Variety‘s list of 20 charitable organizations worth checking out in 2017.
Action Group Network
Founded in 2017 by “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon, Action Group Network seeks to move the country progressively forward in the wake of political divisiveness. The organization encourages, facilitates, informs, and connects activists and start-up groups with training sessions and various opportunities to help create long-lasting footprints within communities throughout the nation.
Since 1888, Five Acres has worked to provide safety, well-being and a permanent place of residence for vulnerable children and families across Southern California. The organization places an emphasis on the mental and emotional health of children who have been abused or neglected, and currently cares for 8,700 children and families across five counties in Southern California.
Food on Foot
Founded in 1996 by Jay Goldinger, Food on Foot assists the poor and homeless of Los Angeles by providing meals and training them to secure full-time jobs and housing through its Sunday Meals and Work for Food programs. The organization’s ultimate goal is to help homeless individuals become self-sufficient, tax-paying members of society.
Friends in Deed Pasadena
This interfaith collaboration serves homeless and at-risk individuals of the greater Pasadena area. Led by executive director Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater, community volunteers and staff work to brings a sense of dignity to the homeless through its food pantry and various support programs.
For 40 years, the Fulfillment Fund has made college a reality for educationally and economically under-resourced communities by providing a year-round array of services such as one-on-one college counseling, mentoring, and trips to visit college campuses. Thus far, the Fulfillment Fund has served more than 20,000 students, with 93% of its high school graduates going on to college.
Founded by America Ferrera, Ryan Piers Williams and Wilmer Valderrama, Harness promotes human rights and progressive ideals, supporting groups such as Black Lives Matter, Voto Latino and the Intl. Indigenous Youth Council. Harness has also partnered with Hearst Media and NBC entertainment to share stories about activism and social justice.
For more than 70 years, Heifer Intl. has provided impoverished families in more than 125 countries with farm animals. The income generated by these animals is used to build schools and fund small businesses. Heifer has long been a favorite with Hollywood figures such as Allison Janney, Kirsten Dunst and Ed Asner.
Laugh Factory Comedy Camp
The eight-week camp, started by Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada, provides children from underprivileged communities the opportunity to channel their emotions into standup comedy. The program is free, and campers are taught by professional comedians. Past instructors have included Jim Carrey, Chris Rock, Bob Saget, Dave Chappelle and Adam Sandler.
Let’s Get Real
Hayden Meyer, APA partner and head of factual and alternative programming, founded Let’s Get Real as a series of events to benefit the Saban Community Clinic. The events bring together hundreds of TV producers, directors and agents to raise money for the clinic, which provides crucially needed healthcare to low-income members of the Los Angeles community.
Started in 2016 by Miry Whitehill-Ben Atar, Miry’s List is primarily a social media-based group that provides assistance to refugee families coming to Southern California with donations in the way of furniture, clothing and other vital living necessities.
For the 15 years, Mothers2Mothers has worked toward eliminating pediatric AIDS in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, Uganda and Malawi. The organization trains, employs and empowers local mothers living with HIV, teaching them how to prevent mother-to-child transmission, safely breastfeed, combat negative stigma and act as paid professional medical personnel to other women in the community.
Navy Seal Foundation
Established in 2000, the Navy Seal Foundation helps members of Naval Special Warfare forces and their families by providing a comprehensive set of programs during times of illness, injury, loss and transition. The foundation currently serves more than 9,000 active duty NSW personnel and their families, as well as post-9/11 veterans.
No Kid Hungry
The No Kid Hungry campaign aims to provide needy children with a healthy meal. With the Cooking Matters program, low-income families learn food options while staying within budget. For the past 30 years, national spokesman Jeff Bridges has advocated for the end of child hunger, joining the Share Our Strength campaign.
Pablove Foundation’s mission to combat pediatric cancer is two-fold. Since 2010, the foundation has awarded nearly $2 million in childhood cancer research grants to 19 global-wide institutions. It also runs the Pablove Shutterbugs program, which teaches pediatric cancer patients how to express themselves through the art of photography.
For 100 years, Planned Parenthood has not only advocated on behalf of women’s health but also women’s rights. Scarlett Johansson, Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer and Alicia Keys are key supporters of the famed organization, which provides cancer screening, birth control, STD testing and in-clinic abortions as well as educational courses on health, sex and family planning.
Sandy Hook Promise
After their sons were murdered in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Mark Barden and Nicole Hockley got together with other members of their community to found Sandy Hook Promise, an organization that works to prevent gun-related deaths due to crime, suicide and accidents.
Starlight Children’s Foundation
Steven Spielberg serves as the chairman emeritus of the Los Angeles-based organization, which supports critically ill children and their families in 700 hospitals around the US. In April, Starlight launched a partnership with Disney/Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: Force for Change to bring Starlight Virtual Reality to sick children around the country. Other programs include Starlight Visits, in which celebrities visit kids; Starlight Brave Gowns, which enliven plain hospital gowns; and Starlight Sites, which brings fun, child-friendly entertainment spaces into hospitals.
Survivor Mitzvah Project
The Survivor Mitzvah Project, founded by television comedy director Zane Buzby, is a humanitarian effort providing direct financial assistance to Holocaust survivors in remote parts of Eastern Europe. Recipients are in need of food, medicine, and suitable shelter, as they do not receive World War II reparation funds from Germany. The genesis of this project came from Buzby’s visit to Lithuania to find the birthplace of her grandparents.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project serves young people within the LGBTQ community, providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services. With their phone, messaging and texting services, teens are able to reach out in case of any crisis. The Trevor Project also provides LGBTQ youth with programs run by trained volunteer counselors. Supporters include Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patrick Harris.
The White Helmets
Unarmed volunteers, numbering around 3,000, risk their lives to bring aid to those injured by the continual fighting in Syria, specifically in places where public services no longer function. The group was nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize after a petition was generated with signatories including George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Daniel Craig, Justin Timberlake, Aziz Ansari and Zoe Saldana.