Nonprofit Organizations to Donate to This Holiday Season

'Tis the season to be jolly! This holiday season families and friends come together to embrace each other over a feast, warm laughter and will give and receive valueless gifts, as part of most holiday traditions. While some are carving turkeys or unraveling the bows from their presents, others are hard at work donating their time and efforts to local nonprofits during this holiday season. Encourage your friends and family to think outside the gift box and start a new tradition of giving or donating directly to the organizations that support so many people in the community year-round! Explore 12 nonprofits in metro Detroit that could use an array of offerings this time of year (and beyond).


  • Address: 290 W. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale
  • Phone: 248-398-7105

Give to become an ally. Affirmations provides a welcoming space for the LGBTQ community where each person can learn, socialize and have fun, in addition to finding support and acceptance.

"Monetary donations are the most flexible because we can allocate it where ever we need it. It helps us with our counseling services and HIV testing, recreational services like our Cross the Line XTL Youth Workforce Development Program, Cross the Line XTL Youth Leadership Development Program and our (Carl Rippberger) Youth Drop-in Center. The Youth Drop-in Center is open Friday and Saturday evenings. We could use snacks, scarves, hats and gloves for the winter, any games for our game systems, more board games, and new pool cues for our pool table." – Charlotte Myers, Director of Development

American Red Cross (Southeastern Michigan Region Chapter)

  • Address: 100 Mack Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-833-4440

Give to provide peace of mind. The ARC shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters. This organization supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood, teaches skills that save lives, provides international humanitarian aid and supports military members and their families suffering from local to global disasters.

"If you have skills you'd like to share – from social media, writing and video/photo talent, to an interest in helping with disaster relief and assisting the elderly and infirmed – the Red Cross welcomes your involvement. There's also always an ongoing and very real need for blood donations and contributions of financial support as well. However, if you've ever wanted to be on the front lines of "giving back" to your community, the Red Cross is here in Detroit to welcome you aboard." – Perry Rech, Director of Communications


Blessing in a Backpack

  • Address: 1120 E. Long Lake Road, Troy
  • Phone: 248-528-1060

Give to feed hungry children. BIB feeds local school children who are currently fed during the week on the federally funded Free and Reduced Meal Program and may be at risk of going hungry on the weekends by sending them home with a backpack full of nutritional foods that they return every Monday.

"Our greatest need is monetary. We're able to purchase food for the backpacks from Meijer because we give food to the children every weekend during the school year. The backpacks are given to [children in need] in the beginning of school. We send the backpacks home with the children on Fridays, then we refill them the following week." – Cheryl Whitton, Advisory Board Chairwoman

Cass Community Social Services

  • Address: 11850 Woodrow Wilson St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-883-2277

Give to aid to the destitute. CCSS helps the community by providing assistance in four main areas: food, health, housing and jobs by equipping individuals with the basic needs such as affordable housing, promoting self-reliance and encourages community involvement and improvement.

"We need food, warm blankets, gift cards and money donated to cover expenses for our warming center, open to women and children. It will also help pay for transitional and permanent supported housing." – The Rev. Faith Fowler, Executive Director

Detroit Area Agency on Aging

  • Address: 1333 Brewery Park, Suite 200, Detroit
  • Phone: 313-446-4444

Give to uplift the elders of the community. The DAAA encourages healthy aging and enhances the quality of life for older adults through community access programs, wellness services, healthy aging and nutrition services. Group feeds 6,000 homebound and disabled adults daily through the Detroit Meals on Wheels program.

"One of the main things we need is volunteers. People to drive the trucks, to deliver the food and to work on the assembly line to help pack food. We deliver about 7,000 meals each on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. We get help from the Ford Motor Co. and DTE, but volunteers are always needed. We serve turkey, potatoes, green beans and cranberry sauce. High school students looking for community service credits should apply on our website, church groups, sororities and fraternities too." – Pam Perry, Marketing Communications Manager

Detroit Institute for Children

  • Address: 5447 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-832-1100

Give to assist children with special needs. The DIC provides specialized diagnostic and rehabilitative care for special needs children and provides resources to their families.   

"We need funds to purchase appropriate testing material to be able to test for autism, learning disabilities, speech problems and physical disabilities. Our staff works in the schools, directly with children who attend public and charter schools. This also includes head start and early intervention programs." – Marge LaRuffa, Chief Executive Director

Families Against Narcotics

  • Address: 635 Harrison St., Kalamazoo
  • Phone: 586-438-8500

Give to raise awareness about drug use. Families Against Narcotics raises awareness through educating about the use of opiates, heroin and other drugs. This organization educates and gives resources to families on how to deal with drug use in their family.

"We are planning a very large media campaign for the end of the year that'll include billboards, radio and TV advertising to get the word out to the general public about painkillers being like heroin. The message is to take sparingly, don't share, lock securely and dispose properly; so money is our biggest need because we are totally funded by donations and 95 percent of our money goes back into the community for education." – Judge Linda Davis, President

Gleaners Community Food Bank

  • Address: 2131 Beaufait St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-923-3535

Give to nurture the hungry. Gleaners Community Food Bank has been a leader in the metropolitan area in fighting against hunger for over 38 years, teaming up with partnering soup kitchens and shelters in five counties across Michigan, providing high quality nutritious food those who need it the most.

"Gleaners is most in need of donations to help us feed hungry people over the holidays. For every dollar donated, Gleaners can provide food for three nutritious meals. Donations can be made online. We will also accept donations of food, which can be dropped off at any one of our five locations in southeast Michigan. You can find the Gleaners distribution center closest to you online as well." – Anne Schenk, Vice President of Communications

Life Remodeled

  • Address: P.O. Box 28508, Detroit
  • Phone: 313-744-3052

Give to remodel neighborhoods and lives. Life Remodeled works on removing blight, creating safer neighborhoods by remodeling a Detroit school each summer to help create academic and athletic improvements and to restore the school as a source of pride within the community.

"We need your financial support this holiday more than ever. Everything that Life Remodeled and our partners have done together in the past has led to our most exciting and highest-impact project yet, in Detroit's Denby (high school) neighborhood. Beyond remodeling physical structures and spaces, our main emphasis in 2016 will be: Changing perceptions and forging bonds between Detroit and suburban youth by engaging them in a collaborative revitalization effort in Denby." – Chris Lambert, Founder & CEO

Michigan Animal Rescue League

  • Address: 790 Featherstone St., Pontiac
  • Phone: 248-335-9290

Give to rescue local animals. Michigan Animal Rescue League is an animal shelter serving the community since 1953. Offers adoptions of cats and dogs; they believe that "every animal that comes through the door should be given unconditional love through physical care, socialization and the day-to-day joys that an animal would receive in a home," according to the group's philosophy.  

"Donations made to the Michigan Animal Rescue League are hard at work every day providing rescue, medical care, short and long-term sanctuary and adoption solutions to the dogs and cats right here in our community that are in desperate need of a second chance. In addition to monetary donations, MARL is always in need of laundry detergent, bleach and paper towel." – Magee Humes, Executive Director

Minority Males for Higher Education

  • Address: 3350 Grand River Ave, Suite 320, Farmington Hills
  • Phone: 248-387-9565

Give to educate the youth. MMHE provides motivation, mentoring, tutoring and college exposure by introducing young African American males to opportunities that decrease high school dropouts, increase college enrollment and retention.

"In addition to money for us to do recreational activities and have more educational opportunities, we need more men mentors. Also, we would like for people to donate gift cards and tickets to sporting events so that the children can get a chance to experience different things in the community." – Edmund P. Lewis Jr., Founder & Executive Director

Wigs 4 Kids

  • Address: 30126 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores
  • Phone: 586-772-6656

Give to help kids gain self-confidence. Wigs 4 Kids provides hair replacement systems and support for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other medical issues at no cost to children or their families.

"Gas cards for the families of the kids are most needed, so they can get back and forth from treatments at the hospitals. We have a great relationship with Toys "R" Us that gives us toys for the holidays and we have a constant flow of hair coming from Iraq, India and all over the world. It takes about $800 dollars to make hair into a wig, but what's most needed during the holidays is gas cards or even fast food gift cards, so the families are able to grab a quick bite to eat." – Maggie Varney, Founder & CEO 

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