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FUND
CHANGE
FROM THE
BOTTOM UP
Blue Heart Giving Guide 2022
Art by Celeste Byers / Amplifer Art

 

Welcome to Blue Heart’s Grassroots Giving Guide! We elevate the work of the under-funded, grassroots organizations who are boldly building the power across the United States.
 

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 into your inbox).
 
Yet there are many organizations that have less visibility, and are doing transformational work to help Black, brown, gender-marginalized, queer, disabled, and low-income people survive and thrive.

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 over $25,000 in matching funds. This means for every donation you make to organizations in the guide, your donation will be doubled!

We will match collective donations up to $500 total to any single organization. Any leftover matching funds will be distributed across all the organizations in the Guide. Our aim is to motivate donations to these groups, while ensuring that all groups, regardless of their website presence or popularity, receive some support.

 

 

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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 help people learn about and donate to grassroots, community-led organizations who are building the political power of low-income communities and communities of color across the United States (to join our community, sign up here). We also create an annual giving guide to help these visionary movement-builders get 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. Many grassroots organizations are international in scope and represent millions of people. We have come to understand that movement building is nonlinear and requires healthy movement ecosystems. Small, community-based organizations that fly under the radar of traditional philanthropy are often those first to creatively meet the material needs of impacted communities or most nimbly responding to local advocacy opportunities. Those organizations are in this 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. Recognize you’ve started, even though it is overwhelming!

  2. Watch out for perfectionism. Acknowledge all the work these orgs are doing is interconnected. So, no need to agonize over what issue or organization to invest in.

  3. Try starting with 3 or 5 organizations to give to.

  4. Report your donation to Blue Heart to get it matched.

  5. Follow them on social media if they have it (IG and Facebook are best), and revisit their updates quarterly. 

  6. Deepen your relationship with 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 and/or in places that receive the fewest philanthropic dollars? Use the icons next to the organizations to identify the organizations working in your region (West, Midwest, South, East, Puerto Rico).

  • Do you want to focus your giving on a specific issue? Below you will find 12 different issue-specific portfolios. Click on the portfolios to see the list of organizations in each category. 

 

  • 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 501C3 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 to a non-registered organization. 
     

  • Having a tough time deciding on a set of organizations to donate to? You can donate to our Giving Guide here. Your contribution will be added to our matching funds which are used to match donations submitted through the Giving Guide.

Decision biases to be aware of:

  • The "design bias": When evaluating organizations to give to, donors (especially urban millennial donors) tend to prefer 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

Issue-Specific

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.

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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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An Oakland workspace bringing together makers, craftspeople, entrepreneurs, and programmers around project-based education.

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

NATIONAL

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An emerging organization committed to the intergenerational healing and flourishing of the Black descendant community in the Louisiana river parishes.

SOUTH

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

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 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 grassroots organization working to defuel the US Navy's Red Hill storage facility and protect O‘ahu's aquifer.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

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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

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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

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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

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

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

EAST

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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 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 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

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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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 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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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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An Oakland nonprofit addressing community health issues that arise from structural and systemic poverty, racism, and inequality.

CALIFORNIA

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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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A nonprofit working for Native women’s full representation, participation, and leadership in tribal, local, state, and national affairs.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

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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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An immigrant youth-led resistance fighting for climate justice, dignity, and the power of creative expression.

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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An international movement organization working to end the prison industrial complex by challenging the belief that caging people makes us safe.

NATIONAL

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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 Oakland-based youth organizing program with political education, artivism, and trauma-healing work at their center.

CALIFORNIA

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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

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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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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 youth collective developing multiracial youth leaders and pushing school community allies to promote positive school change and address inequities.

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

frequently asked questions

Who are you and why did you create this guide?

Blue Heart funds grassroots organizations building the political power of low-income communities and communities of color, and mobilizes people (primarily millennial professionals) through visionary art and personal stories from frontline movement builders. 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 beyond what we can provide through Blue Heart. We invite you to support and elevate the local movements that are making our cities more just and liveable.

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?

Overall guidance: Don't let the good be the enemy of the perfect! You are not a bad person if you gave to a LGBTQ+ organization and not a racial justice organization. These divisions can be pretty arbitrary anyway - all this work is interconnected! We selected this set of organizations to make it easier for you to give to organizations doing powerful work. Choose a few, give to them, follow their updates over the next year, and then revisit. Through giving, you develop relationships and evolve your own personal giving ethic.

Here are some questions that might be useful to help you choose a few organizations:

  • Do you want to give directly to organizations working near where you live? Use the icons next to the organizations to focus on the ones working near you. 

  • Do you want to give based on the organization’s issue focus? If you are more interested in a specific issue, we