Local Organizations Worth Donating To

’Tis the season to give—especially after the year we’ve had.

By Malia Alexander

YWCA Seattle King Snohomish works for local women and their families.

These are tumultuous times. See whatever variant we're on to now, and the increasingly polarized political climate (not to mention climate change itself). But there’s one thing that’s stayed steady amid all the chaos: Seattleites’ desire to better our community. Here are some local organizations invested in a more stable future for all.

ACLU of Washington

Washington’s affiliate has recently fought for changes in policing (working with Black Lives Matter Seattle–King County, which also needs sustained support), for the rights of protesters (to speech, to not have chemical weapons turned on them), and for the release of ICE detainees vulnerable to Covid-19. And it’s continued to push conversations and change on myriad fronts: health care, voting rights, facial recognition AI. How to help: join, donate, volunteer

American Muslim Empowerment Network

You’ve probably seen this sign posted in restaurant windows or in Governor Jay Inslee’s Twitter feed. That was thanks to MAPS-AMEN (Muslim Association of Puget Sound American Muslim Empowerment Network). If you sign up for their email list, you’ll get updates every two weeks with different action alerts and other ways to contribute—something especially important during the recent Afghan refugee crisis. How to help: volunteer, donate

Bureau of Fearless Ideas

This pair of writing centers provides free after-school tutoring, in writing and other subjects, along with creative writing instruction, forefronting the idea that learning needn’t be dull. How to help: donate

Common Acre

Food does much more than sustain us—it connects us to the land and to each other. With six different ecology, agriculture, and art programs aimed to restore land in the community, Common Acre keeps Indigenous knowledge of nature at the forefront and builds camaraderie. How to help: volunteer, donate

Creative Justice

By now we’re all well aware of how the criminal justice system disproportionately targets people of color. But did you know just how staggering the problem is among youth? In 2015, 35 Black youth were in secure detention in King County each day, per county data. By 2020 that number dropped to 10, thanks to efforts by community organizers to eliminate youth detention, but disparities remain. Creative Justice aims to address them by giving youth who face nonviolent charges the chance to participate in an art program to decrease or eliminate time spent in detention—restorative, not retributive, justice. How to help: donate

Dress for Success

Seattle might dismiss fashion, but when it comes to interviewing for jobs and thriving in the workplace, clothing can make all the difference. Dress for Success is “much more than a new outfit.” The nonprofit helps lift women out of poverty by providing professional attire that leads to the security of a job. How to help: donate, volunteer

The sandwich game is strong at FareStart.


This Denny Triangle–based nonprofit is working on some of the most pressing problems we have as a city both during Covid and before—homelessness, hunger, poverty—and it’s doing so smartly. FareStart teaches people experiencing homelessness to cook professionally and in doing so delivers millions of meals to those in need. This year, it’s provided 1.7 million emergency meals in the region, and has put nearly 100 students and graduates in jobs since the pandemic began. How to help: donate (either money or other needed items)

Gathering Roots  

This new nonprofit recently purchased 78 acres of land in Auburn to provide marginalized people of color with a space to heal generational trauma. By using the land to grow food for the community, host a handful of different retreats and classes, and, eventually, build a yurt village, this collective hopes to establish a site that brings liberation and joy to Black lives. How to help: donate

Lavender Rights Project

Led by Black trans women and femmes, Lavender Rights advocates for a world that elevates and empowers trans and queer people. The initiative provides legal and other services to help marginalized community members, especially gender-diverse BIPOC, protect their civil rights. The org even has a specialized task force to help stop violence against Black trans people. How to help: donate, volunteer, fundraise

Native Works

Native Works preserves Indigenous culture and offers access to full-time employment by hiring Chief Seattle Club members as apprentices at its Pike Place Market booth, launched in 2017 as a response to the market’s long history of using Indigenous artwork without consent. The nonprofit also recently introduced Sovereignty Farm, a seed-to-table program that provides agricultural and service work opportunities to Native community members and supplies the traditional foods available at Chief Seattle Club. How to help: donate

Northwest Avalanche Center

Playing in the snow is an unserious activity, but the danger of avalanche in our local mountains is very real. The forecasting arm of NWAC, which helps determine where and when an avalanche might occur, is run by the forest service, but its nonprofit wing is funded by private donations and is crucial to the center’s mission of educating Northwest users about tricky snow safety. During a dangerous La Niña year in the mountains, they’ll fund workshops and outreach that keep people safe. How to help: volunteer, donate, become a member

Rebuilding Together Seattle

This nonprofit works with local businesses and volunteers to provide free-of-charge repairs for low-income homeowners. How to help: donate, fundraise, sponsor, volunteer

Seattle Foundation

This philanthropic juggernaut doles out more than $100 million annually to local nonprofits, and its latest fundraising missions couldn’t be more vital. The Fund for Inclusive Recovery and the Covid-19 Response Fund provides resources to organizations that serve locals most affected by the health and economic crisis. How to help: donate

Seattle Homeless Outreach

More than 15,000 people are facing homelessness in King County alone. Seattle Homeless Outreach provides them with crucial resources, like hygiene products, safety gear, and cold-weather clothing made by volunteers. How to help: donate, volunteer, sponsor

Solid Ground

This Wallingford nonprofit’s goal is simple—end poverty. Yet its approach is admirably complex (i.e., not solely monetary). Solid Ground works to secure stable housing, offers transportation, and provides nutritious food (and education for how to prepare it), while fighting problems, like racism, that are at the root of inequity. It’s continued this work this year, taking workshops online and pivoting its Access buses to food delivery as needed. How to help: donate, give wish list items, volunteer

Town Hall Seattle

Its home on First Hill—a historic 1916-era converted church—safeguards Seattle’s past, but inside, Town Hall nurtures the exchange of ideas that guarantees our future. This civic forum means any of us can sit in a wooden pew as The New Yorker’s television critic expands our view of the medium, or witness robust exchanges on anything from Indigenous history to parenting (or musical performances, or a 24-hour live reading of the Mueller report). The building’s relatively modest size and commitment to affordable tickets guarantees a platform for people and ideas who can’t yet pack Benaroya Hall. How to help: donate, become a member


Less than half of youth in foster care graduate from high school. Treehouse’s goal is to raise that number to 90 percent by 2027. How to help: donate, volunteer, advocate

Viets for Afghans welcomes refugees.

Viets for Afghans

After the fall of Saigon, many Vietnamese refugees flocked to Seattle for asylum. Since then, the Vietnamese community here has rallied to help their Afghan peers. This nonprofit organization actively participates in Sponsor Circle for Refugee Children, dedicated to finding Afghan children a home in the states. They are also receiving donations to help pay for a new project which helps refugees apply for humanitarian parole. How to help: donate

Washington National Park Fund

Washington National Park Fund collaborates with park superintendents to lead about 30 to 40 annual projects—trail maintenance, wildlife studies, the removal of invasive species—to preserve our beautiful backyard. How to help: donate

Westside Baby

Parenting in infant presents enough challenges without worry about where your next package of diapers will come from. This nonprofit dispatches millions of diapers (some purchased, many others donated by parents whose kid moved on to the next size) to families in need. Keeping kids in diapers might be Westside Baby’s most visible program, but they also distribute clothing, toys, strollers, and a host of other baby gear that’s wildly essential, if only for a limited stage of a kid’s development. The org works with various agencies around western King County to ensure these goods get put to the most efficient use to keep local children safe, warm, and dry. How to help: drop off one of the org's most-needed items, host a drive, hit up Westside’s Amazon wishlist, donate


The Ravenna-based organization’s name says it all. But caring is just the start. Its programs focus on ending youth homelessness in Seattle through education, employment, and other services. How to help: donate, volunteer, fundraise

Youth Eastside Services

This organization’s community outreach programs help up to 60,000 people a year, while partnerships with Lake Washington and Bellevue school districts that offer on-site counselors as well as other mental health and substance-use support programs for youth. How to help: donate, volunteer

YWCA builds connections.

YWCA Seattle King Snohomish

Dismantling institutions of power and the racist and sexist ideologies they were founded on has been a focal point of the past year and a half. Enter YWCA, which has job-training programs, domestic violence services, and over 900 housing units for women, children, and families to create a space where all women have “equal access to opportunity." How to help: donate, volunteer, fundraise

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