Ten Charities to Give to This Holiday Season

November 23, 2016

With Thanksgiving and the holidays right around the corner, there’s no better time to reflect on your blessings and donate to a charity you’re passionate about. Charity Navigator, a watchdog group that evaluates American charities, regularly compiles lists of the highest rated non-profits. Here, we’ve listed several of their top charities and separated them into ten categories.

If you’d like to donate to causes in Novato we recommend visiting our charity page to see how you can make a difference in the Novato community.

As always, do your own research before donating to any charity to ensure the money is going both to a respectable organization and to a cause you’re passionate about. The descriptions of each charity below were pulled from their websites.


Animal Legal Defense Fund

Founded in 1979 by attorneys active in shaping the emerging field of animal law, Animal Legal Defense Fund has blazed the trail for stronger enforcement of anti-cruelty laws and more humane treatment of animals in every corner of American life. ALDF files groundbreaking lawsuits to stop animal abuse; provides free legal assistance to prosecutors handling cruelty cases; works to strengthen anti-cruelty statutes; encourages federal enforcement of existing animal protection laws; nurtures the future of animal law; and provides public education.

Arts, Culture, Humanities

Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. We exist because our nation’s children spend more time with media and digital activities than they do with their families or in school, which profoundly impacts their social, emotional, and physical development. As a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, we provide trustworthy information and tools, as well as an independent forum, so that families can have a choice and a voice about the media they consume.

Community Development

Building Goodness Foundation

Founded in 1999, Building Goodness Foundation (BGF) works to build community and improve lives. Their purpose is to bring together volunteers from every part of the construction industry to design and build structures for communities in need. Together with their partners, they use donations of time, money, materials, and expertise to build clinics, schools, community centers, and specialized housing for those who need them most, both in their own community and around the world.


10,000 Degrees

10,000 Degrees is a nationally recognized nonprofit that has been helping underserved students get to and through college at unprecedented rates for over 30 years. All of students are from low-income backgrounds and over 90 percent of them will be the first in their families to attend college. With 18,500 alumni, 10,000 Degrees has provided $56 million in financial aid to students since 1981. Four-year college graduation rates of 10,000 Degrees students are 84%, versus nationwide rates of 54% for all students and 31% for low-income, first generation students.


Acadia Center

Acadia Center is a non-profit, research and advocacy organization committed to advancing the clean energy future. Acadia Center is at the forefront of efforts to build clean, low carbon and consumer friendly economies. Acadia Center provides accurate and reliable information, and offers a real-world and comprehensive approach to problem solving through innovation and collaboration.


Fourth Street Clinic

Founded in 1988, the Fourth Street Clinic is dedicated to providing high-quality primary health care and support services to people currently living without a home. To ensure high-quality care, Fourth Street offers a variety of health care and support services, operates 10 specialty clinics and works with 210 off-site specialists. Health insurance is not required and there are no fees for any services.

Human and Civil Rights

American Civil Liberties Union

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation is the arm of the ACLU that conducts litigation and communication efforts. The Foundation provides legal representation in cases involving issues of civil liberties and constitutional rights ranging from administrative hearings to trials and appeals. The ACLU Foundation preserves and promotes civil rights and liberties as guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

Human Services

4 Paws for Ability

The mission of 4 Paws for Ability is to: enrich the lives of people with disabilities by the training and placement of service dogs to provide individuals with companionship and promote independent living; educate the public to accept the use of service dogs in public places; and assist with animal rescue whenever possible by obtaining many of our animals from shelters and rescue groups.


Happy Hearts Fund

Founded in 2006, Happy Hearts Fund (HHF) rebuilds safe, resilient schools in areas impacted by natural disasters. We work during the gap period when children are forgotten after emergency response is complete, bringing hope and empowerment to generations of children and entire communities.

Research and Public Policy

The American Enterprise Institute

The American Enterprise Institute is a community of scholars and supporters committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise. AEI pursues these unchanging ideals through independent thinking, open debate, reasoned argument, facts, and the highest standards of research and exposition. Without regard for politics or prevailing fashion, we dedicate our work to a more prosperous, safer, and more democratic nation and world. AEI is a private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics, and social welfare.