You Are What You Give: A List of Charities Worth Supporting

In case you need some inspiration about which charities to which you should direct your year-end donations, these are the ones I support:


I read about this charity from goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s magazine. They are simultaneously tackling obesity and hunger by offering “grocery scholarships,” cooking classes and support groups so that families can learn about nutrition and cooking and be able to support themselves – and each other – through cooking. I’m such a cooking at home enthusiast, this really spoke to my heart. I visited their graduation ceremony and it was really moving.

DC Books to Prisons

A DC-based charity that speaks to my compassion for the imprisoned and my love of reading. They receive letters from all over the country requesting books to read. This is the most bare bones charity I’ve ever seen. The books, the storage, and the packing materials are all donated and volunteers read the requests and pick the books. I’ve been to one of their volunteer events and they’re even stingy about how much tape they use! All your money goes to postage. Give people a second chance and the chance to better their circumstances. PLUS I love their newsletter. The thank you notes really get me teary eyed.

Modest Needs

I’ve been supporting this charity for years. It helps people who are a financial emergency away from poverty by directing funds to help pay for the potentially devastating emergency – which can run the gamut from cancer to leaving an abusive home situation to delayed paychecks. PLUS, you get to pick the person you want to support and you often get a lovely thank you letter.

Polaris Project

Human trafficking is that one cause (besides prison reform) that just makes me spend all my money to fight it. The founders came to my college when they were just starting out and I was really impressed.

Sixth and I

Ok so my charities are a little DC-centric. I love this place. It’s a synagogue that puts on the most amazing book talks and events. I’ve seen Esther Perel, Atul Gawande, Joshua Radin, Tim Ferriss and Amy Tan just in the past 6 months. It makes me a little sad I’m not Jewish.


This is a charity that I volunteer with that is trying to change how society interacts and supports families who’ve lost a child. It’s a pretty random choice for me, having never had a child, but the founder is pretty inspirational.

Other ideas: your library (the link is to my local library, where I’m a lifetime member), your church (my church, which does so much to help the community), your local homelessness help organization, your local PBS station (because they are the ones that run the Great British Bakeoff!), NPR.

I think giving is so important, not only to make the world a better place, but also to show appreciation for all that the world has given us and to get us out of our own bubble and to build empathy. I have a relationship to most of the charities I support and it keeps me grounded.

What are your favorite charities?

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