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16 Best Charities To Donate To, As Recommended by Philanthropist Parents

Now that you’ve got your kid primed to be the world’s next great philanthropist, you might be looking for inspiring causes your family can get behind together. Fortunately, along with you, some of the most influential people in business, the arts, government, and entertainment are friends of the program around here, and they’ve got some suggestions. Below, read about leading parents on the charities, organizations, and nonprofits their families support and why you should consider them, plus a few from the fine folks at Johnson & Johnson who’ve budgeted about a million dollars for matching donations this giving season.

RELATED: Children’s Charities You Can Trust With Your Money

If you still can’t decide which of the best charities to donate to after reading through the list, that’s okay. Just commit to doing something, even as simple as spending a few hours at a local homeless shelter this weekend. Remember, it’s not about the transaction but the meaning of the experience — your kid will be ready to donate their ice cream money in due time.

The Adventure Project

Scott Harrison -- best charities to donate to
Aside from his own company’s incredible work, charity: water founder Scott Harrison supports The Adventure Project charity, which empowers entrepreneurs in the developing world and was started by a charity: water alum (naturally).

A $100 Donation Provides: Multiple jobs impacting more than 1,000 people living in poverty. Donate here.

Beyond 12

Shonda Rhimes -- best charities to donate to
Says legendary television producer Shonda Rhimes, “I love supporting Beyond 12. This charity is so important to me as I believe we need to increase the number of first-generation college students who succeed in higher education.”

A $100 Donation Provides: Funding for personalized coaching and tracking that helps under-represented students access college programs and succeed in higher education. Donate here.


Ben Harper Fatherly -- best charities to donate to
Musician Ben Harper volunteers with his son for LIFT in Los Angeles but there’s likely a chapter in your area. The charity helps empower families to break the cycle of poverty. “I was raised by a single mom so I am passionate about making sure all parents have the chance to realize their dreams for their families.”

A $100 Donation Provides: Sponsorship for a LIFT volunteer advocate for an entire year. Donate here.

Team For Kids

Meb Keflezghi -- best charities to donate to
In addition to building his own foundation, champion marathoner Meb Keflezighi is an ambassador for Team For Kids, a charity supporting youth fitness programs. Fitting for a guy whose Olympic talent was discovered in middle school phys-ed.

A $100 Donation Provides: Training for teachers and coaches, program and practice supplies, and student incentives. And, presumably, water and orange wedges. Donate here.

International Rescue Committee

Oliver Jeffers -- best charities to donate to
Best-selling children’s author Oliver Jeffers suggests the International Rescue Committee, a charity which provides humanitarian aid and programs for people affected by conflict internationally.

A $100 Donation Provides: A year of clean water for 3 people, 2 temporary shelters for 8 families, a year of school for 2 girls, or a whole bunch of other incredible gifts. Donate here.

Martha’s Table

Guy Raz -- best charities to donate to
NPR Host Guy Raz gives to Martha’s Table, A DC-based organization providing free childhood education, access to fresh, healthy food, and emergency support services (food, clothing, blankets) for the most vulnerable in the community.

A $100 Donation Provides: Ten bags of groceries for families in need, and you don’t even have to haul them all inside in one trip. Donate here.

Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts

Vernon Davis -- best charities to donate to
NFL tight end Vernon Davis launched his Vernon Davis Foundation For The Arts charity to advocate for art appreciation and education and inspire disadvantaged youth to grow through involvement in the arts, which he says were a coping method for him growing up in Washington, D.C.

A $100 Donation Provides:  Training, mentoring, art supplies, and rewards that make monthly events and annual scholarships possible. Donate here.

Environmental Working Group

Harvey Karp -- best charities to donate to
Sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp supports Environmental Working Group’s mission to check chemical industry interests against child safety laws. “They even have an easy app that checks, in one second, if a personal care product for your child has chemicals you really don’t want to rub into that sweet, soft skin.”

A $100 Donation Provides: Funds for more research and resources to keep the EWG’s databases up to date. Or do you not want to know which sunscreen is bunk? Donate here.

Bob Woodruff Foundation

Jim Gaffigan -- best charities to donate to
When not teaching you everything you know about parenting, comedian Jim Gaffigan donates to and supports the Bob Woodruff Foundation, a charity which helps veterans and their families, Stand Up for Gus, which helps kids dealing with parental alienation, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which helps defeat childhood cancer (hopefully forever).

A $100 Donation Provides: Depends which one you choose, but no matter what it helps a very worthy, family-friendly cause. Donate here, here, here.

U.R.G.E. Foundation

Ziggy Marley -- best charities to donate to
Reggae musician and father of 6 Ziggy Marley started the U.R.G.E Foundation (and largely self-funds it through proceeds from concert tickets and other projects), a charity which supports education, health, and the environment to improve children’s lives in Jamaica, Africa, and around the world.

A $100 Donation Provides: Funding for a bunch of initiatives, currently an organic garden for the tiny green thumbs in waiting at a school in the Jamaican countryside. Donate here.

City Year

Jeff Raider -- best charities to donate to
Jeff Raider, who co-founded Warby Parker and Harry’s, has partnered with City Year. ”I am inspired by helping their AmeriCorps members (age 18-25) learn and grow by being mentors and role models to young people in their communities.”

A $100 Donation Provides: Support for a project of your choosing in more than 20 US cities or abroad. Sorry, but joining the Corps is strictly for young adults. Donate here.

Habitat for Humanity

Sam C -- best charities to donate to
Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery, helps Habitat For Humanity build homes for hardworking families, and brings his wife, kids, and their grandparents, too. “Giving back to the community where you live and work is a great lesson for our kids as they participate alongside us.”

A $100 Donation Provides: Resources for one of Habitat’s famous home builds, which you really should participate in, too. Then toast yourself to a good deed done with a crisp 90-Minute. Donate here.

Tipping Point

Ronnie Lott -- best charities to donate to
NFL Hall Of Fame safety Ronnie Lott suggests Tipping Point, a charity which screens non-profits to find, fund, and partner with groups to educate, employ, house, and support the one in 5 Bay Area residents who lives in poverty. He says, “Service is how we get soul in our lives!” Really? Not sacking quarterbacks? Fair enough.

A $100 Donation Provides: A year’s worth of leadership training for a new teacher. Donate here.


Neil Blumenthal -- best charities to donate to
Neil Blumenthal, co-founder of Warby Parker, recommends the VisionSpring charity. “Glasses are one of the most effective poverty alleviation tools available and VisionSpring has developed a sustainable approach to distributing glasses to millions of people in need.”

A $100 Donation Provides: Spectacles! Because seeing is believing and you better believe nerds are finally cool. Donate here.


Henry Timms -- best charities to donate to
Henry Timms will be giving to a range of causes this Giving Tuesday including 92Y, where he’s Executive Director, Cathedral Of St. John The Divine, and Donorschoose. “We’re going to ask the kids (5 and 3) what they think our family should get behind, so I suspect dinosaur charities are in for a good season.”

A $100 Donation Provides: Support for 92Y’s and the Cathedral’s many community programs or a worthy education project of your choosing. Dude’s giving you options. Donate here, herehere.

Power Of Giving

Ryan Nece -- best charities to donate to
Next Play Capital managing director Ryan Nece’s foundation feeds 1500 people in one day at their Power Of Giving Thanksgiving celebration and teaches students the importance of philanthropy through programs and charitable events throughout the year.

A $100 Donation Provides: Mentorship for future leaders. Turkey. Donate here.

About Our Partners

Johnson & Johnson recognizes the impact that future generations can have as global citizens helping children and families around the world, which is why they created Donate A Photo and support the other charities below.

Save The Children — Gifts of Joy
Johnson & Johnson is matching all donations up to $450,000, which can fund gifts ranging from food to shelter to education to emergency relief and beyond starting at just $1.

A $100 Donation Provides: Sheep, goats, rabbits, soccer balls, blankets, blocks, trees, bees. Seriously, the catalog is incredible. Donate here.

USO Wishbook
The USO Wishbook is a catalog of gifts that help ease the strain of separation felt by deployed American troops and their families. Johnson & Johnson has pledged to match all donations dollar-for-dollar up to $400,000.

A $100 Donation Provides: A bundle of phone calls home and computer technology to stay connected. A pair of long-distance bedtime stories. Many care packages. Donate here.

Donate A Photo
Now, the simple act of sharing a photo allows individuals to raise money and awareness for causes they are passionate about. Use the Donate A Photo app for iOS and Android and Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 to a trusted cause for every photo shared (one per day). Each cause will appear in the app until it reaches its goal or the donation period ends. If the goal isn’t reached, the cause will still get a minimum donation — more than a million photos have already helped more than 100 causes.

A $100 Donation … Is Totally Unnecessary: You literally can’t donate $100. What you can do is make an impact (with the help of Johnson & Johnson) simply by sharing a photo towards a trusted cause. For example, one goofy selfie helps provide one warm blanket for a child in a refugee camp whose family lost everything. Share Here.

This crowdfunding charities platform is dedicated to improving global public health. Johnson & Johnson will match all donations here, too, up to $250 per person per project until they reach a $100,000 cap.

A $100 Donation Provides: Not early access to the best cooler ever, but vital funding for worthy projects from empowering at-risk girls in Kenya to helping prevent diabetes for 20,000 people in India (and many, many, many more). Donate here.