‘Tis the season to give back to your community, and it’s not just because holiday songs of goodwill may be playing in your head on a loop to inspire you. It’s true that a third of Americans’ charitable giving happens in the month of December, and this year, pandemic-related economic hardships likely mean your Chicago neighbors may need help now more than ever. So, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite Chicago charities, non-profits and otherwise good causes that could benefit from your end-of-year donations, for the sake of the greater good of our city. Whether you opt for a one-time end-of-year gift or choose to set up a recurring monthly donation in 2021, there’s no doubt your gift will help make Chicago a better place. (No cash to spare? Totally understandable—this year has been tough for many of us. If any of the following catches your eye, search their site or get in touch where you can volunteer your time instead.)

RELATED: 10 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Chicago

1. Brave Space Alliance

Brave Space Alliance is the first trans-led and Black-led LGBTQ+ center on Chicago’s South Side. With a special focus on Chicago’s South and West sides, Brave Space Alliance shares essential programming, learning resources, and mutual aid to uplift traditionally oppressed voices in the Chicago community. Brave Space Alliance is currently accepting general donations, in addition to specific COVID-19-related donations to support some of the city’s most at-risk populations during the pandemic. Weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly donation options are available. bravespacealliance.org

2. My Block, My Hood, My City

You may recall My Block, My Hood, My City from our round-up of Chicago’s best Christmas activities, thanks to their initiative to light up 12 miles of King Drive on the South Side. But its reach goes far beyond twinkle lights with year-round opportunities for underprivileged young people to step outside their comfort zones and explore new neighborhoods and world perspectives, all while fostering personal investment in the well-being of their communities. Donate to MBMHMC here. formyblock.org

chicago charities assatas daughters
Assata's Daughters/Facebook

3. Assata's Daughters

Assata’s Daughters offers free educational programming to young Black people as they invest in the Black Liberation movement. With resources for participants to establish their political consciousness in the first place, or to deepen it through lessons in organization, revolutionary services, and beyond, a donation to Assata’s Daughters—be it one-time or an ongoing monthly support—can help cover everything from donating books to the people the organization serves, to covering their public transit costs, to providing food support, and more. assatasdaughters.org

4. Chicago Women's Health Center

Since 1975, Chicago Women’s Health Center has offered healthcare to women, trans people, and ultimately to everyone in need, using a sliding scale that helps every patient get the care they need, regardless of their economic status. (The center serves more than 6,000 people every year!) Make a one-time or recurring monthly donation here. chicagowomenshealthcenter.org

chicago charities care for real
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5. Care for Real

Care for Real’s Pet Pantry deserves a special shout-out in this line-up, as it helps connect Chicago pet owners in need—especially seniors—with the food and other supplies they may not otherwise be able to afford to take care of their beloved furry friends. Partnerships through Edgewater’s Bark Bark Club and other local businesses make this pet-food distribution possible, but you can donate directly here. careforreal.org

6. Open Books

By buying a book from one of Open Books’ nonprofit retail locations, you support the organization’s literacy programs for new readers of all ages, writing workshops, and more. In the mood for a daily writing sprint to keep your creative juices flowing? Open Books can help. Know anyone whose household would benefit from the joy of a story hour? Open Books has you covered there, too. open-books.org

7. Resilience

Resilience Chicago (formerly known as Rape Victim Advocates) supports survivors of sexual violence through crisis intervention, as well as through medical and legal advocacy. Counseling for individuals and families is also available, as well as support groups. Review all your donation options for this vital organization here. ourresilience.org

8. Chicago Reader

The Chicago Reader—our city’s beloved alt-weekly since 1971—moved to a nonprofit model this year, in hopes of keeping its independent journalism alive and healthy. If you, too, enjoy music news from Gossip Wolf, unfiltered political commentary from Ben Joravsky, or anything else you’ve ever read online or from its newsprint pages while on your morning commute (remember those?), consider establishing a monthly donation to keep both its digital and physical presses printing. chicagoreader.com

9. Project Onward

Project Onward helps artists with disabilities get the recognition they deserve for their talents. This non-profit provides gallery and studio space for people of all ages—with an emphasis on adults—who have developmental disabilities or who are impacted by mental illness. Set up a single donation, establish a monthly gift, or designate Project Onward as your Amazon Smile organization of choice here. projectonward.org

chicago charities your local mutual aid fund
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10. Your Local Mutual Aid Fund

Don’t forget about your local mutual aid fund. Sometimes, there’s no better way to positively affect the well-being of your nearest neighbors than by helping out with any financial resources they may need. Block Club Chicago’s list of mutual aid funds is a great place to start to see who needs assistance near you.

RELATED: Quiz: What Charity Should You Give to in 2020?

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