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
How to use this guide
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.
Share: Most people donate based on personal recommendations. Spread the word, ask your friends and family to #GiveBoldly. Share on socials.
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.
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.
boldly commit and become a blue heart member
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.
arts & culture
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.
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.
An Oakland cooperative supporting the creative needs of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color by providing physical space for community care and collaboration.
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.
A Western New York nonprofit developing grassroots leaders who organize their communities to run and win environmental justice and public health campaigns.
An alliance of New Jersey organizations committed to creating healthy, sustainable communities by eliminating environmental injustices communities of color.
Economic & Housing Justice
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.
A Massachusetts nonprofit building the power low-income communities of color to eradicate environmental racism, and create healthy, sustainable communities.
health & food justice
A worker collaborative improving the health, safety, and rights of the nail and beauty care workforce to make a more sustainable and just industry.
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.
A community-based volunteer organization offering culturally relevant activities for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Native Americans, their families and friends.
Immigrants & Refugees
A leadership development, community organizing, and coalition-building organization creating healthy and thriving communities in Oakland's Asian & Pacific Islander immigrant population.
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.
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.
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.
A Central Valley advocacy organization advancing agricultural and natural resource policy that heals our ecological system and builds political power in rural communities.
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.
A Washington nonprofit fighting to end reproductive oppression for all people - intentionally centering Black women, women of color, and queer and trans people.
A California statewide immigrant youth-led alliance that focuses on youth advocacy and policy delegations to ensure pro-immigrant policies go beyond legalization.
A Detroit nonprofit helping grassroots activists develop into visionary leaders who can devise proactive strategies for rebuilding our cities and rural communities.
frequently asked questions
Who are you and why did you create this guide?
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.
How do I decide how much to give?
If you have a steady job and aren’t living check-to-check, we recommend giving away at least 1% of your annual income. There is a growing community of people who have pledged to give 10% or more. If you want to direct more of your giving towards grassroots movement-building over the long term, get in touch and we can help you develop a more specific giving strategy.
You found an organization you want to support, do you give $100 now or $10 every month for a year? We recommend the latter. Becoming a monthly donor helps small organizations plan their budgets and programs with more stability and foresight. Our experience is that monthly giving also helps us feel more connected to the work and more likely to learn from that relationship.