9 Best Charities That Support Firefighters (Complete 2024 List)

9 Best Charities That Support Firefighters (Complete 2024 List)

By
Grace Howarth

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The rates of post-traumatic stress and depression in firefighters is found to be as much as five times higher than the general public. Moreover, studies have found that the rate of suicide in firefighters is double that of the rest of the population. Fortunately, many charities offer important emotional, financial, and mental support, as well as educational resources to firefighters and their families. So we had to ask: What are the best charities that support firefighters?

The best charities that support firefighters are the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation and National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Other charities like the California Fire Foundation and First Responders Foundation offer financial and emotional support to firefighters and their families.

Whether you want to improve the availability of mental health support for firefighters, support the families of firefighters after an injury, or simply ensure that firefighters are appreciated for the vital work they do, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that support firefighters are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Support Firefighters Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. 

They operate all over the US, from New York to the Wildlands. And they all share the same goal of supporting firefighters. 

Whether they support firefighters and their families through new equipment and technology, financial grants, or mental health support, these charities work towards providing aid to firefighters. 

Yet, all of these charities believe that firefighters need support and that their families should have somewhere to turn after the loss or injury of a firefighter.

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Support Firefighters in 2024

Below are our favorite charities that support firefighters (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation: Aiding First Responder Agencies

Logo for Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation
Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation | About Us

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

To impact the lifesaving capabilities, and the lives, of local heroes and their communities.

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation

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What they do:

The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation delivers innovative tools and resources to first responder agencies in the US, including those supporting firefighters. For example, they supply financial support and high-tech lifesaving equipment that help agencies respond to disasters and emergencies quickly and more efficiently. They also offer tools that empower firefighters and keep them safe while on the job. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has granted $77 million to first responders, including firefighters, and supported 6,048 like-minded organizations. Today, they serve first responders in 50 US states. For example, in 2022, they provided 7 rescue boats, 108 thermal imaging cameras, and 456 sets of bunker gear to first responder agencies across the country. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by visiting one of their restaurants and making a donation by rounding up your purchase. 

2

National Fallen Firefighters Foundation: Remembering Fallen Firefighters 

Logo for National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
Our Care Never Stops

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Their transparency & ratings:

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

To honor and remember America’s fallen fire heroes.

National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

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What they do:

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation honors fallen firefighters through remembrance programs and dedicated services to their families. For example, they uplift and empower the families impacted by firefighter fatalities through scholarship programs and community outreach. Additionally, they hold an annual Memorial Weekend and family programs to support the loved ones of fallen firefighters. They also provide direct assistance to agencies across the country that have experienced the impacts of losing first responders, and provide departmental training on how to deal with a line-of-duty death.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has reached hundreds of families of firefighters with their programs and services. For example, in 2022, they offered 41 scholarships to family members of fallen firefighters, totaling over $500,000. Furthermore, in 2022, over 1,200 people took part in their 93 support sessions and they also sent out nearly 5,000 handwritten remembrance cards, written by 356 volunteers. Furthermore, they published the documentary ‘Boyd Street’ in partnership with the Los Angeles Fire Department, which garnered over 1 million views

Ways to contribute:

You can contribute to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation by downloading a donation form from their website. You can also show your support by starting a fundraiser on their behalf, or by purchasing branded merchandise from their online shop.

3

All Clear Foundation: Improving the Lives of First Responders

Logo for All Clear Foundation
We Are All Clear

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Their transparency & ratings:

The All Clear Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

To improve the overall wellbeing and longevity of those who serve our communities in times of need.

All Clear Foundation

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What they do:

The All Clear Foundation strives to prolong the life expectancy and mental wellbeing of first responders, including firefighters. Their three main focuses of resource-based support are ‘succeed’, ‘thrive’, and ‘matter’, which look at career, finance, and education opportunities, physical and mental health, and community and purpose for first responders. They also offer a crisis text line service, and a ResponderStrong Mental Health Curriculum, which they offer free to agencies across the country.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the All Clear Foundation has trained more than 330 first responders with their ResponderStrong mental wellness program, including firefighters. Additionally, they work with more than 15 facilities across their target states that offer treatment and support for first responders. Furthermore, they were featured on the award-winning documentary series ‘Advancements with Ted Danson’

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the All Clear Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering or fundraising.

4

California Fire Foundation: Giving Back to Firefighters and Their Families

Logo for California Fire Foundation
California Fire Foundation Looks Back on 2021

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Their transparency & ratings:

The California Fire Foundation has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“The California Fire Foundation has a range of programs that support firefighters, their families, and the communities they serve.”

California Fire Foundation

⚒️

What they do:

The California Fire Foundation has a range of programs that support firefighters, their families, and the communities they serve. For example, through their CA Firefighters Benevolent Fund, they support firefighters who have suffered a fire-related loss or damage to their home, an injury, or for the families of firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Additionally, their Daniel A. Terry Scholarship grants higher education access to families of fallen firefighters. As well as this, their Disaster Relief Fund supports communities with immediate assistance for natural disaster survivors, and mid- and long-term wildfire relief. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the California Fire Foundation has provided vital financial and emotional support to firefighters and their families. For example, in 2022 alone, their disaster relief programs helped approximately 8,500 people. Furthermore, their Benevolent Fund dispersed $121,000 to 35 front-line firefighters and their families. In addition, they granted 16 scholarships, worth $48,000, and distributed $1.95 million in fire prevention and preparedness funding across the state.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the California Fire Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by donating stock or by working with them as a corporate sponsor.

5

Leary Firefighters Foundation: Supporting Our Everyday Heroes

Logo for Leary Firefighters Foundation
The Worcester 6: Heroes Remembered - Episode 4

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Leary Firefighters Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“To fill gaps, to create opportunities to train – not only Worcester Firefighters – but those throughout Massachusetts and beyond.”

Leary Firefighters Foundation

⚒️

What they do:

The Leary Firefighters Foundation works to improve the quality of life and safety of working firefighters. For example, they build state-of-the-art training facilities, purchase cutting-edge vehicles and supply modern technology and tools to firehouses and departments across the country. Furthermore, their Jeremiah Lucey Grant Program funds grants for training, equipment, and technology for fire departments.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Leary Firefighters Foundation has provided vital support to firefighters around the United States. For example, within 10 years, they have donated over $3.5 million, to fund equipment, technology, and training facilities. Moreover, founder Denis Leary produced the 2012 documentary, ‘Burn,’ about the frontline firefighting service in Detroit, which won the Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Leary Firefighters Foundation through their website. You can also keep up-to-date with the charity by following them on social media.

6

First Responders Foundation: Serving and Honoring the Nation’s First Responders

Logo for First Responders Foundation
First Responders Foundation 2017

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Their transparency & ratings:

The First Responders Foundation has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“To serve and honor all our First Responders, Veterans and their families; build appreciation and respect for their work; and enhance public safety.”

First Responders Foundation

⚒️

What they do:

The First Responders Foundation provides a number of programs, events, and training opportunities for first responders, including firefighters and their families. For example, they offer mental health services via their First Responders Support Team phone line and their Support Red fund. Moreover, they run an annual 9/11 Luncheon of Honor to celebrate the vital work of first responders. Beyond this, they also offer on-demand training for first responders, and Behavioural Health Clinical Services, for any first responders in Iowa or Nebraska.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the First Responders Foundation has donated more than $1.5 million in equipment and services to first responders in need, including firefighters. This includes $35,000 in scholarships, the homing of 66 service dogs with first responders, and over 10,000 appreciation lunches distributed to police, firefighters, and dispatchers. Additionally, their First Responders Support Team has offered over 1200 hours of behavioral health services to police officers, firefighters, dispatchers, EMS (Emergency Medical Responders), and frontline medical workers in the form of programs, training, and support groups.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the First Responders Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering or purchasing their merchandise.

7

National Volunteer Fire Council: Supporting Volunteers in the Rescue Services 

Logo for National Volunteer Fire Council
Member Benefits Video

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Their transparency & ratings:

The National Volunteer Fire Council has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“To provide a unified voice for volunteer Fire/EMS organizations.”

National Volunteer Fire Council

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What they do:

The National Volunteer Fire Council advocates for volunteers in the emergency services, including fire response services, by representing their voices in congress and by providing training. For example, their Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program aims to reduce the alarming rate of heart attacks in the fire service. Additionally, their National Junior Firefighter Program engages young people, offering resources, training, and the opportunity to volunteer, through their Make Me A Firefighter Program. Members of the organization also receive a $10,000 AD&D insurance policy and access to free training.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the National Volunteer Fire Council has championed volunteers in the first response sector, including firefighters. For example, by the end of 2022, they had reached over 28,000 members. Moreover, their advocacy helped to pass The Protecting Firefighters from Adverse Substances Act, and amended the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. On top of this, the National Volunteer Fire Council, in partnership with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, received the 2022 Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the National Volunteer Fire Council through their website. You can also support the charity by becoming a member or by purchasing their merchandise.

8

Wildland Firefighter Foundation: Aid for Wildland Firefighters and Their Families

Logo for Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Protect Our West

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“To help families of firefighters killed in the line of duty and to assist injured firefighters and their families.”

Wildland Firefighter Foundation

⚒️

What they do:

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation assists injured firefighters, and the families of firefighters that have been injured or killed in the line of duty. Furthermore, they bring awareness to, and honor members of the wildland firefighting community. For example, their Family Fire Weekend brings together the families of fallen firefighters, and their online memorial and grief recovery specialists support the bereavement process. Alongside this, their Mental Health Program offers support, therapy, and resources to firefighters who are struggling with their mental health.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding the Wildland Firefighter Foundation has remained dedicated to supporting firefighters and their families. For example, in 2021, they financially supported 623 families who were impacted by the injury or loss of a firefighter. In the same year, they also provided 45,000 wildland firefighters with access to much needed assistance. Alongside this, they are supported by major organizations and corporations, like the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Walmart, and Coors, which allows them to financially impact as many firefighters and their families as they can. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by attending their fundraising events, or by purchasing their merchandise.

9

Friends of Firefighters: A Support Network for New York Rescue Workers

Logo for Friends of Firefighters
Friends of Firefighters, 2022 Video

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

Friends of Firefighters has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Firefighters encounter situations the public rarely, if ever, must face. Reducing the stigma associated with mental health in the fire service can help protect those who risk their lives every day for others.”

Friends of Firefighters

⚒️

What they do:

Friends of Firefighters offers free programs and events to active and retired Fire Department of New York staff and their families. For example, they offer in-person and virtual counseling and life coaching, spiritual guidance, financial guidance, and even acupuncture. Additionally, their one-on-one, or drop-in peer support groups offer space to talk, in either a counseling or casual setting. In addition, their monthly Firehouse Kitchen Talks offer dinner and presentations by firefighters for firefighters. Furthermore, every Fire Department in New York receives two visits a year from Friends of Firefighters, offering fundraising, sports events, and workshops.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Friends of Firefighters connects with all of the Fire Departments in New York to offer vital support and guidance. Because of this, they now reach almost 10,000 members. For example, in 2022, they conducted over 3,500 counseling sessions and accepted 180 new clients. Moreover, their Annual Fall Gala in 2022 raised over $87,000 to support their work and help even more firefighters in need.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Friends of Firefighters through their website. You can also support the charity by organizing a fundraiser, or renting their Brooklyn-based headquarters for an event.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that support firefighters. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to supporting firefighters – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Grace Howarth

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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