10 Miami Charities to Support This Holiday Season (and Beyond)

‘Tis the season to be jolly and spread good cheer. As the year comes to a close, you may have noticed the carol of bells on city sidewalks asking for spare change for a worthy cause. There are many who could use a hand, so often the question is where or how to give and volunteer. Here are 10 Miami charities to support if you’re in the area (and even if you’re not, a follow on social media can be encouraging if you can’t give in time or financial support). To select these charities, we vetted them on Great Nonprofits, an organization that rates, ranks and awards nonprofits for the work that they do. Here’s how you can give back to the local Miami community this holiday season.

16 Charities PureWow Editors Are Supporting This Year

1. Women of Tomorrow

Founded in 1997, Women of Tomorrow works with nearly 200 public high schools in the Miami area to serve at-risk female students by creating pathways out of poverty, preventing high school dropouts and increasing access to higher education. To date, the organization has mentored over 20,000 girls. According to their data, the high school graduation rate for students in their program is 94 percent (compared to 86 percent nationwide, per the National Center for Education’s 2022 report), while 89 percent plan to pursue higher education. A few ways you can get involved? Volunteer to be a mentor, host a field trip or make a financial donation.

2. The Cat Network, Inc.

The Cat Network aims to humanely reduce Miami’s cat population through public education focused on sterilization for both pets and strays. Its mission also includes “providing low-cost spay/neuter services for stray, homeless and abandoned cats,” as well as pet placement and advocacy for non-lethal population control. The Cat Network’s efforts are spearheaded by over 2,500 volunteers and donors, who have trapped and sterilized over 51,000 stray and abandoned cats and facilitated over 7,000 adoptions to date. A $35 membership provides members with access to a variety of services, such as vaccines and surgeries, while helping the organization execute its mission.

3. Joshua’s Heart

In 2005, a 4-year-old named Joshua Williams founded Joshua’s Heart to fight global hunger and poverty. To this day, the organization remains run by young people and has distributed over six million pounds of food, five million meals and 200,000 toys. The mission is more relevant than ever: The USDA estimated that in 2021, 89.8 percent of US households were food insecure in 2021. Most impressively, Joshua’s Heart has mobilized over 60,000 young people, making good on its mission “to inspire and empower youth to tackle global issues and change the world through kindness, teamwork and determination.”

4. Pelican Harbor Seabird Station

To date, Pelican Harbor Seabird Station has rehabilitated over 40,000 birds. Originally, it was established in 1980 to rescue injured brown pelicans but today, the station now assists all native birds, mammals and reptiles sent their way. Spot an animal in need? Give them a call—they’re open every day of the year. Pelican Harbor collaborates with federal, state and local officials, plus the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Miami Dade Fire Rescue Department and Ocean Rescue to serve the native animal population.

5. Whispering Manes Therapeutic Riding Center

Serving people of all ages with special needs and disabilities, as well as veterans, Whispering Manes Therapeutic Riding Center gives all who are interested a chance to become an equestrian. Through therapeutic horseback riding lessons, participants gain improved muscle strength, balance, gross and fine motor skills and communication skills. But more meaningfully, they can grow their confidence and self-esteem. In addition to riding lessons, the center also offers its Manes and Tales program, a literacy program run with the help of some miniature horses.

6. The Miami Foundation

This is a nonprofit by the city for the city—since its founding in 1967, The Miami Foundation has invested over $500 million into the local community. It aims to shed light on community issues and mobilize civic leaders to action while investing in people and organizations catalyzing social change in Miami. It also manages charitable investments. Some current initiatives include fundraising to preserve Biscayne Bay and the Ruth Shack Leadership Award, which “honors an individual age 40 or under who reflects…Ruth Shack: A passionate champion for Greater Miami, steadfast ethics, unselfish service and a connector of [the] community.”

7. Veterans Ocean Adventures

Veterans Ocean Adventures wants “to provide veterans with the opportunity to experience the healing power of water.” Participants are guided through an Introduction to Water Sports program before plunging into the Florida Keys and Bahamas for sailing, diving, and paddling excursions.

8. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami serves over 3,000 youth every year by pairing them with a mentor. As an organization, BBBS seeks to create an environment in which a young person can realize his or her potential—regardless of circumstances. Of those who are paired with a mentor, 95 percent go to college, 87 percent see an improvement in their academics and 94 percent have improved behavior. All because somebody saw their potential and decided it was worth fighting for.

9. American Red Cross South Florida Region

Wherever there is a crisis, the Red Cross is often one of the first responders on the ground. It provides disaster relief assistance, aid for military members, veterans, and families and educates and certifies people in first aid, CPR, lifeguarding and swimming and water safety. This year, the organization provided crucial assistance after Hurricane Ian devastated towns along the Gulf Coast, in addition to offering aid to those affected by multiple other hurricanes, floods, fires and more. If you can’t spare a financial commitment this year, know that volunteering has a huge impact in itself—90 percent of the Red Cross humanitarian work is done by volunteers.

10. ASPCA Miami Initiative

The ASPCA provides accessible, affordable care for cats and dogs and works to give access to those dealing with financial or logistical barriers. Local clinics, like the Miami outpost, can provide basic care and spay/neuter services. As a whole, the organization performed over 43,000 spay/neuter surgeries and 34,000 animal relocations last year.

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