RCL Exclusive

7 Worthy Charities to Consider Supporting This Year

Gift-giving season is over, but people are still in need.

The end of the holiday season often brings with it a feeling of gift-giving accomplishment.

Some people may feel like they were particularly generous with their friends, family or the service employees in their lives, while others pat themselves on the back for donating a bit of their time in their communities. All types of festive giving are noteworthy and of value, but many people seem to forget that there are millions in need across the globe, year-round.

And, no matter which direction you find your heart and wallet being pulled — whether it’s to help send a child to school, fund cancer research, bring comfort to America’s injured veterans, or sponsor an endangered animal — there’s a charity out there for you.

If carrying the holiday spirit with you into the new year — or, perhaps, squeezing in a sizable donation before the end of the fiscal year and, ahem, tax time — sounds like something you’d be interested in, we’ve got a list for you.

Don’t forget, however, that for every honorable charity out there, there is a fundraising scam and low-rated organization set on keeping more of your money than it uses for good. To protect your donation, make sure your gift is tax-exempt through the IRS website, give directly to the group you want to support — not a “representative” who spams your phone — and check the grade the charity received from the BBB Wise Giving Alliance or CharityWatch.

Then, consider supporting these seven worthy charities.

American Humane

One of the top-rated animal welfare charities in the country, American Humane touts itself as the “first to serve wherever animals are in need of rescue, shelter, protection or security.” The non-profit began the “No Animals Were Harmed” initiative in Hollywood and is a consistent presence on the ground when natural disasters strike and animals are in danger.

On top of world-wide conservation efforts, American Human also connects service animals to veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and cares for America’s hard-working military dogs after they return home.

Stand Up To Cancer

The entertainment industry initiative Stand Up To Cancer funds and develops promising new cancer treatments to help those suffering from all types of the disease get access to care now. The organization has dramatically accelerated the rate of new prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options for patients by connecting top scientists with one another who collaborate on innovative ideas.

International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee provides aid for all people trapped in countries affected by crisis and conflict but takes a special interest in uplifting women and children. The IRC’s “Empowering Women and Girls” campaign offers donors an array of causes to choose from, like supporting a healthy pregnancy, newborn baby kits, a year of school in countries like Afghanistan and the Congo, and small business training for women.

The IRC also has a Violence Prevention and Response program, which provides safe spaces exclusive to women where they can receive support services, engage with others and learn about their rights.

 National Park Foundation

“All of us must do our part to protect our national parks,” the foundation‘s site proclaims. Its mission is to support the National Park Service, and through the Foundation, safeguard the U.S. national heritage, ensuring that generations of park enthusiasts can enjoy the country’s natural wonders.

Through the support of private citizens, the foundation is able to lead conservation and preservation efforts while educating the population about the lands and the many species that live within its 84 million acres and more than 400 properties.

National Alliance on Mental Illness

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, dedicated to assisting the millions of Americans with mental illnesses and raising awareness of their struggles. The organization relies on charitable donations to educate the population on the signs of mental health issues and services available to sufferers, advocate on behalf of those with illnesses for better mental health resources in all states and to respond personally to hundreds of thousands of requests each year from those seeking help.

Unbound

Unbound partners with families living in poverty to empower them to become self-sufficient and able to fulfill their hopes and dreams. The charity’s donors are able to sponsor a child, young person or adult to help lift themselves up and out of poverty “through hard work, initiative and hope.”

A monthly contribution helps staff to connect with the sponsored person and provides access to nutrition, health care, education and skills training, improved living conditions and seed capital for a small business or farm. Over time, those on the receiving end become reliant on themselves.

Let Girls Learn

A government initiative created by former First Lady Michelle Obama, Let Girls Learn aims to help young women go to school, obtain an education and build the “confidence to break the cycle of poverty, raise healthier families, and help build their communities.”

The organization provides access to quality education by investing in programs that fund schools, providing safe transportation, offering workforce training and employment opportunities while leading the international fight against child and forced marriage.