Chicago-based causes to support on #GivingTuesday

Nov. 27 is the seventh annual #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving where millions of people will open their hearts and wallets to support causes near and dear to them. Last year, a record of $274 million was raised in this 24-hour period alone.

Note: While #GivingTuesday is a day of generosity, it is also a day of scams. Before you give, make sure you check on Charity Navigator that the charity is reputable. Additionally, don’t give out your credit number to any charity over the phone unless you initiate the call.

Not sure where to give? We’ve rounded up a few Chicagoland causes that can use your help this Giving Tuesday.

Alliance for the Great Lakes

Headquartered in Chicago, the Alliance for the Great Lakes works to protect the Great Lakes by involving tens of thousands of people each year in advocacy, volunteerism, education and research to ensure the lakes are healthy and safe for today and tomorrow. Whether its leading the movement to ban plastic straws or advocating to lawmakers for better ways to handle stormwater and sewage overflows, the organization is committed to protecting and restoring the Great Lakes for people and wildlife, forever.

Anti-Cruelty Society

The Anti-Cruelty Society is Chicago’s oldest animal welfare organization, providing a home for every animal that is brought through its doors, regardless of health, age, breed, species, or behavior. Programs and services help pets and educate caregivers on the proper treatment of animals. Services range from adoptions and low or no cost spay/neuter clinics to cruelty and abuse investigations and rescue, dog training classes, and more. The Anti-Cruelty Society is also part of a national emergency response network. Through partnerships with national organizations with boots on the ground, the Society is often called upon to take in animals impacted by storms and other disasters.

Center on Halsted

Chicago has long been the center of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community in the greater Midwest, and the Center on Halsted in Lakeview offers support networks and programming to meet the cultural, emotional, social, educational and recreational needs of this community. More than 1,000 members visit the Center every day to seek a safe and welcoming environment with programs and services for the entire community. Current programs range from volleyball, dance performances and cooking classes to rapid HIV testing, group therapy and advocacy related to domestic violence.

Greater Chicago Food Depository

One in six residents of our community goes hungry every day. The Greater Chicago Food Depository is working to fight hunger one meal at a time. The organization collects, packs and distributes nourishing food to a network of 700 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters across Chicago and Cook County. In 2017, the Food Depository distributed nearly 70 million pounds of food to those most in need. Donate before midnight on Giving Tuesday, and every single dollar of your gift will be matched up to a $25,000 total thanks to generous, anonymous donors.

Misericordia/Heart of Mercy

Located on the north side of Chicago, Misericordia/Heart of Mercy is one of the nation’s leading communities for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is unique from other providers in the field because it offers a full continuum of care and comprehensive programs for 600 residents including residential, training and employment services. Misericordia is known for focusing on the ability of a person versus the disability. Misericordia residents are an important part of the community with jobs, responsibilities and constant activities, from painting pictures to baking sweets.

Mommy & Me Warrior Supply Packs

Founded by the late Lauren Smoke, a Bubbles Academy teacher known to many as “Miss Lauren” who lost her battle with cancer in 2017, the mission of Mommy & Me Warrior Supply Packs is to provide care packages to pregnant women and new moms who are facing cancer. The nonprofit, run by Lauren’s husband Ian and two of her good friends, is currently raising funds to build care packages. To date, they have distributed more than a dozen.

Share Our Spare

Do you have any new or gently-used infant or toddler items to “spare”? Participation in Giving Tuesday does not always have to be monetary. Share Our Spare provides collects and provides these cost-free essentials for families living below the federal poverty level in Chicago. Their belief is that your extras can be someone else’s essentials. The organization hosts donation drop-offs at their River West warehouse throughout the week. Prior to donating, check the website to see which items are of the greatest need.

Whole Child Arts

If your child has ever taken a music class at a young age, a donation to Whole Child Arts is a great way to ensure that every child has that same privilege. The organization, founded by Bubbles Academy co-owner Natalie Monterastelli, takes the popular Bubbles Academy class model to satellite locations, partnering with community organizations and schools, in an effort to bring early childhood arts education into underserved neighborhoods at no cost to participants. Just for Giving Tuesday, Whole Child is offering special perks for donations, such as writing an original song for your little one with a $50 donation.

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Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky is an award-winning journalist and bestselling children's book author. She is the mom of three little ladies who keep her on her toes.
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