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Blue Heart Giving Guide 2023
Art from the San Rafael Social Justice Community Art Project comprised of arts and community advocates who live and/or work in the
City of San Rafael.

 

Blue Heart Giving Guide

 

We champion the under-funded, grassroots change makers.
While well-funded nonprofits often dominate the end-of-year giving season, numerous transformative organizations, focusing on supporting marginalized communities, go unnoticed.
 
We're here to change that.

Funding at the Fringes 

 

This guide focuses attention and bolsters the work of organizations dedicated to supporting
Black, brown, gender-marginalized, queer, disabled, and low-income communities.
We aim to bring recognition to those making a difference from the grassroots level.
 
Explore our guide and commit to making a difference through your donation!

share this guide

Most people donate to organizations that are personally recommended to them. Invite your friends and family to #GiveBoldly this season. Together we can amplify the work of these grassroots changemakers..
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How This Guide Was Created

At Blue Heart, we help people learn about and donate to grassroots, community-led organizations that are building the political power of low-income communities and communities of color across the United States.

 

This annual giving guide supports visionary movement-builders in getting the recognition they deserve among donors. 

 

Each organization is recommended to us through our network of partners and advisers. We researched each one further and developed this set of recommended organizations based on:

 

1) the trust and respect grassroots organizers and organization staff have for their work; and 
2) their size (e.g., under 10 staff members) as a proxy for fundraising capacity and budget.

 

We recognize that grassroots does not mean small. Grassroots organizations, can often be international in scope and represent millions.

 

Many small, community-based groups, go unnoticed by traditional philanthropy. These organizations are at the forefront creatively addressing the material needs of impacted communities and swiftly responding to local advocacy opportunities. These are the organizations featured in our guide.

While not comprehensive, this is a starting point for those who want to invest in the organizations doing powerful work resisting systemic injustice and building community alternatives. We recognize that the majority of wealth in the U.S. has been extracted from the Global South, and wealth redistribution needs to reflect that. This guide is limited to the U.S., and we encourage donors to check out grassroots-accountable intermediaries that work globally. 

Funding social change isn't 'silver bullet philanthropy'. Rather, it requires investing in diverse strategies and long-term visions. Trusted leaders have personally vouched for the creativity, passion, and efficacy of each of these organizations. If you know of or work with an organization that you think should be considered, please tell us about them. 

Art by Christina Whipple and Leilani Salvador / Blue Heart Creator Fund
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How to use this guide

  1. Discover: Dive into the list, whether you're interested in organizations working locally or those focusing on specific issues like "Rural Organizing", we've got you covered.

  2. Share: Most people donate based on personal recommendations. Spread the word, ask your friends and family to #GiveBoldly. Share on socials. 

  3. Donate: While any contribution makes an impact, if you're financially stable, consider donating 1% or more of your annual income. Monthly donations help organizations plan better, so consider giving a bit every month.

  4. Engage: Follow your chosen organizations on social media (especially IG and Facebook). Stay updated and deepen your bond with them.

Before you dive in, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Looking to support entities close to home or those with limited philanthropic resources?

    • Use icons next to organizations to guide you.

  • Interested in a specific issue?

    • Explore our 12 different issue-specific portfolios.

  • Do you want to get your money out of the urban bubble?

    • ​Rural non-profits are dramatically less-resourced than urban ones. If you want to support grassroots organizing in rural communities, check out our "Rural Organizing" portfolio

  • Want to incorporate a reparations perspective?

    • Reflect on the history and current state of indigenous and marginalized communities and consider how you can contribute to repairing past injustices.

  • Concerned about tax deductions?

    • We've marked organizations without a 501c3 status with a [*].

Decision biases to be aware of:

  • The "design bias": When selecting organizations, be cautious of the "design bias". A sleek website doesn't necessarily equate to the efficacy of an organization. Some may prioritize on-ground efforts over digital presence. Judge by their impact, not their interface. 

Recommended Grassroots Organizations

Image by William Recinos

Arts & Culture

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Health & Food Justice

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Mass Incarceration

Image by Glodi Miessi

Black Liberation

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Indigenous Self-determination

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Rural Organizing

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Climate Justice

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Immigrants & Refugees

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Women

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Economic & Housing Justice

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LGBTQ+

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Youth Leadership

Issue-Specific

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Want to support grassroots power-building all year long?

Join a community of over 100 member-donors who are supporting grassroots change. Each month, we send you a profile of the organization you are funding, stories from their work, and actions you can take to support them. We have channeled over $300,000 to under-the-radar changemakers, artists, and visionaries.

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arts & culture

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An Oakland-based arts organization that hosts the EastSide Cultural Center, dedicated to the development of young artists and fostering Black pride in East Oakland.

CALIFORNIA

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An organization that educates and empowers youth through participation in the arts, offering year-round youth development programs in East Palo Alto and San Francisco.

CALIFORNIA

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An organization of working class artists and cultural producers transforming politics and healing through art in Puerto Rico.

PUERTO RICO

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A poor people-led & Indigenous Peoples-led arts organization providing revolutionary media access, art, education and advocacy to folks in poverty.

CALIFORNIA

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Using grassroots activism to educate people about socio-economic injustices and advocate solutions through Hip Hop culture. We raise funds for local causes that enrich marginalized and historically oppressed communities.

CALIFORNIA

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A regional arts service organization providing support to more than 500 artists and countless communities in the severely under resourced American South.

SOUTH

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An Oakland cooperative supporting the creative needs of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color by providing physical space for community care and collaboration.

CALIFORNIA

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A disability justice based performance project that celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and LGBTQ / gender-variant artists.

CALIFORNIA

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An arts-based alternative to incarceration for young people in King County, Washington.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

black liberation

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A Greensboro community center rooted in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy of proactive struggles for racial and economic justice, democracy, and beloved community.

SOUTH

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A network fighting to create space for currently and formerly undocumented Black immigrants to not only survive but thrive.

SOUTH

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Committed to driving change in communities of color through policy development and equitable resources.

WASHINGTON

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A Black-led, multi-racial, intergenerational coalition that seeks to build a replicable model to eradicate police terror in communities of color.

CALIFORNIA 

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An organization founded by Ruby Nell Sales, that uses the arts, research, education, action, and spirituality to bring diverse peoples together to work for racial, economic, and social justice, as well as for spiritual maturity.

SOUTH

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A black-led initiative for the activation, long-term engagement, and development of new organizers to mobilize historically disengaged voters of color.

SOUTH

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A South Seattle nonprofit nurturing intergenerational leaders through transformative education and social action.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

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A full service direct action organization building capacity to execute creative and effective action in service of their organizing and advocacy work.

CALIFORNIA

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A Black grassroots organization organizing and empowering the community towards self determination and equity.

CALIFORNIA

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A movement dedicated to helping Black People search for, identify, and reclaim land taken from them over the past 400 years.

CALIFORNIA

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An Oakland-based Black/New Afrikan organization dedicated to the liberation and unification of all Afrikan people through scientific socialism.

CALIFORNIA

Climate justice

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A Flint, MI community nonprofit growing diverse environmental justice leaders to secure a healthy and sustainable future.

MIDWEST

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A group of young climate justice activists fighting for a livable climate and an equitable, sustainable, and just world.

CALIFORNIA

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A regional nonprofit supporting a just transition to a regenerative economy that protects the environment, climate, and future generations.

MIDWEST

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An intergenerational, women of color led grassroots organization promoting Brooklyn community resiliency through organizing, leadership development, and artistic expression.

EAST

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A Detroit nonprofit building community power through environmental justice education, youth development and policy advocacy.

MIDWEST

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A Western New York nonprofit developing grassroots leaders who organize their communities to run and win environmental justice and public health campaigns.

CALIFORNIA

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An alliance of New Jersey organizations committed to creating healthy, sustainable communities by eliminating environmental injustices communities of color.

EAST

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Verde*

A Portland, OR nonprofit building environmental wealth through social enterprise, outreach and advocacy.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

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A Portland nonprofit building power for environmental justice and civil rights in Oregon.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

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A California nonprofit mobilizing community power to change government and industry policies to protect human and environmental wellbeing.

CALIFORNIA

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A Philadelphia grassroots nonprofit honoring culture, community education, organizing, and advocacy to build a People’s Agroecology.

EAST

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A membership-based nonprofit installing solar-powered streetlights to build an equitable energy system for the Chicago area.

MIDWEST

Economic & Housing Justice

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A member-based community organizing group invested in serving the communities of deep East Oakland by building racial and economic equity.

CALIFORNIA

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An Eastern Iowa nonprofit uniting low-wage workers to defend workers’ rights on the job, tenants’ rights to safe and affordable housing, and just immigration policies.

MIDWEST

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A nonprofit advancing economic democracy and building a solidarity economy anchored by a network of cooperatives and other worker-owned enterprises.

SOUTH

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A grassroot, Black-led organization devoted to locally driven development in Seattle's Rainier Beach neighborhood.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

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A South Texas worker's union that has become an organizing platform for low income workers across the region.

EAST

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An all-volunteer campaign in Oakland promoting active citizenship and direct democracy by increasing community stewardship of the city budget.

CALIFORNIA

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A nonprofit helping to build a solidarity economy on California’s North Coast, supporting existing cooperative efforts and creating new solutions.

CALIFORNIA

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A coalition of local social justice organizations across the West Coast working to eliminate the root causes of homelessness and poverty.

CALIFORNIA

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A Massachusetts nonprofit building the power low-income communities of color to eradicate environmental racism, and create healthy, sustainable communities.

EAST

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An Oakland volunteer-run organization led by unhoused, housing insecure, and formerly unhoused folks providing direct services and policy advocacy.

CALIFORNIA

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A Denver nonprofit supporting day laborers and domestic workers in Colorado through education, job skills, united action and advocacy.

MIDWEST

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An Oakland grassroots organization serving curbside communities to help them participate in lasting solutions to the homelessness crisis.

CALIFORNIA

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A volunteer-based, sex worker-led national network of organizations and communities working in harm reduction, political advocacy and health services for sex workers.

CALIFORNIA

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An Ironbound, NJ organization empowering individuals and families in realizing their aspirations, making a just and vibrant community.

EAST

health & food justice

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A health and human rights movement advocating for just transitions, disability justice, and climate action as interdependent goals.

CALIFORNIA

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A grassroots program providing any and all human services Oakland individuals or families may need to not merely survive - but to thrive and be fed.

CALIFORNIA

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A women of color-led nonprofit working to end structural racism through participatory democracy, food justice, and movement building.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

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A community organization committed to healing and liberation from systems of unwellness, advancing health justice.

WASHINGTON

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A thriving urban farm in Seattle, WA with a community farming program fostering self-sufficiency and social justice.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

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A Seattle, WA nonprofit building a Black-led food system, acquiring and stewarding land, and facilitating education for joyful Black liberation.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

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A Chicago organization offering training in urban emergency first response to communities where shootings often occur.

MIDWEST

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A Seattle nonprofit training youth of color and working-class youth to organize for systemic change and food justice in their schools.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

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A network of over 130 practitioners healing generational trauma and restoring a reverence of the sacred.

CALIFORNIA

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A food justice organization providing a free, accessible meal program for Oakland’s most vulnerable community members.

CALIFORNIA

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An Oakland-based collective creating political education through art, activism & food.

CALIFORNIA

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A worker collaborative improving the health, safety, and rights of the nail and beauty care workforce to make a more sustainable and just industry.

CALIFORNIA*

Indigenous Self-determination

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A nonprofit established in 1955 as one of the first urban American Indian community centers in the nation, providing social services for those relocated from reservations.

CALIFORNIA

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A community-based volunteer organization offering culturally relevant activities for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Native Americans, their families and friends.

CALIFORNIA

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An indigenous-led movement advocating for a formal climate emergency declaration in Washington state and protecting the waters of the Salish Sea.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

Immigrants & Refugees

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A leadership development, community organizing, and coalition-building organization creating healthy and thriving communities in Oakland's Asian & Pacific Islander immigrant population.

CALIFORNIA

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An Arizona grassroots organization that promotes the human and civil rights of all migrants regardless of their immigration status.

SOUTHWEST

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A Bay Area nonprofit fighting to end U.S. immigration detention and the isolation of people currently suffering in the prison industrial complex.

CALIFORNIA

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A grassroots organization working to empower and organize the Arab community towards justice and self-determination.

CALIFORNIA

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A North Carolina grassroots organization defending latinx communities from ICE, abusive employers and landlords, and predatory politicians.

SOUTH

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A Bay Area disaster relief fund helping undocumented people survive the impacts of wildfires and Covid-19.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

LGBTQ+

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A collaborative grounded in the self-determination of queer, trans, and two spirit Black & Indigenous people of color, and the vision of collectively owning land and labor.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

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A widespread community working to eradicate sexism, homophobia, and transphobia while creating healthy frameworks of masculinity.

CALIFORNIA

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A nonprofit building queer and transgender Asian and Pacific Islander power to amplify marginalized voices, build community safety and foster environmental justice.

CALIFORNIA

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An all volunteer-run effort on Duwamish land in the Seattle area to spread mutual support in the trans Black and Brown community.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

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A San Francisco organization building collective vision and action to promote translatina survival and improved quality of life in the Bay Area.

CALIFORNIA

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A Bay Area-based, queer + trans people of color crew of artist- and activist-healers making art for collective safety, healing, and bliss.

CALIFORNIA

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An arts and public advocacy organization defending the human rights of Black transgender people.

SOUTH

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A community-based organization fighting for full social equality and human rights for translatinas in Texas.

SOUTH

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A collective & community center responding to the interlocking crises of Puerto Rico by providing space for activists and organizers to strategize and collaborate.

PUERTO RICO

mass incarceration

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A grassroots advocacy organization for women in prison seeking commutation for all and to change the California state penal code to end life without parole sentencing.

CALIFORNIA

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An Oakland nonprofit building youth leadership to transform the social conditions causing community violence and mass incarceration.

CALIFORNIA

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A grassroots organization working to expose and end human rights abuses against incarcerated people in California by elevating the voices of those impacted.

CALIFORNIA

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Works to dismantle mass incarceration and support affected communities.

WASHINGTON

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A California nonprofit building the political, social, and economic power of formerly incarcerated persons, addressing the root causes of poverty and the impacts on communities of color.

CALIFORNIA

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A collective of organizations and individuals dismantling anti-Black and carceral systems to replace them with those that affirm and nurture Black lives.

MIDWEST

rural organizing

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A Central Valley advocacy organization advancing agricultural and natural resource policy that heals our ecological system and builds political power in rural communities.

CALIFORNIA

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A volunteer-driven environmental advocacy collective pushing to halt mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia and beyond.

SOUTH

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A network of farmers and ranchers, tribes, food consumers, businesses, and communities who are shifting away from extractive industrial food production in favor of an ethical and regenerative food system.

MIDWEST

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An alliance of organizations promoting a healthy, just Appalachia by abolishing mountaintop removal mining.

SOUTH

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A Tulare-county based organization using art, culture and education as principal tools to improve quality of life for farm worker communities.

CALIFORNIA

women

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A safe space for young Southeast Asian women, promoting education, community, and leadership development to end sexual exploitation.

CALIFORNIA

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A nonprofit supporting immigrant workers in the Bay Area’s garment, home care, hotel, restaurant, and assembly industries, and low-income immigrant youth.

CALIFORNIA

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A Washington nonprofit fighting to end reproductive oppression for all people - intentionally centering Black women, women of color, and queer and trans people.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

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A grassroots collective of Black women and individuals across the African Diaspora transforming birthing experiences for Black women and birthing people.

CALIFORNIA

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A peer-to-­peer education, social service intervention, and community organizing project empowering women and girls to end inner city gun violence.

EAST

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A Bay Area group of Latinx doulas serving their low income community with respect and culture, helping with prenatal and child development education.

CALIFORNIA

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A non-partisan network of organizations and individuals working to promote sexual health and reproductive rights and justice in the state of Tennessee.

SOUTH

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A California doula collective committed to the liberation of all peoples from cycles of reproductive injustice.

CALIFORNIA

YOUTH LEADership

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A Santa Clara Valley non-profit helping 13-19 year olds to lead and transform their communities.

CALIFORNIA

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An East Palo Alto youth leadership organization led and run at all levels entirely by young people of color, majority low-income, majority women.

CALIFORNIA

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A Bay Area youth collective transforming militarism and other forms of violence through vocational development, artistic expression, and socio-political education.

CALIFORNIA

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A California statewide immigrant youth-led alliance that focuses on youth advocacy and policy delegations to ensure pro-immigrant policies go beyond legalization.

CALIFORNIA

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A Detroit nonprofit helping grassroots activists develop into visionary leaders who can devise proactive strategies for rebuilding our cities and rural communities.

MIDWEST

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A student coalition creating an ecologically sustainable future by holding their campuses, corporations, and governments accountable.

SOUTH

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Provides housing assistance and support services to at-risk youth.

WASHINGTON

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An education leadership development program working on school pushout and discipline, LGBTQ rights, and the struggles faced by undocumented youth.

SOUTH

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An Oakland nonprofit that grew from an after school program, providing spaces where youth can heal, thrive and self-actualize.

CALIFORNIA

frequently asked questions

Who are you and why did you create this guide?

Blue Heart fuels grassroots entities empowering low-income and communities of color. Through art and frontline stories, we inspire action.

 

We don't have the capacity to support and partner with all these kickass grassroots organizations, but we want to bring attention to the stories of these organizations as much as we can! We hope that in creating this guide they will get broader attention, appreciation, and funding.

 

We invite you to support and elevate the local movements that are making our cities more just and livable.

More about who we are and our story of creating Blue Heart.

How do I decide how much to give?

How do I decide how much to give?</