Gift Guide: Give Back

By November 26, 2019 No Comments

By Nick Eustis
Pittsburgh Current Contributing Writer


While 2019 may be coming to a close, the season of giving has just begun. Many of us have causes close to our hearts, be it LGBTQ rights, saving the planet, or helping kids in need. For those looking to make a donation this holiday season, there are plenty of local charities and organizations that need support to do their important work.




  • Marine Toys for Tots collects new unwrapped toys and distributes them to children in need during the holiday season. Their goal is to “help bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America’s less fortunate children.” For information on how to donate to the Pittsburgh chapter, go to
  • The Sarah Heinz House (SHH) offers over 100 after-school and summer programs for children grades 1 through 12. SHH has been operating since 1901 with the mission to “empower all kids, especially those who need us the most, to laugh, learn, and lead.” To donate, visit


Family crisis relief:


  • Jeremiah’s Place in Larimer works to provide “a safe haven of respite, health, renewal, and support for children when their families are experiencing a critical need for childcare.” Jeremiah’s offers judgment-free, 24/7 short-term childcare for parents in need, for reasons ranging from medical emergencies to job training. To donate, visit
  • Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh provides shelter, support and advocacy for survivors of domestic violence. Last year, they served over 8,000 adults and children through their programs. To donate, visit


Animals & the environment:


  • Animal Friends is a no-kill animal shelter dedicated to ensuring “the well-being of companion animals, while ending overpopulation, abuse and unwarranted euthanasia.” They provide spay/neutering services and animal wellness programs to owners in need, as well as help abandoned animals find forever homes. To donate, visit
  • Grow Pittsburgh works to combat food insecurity and poor nutrition, as well as help the environment, by teaching local communities how to grow their own food. They “envision the day when everyone in our city and region grows and eats fresh, local and healthy food.” To donate, visit


The arts:


  • Artists Image Resource (AIR) in the Northside is an artist-run nonprofit studio, opened in 1996 “to serve as a laboratory for artists, educators and the community.” They provide technology, equipment and workspace for artists interested in printing techniques. They also collaborate with schools to teach the basics of printmaking to youth across Pittsburgh. To donate, visit
  • BOOM Concepts is an artist collective that provides opportunities and studio space for artists in marginalized communities. They host a variety of community events from their home base in Garfield, events that encourage people to use art to benefit their daily lives. They seek to be “a space for field building, knowledge sharing, mentorship, and storytelling.” To donate, visit


Fighting anti-semitism:


  • The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh works to “keep the stories of Holocaust survivors, victims, and rescuers alive for future generations.” To that end, they provide educational training for teachers, organize events, and host exhibitions in their Squirrel Hill space. To donate, visit
  • The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh is a nonprofit providing a number of services from children’s camps to elder care, in addition to serving as the cultural center for the Pittsburgh Jewish community. They were also a critical support resource in the aftermath of the shooting at Tree of Life synagogue. To donate, visit


LGBTQ support:


  • Allies for Health & Wellbeing, formerly the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, is a nonprofit dedicated to creating “a healthier community whereby all individuals access integrated medical care and supportive human services in a respectful setting, free of stigma and discrimination.” They provide STI testing, PrEP & PEP, and medical and behavioral services, as well as emergency resources to those in need. To donate, visit
  • Proud Haven is a Northside-based nonprofit that provides temporary shelter and resources to LGBTQ youth between 18 and 25 who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability. They also partner with other organizations in Pittsburgh to create a larger support network for LGBTQ youth. To donate, visit


Social justice:


  • The ACLU is “a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending and protecting our individual rights and personal freedoms.” The Pennsylvania branch is currently working on cases related to online privacy, victim’s rights, and probation reform. To donate, visit
  • Casa San Jose is a nonprofit that provides social services to Pittsburgh’s Latino community. These services range from child education and ESL classes, to legal and financial support and advocacy for those detained by ICE. They also work to educate immigrants at risk of deportation on their legal rights, and help them get their affairs in order. To donate, visit


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