Do Good. Feel Good: TakePart's Guide to Giving to Amazing Charities

TakePart is proud to be your home for donations on #GivingTuesday—or any day you want to make a difference.

TakePart News Editor Shaya Tayefe Mohajer is a journalist who has worked in many corners of the world for major news organizations.

Here at TakePart, we believe our readers can change the world, little by little, with every story we write. That's why we'll show you a way to take action—sign a petition, take a pledge, or learn more—at the end of every piece of content we share with you. With your help, we've seen important reforms implemented.

Truth be known, our readers are pretty awesome.

Recently, we launched something new: We're now collecting donations on behalf of charities, to help engage our audience in the issues they care about. That means when you read a story about a natural disaster that has laid bare another corner of the world, you can take part in the relief effort from your home, with your donations. If you worry about hunger, the environment, or the world's endangered wildlife, we've found ways to get your dollars into the hands of charities that will use the money well.  

We'd love to hear from you if you choose to donate on #GivingTuesday—or any day of the week! Be sure to follow TakePart on Instagram, and send us an #unselfie of your kind, unselfish act.

Here are six charities we believe in—and hope you will too.  

Mama Hope

Stop the Pity. Unlock the Potential. That's the motto at Mama Hope, which is casting a new light on Africa and helping us feel more connected to a distant continent. By supporting an outstanding variety of unique, sustainable projects all over Africa, Mama Hope is showing the world that stereotypes of Africa's needs are hurting the effort to let Africans shine. The group founded a health clinic in Isiolo, Kenya, in 2006 to respond not only to the HIV/AIDS epidemic but also to other health issues. It is the only community-run health clinic in 500 miles. 

Mama Hope has also created farming projects, projects to bring potable water to Kenyan villagers, and projects to bring electricity to an orphanage in Ghana.

Yet, one of our favorite things that Mama Hope does is give insight into everyday African lives and bring us closer to that continent.

Our advice: If you're ever having a tough day, check out any of its awesome videos.

Guaranteed joy.

Homeboy Industries

Father Greg Boyle started this Los Angeles–based gang intervention program about 25 years ago, to give job training and support to individuals who had proved prone to violence in the city's poverty-stricken areas. The independent nonprofit targets high-risk, formerly gang-involved men and women for support. Its businesses—which include a café and bakery staffed by ex–gang bangers—have struggled to stay afloat over the years. But the organization has remained on the mission to change the rate of recidivism. About two-thirds of young offenders will be re-arrested within a few years of release if they don't re-acclimate to become functional adults outside prison. Another sobering number: One day in prison costs an average of $79, a cost that grows every year and saps our government coffers of money that could be spent on improving the country.

Homeboy Industries has inspired and created relationships with dozens of antigang organizations around the country, including the Alabama-based Light of the Village. Here's a snippet of a video that captured that kinship:

You can watch the entire Emmy-nominated video on the Los Angeles Times website; it was made by video journalist Katy Newton, who (full disclosure/brag) is a dear friend.

If you're in Los Angeles the Homeboys host a lot of gatherings where you can show your support, such as the Dec. 14 event called "Transformation Stories," a "celebration of kinship, courage, and transformation."

Wholesome Wave

If only there were a way to get poverty-stricken families to use their food stamps for fresh, wholesome produce at farmers markets—and to help them stretch those dollars to buy healthy food to feed every belly in the household. 

Actually, a charity does exactly that. Be sure to check out our earlier reports on this group, as we're openly partial to Wholesome Wave, winner of our Food Inc. Pioneer Award for its work in helping underserved American communities get access to healthier foods.

International Rescue Committee

A favorite quote of Albert Einstein's goes "Imagination is more important than knowledge." It makes sense that the genius founded this group in 1933, and ever since then it has employed the sort of imagination and fortitude that it takes to respond to the unforeseen disasters that strike around the world. In addition to crisis response to major events including Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the IRC has been able to do good in 40 countries and 22 American cities. More than 151,000 women have delivered babies in IRC-supported clinics and hospitals. More than half a million children have been provided schooling. So the IRC is still doing something to help improve knowledge. I'm guessing Einstein would have liked that.

American Rivers

Ever drank a glass of tap water? Sure you have. Think about that as you watch this amazing short video from American Rivers.

The American Nile. The Canyon Maker. Whatever you want to call the anthropomorphized, talking Colorado River in this video, its voices tell us that 36 million people in seven states of the arid Western United States rely on the Colorado River.

That's just one of the major waterways that American Rivers works so hard to protect. By keeping rivers and streams clean, protecting water supplies, and operating river cleanups, American Rivers has been hard at work all over the country—most likely at a waterway near you.

Endangered Species Coalition

Did you really think you'd get through an entire #GivingTuesday article on TakePart without hearing about wildlife? We love wild animals as much as you do. That's why we are known to spend a substantial amount of time watching rare footage of wolf cubs nursing in a wildlife refuge and suggest you do too.

We also suggest you consider giving to the Endangered Species Coalition, a huge network of organizations interested in protecting America's wildlife. From the Pacific walrus to the Florida panther, from the Canada lynx to the Mexican gray wolf, this coalition is working to save America's magnificent and increasingly rare animals. 

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