Giving back: Local non-profits to consider during this season of abundance

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By Michelle Talsma Everson, December 2019 issue.

In this season of holiday festivities, many of us are looking to give back to causes we support. To help you figure out where to share your time, treasure, or talent, we’ve rounded up some local nonprofits that are looking for help during the holidays and year-round. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s a great start as you consider what causes speak to you the most.

Don’t see a cause here that speaks to you? Visit arizonanonprofits.org, which is the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, home to more than 1,000 non-profit members large and small.

Arizona Human Society

The Arizona Humane Society is the safety net for the Valley’s most vulnerable pets. With a rich 60-year history, AHS has never been complacent with the status quo. While caring for the Valley’s sick, injured and abused homeless animals has always been AHS’ niche, it is the strides over the last five years that has everyone talking. AHS has been able to decrease euthanasia by 84 percent and intake by 57 percent through its focus on saving the most vulnerable animals, while also keeping pets in homes with their loving owners. This holiday season, pet lovers can make a difference in the life of a homeless pet by donating to AHS’ Holiday Drive to Save Lives.

Anytown Leadership Program

Anytown Leadership Camp is a nationally recognized, award-winning leadership and social justice program for youth ages 14-19. Anytown brings together a diverse group of students from high schools across the region for a weeklong residential experience. Teens who experience Anytown Leadership Camp leave the program equipped with the tools to increase their ability to foster inclusion and respect among all members of society. Donations are used to scholarship teens that are unable to pay for this life-changing experience.

Aunt Rita’s Foundation

RED Brunch, an Aunt Rita’s Foundation signature event presented by Mercy Care, takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on December 14 at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix. RED Brunch is a gathering of the entire greater Phoenix HIV service community to honor those who have lost their battle with AIDS, to celebrate the outstanding work of HIV leaders and professionals in our community, and to re-commit to an end to the epidemic. This year’s theme is Imagine, and a commitment and vision will be offered that represents an end to the HIV epidemic by 2030.

Duet: Partners In Health & Aging

Duet is a local nonprofit whose mission is to promote health and well-being through vitally needed services to homebound adults, family caregivers, faith communities, and grand-families. This holiday season, the nonprofit invites you to their annual Poinsettia Tea, taking place on December 15, from 2 to 4 p.m., in Scottsdale. Locals can also support Duet through volunteering and financial donations. Duet serves the community in many ways, including a caregiver support group exclusively for LGBTQ+ family caregivers.

Hope for Homes Program, Inc.

This nonprofit works to provide low cost housing to seniors, veterans and the disabled. There is currently a waiting list of those waiting to be served and 100 percent of the proceeds go to the program at this all-volunteer organization.

Hospice of the Valley

Healing Rainbows, Hospice of the Valley’s bereavement group for the Valley’s LGBTQ community, goes back more than a decade. It meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, 6:30-8 p.m., at Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower St., Phoenix. Facilitated by bereavement counselors and other trained grief specialists, Healing Rainbows is an open, drop-in grief group that provides education and support in a caring and comfortable space.

Joshua Tree Feeding Program

“We start off the holidays with several different food drives with the support of the LGBT community and businesses,” shares Joseph A. Gaxiola, chairman. “We always need help with non-perishable food, toiletries, and pet food as well as financial help.” The nonprofit is part of a World AIDS Day concert with Susan Hurley on December 1 and a Phoenix AIDS Candlelight Vigil on December 7.

Lost Our Home Pet Rescue

Founded as a no-kill rescue in 2008, Lost Our Home rescues abandoned and homeless pets and is committed to ensuring they get the care they need and the new loving homes they deserve. In addition to their rescue efforts, they provide support for families that are experiencing crises. Lost Our Home understands that crises don’t only affect people, but greatly impacts their pets too, thus their life-saving mission encompasses both people and pets. You can help today by donating on their website, bringing in pet food to their shelter for their pet food bank, volunteering, fostering or adopting.

New Horizons Institute (NHI)

“At NHI, it is our mission to expand access to high quality health care for underserved populations including those less fortunate, homeless and our nation’s veterans,” says Brittany Geersen. “NHI was founded in 2018 so donations are greatly needed as we are a newer nonprofit and want to provide dental care for those who need it most. We have also been able to help patients who need dental implants but can’t afford them. Implant Pathway is a continuous education course that teaches dentists how to place dental implants. We work directly with Implant Pathway to give our patients the dental implants they need.”

Phoenix Pride

Phoenix Pride is the proud producer of the annual Phoenix Pride Festival and Rainbows Festival, as well as the Miss and Mister Phoenix Pride Pageant and the Phoenix Pride Awards Reception. “Through the Phoenix Pride Community Foundation, we provide grants to local nonprofits that serve and empower our community, as well as give student scholarships to self-identified LGBTQ+ students and allies through the Phoenix Pride Scholarship program,” says Victor E. Avila, development manager. “In 2020, we will be celebrating a historic landmark — the 40th Anniversary of Phoenix Pride. This happens to coincide with us hitting our $1 million dollar give back to the community since our inception. Beginning in December, we are offering an opportunity for Phoenix Pride patrons to “Give the Gift of Pride” with a $30 tax-deductible donation, with the objective of providing our patrons the ability to gift a free entry to the 2020 Pride Festival to our LGBTQ+ youth who may not have the ability to afford an entry.”

Pipeline Worldwide

“Pipeline Worldwide is the conduit for facilitating connections between donors and vulnerable communities in East Africa, based on the needs voiced by local leaders,” according to the organization. “We act as impact catalysts by providing funding, time and resources for projects that will deliver access to clean water, sanitation, education and healthcare in the most impoverished regions.” The nonprofit can use help in the forms of funding, time and resources.

Scottsdale Arts

The nonprofit Scottsdale Arts creates diverse, inspired arts experiences and educational opportunities that foster active, lifelong community engagement with the arts through four acclaimed branches — Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), Scottsdale Public Art and Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation. During the holiday season, our community can shop small and local at two Scottsdale Arts locations: The Store @ the Center and [email protected] Guests can find new, one-of-a-kind originals from local creatives, in addition to special holiday gifts for the art lovers in their life. All proceeds benefit Scottsdale Arts and all that it does.

Southwest Human Development

Give a gift to a child in need this holiday season! Southwest Human Development, Arizona’s largest early childhood nonprofit, will be providing gifts to more than 800 kids in need and they need your help. Donate through the Gingerbread Kids Holiday Gift Drive at swhd.org/holidays. Gifts will be provided to children in our programs who would not otherwise receive one. Your online gift is eligible for the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit and will help us ensure children in our programs get to experience the magic of the holiday season.

The Greater Phoenix Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Phoenix Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce represents nearly 4,000 business owners and community members and provides an inclusive business environment by fostering growth, visibility, outreach and professional development opportunities within our LGBT and allied communities. “Each year we host the annual Festival of Trees (December 7), which has become Phoenix’s premiere holiday season kick-off event for the LGBT community,” says Bobby Gordon, marketing director. “We auction off designer trees, menorah and wreaths to benefit local LGBT charities. This year, we are seeking event sponsorships and individual donations for our silent auction.” Contact Michael Mazzocco at michael@eventbymm.com for details.

The Miracle League of Arizona

The Miracle League of Arizona is a 501(c)3 nonprofit in north Scottsdale that provides individuals with special needs the chance to get outside, have some fun, make friends, and play baseball. “Our league promotes inclusion and understanding for all individuals and their unique needs,” says Cassandra Switalski, executive director. “Players are placed on teams based on age and skill level and get paired up with a one-on-one helper we call a buddy. Buddies provide everything from hand over hand assistance to high fives, encouragement, and friendship. We are always welcoming new players and volunteers interested in giving back.”

Two Pups Wellness Fund

Two Pups Wellness Fund is a local nonprofit that provides financial assistance for animals who are critically ill, injured, neglected or abandoned. The nonprofit works directly with rescues and shelters throughout Maricopa County to identify and medically treat animals in need. Since its inception in 2017, Two Pups has helped more than 4,000 animals receive medical care and treatments. Nancy Silver established Two Pups Wellness Fund in spring 2017 as a component fund of the Arizona Community Foundation in honor of her own pups — Mr. P and Miss Lacie. The organization raises funds to help rescue and shelter dogs in need of vital medical treatment.

United Food Bank

United Food Bank provides hunger relief to people in need in the East Valley and eastern Arizona. They collect, acquire, store and distribute food and related commodities to more than 220 partner agencies that serve more than 228,000 people in need across more than 19,500 square miles. Last year, United Food Bank distributed almost 24 million pounds of food providing nearly 19.5 million meals to our neighbors in need. During the holidays, they need support through food drives, volunteering and financial donations.

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