Our Favorite Non-Profits for Gifts That Give Back

Treehugger editors and writers reveal the charities from their very own wish lists.

Northern Saw whet Owl
A Northern saw whet owl, like the ones Wild Bird Fund cares for when injured in New York City. mlorenzphotography / Getty Images

Are supply-chain issues cramping your shopping style? Are mailing delays messing with your typical gifting plans? Is the fragile state of the environment making you question rampant consumerism?!

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, fret not! We have the perfect gift guide for you. Treehugger's writers and editors think about these issues day in and day out, and figured we'd share our collective wisdom. Below, find out favorite non-profits for gifts and donations that actively help, not harm, this beautiful orb we call home.

Wild Bird Fund

Selected by Melissa Breyer, Editorial Director

For the bird lover on your list, consider a donation to Wild Bird Fund—a New York City wildlife rehab clinic with far-reaching impact. "The clinic provides medical care and rehabilitation to native and passing migrant wildlife so that they can be released back into the wild," says Breyer, who calls herself a WBF fan girl.

While this may seem very local, it has a much wider impact. New York City welcomes more than 210 migrating bird species each spring and fall. Unfortunately, these travelers have a hard time recognizing glass, and hundreds of thousands of them are killed or injured annually when they collide with city windows. Wild Bird Fund is the only place in the city that cares for these injured birds and releases them when they are well enough to continue their journey. So while the clinic may be located in NYC, it is treating birds that live all the way from the Arctic Circle to South America—making a gift donation here a gift to bird lovers across multiple continents!

Give a gift to Wild Bird Fund

Our Climate

Selected by Maggie Badore, Senior Commerce Editor

Our Climate empowers young leaders to advocate for equitable and science-based climate policy. Since 2014, they have trained and mobilized hundreds of young people across the country to advance state-level policies that sharply reduce emissions and ensure a just transition to clean energy. What does empowering young leaders really mean? Our Climate trains students and young people to lobby, write op-eds, and participate in other forms of climate advocacy. Young people are an important counterweight to all the money the fossil fuel industry has poured into lobbying. 

Give a gift to Our Climate

Speak!

Selected by Mary Jo DiLonardo, Senior Writer

Speak! is an animal rescue that is dedicated to finding homes for special needs dogs that are deaf, blind, or both. Most were born with hearing impairments as a result of breeding two dogs with a merle gene. There are so many rescues that save so many animals, but often special needs pets are overlooked. "I've fostered 20 dogs for Speak! and love the organization and how they will open their hearts to these amazing, loving pups," notes DiLonardo.

Give a gift to Speak!

RAVEN Trust

Selected by Christian Cotroneo, Social Media Editor

RAVEN Trust raises funds for Indigenous People's access to justice. RAVEN stands for 'Respecting Aboriginal Values & Environmental Needs.' The organization has been an effective voice for Indigenous rights since it was established in 2014. A registered charity in both Canada and the U.S., the organization has several high-profile legal victories under its belt, including major wins on water and land rights. This is a very effective organization that operates at the crucial nexus of Indigenous rights and environmental justice.

Give a gift to RAVEN Trust

Save the Manatee Club 

Selected by Olivia Valdes, Associate Editorial Director

Save the Manatee Club is dedicated to recovering and protecting manatee populations and their ecosystems. Their work includes research, rescue, rehabilitation, and release efforts; education and awareness initiatives; and advocacy and legal action for stronger protection measures. 

"These gentle giants need urgent help," says Valdes. In 2021, more than 10% of Florida’s entire manatee population perished. Alarmingly, hundreds of those deaths were caused by starvation. The manatees’ main food source, seagrass, is being destroyed by water pollution. Boat strikes and fishing line entanglement also remain constant threats. Save the Manatee Club does vital advocacy, education, and rescue work to protect manatees and ensure their survival. Supporting their efforts is especially important in light of this year’s unprecedented die-off.

Give a gift to Save a Manatee Club

Coalition for Rainforest Nations

Selected by Andrew Whalen, Commerce Editor

The Coalition for Rainforest Nations sees stopping rainforest deforestation as a fundamental priority for the prevention of runaway warming, providing both nation-level incentives against deforestation and technical assistance to member nations developing emissions inventories in compliance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

An intergovernmental organization uniting the interests of 53 countries in the Global South, the Coalition for Rainforest Nations not only gives a voice to the parties most affected by climate change, but has also been remarkably successful at introducing real reforms to UN climate policy negotiations. One of their central objectives is to "make trees worth more alive than dead," which is embodied in tropical forest management initiatives and direct incentives against deforestation. Their REDD+ program, which establishes pathways to pay rainforest nations for conservation and restoration, is considered the single most effective emissions initiative adopted by the international community and was a key component of the Paris Agreement.

Give a gift to Colation for Rainforest Nations

Clean Ocean Action

Selected by Hayley Bruning, Associate Editor

Clean Ocean Action is a broad-based coalition of 125 active boating, business, community, conservation, diving, environmental, fishing, religious, service, student, surfing, and women's groups. Their mission is to improve the degraded water quality of the marine waters off the New Jersey/New York coast. "Ocean pollution is an ongoing issue that Clean Ocean Action is dedicated to tackling," notes Bruning. Since 1984, the organization has worked to protect waters off New Jersey and New York. Donations will go toward improving programs and laws that protect public health at swimming beaches; reducing plastic and litter; protecting coasts from oil and gas drilling, from Maine to Florida; and much more.

Give a gift to Clean Ocean Action

Costa Rica's Payments for Environmental Services Program

Selected by Hildara Araya, Associate Editor

Costa Rica's Payments for Environmental Services Program not only received the Earthshot Prize for Environmental Stewardship in 2021, but was also a 2020 UN Global Climate Action award winner. The program supports reforestation and sustainable forest management practices by compensating landowners for the environmental services their forests provide, including carbon sequestration, water conservation, and biodiversity protection.

The program has benefited more than 18,000 families—including people in 19 Indigenous communities—and has helped the country double its tree cover in the last 30 years, effectively reversing deforestation in Costa Rica, not to mention what it's done for the environment worldwide! The contribution is done via carbon credits to help offset one's footprint—so not exactly a donation, per se, but a great place to put some money. Araya explains that to give as a gift, "certificates can be requested by email once the offset is paid."

Give a gift to Costa Rica’s Payments for Environmental Services Program

Awaj Foundation

Selected by Katherine Martinko, Senior Editor

A women-led organization that advocates for marginalized garment workers in Bangladesh, the Awaj Foundation works on improving wages and conditions, strengthening worker rights, and more. "Garment workers create most of our clothes, and yet are underpaid and continue to toil in abysmal conditions," says Martinko. "This is one of the few grassroots organizations created by women in Bangladesh to advocate for better conditions, wages, and safety." It's a respected nonprofit that's grown considerably in recent years.

 Give a gift to the Awaj Foundation

Austin Pets Alive!

Selected by Lindsey Reynolds, Visual and Content Quality Editor

Austin Pets Alive! is unique among shelters for its innovative lifesaving programs designed to spare the animals most at risk of euthanasia. In the late 90s, Austin, Texas had a kill rate of 87%; today, they have a save rate of 97%! This is due much in part to Austin Pets Alive!, which has led the charge in making Austin one of the largest no-kill cities in the United States.

Give a gift to Austin Pets Alive!

NDN Collective

Selected by Susmita Baral, News Editor

NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. They work on creating sustainable solutions through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building, and narrative change—all on Indigenous terms. Climate justice means protecting indigenous peoples' rights and this Indigenous-led organization is working on climate justice, racial equity, and protecting Native land.

Give a gift to NDN Collective

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