great!

I would add Unity House to this fantastic list. (Full disclosure: I proudly work at Unity House.)

Unity House is a human services agency based in Troy. We have a community resources program for life's essentials such as food, clothing, housing assistance, employment training and more. We have a domestic violence services program; we offer supportive housing and case management services for adults living with mental illness or HIV/AIDS; our Unity Sunshine program (In Troy and Albany) offers daycare, preschool and special education/therapeutic services for children with developmental delays and neurotypical children; a volunteer program; and a fab thrift store called ReStyle.

We also partner with other non-profits, Capital Roots and the Humane Society, among my personal faves. (Sad fact: up to 25% of victims of DV report the threat of harm to a beloved pet as a barrier to leaving an abusive situation. The Humane Society's Safe Haven program is a lifesaver. They also supply local food pantries with pet food.)

Special shoutout to Capital Roots: their work with Unity House's food pantry and community meals program, and commitment to food justice issues are just one of the reasons why I lend my support (and their Urban Grow Center in Troy is awesome.)

The Saratoga Economic Opportunity Council. From their website www.saratogaeoc.org :
For 43 years, EOC has responded to the call to end poverty in Saratoga County through the kindness, dedication and generosity of people like you! Your desire to serve others in this way has allowed EOC to work with those who are in poverty, and those struggling to stay out of poverty. As the designated Community Action Agency for Saratoga County, we identify the needs of the community and work on the solution with caring community partners like you! As heating, housing, daycare and food costs rise, many have to do more with less.

The EOC Emergency Food Programs have played a key role in the fight to combat poverty in Saratoga County, and we continue to make an immediate difference for those who are struggling. Our aim has been to serve all who come through our doors with dignity. Through your generosity, we are able to serve those who are stretched beyond their ability to make ends meet, without turning anyone away. With your donation, you become a part of the EOC team in the fight to combat poverty in our community.

I'm actually looking for suggestions for where I can donate clothes - many of which are work attire. Any ideas? I don't want to dump at a box. If you can include any quirks to donating (i.e. certain hours, funky location). Thanks in advance!

Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County (LVORC) is a nonprofit organization that provides free, confidential tutoring to adults, out-of-school teens and English language learners in reading, writing, and conversational English and provides programs to improve the literacy skills of children. The major goal of Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County is to build a literate community.


Unity House! Not only do they have programming for:
-Domestic violence assistance
-Healthcare for children

They also have daily food for all who come, clothing for those who need it, preschool programming, employment for folks who can't work elsewhere for various reasons, and so. much. more.

Unity House is amazing as far as basic needs go. For grassroots community work and creative resistance, The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy.

I work at the Sanctuary and am constantly amazed by the programming here. Urban permaculture gardens, youth media programming, citizen science workshops, community radio station (105.3FM!), live music, activist speakers, and free community events throughout the year. Come visit!

Jay Pea
grasroots givers will galdly take your clothing. they offer clothing to all who need it from Vets to childern to those are in need of clothing for a job . see Grassroots givers .org

Things of My Very Own, Inc., located in Schenectady, helps thousands of children, and women, annually, if I understand correctly, don't quote. Go on a saturday morning and volunteer.

Great Finds Thrift Boutique (Washington Ave. in Albany, M-F noon to 5, open late on First Fridays of each month)accepts donations of gently used women's clothing, shoes, and accessories.

They are associated with Equinox -- which provides services to victims of domestic violence, substance abuse, and those suffering from mental illness -- as "a vocational training center for individuals who want to enter or re-enter the workforce." (http://www.equinoxinc.org). Also a fun place to shop!

I keep thinking about this post and had to come back to comment. I love all of the suggestions above and agree with every single one. I've worked for/with nonprofits my entire professional life, and it looks like the need for services and donations is going to grow quite a bit in the months and years to come.

My organization, the Community Foundation (cfgcr.org) is going to keep supporting nonprofits and local students, no matter what. We award $4-5 million in grants and scholarships each year, and we'd love your donations too!

I also recommend the Community Loan Fund (mycommunityloanfund.org). Everyone always mixes up the Loan Fund with my organization. In a nutshell, the Community Foundation gives grants to nonprofits and scholarships to students; the Loan Fund supports local small businesses, especially those owned by minorities and women.

It's a good idea to support local business owners who can create jobs and help our economy grow. So shop at local businesses, and give to nonprofit organizations that will keep donations local. And keep the giving spirit going all year--trust me, donations are just as needed in July as they are in December.

Thanks for being generous, AOA-ers. People like you make the region a better place, truly.

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