Looking to give back this holiday season? These 24 local charities, all recommended by the Catalogue for Philanthropy Greater Washington, are helping people and causes most in need.
Immigrants and Refugees
This DC organization offers free legal services to victims of sex trafficking, including sealing their criminal records—which could get in the way of employment and educational opportunities.
Provides free legal help to detained immigrants, who are often seeking asylum but have no access to an attorney.
Links low-income immigrants with employers in Virginia and helps with English and technical skills they may need to find a job.
Serving mostly low-income immigrants, this DC nonprofit provides childhood-development services, such as prenatal and infant classes, as well as English and computer instruction.
Extends legal aid to immigrants in Northern Virginia and conducts presentations to inform them on immigration policy.
This Alexandria organization enrolls nearly 800 low-income immigrant children a year in a ten-week civics course designed to acquaint them with their new country and set them on track for college.
Offering legal services and medical, shelter, and counseling referrals, Tahirih advocates for immigrant girls and women fleeing rape, sex trafficking, and other gender-based violence.
With the goal of restoring the Anacostia River, this nonprofit enlists volunteers in clearing trash, installing rain barrels and “green” roofs, and planting wetland vegetation.
Raises funds to preserve Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park and plans programs to highlight the park’s recreational opportunities.
This advocacy organization, which is devoted to environmentally friendly urban planning, advocates for affordable housing designed with walkability in mind.
Focused on ecological restoration, this DC nonprofit enlists volunteers to maintain its nursery of more than 320 native plant species and hosts discussions in Alexandria on leading an environmentally responsible life.
Seeks to restore the Potomac River—the source of 90 percent of the region’s drinking water—by protecting its banks from further development and advocating for smart-growth policies.
For students at some elementary schools in DC, this organization offers “learning” gardens—vegetable gardens with tools that teach measurement, trees that teach the alphabet, and native plants and insects for hands-on learning.
Offers advice on installing and maintaining solar panels, engages groups of 50 to 100 neighbors in solar co-ops, and advocates for policies of interest to solar-panel owners.
Gives low-income Silver Spring residents necessities such as food and clothing, as well as technology education and job training.
This 60-bed residential shelter in Alexandria provides not just housing but al-so workshops in job skills such as writing a résumé and interviewing.
Helps single mothers in DC returning home after incarceration become self-sufficient, through parenting classes, employment counseling, and medical case management.
Transfers homeless families in Fair-fax from emergency shelters to stable housing, providing them with furniture, food, and assistance in securing transportation, education, and medical care.
This drop-in center offers psychiatric and medical care to homeless people in Georgetown suffering from substance abuse or other mental or physical illnesses.
A nonprofit in Columbia Heights providing the area’s homeless with hot meals, laundry facilities, showers, toiletries, clothing, and computer access, along with substance-abuse counseling and therapy programs in music, art, and gardening.
This Bethesda nonprofit creates classroom, afterschool, and e-learning curricula to help young people distinguish fact from fiction while analyzing text, photos, and videos.
Seeking to revitalize poetry as an agent of social change, Split This Rock hosts workshops, contests, and a biennial festival highlighting poetry that speaks out against injustice.
Engages Fairfax County children and teens in planning fundraising events to benefit child-focused nonprofits, teaching them marketing and budgeting skills as well as the value of philanthropy.
Brings playwriting workshops to District public schools and runs a social-justice program on “rapid response” playwriting, allowing students to draft plays on issues such as police brutality, racism, and LGBTQ rights.
For more information on these and other charities—and to donate or volunteer—visit the Catalogue for Philanthropy Greater Washington.
This article appears in the December 2017 issue of Washingtonian.