9 Best Charities That Support Low-Income Families (Complete 2022 List)
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Hey fellow impactful ninja ?
You may have noticed that Impactful Ninja is all about providing helpful information to make a positive impact on the world and society. And that we love to link back to where we found all the information for each of our posts.
Most of these links are informational-based for you to check out their primary sources with one click.
But some of these links are so-called "affiliate links" to products that we recommend.
First and foremost, because we believe that they add value to you. For example, when we wrote a post about the environmental impact of long showers, we came across an EPA recommendation to use WaterSense showerheads. So we linked to where you can find them. Or, for many of our posts, we also link to our favorite books on that topic so that you can get a much more holistic overview than one single blog post could provide.
And when there is an affiliate program for these products, we sign up for it. For example, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.
First, and most importantly, we still only recommend products that we believe add value for you.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission - but at no additional costs to you.
And when you buy something through a link that is not an affiliate link, we won’t receive any commission but we’ll still be happy to have helped you.
When we find products that we believe add value to you and the seller has an affiliate program, we sign up for it.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra costs to you).
And at this point in time, all money is reinvested in sharing the most helpful content with you. This includes all operating costs for running this site and the content creation itself.
You may have noticed by the way Impactful Ninja is operated that money is not the driving factor behind it. It is a passion project of mine and I love to share helpful information with you to make a positive impact on the world and society. However, it's a project in that I invest a lot of time and also quite some money.
Eventually, my dream is to one day turn this passion project into my full-time job and provide even more helpful information. But that's still a long time to go.
Worldwide, 85% of people live on less than $35 per day. These low-income families live shorter lives, have decreased access to education, and are at a higher risk of mental health problems. Luckily, several charities are working to promote equal access to housing, food, and healthcare. So we had to ask: which are the best charities that support low-income families?
The best charities that support low-income families are World Vision and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Others, such as the Salvation Army and Family Promise provide families direct access to food, finances, and education.
Whether you want to support entire impoverished communities, build homes for families, or help children in need, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that support low-income families 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 Low-Income Families Have in Common
The charities on this list were chosen based on services provided, transparency ratings, achievements, and mission. Each of these charities go above and beyond to help low-income families make ends meet. They all help to ensure that families have access to the services that they need in order to survive and thrive.
Some assist on the individual level while others help by supporting entire underserved communities. Some of these charities operate at the international level whereas others focus their efforts within the United States. Yet they all share a common goal: to support and improve the lives of those in poverty.
These Are the 9 Best Charities That Support Low-Income Families
Below are our favorite charities that support low-income families:
- World Vision
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul
- Salvation Army
- National Urban League
- Feeding America
- Family Promise
- Habitat for Humanity
- Assistance League
(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)
World Vision: Addressing Poverty by Giving to the Community
World Vision was founded in 1950 by Robert Pierce to combat childhood poverty. World Vision initially focused their humanitarian efforts on children and families in Asia. Today, the charity is one of the largest nonprofit Christian groups, providing services for impoverished families in 100 countries.
“We partner with children, families, and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.”World Vision
What they do: World Vision eases the burden for low-income families by providing them with food, personal hygiene items, clothing, and school supplies. They also provide international finance classes for adults. This includes a savings group and education about microloans, which encourages entrepreneurship in low-income families.
What they’ve achieved: To date, World Vision has helped over 12 million people worldwide with their food projects. In 2020, World Vision distributed 178,265 metric tons of food globally. In addition, they helped 1.7 million adults and children with their domestic programs in the United States alone.
Society of Vincent de Paul: Helping the Individual
The Society of Vincent de Paul was founded in 1833 in Paris by Antoine Frédéric Ozanam and other college students. They saw the negative impact of poverty in Paris and wanted to provide assistance. Today, this Catholic-based organization has chapters in 150 countries to serve impoverished families.
“We don’t provide transactions; we create and nurture relationships.”Society of Vincent de Paul
What they do: The Society of Vincent de Paul provides support to low-income families in numerous ways. Many chapters offer a food pantry, assistance with paying rent and utilities, and provide clothing for families. The society also helps individuals find jobs in trade industries via their Back 2 Work program.
What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Society of Vincent de Paul has remained dedicated to serving impoverished families. In 2020, the Society completed 1,555,602 total visits to those in need across the United States. They also had nearly 9 million hours of volunteer service. In the same year, they contributed $311,778 towards Covid relief aid in 60 countries.
Ways to contribute: You can make monetary donations to The Society of Vincent de Paul via their website. They also accept vehicle donations. Alternatively, you can volunteer by finding and contacting the nearest chapter to you.
Salvation Army: International Assistance for Low-Income Families
The Salvation Army was founded in 1856 by William and Catherine Booth to help impoverished people in London. Since that time, the Salvation Army has expanded to work in 132 countries, providing assistance to low-income families.
Their impact and transparency ratings: Guidestar gives the Salvation Army their gold seal of transparency.
“The Salvation Army organizes and funds many initiatives to bring about real change for communities in the most need.“Salvation Army
What they do: The Salvation Army has largely focused on providing medical services for low-income families with 172 health facilities open world-wide. They also provide access to food pantries and meal delivery, transitional housing for the homeless, and unemployment assistance.
What they’ve achieved: The Salvation Army continues to make international impacts with health, providing food, and housing.They provide annual assistance to over 30 million people in the United States alone. For example, in 2020, they served over 224 million meals in the United States. Internationally between 2020 and 2021, they provided health services to over 1.5 million patients.
National Urban League: Serving the Underserved
The National Urban League was founded in 1910 in New York City by George Edmund Haynes and Ruth Standish Baldwin. They dedicated the organization to bettering the lives of African Americans in major urban areas. Today, the National Urban League offers individual and community level services in 37 states.
“The League promotes economic empowerment through education and job training, housing and community development, workforce development, entrepreneurship, health, and quality of life.”National Urban League
What they do: The National Urban League helps with foreclosure prevention and comprehensive housing counseling. This includes rental assistance and help with homelessness. The National Urban League bridges gaps in healthcare coverage by helping people who are struggling financially apply for medicaid. They also provide education about chronic conditions.
What they’ve achieved: The National Urban League has helped over 100,000 families with foreclosure prevention. 71% of these families were able to save their homes. They have also served 320,000 people through their wellness projects.
Feeding America: Feeding Those in Need
Feeding America was started in 1979 by Arizona businessman John van Hengel to help feed low-income families. After creating the first food bank and seeing other communities opening their own, today they operate 200 food banks across the country.
“Our mission is to advance change in America by ensuring equitable access to nutritious food for all in partnership with food banks, policymakers, supporters, and the communities we serve.”Feeding America
What they do: Feeding America provides food to families and individuals in need. They offer a mobile food pantry for communities without a food bank. They also offer traditional food banks and services specifically for seniors.
Lift: Empowering Parents to Make Positive Changes
Lift was founded in 1998 by Kirsten Lodal and Brian Krieter after they noticed that many services for low-income families weren’t helping parents enough. Today, Lift provides educational services for parents in four major US cities.
“LIFT’s one-on-one coaching program empowers parents to set and achieve goals – such as going back to school, improving credit, eliminating debt, or securing a living wage – that put their families on the path to economic mobility.”Lift
What they do: Lift offers assistance to low-income parents by helping them identify goals for growth. They then provide them with resources for finances, employment, and education. They also pay parents $1,200 over the course of two years to put towards these goals.
What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Lift has partnered with over 100,000 families in need. Parents who participate in Lift see an average of $63,000 in net benefits and increase their pay by $14,000 per year.
Family Promise: Ending Family Homelessness
“Our mission is to help families experiencing homelessness and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response.”Family Promise
What they do: Family Promise works to help low-income families find stable housing. They also focus on helping them keep their homes. Their services include rental and utility assistance, shelters for those who are homeless, and access to clothing closets and food pantries.
What they’ve achieved: Family Promise has helped over 1 million people find stable housing since 1988. For example, in 2020 they avoided or shortened over 28,000 episodes of homelessness. Of those who participate in their programs, an average of 81% secure housing within 9 weeks.
Habitat for Humanity: Building Homes and Lives
Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 when Millard and Linda Fuller wanted to provide families in need with affordable housing. These families worked side-by-side with volunteers to build their own homes. Today, the charity has expanded to help low-income families in 70 countries.
“Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and for their families.”Habitat for Humanity
What they do: Habitat for Humanity provides housing and housing assistance in different ways. They are best known for helping low-income families build affordable houses to live in and for helping them get loans so they can own their own homes. They also help seniors adapt their homes to make them safe to live in as they age.
What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Habitat for Humanity has helped over 39 million people build or improve their homes. In 2021 alone, they helped 4.2 million people build or improve their home and helped an additional 8.5 million people through education and advocacy.
Assistance League: Helping Communities
The Assistance League was organized in 1919 by friends Ada Edwards Laughlin and Anne Banning to help low-income families who were often overlooked by other charities. Today, the charity has 22,000 members and 120 chapters in the United States.
“Each Assistance League chapter exists to serve the unique needs and challenges of their community.”Assistance League
What they do: The Assistance League provides community-based services for low-income families including food pantries, healthcare, and education programs. They also provide school supplies and clothes to children.
What they’ve achieved: The Assistance League continues to impact communities with over 300,000 students helped by their school supply drive annually. Between 2018 and 2019, they helped 1.5 million people and logged 3 million volunteer hours.
How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?
The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that support low-income families. 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.
- Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
- 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.
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 low-income families – based on the causes that matter most to you.
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:
- AAFP: Poverty and Health
- World Vision: Home page
- World Vision: About Us
- World Vision: Our Work
- Charity Navigator: World Vision
- Guidestar: World Vision
- World Vision: Poverty in America
- World Vision: Economic Empowerment
- World Vision: Global Poverty
- World Vision: Hunger and Food
- World Vision: Donate Now
- World Vision: Volunteering
- World Vision: Knit For Kids
- World Vision: Sponsor A Child
- Society of Vincent de Paul: Home page
- Society of Vincent de Paul: About Us
- Charity Navigator: Society of Vincent de Paul
- Guidestar: Society of Vincent de Paul
- Society of Vincent de Paul: Our Services
- Society of Vincent de Paul: Housing
- Society of Vincent de Paul: Back2Work
- Society of Vincent de Paul: Annual Report
- Society of Vincent de Paul: CIAD Annual Report
- Society of Vincent de Paul: Donate
- Society of Vincent de Paul: Vehicle Donations
- Society of Vincent de Paul: Volunteering
- Salvation Army: Home Page
- Guidestar: Salvation Army
- Salvation Army: International Health Services
- Salvation Army: Food Pantries
- Salvation Army: Transitional Housing
- Salvation Army: Job Training
- Salvation Army: Perceptions of Poverty
- Salvation Army: Statistics
- Salvation Army: Annual Report
- Salvation Army: Donate
- Salvation Army: Volunteer
- Salvation Army: Donate Goods
- Salvation Army: Donate Vehicles
- National Urban League: Home page
- National Urban League: About
- Charity Navigator: National Urban League
- Guidestar: National Urban League
- National Urban League: Foreclosure Prevention
- National Urban League: Comprehensive Housing Counseling
- National Urban League: Project Wellness
- National Urban League: Donate
- National Urban League: Volunteer
- Feeding America: Home Page
- Feeding America: History
- Guidestar: Feeding America
- Charity Navigator: Feeding America
- Feeding America: Mobile Pantry
- Feeding America: Local Food Banks
- Feeding America: Senior Food Programs
- Feeding America: Why Donate
- Feeding America: 2021 Annual Report
- Feeding America: Donate
- Feeding America: Volunteer
- Feeding America: Food Drives
- Lift: Home Page
- Lift: Our Team
- Charity Navigator: Lift
- GuideStar: Lift
- Lift: Impact
- Lift: Goals
- Lift: Donate
- Lift: Fundraiser
- Family Promise: Home Page
- Family Promise: What We Do
- GuideStar: Family Promise
- Charity Navigator: Family Promise
- Family Promise: Prevention
- Family Promise: Emergency Housing
- Family Promise: Stabilization
- Family Promise: Purpose
- Family Promise: Behind the Numbers
- Family Promise: 2020 Impact Report
- Family Promise: Donate
- Family Promise: Volunteer
- Habitat for Humanity: Home Page
- Habitat for Humanity: About
- Charity Navigator: Habitat for Humanity
- GuideStar: Habitat for Humanity
- Habitat for Humanity: Home Construction
- Habitat for Humanity: Aging in Place
- Habitat for Humanity: Annual Reports
- Habitat for Humanity: Donate
- Habitat for Humanity: Volunteer
- Assistance League: Home Page
- Assistance League: About
- GuideStar: Assistance League
- Charity Navigator: Assistance League
- Assistance League: Food Programs
- Assistance League: Health Programs
- Assistance League: Education Programs
- Assistance League: Operation School Bell
- Assistance League: Community Impact
- Assistance League: Annual Report
- Assistance League: Donate
- Assistance League: Volunteer
- Assistance League: Shop