FUND
CHANGE
FROM THE
BOTTOM UP
Blue Heart Giving Guide 2021
Art by Victor Cervantes / Blue Heart Creator Fund

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, gender-marginalized, queer, disabled, 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.

 

This year members of the Blue Heart community have stepped up to commit $30,000 in matching funds. This means for every donation you make to organizations in the guide, your donation will be doubled!

 

 

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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.

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. 

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Art by Renee Castro / Blue Heart Creator Fund

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? Find an organization 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?
     

  • Does your gift need to be tax-deductible? Organizations registered as a 501c or have fiscal sponsorship through a registered nonprofit allow for you to make a gift that is tax-deductible. Some organizations that are doing transformative work may not have this statuswe’ve noted these on the guide with a [*]. If the tax benefit is not critical for you, consider giving it to a non-registered organization. 

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.  

Recommended Grassroots Organizations

Image by William Recinos

Arts & Culture

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Health & Food Justice

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Mass Incarceration

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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

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 $150,000 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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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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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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An organization led by artists of color, making social change feel possible, tangible, and irresistible.

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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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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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

black liberation

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A black-led movement working for racial, social, and economic justice through grassroots community organizing and policy change.

CALIFORNIA

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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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A political power building organization transforming  Black communities into active, interdependent, responsive public partners.

NATIONAL

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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 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

Climate justice

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A California statewide, community-led alliance that works to achieve environmental justice by advancing policy solutions.

CALIFORNIA

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

CALIFORNIA

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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 indigenous-led movement to protect communities and the climate from the Trans Mountain pipeline in British Columbia.

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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An organization of concerned citizens working to build just and equitable communities while addressing the costs of extraction in Appalachia.

SOUTH

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 coalition of labor unions, faith based organizations, and student organizations leading community campaigns around economic and social justice.

SOUTH*

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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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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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An Omaha nonprofit that develops leaders, promotes workers’ rights, and fosters civic engagement to build power with immigrant and underrepresented communities.

MIDWEST

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A network of non-extractive loan funds that make loans to community-based businesses anchored in the most marginalized Southern communities.

SOUTH

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

MIDWEST

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A native-led housing and human services agency fighting houselessness by providing space to nurture and strengthen the spirit of urban Native people.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

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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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An organizing home for Latinx and Chicanx people seeking racial, economic, gender and climate justice.

SOUTH*

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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An organization building edible permaculture gardens, working with five high-schools to develop food justice curricula, and creating green jobs in the food justice movement for people transitioning from prison.

CALIFORNIA

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An urban farm in East Oakland elevating the lives of neighborhood families to create food justice there and beyond.

CALIFORNIA

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A San Francisco community garden project fostering a diverse and inclusive neighborhood.

CALIFORNIA

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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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An organizing home for Latinx and Chicanx people seeking racial, economic, gender and climate justice.

CALIFORNIA

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An all-volunteer, grassroots organization giving emergency medical trainings and materials to Black and brown communities inadequately served by the state.

CALIFORNIA

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An organization working to green Oakland's schools and neighborhoods, focused on the health and sustainability of school communities through increasing access to fresh food.

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 Lakota organization partnering with Native communities to protect sacred lands, safeguard human rights, promote sustainability, and reunite indigenous families.

MIDWEST

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An urban Indigenous women-led land trust based in the Bay Area that facilitates the return of Indigenous land to Indigenous people.

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

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An ambitious project to restore ancestral salmon to the waterways blocked by the Shasta dam in Northern California.

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

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 Long Island nonprofit empowering immigrant communities in New York through legal services, community education, and advocacy.

EAST

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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 social justice, advocacy and capacity building organization serving LGBTQ+ people through community organizing for economic and racial justice.

SOUTH