There are so many great gift guides out there you've most likely seen enough great things to buy friends and family. Consider taking part of your gift budget to support charities in our community this year! I love spreading the word about places to give, mostly because in the Bay Area and beyond there are incredible organizations changing lives and the world that we should support! Just in time for Giving Tuesday 2016, here are my recommended organizations doing great work in San Francisco, the East Bay and across the country. Get giving!
When I read about this organization in FastCoDesign I fell in love with their simple and effective mission: to use color as a change agent. Project Color Corps paints incredible murals at schools and other kid-centered locations around California, include projects in Oakland and San Francisco. The community receiving the art participates in its design and execution, and the final results are bright and lively and inspiring to witness!
Women's health and reproductive services are what Planned Parenthood does best, for everyone regardless of income and ability to pay. From birth control to prevent pregnancy to prenatal care during pregnancy, their work is invaluable and your donation can make sure it remains available for anyone that needs it! Oh, and they also provide health services for men.
After several years San Francisco finally has a freestanding birth center! For families that don't want to deliver in the hospital but aren't into home birth, this is the perfect option, but it ain't cheap! Friends of the San Francisco Birth Center offers scholarships for those who can't afford out of pocket costs or don't have full insurance coverage, based on income and family size.
Earlier this year I had a personal milestone when I became a Leader with the local La Leche League chapter! I'm part of a group of five women who lead monthly meetings across the city. We're all volunteers providing peer support to families interested in breastfeeding, and everyone is welcome to attend or call our advice line 24 hours a day (415) 320-8116) for free support. La Leche League was a huge support to me during my pregnancy as I dealt with health issues that impacted my breastfeeding journey, and I'm grateful to be able to pay it forward and assist other families!
KQED Public Television
I'm not a big TV watcher, but I love me some public television! I always geek out to shows like NOVA and have loved some of the truly amazing documentaries they air. Now that there's a child in the house we have become fans of shows like Wild Kratts, and as a family we watch Check Please Bay Area to find out where we should be eating! Also, Mia is obsessed with the show's host, Leslie Sbrocco (check out this silly Twitter exchange we had if you don't believe me)!
When I put out the call for organizations to include in this guide several people immediately recommended Youth Speaks. For the last 20 years this organization has been helping teens express themselves and build community through spoken words. Founded in the Mission, the group serves teens across the country who serve as poet-laureates in their communities while building communication and leadership skills.