It’s easy to feel the spirit of giving during the holiday season, but why not continue that generosity into the new year. 2020 was difficult for so many of our fellow Austinites in so many ways. And after the week we just had 2021 is off to a bumpy start as well. Non-profits and charities need our support now more than ever!
If you want to start the new year off on a philanthropic note, here are 50 charities in the Austin community that could really use our help in 2021.
- The Homeless Population: When driving around our city, it’s hard to miss the vast amount of tent cities that have arisen in recent years. Regardless of how you feel about the politics surrounding this issue, these are fellow human beings who need assistance. They are particularly vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic due to their living conditions and lack of access to healthcare. These are a few of the organizations dedicated to feeding, housing and rehabilitating our neighbors living on the streets.
2. Foster Children: Since the pandemic, foster children have faced some heartbreaking challenges. Visitations with their families have been halted and family courts have been shut down. Also, fewer families are willing to take in foster children for fears over spreading COVID-19 and/or financial concerns. Here are some local organizations helping these children.
3. Black Lives Matter: The BLM movement took center stage in 2020, peaking on June 6 when half a million people turned out to protest in 550 locations across our nation. If your heart calls you to work to end white supremacy and violence toward Austin’s black community, here are some local organizations working toward these causes. Also here is a link to a list of local, black-owned businesses you can support .
- Black Lives Matter Austin
- Austin Justice Coalition
- ACLU Texas
- Black Pflugerville
- NAACP Austin Branch
- Texas Civil Rights Project
4. People with Disabilities: Due to the lockdowns over the last year, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have been at a higher risk of isolation. They may have lost access to caregivers, service providers and therapies. Some of them are at higher risk of infection or severe illness due to underlying medical conditions. Here are organizations devoted to improving the lives of persons with disabilities in Austin.
- ARC Austin
- Friends of Austin State Supported Living Center
- Easterseals Central Texas
- Best Buddies
5. The Environment: It seems like the pandemic has had both positive and negative impacts on the environment. The lockdowns in many places have improved air quality and lowered greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, negative consequences have also occurred, such as the increased reliance on single-use plastics. Still, any proud Austinite wants to keep our city beautiful and clean. To help the environment on a micro-level, consider volunteering with these organizations:
- Keep Austin Beautiful
- Hill Country Conservancy
- Austin Parks Foundation
- Colorado River Alliance
- Ecology Action
- Texas Campaign for the Environment
6. Victims of Abuse: The pandemic has had such a profound effect on victims of abuse that the New England Journal of Medicine published an article on the subject. When shelter-in-place orders were instated, victims were trapped with their abusers. Domestic-violence hotlines actually saw a decrease in demand for their services because victims were unable to safely contact them. You can volunteer with the following groups to help victims of abuse:
7. LGBTQiA+: Research compiled by the Human Rights Campaign concludes that “LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the general population to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid medical leave, and basic necessities during the pandemic.” There is also an overarching need to generate acceptance and rights for our LGBTQ neighbors. If this cause speaks to you, here are some organizations that need support.
8. Seniors: Another group that has been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus are those aged 65 and older. Tasks as simple as going to the grocery store are inherently riskier for this population. Below are some programs that you can participate in if you feel called to help seniors in 2021.
- AGE of Central Texas
- Drive a Senior Central Texas
- Drive a Senior West
- Meals on Wheels Central Texas
- Family Eldercare
9. Blood Banks: According to the FDA, a patient needs a blood donation every two seconds. Blood donations have decreased due to the social distancing parameters put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Your blood donations are needed now more than ever. Additionally, if you have recovered from COVID-19, your donated blood could be a part of the cure. Doctors are starting to use plasma from patients who have fully recovered from COVID-19 to administer convalescent plasma transfusions to current coronavirus patients. Here are local places to donate blood:
- The American Red Cross Central and South Texas Region
- Bio Life Plasma Services
- BPL Plasma
- We are Blood
10. The Latinx Population: The Latinx community has been hit excessively hard by the coronavirus pandemic, accounting for half of the COVID-19 deaths in Austin. The following organizations are helping the Latinx community in various ways during this health crisis:
- Latino Healthcare Forum
- El Buen Samaritano
- Austin Latino Coalition
- Go Austin/Vamos Austin
- PODER Austin
All of these causes need our community’s help even in the best of times. This post only includes a few of the thousands of ways to give back to the Austin community. What are some causes and organizations that you donate your time and resources to?