One of my personal priorities in 2013 has been to whine less, and to give more. A big part of that, has been responding with actionable alternatives to things I’d rather just whine about. For this list, Molly Ditmore provided that little kick in the butt with a Tweet of hers, and for that I thank her. ☺
This list has been compiled to prioritize orgs that serve mostly people of the Bay Area. Specifically, those living far outside the bubble of affluence & media access that (as a techie) I am very much a part of… and if you are reading this, you probably are, too.
I’ve been here for 20 years now, and this lists also reflects my own personal values in selecting organizations I see as being vital to enabling San Fransico’s unique culture to continue to prosper and thrive. People & community though, remain at the center of each.
Does your employer do matching gifts? Each of the below is also certified 501(c)3, so please include them to exhaust that 2013 giving allowance!
URGENT: Homeless Youth Alliance
Christmas Day 2013, HYA was forced to shut it’s doors due to inflating rents and dwindling resources. Organizations that offer runaway and abandoned youth sanctuary & support services are very near and dear to my heart, as my own youth was deeply impacted by abuse at home. Please let’s get this wrong righted.
HYA provides a sanctuary for homeless youth, ages 13-29, who find themselves in Haight Ashbury and Golden Gate Park. Most homeless youth service providers in San Francisco rely on a strict series of rules and top-down imposed goals for their clients. While these goals have helped many homeless youth transition off the streets, there are still many who are unable to fit the rigid set of rules enforced by well-meaning but out-of-touch case workers, most of whom have never been through any of the things they are so readily giving advice about. Learn More
A badass network of shelters and services to assist homeless families from 18 shelter facilities between the Daly City and San Jose. InnVision serves thousands of homeless clients annually through its “Beyond the Bed” services—a proven model that delivers a 90% success rate in returning program graduates to permanent housing and self-sufficiency. Learn More
Art instruction, workshops, supplies, and studio spaces, for the developmentally disabled—young, old, new to art or already on their quest to become career working artists. As Creativity Explored’s visibility in the creative community has increased, their gallery promoting the work of their artists has emerged as an increasingly important contribution to the contemporary art world—and, to a lot of local pride. Learn More
SF Center for Sex and Culture
One of the most uniquely San Francisco institutions, the SFSC was founded by Dr. Carol Queen as a hybrid outreach and archive organization. From their website: We serve a nationally (in fact, globally) significant function, adding to the few accessible resources for sex education available to the public, not just academics or specialists. We have acquired various collections of books, papers, art, erotic material, personal collections from notable people within the sex-positive community, and other media. Learn More
Project Open Hand
Meals with love for seniors and the critically ill, that began in the late-80s as a grass-roots effort to provide support to those living with AIDS. 2,500 nutritious meals and 400 bags of healthy groceries are provided everyday, to help sustain clients as they battle serious illnesses, isolation, or the health challenges of old age. Serving San Francisco and Alameda Counties, engaging more than 125 volunteers.
Founded in the middle of the AIDS epidemic of the 80s, this is one of my favorite local charities that has blossomed to serve new and increasing needs as San Francisco has grown and changed. Learn More
Potrero Hill Neighborhood House (aka NABE)
NABE is a multi-purpose, multi-generational community center that has been in operation for over a century. They offer a “micro-system” of “family privilege” to all members within the community to help children, youth, and seniors, overcome risks from educational deficits, violence, and hunger. Programs include year-round classes & workshops for local youth, substance abuse and anger management counseling, seniors breakfasts, and seasonal block party fundraisers. Learn More
Le Casa De La Madres
Serving the needs of adults and teens living with abuse. Self-defined as an “Empowerment Partner” to those in need. “LCDLM is acting boldly to create a community where violence against women and children is not tolerated. We envision a society in which all individuals and families have equal access to basic resources and asset-building opportunities.” Learn More
San Francisco Suicide Prevention
SF Suicide Prevention pioneered community-based crisis outreach, in the early 1960s. When California cut back it’s funding of mental health services, SF Suicide stepped-up again to increase its ranks to +100 volunteers and 12 FTEs. Especially in our pressure-cooker Tech community, this org provides a vital service. Learn More
The Crucible partners with local Oakland schools and youth groups on public art projects, in addition to hosting workshops that serve organizations, schools, and at-risk youth in West Oakland. They exist as one of the few resources for industrial arts education, that remain open and accessible to all. Yes, I used to teach here so it also holds a special place in my heart. If you’re not sure who to donate to, just go with these folks—their website does them little justice for all the amazing contributions they make to West Oakland & its underserved youth. Learn More
SF Tenants Union
DIE YUPPIE SCUM!!! Wait, hold on now—we all agree that the gentrification sucks, big time. Don’t take it out on the commuters, though! Help address the real problems, the most significant being rental turnover and evictions. The SFTU is a critical resource available to all tenants living in San Francisco, and our #1 ally in keeping SF weird and friendly to all economic classes. They also have the worst website on this entire list, despite probably doing the most to keep San Francisco accessible to all. Learn More
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
No city experienced epidemic levels of HIV faster than San Francisco. Established in 1982, SFAF’s mission is the radical reduction of new infections in San Francisco. In our current era of passive complacence with AIDS being seen as a “treatable disease” and so many young folks having no memory of the 80s crisis, we need to do right by our deceased loved ones by keeping the fight ongoing. Through education, advocacy, and direct services for prevention and care, SFAF continues to confront HIV in communities most vulnerable to the disease. “We refuse to accept that HIV transmission is inevitable.” Learn More
Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center
Founded in 1978 by community members to meet concerns about the effects of rising home prices on low-income residents, BHNC has continued to work to preserve and enhance the ethnic, cultural, and economic diversity of Bernal Heights and surrounding neighborhoods to build a just and equitable community for all. BHNC began working with at-risk teens in 1982. Since the early ‘90s, the core service area has gone beyond Bernal Heights to include the Excelsior, one of SF’s most underserved communities. Learn More
Help A Mother Out
HAMO distributes diapers & basic infant, baby, and toddler care supplies to families in need (primarily in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties) through a network of existing partners across California. 22% of all children under five years old in the U.S. live in poverty and one out of every three families struggle to afford diapers. HaMO has distributed over 1.3 Million diapers, since May 2009! That’s a lotta poopin’! Learn More
Precita Eyes Muralists Association and Center was established in 1977, by Susan and Luis Cervantes and other artists in San Francisco’s Mission District. One of only three community mural centers in the United States, Precita Eyes sponsors and implements ongoing mural projects throughout the Bay Area and internationally. In addition, they serve Mission District children and youth (ages 18mos through 19yrs) by offering four weekly art classes, provide SF Mural Tours for visitors, and offer arts instruction to adults. Learn More
Homeless Pre-Natal Program
In partnership with families, HPNP’s mission is to break the cycle of childhood poverty. By seizing the motivational opportunity created by pregnancy and parenthood, HPNP joins with families to help them recognize their strengths and trust in their capacity to transform their lives. Over 3,500 families are served each year, and HPNP has won the “People’s Choice Non-Profit” award—among many others—in it’s 23yr lifespan. Learn More
Black Rock Arts Foundation
How cool was it to be able to coordinate with friends, by suggesting “Hey, let’s meet-up at the rocketship?”
I miss my City’s rocketship, dammit—and BRAF was who made it’s docking-stay at the Ferry Building, possible. Giving large artworks created for Burning Man 1-3 year residencies in public spaces in San Francisco, BRAF plays a vital role in keeping our unique culture visible to all who visit & live here. Learn More
Bayview Opera House
Constructed in 1888, the Ruth Williams Memorial Theater is more affectionately known as “The Opera House.” The Opera House currently provide arts education and cultural enrichment to San Franciscans on a low or no cost basis. Recent offerings include adult drama, dance and yoga classes, Dare To Dream ARTS after school classes, preschool and parent/toddler classes, and an 8-week long summer arts camp. Learn More
Haight Ashbury Clinic & Walden House
The Haight Ashbury Free Clinic opened its doors in 1967 as the first free medical clinic in the country. It fittingly sparked a revolution of free, community healthcare, substance abuse, and mental health services, across the country—and set the standard by which most are now modeled. Walden House was founded in 1969, also in the Haight, to provide refuge and treatment to homeless youth struggling with addiction. The organizations merged on July 1, 2011, and continue to be the beacon of free access to care for all San Franciscans living without health insurance. Learn More
LYRIC is San Francisco’s youth LGBT “safe house” and community center, providing services of counseling, education enhancement, career training, health promotion, and leadership development. Serving LGBT youth and their families for over 25 years! Learn More
Larkin Street Youth Services
Larkin Street Center provides youth between the ages of 12 and 24 with the help they need to rebuild their lives. Each year, more than 4,000 youth walk through their doors seeking help. They’re given a place where they can feel safe at LS; opportunities to rebuild their sense of self-respect, trust, and hope; learn school, life and job skills; and find the confidence to build a future. Serving San Francisco’s Tenderloin district since 1984. Learn More
SF Women’s Building
The Women’s Building is a women-led, multi-lingual, multi-generation community space that advocates self-determination, gender equality and social justice. It is badass. It is also COVERED with gorgeous murals. Since 1971, San Francisco Women’s Centers have been guided by the belief that all women and girls have the right to safe, joyous and creative lives. In 1979 they purchased the Women’s Building… and the rest, is many generations of girls and women behaving in joyful, fierce, outreach and independence. Learn More
St. James Infirmary
There are many factors which affect the working conditions and experiences for all Sex Workers including the political and economic climate, poverty and homelessness, stigmatization, violence, as well as the overwhelming intricacies of the legal, public and social welfare systems. It is the St. James Infirmary’s mission to provide free, compassionate and nonjudgmental healthcare and social services for sex workers (current or former) of all genders and sexual orientations, while preventing occupational illnesses and injuries through a comprehensive continuum of services. Learn More
Don’t let ClearChannel take over the world. Please. They suck. They are also painfully boring. The Community radio stations that follow, receive little to no organization or government funding, and depend on listener support. Please support one or all, to help keep our airwaves interesting, weird, and wonderful: KPOO, KUSF In Exile (renamed to SF Community Radio), and Radio Valencia.
…and, RIP Pirate Cat Radio.
All text was either written by me, directly copied from organization websites (so, written by somebody else), or a hodjpodge of the two. All images were either taken directly from organization websites, or from org accounts on Flickr, or from individual Flickr users. Correct attribution and permission have been sought on each. This post of my authorship is to serve as a compenduum of content, and credit as credit is due to others, it is my every intention to offer. Please contact me at ninavizz at gmail dot com, if I made any errors you’d like to see corrected. Thanks, and Merry Giving!
P.S.- If you know of a non-profit I didn’t include, but would like to see me send it some love at another time, please let me know! If anyone pays attention, I just might bother folks with another such compenduum, next year….