FUND
CHANGE
FROM THE
BOTTOM UP
Blue Heart Giving Guide 2020
Photo by Melany Rochester on Unsplash

During the end-of-year giving season, the non-profits that get the most donations are those that have big PR budgets to shout their message from the rooftops (and in your inbox).

 

But there are many organizations that have less visibility, yet are doing transformational work to help black, brown, female, queer, trans, and low-income people survive and thrive.

 

Each year, Blue Heart releases our Grassroots Giving Guide to elevate the work of the under-funded organizations who are boldly building the power of marginalized communities across the United States.

We invite you to support these visionary organizations who are creating change

from the bottom up.

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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 identify and partner with grassroots, community-led organizations who are building the political power of low-income communities and communities of color across the United States (with a heavy hat tip in the Bay Area).

 

BUT, there are far more incredible organizations than we at Blue Heart can fund in any one year. SO, we create an annual giving guide to help these visionary movement-builders get the recognition they deserve. All are making a difference, though might not have 501c3 status. 

 

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) how relatively under-resourced they are. 

 

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 to harmful economic and political systems.

Read more about our selection process

Funding social change isn't 'silver bullet philanthropy'. Rather, it requires investing in diverse strategies and a long-term vision. Trusted leaders have personally vouched for the creativity, passion, and efficacy of each of these organizations. By donating to them, you will be able to do the same.

If you know of or work with an organization that you think should considered, please tell us about them

How to Use This Guide

  1. Recognize you’ve started, even though it is overwhelming!

  2. Acknowledge all the work these orgs are doing is interconnected-- so, no need to agonize over what issue or organization to invest in.

  3. Choose 3 or 5 organizations to give to!

  4. Follow them on social media (IG and Facebook are best), and revisit their updates quarterly. 

  5. Deepen your relationship to each organization and with time your own personal giving ethic will evolve!

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

  • Do you want to support organizations working near where you live? Use the icons next to the organizations to identify the organizations working in your region (CA, Midwest, South, East, Puerto Rico). 

  • Do you want to focus your giving on a specific issue? Below you will find 10 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
     

  • How can a reparations lens help shape your approach to giving? Specifically, who are the Indigenous peoples who lived/live on the land you now inhabit? How do you benefit from an economy built on the stolen labor of Black people (slavery), the land of Indigenous peoples, and the extraction of resources from the Global South? How might you move money to make amends for people’s erasure, exploitation, or native communities’ dispossession from this land?

Decision biases to be aware of:

  • The "design bias": When evaluating organizations to give to, donors (especially urban millennial donors) tend to preference organizations that have a slick, well-designed website. In our experience, an organization's web presence is not reflective of its efficacy on the ground - just that it's prioritizing other things or doesn't have the resources to maintain an online presence. Some rural organizations don't even have websites because their constituents don't often use computers. We encourage you to be aware of this bias when you are comparing organizations in this guide.  

More questions? Check out our FAQs section

Recommended Grassroots Organizations 

California             Pacific North West          South             Midwest              East              Puerto Rico 

CA

 P

 S

 M

 E

PR

LGBTQ+
Mass Incarceration

CA

CA

CA

CA

 S

 S

 S

CA

CA

SF

CA

CA

CA

CA

CA

Women
Climate Action &
Environmental Justice

CA

CA

CA

CA

 E

CA

CA

CA

CA

 E

 S

 S

PR

 P

 P

 M

EB

X

Youth Leadership
Black Liberation

 S

CA

CA

CA

CA

CA

 M

CA

CA

CA

CA

CA

 S

 S

Arts & Culture
Health & Food Justice

 S

CA

CA

CA

CA

CA

PR

CA

CA

CA

CA

CA

 S

CA

CA

 P

Economic & Housing Justice
Rural Organizing

CA

CA

CA

 M

 M

 S

 S

 S

CA

 M

CA

CA

CA

CA

 S

 S

 S

Indigenous Self-determination
Immigrants & Refugees

CA

CA

CA

 M

 M

 M

 S

CA

 P

 P

CA

CA

 E

 M

CA

 E

CA

CA

 S

 P

*Some of these small organizations do not have a budget or expertise for a slick website. If you are interested in funding some of these smaller community groups, please contact us to set up a donation.  

 
 
Want to support grassroots power-building all year long?
Join Blue Heart!

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 $150,000 to under-the-radar changemakers, artists, and visionaries.

 

Join us for 2021.