Giving Tuesday: 9 Children’s Charities You Can Trust With Your Money

Whether it's providing shoes, food, or a birthday cake, these organizations spend the bulk of your donation on kids.


Depending on your perspective, Giving Tuesday is either terribly timed ⏤ falling immediately after the three days a year where the nation collectively empties its wallet on a garage full of vacuum cleaners ⏤ or perfectly timed, to capitalize on the guilt it feels after buying so much damn stuff. Either way, there’s no denying that over the past six years, it’s become a wildly successful day of altruism on the heels of the consumption-crazed melee that is Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. In 2017 alone, children’s charities raised an estimated $177 million on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. This year, they’re slated to bring in even more. No matter how many Amazon Echos consumers one-click ordered this past weekend, this is still the giving time of year ⏤ whether for good vibes or a tax write-off ⏤ and Giving Tuesday has become a big deal.

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As with all charitable giving these days, it’s tough to know which organizations are putting your money to good use, and which are using it to send you a thousand more mailers soliciting another donation. There have been enough stories over the past year about sketchy charities ⏤ or even renowned charities for children with terrible management ⏤ to put most givers on high alert. Everybody wants to know their money isn’t going to outrageous overhead, excessive salaries, or egregious fundraising, but rather to actually helping people in need. And you want to get the most bang for your charity buck.

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If you want to donate to charities that focus primarily on children, you have two choices. First, run the organization through one of the four organizations that rank charities: CharityWatch, Charity Navigator, Great NonProfits, and BBB Wise Giving Alliance. They study the numbers and tell you how on the up-and-up the group is. Or second, go directly to our list of charities that already make the cut. From organizations that build playgrounds and provide shoes, to those that give Christmas gifts and throw birthday parties for homeless children, here are seven of the highest-rated kid’s charities for your Giving Tuesday donations.

Project Night Night

Project Night Night

Area served: San Francisco, CA; Cleveland, OH

Many kids have a hard enough time sleeping on a good night in a warm bed, let alone on a cot in a homeless shelter. Over 1.5 million children in America are homeless and Project Night Night wants to not only help them get a better night sleep but offer some security as well. Operating in both San Francisco and Cleveland, the organizations deliver 25,000 canvas tote bags filled with a new security blanket, an age-appropriate children’s book, and a stuffed animal to kids in shelters each year.Donate Now

The Young Center for Children’s Immigrants Rights

Areas Served: United States

As John Oliver pointed out on Last Week Tonight, children as young as two are expected to defend their asylum claims in court against a fully-grown judge to prevent themselves from being deported. The Young Center for Children’s Immigrants Rights aims to right that problem. The non profit exclusively serves the needs of unaccompanied migrant children from detainment throughout deportation proceedings. The Young Center is comprised of bilingual volunteers who translate between kids and attorneys, attorneys themselves, Child Advocates, and more. Today, a donor is matching all donations up to $20,000.

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Children Incorporated

Area served: National; International

One of Consumer Reports’ top children’s charities based on an aggregation of reviews, this Virginia organization has been helping feed, clothe, and care for children in over 23 countries and across the United States since 1964. Their U.S. projects are interesting in that they serve three different populations: inner city, Native Americans, and folks living in Appalachia. They help over 20,000 kids a year and you can either make a one-time donation or sponsor a child monthly.Donate Now

Shoes That Fit

Area served: National

Not only are shoes considered a status symbol for a lot of kids, but they’re also “one of the most visible signs of poverty.” With a four-star rating on CharityNavigator, this California-based organization has been working with local schools since 1992 to give out over 1.7 million pairs of new athletic shoes to kids across the country. And with new sneaks comes new confidence: statistics show that school attendance increases among kids who receive the new kicks, and they play more.Donate Now


Area served: National

Kids need to play. More importantly, they need a safe place to play. Since 1996, this accredited Washington, DC-based non-profit has built or repaired over 16,700 playspaces in poor communities around the nation. Give today and FAO Schwarz will triple your donation.Donate Now

Against Malaria Foundation

Area served: International

Mosquito nets are one of the simplest ways to prevent the spread of malaria, which kills 500,000 people per year many of which are under the age of five. Since it was founded in 2004, this UK-based charity has raised more that $160 million to help provide, distribute, and set up mosquito nets in areas at high risk of contracting the disease. One-hundred percent of donated money goes to the foundation’s insecticidal nets, which cost a mere two dollars each.

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Area served: International

Around 92.2 percent of your donation to Unbound, an international Catholic organization headquartered in Kansas City, goes to feeding kids and combatting poverty. They are as highly ranked and transparent with their funds as it comes (noting that 3.4 percent goes to admin and 4.4 percent to fundraising) and you can either target your donation or sponsor a child monthly (and engage with them through letters and pictures). Unbound generally focus its attention on 18 countries in South and Central America, Africa, and Asia.Donate Now

Birthday Wishes

Area served: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York

Because every kid should experience the joy of opening a present or blowing out the candles on a cake, this Massachusetts-based org works with over 200 shelters in New York and New England to throw birthday parties for homeless children. Last year alone, 34,000 kids between the ages of one and 17 years old got a party. Donations can take the form of gifts, party supplies, or even your baking acumen. Donate up to $10,000 today and an unnamed donor will match the contribution.Donate Now

Marine Toys for Tots Foundation

Area served: National

Considering nobody’s breaking up Lego sets or dismembering baby dolls, it’s hard to argue that your donation to the Marine’s popular Toys for Tots program isn’t going 100 percent to the kids. You buy the toy, a child unwraps and enjoys it. Simple as that. (For cash donations, 97.4 percent goes to programming, in case you were wondering.) Toys for Tots has been making children’s Christmases brighter since 1947 and so can you, at least this year.Donate Now