25 Best Charities for Social Justice (Complete 2021 List)

25 Best Charities for Social Justice (Complete 2021 List)

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Dennis Kamprad

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Stay impactful,

If you want to fight inequality and discrimination, you can make your dollars work for the causes by leveraging the large human resources network and alliances of charitable organizations dedicated to bringing social justice to those who are marginalized.

The arguably best charity to fight for social justice is the Center for Constitutional Rights. They use the law as a positive force for social change, their work is rooted in the civil and human rights movements, and they work with directly-impacted communities to fight against all social injustice.

In this article, we will cover charities in three broad categories of social justice: inequality faced by people of color, by immigrants and refugees, and by the LGBTQ+ community. Read on to find the charity that wins your heart.

Below are our favorite charities for social justice (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

Our Favorite Charity for All Things Social Justice:

Charities for Inequality Faced by People of Color:

Charities That Support Immigration and Refugees:

Charities for LGBTQ+ Rights:

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support. And we’ll give you an overview of how you can find out how to best support your chosen charity.)

Our Favorite Charity for All Things Social Justice

First, let’s have a look at the one organization that, since 1966, has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach: The Center for Constitutional Rights.

The Center for Constitutional Rights

If only the constitution were followed, a lot of the country’s history would not be as painful for the marginalized individuals. It is evident that, unfortunately, even those who wrote the constitution and stood by it excluded certain groups because of personal biases and unfair norms.

That is why it is important to make our leaders extend the rights guaranteed by the constitution to all people alike. The Center for Constitutional Rights acts as a watchdog for these ‘slips’ to access civil rights. Interestingly, the center’s efforts are needed now more than ever.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In doing so, they work with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications.

Area of Impact: All over the United States.

Focus of mission: Legal training for social justice, on-street activism for civil liberties, and creative legal strategies in cases of constitutional significance.

Ways to Contribute: You can work directly at the center through a job or fellowship, you can take action through participating in one of their campaigns or events,  you can donate to the center, or you can simply stay in the loop through signing up for their email newsletter.

Charities for Inequality Faced by People of Color

People of color have been historically marginalized, and that still impacts their economic well being. They have fought for their civil liberties, but unconscious bias, stereotypes, and outright discrimination still plague many parts of the country. The following charities address that.

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

While social perceptions and community wellness play a certain role in improving the quality of life of those affected by racism, it takes laws to bring tangible change to the condition of civil liberties in different states.

While the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLU) takes on all issues of civil liberty, the ACLU Foundation is the arm that helps directly with litigation and communication. Whenever a case comes into the spotlight where the civil liberties of marginalized individuals are at stake, chances are the ACLU is involved directly or indirectly. The organization is among the oldest of its kind and has diversified its impact significantly in its one hundred plus years of standing by the marginalized.

Here’s an overview of the latest ACLU fights in the courts, in the supreme court, and through public policy.

Area of Impact: All over the United States.

Focus of mission: Making sure marginalized people get quality legal representation in matters of civil liberties.

Ways to contribute: The best way to support the ACLU is through direct donations to the foundation, indirectly through buying at their shop, through attending or hosting a local event, or through joining their team (full-time or as an intern).

Facing History and Ourselves

People of color have been victimized by recency bias, where the historic disadvantages they faced are discounted because of a short collective memory. These disadvantages continue to have a fundamental impact on the socio-economic position of historically marginalized people. And to make things fair once, we must face history. 

Facing History and Ourselves acts as a mirror that society must look into to understand the structural disadvantages that people of color face.

Social scientists have established that the best age to unlearn bigotry is the early schooling period. Facing History and Ourselves provides educational programs and resources for teachers so they can teach their students the historical role of racism and bigotry and how they can stand up to it in society.

Area of Impact: The United States and thirty-three other countries.

Focus of mission: Education regarding the historically marginalized groups.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the organization or get involved with one of their current events.

Southern Poverty Law Center

The civil war proved that sometimes, a dialogue is not how advancement is achieved. It takes disincentivizing racism and pushing back against prejudice to change a society’s overall treatment of marginalized races. Since 1971, the Southern Poverty Law Center has acted as a beacon of hope for the marginalized by disincentivizing white supremacy, discrimination in the workplace, and open racism. 

Today, the center has diversified its provision of services to serve the same mission it has championed for decades.

Area of impact: All over the United States.

Focus of mission: Tracking and publicly listing acts of discrimination, filing cases against new executive orders and laws that infringe constitutional rights, education regarding structural racism.

Ways to contribute: There are many ways to give to the Southern Poverty Law Center, including peer-to-peer fundraising, employer matching or simply through a donation to the organization.

Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation

One of the most crucial parts of dismantling systemic racism is managing the perception of a race. That is because the first building block of racist structures is the propagation of stereotypes that create unconscious bias. 

The Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation brings the art, heritage, and beauty of the African people to individuals of all backgrounds. This not only provides performance opportunities and the chance to be positively engaged for the people of color, but it also combats and replaces stereotypes by showing the potential of its members with the right opportunities. Championed by Alvin Ailey, the foundation has diversified its service umbrella to the theatre, dance, and community programs.

Area of Impact: New York.

Focus of mission: Bringing African heritage to people of all backgrounds to build a positive perception of people of color.

Ways to contribute: Buy tickets to the foundation’s productions, get classes, or shop in the Ailey Store.

National Civil Rights Museum

We must venerate the movement that made our country more humane so that we can continue to support such movements and become better at treating the marginalized people among us. 

The National Civil Rights Museum is dedicated to the civil rights movement that helped end certain discriminatory laws. It is located at the assassination site of the movement’s leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and has educational exhibits that chronicle the true history of civil rights in the United States.

Some of the recent displays include the Green Book exhibition. The Green Book was created by African American postman Victor Green. Its goal was to update people of color on the routes that were safe for them. 

Many places were called ‘sunset counties’ where African Americans were allowed only during daylight hours. It was advised to leave the county before sunset because the sheriffs would harm people of color found in the county during the dark. This exhibition is just one of many such educational efforts backed by the museum.

Area of Impact: Memphis.

Area of focus: Educating people on the history of civil rights in America.

Ways to contribute: Shop from the museum’s online store or donate to the museum.

Harlem Academy – Education for those in Need

One of the reasons people in extreme poverty are likely to stay in the same economic position across generations is the lack of quality education. When schools charge a high fee to admit students, the mechanism actively filters out the poor and becomes the playground for the privileged. 

This problem is too nuanced to be fixed in a broad federal stroke. The communities must be addressed one at a time, and the Harlem Academy is addressing this problem in its locale with scholarship-heavy schooling of 1 to 8th grade.

Area of Impact: New York.

Focus of mission: Education funded by 10% tuition, 87% private philanthropy, and 3% public funding.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the academy.

Charities That Support Immigration and Refugees

While we may do well in taking care of ‘our own,’ the fact remains that many people need us outside our borders. When we put barriers to immigration or disregard global education, we do so at our peril. After all, it is only by immigration that we can access the brightest minds in the world. This section covers charities that work for global goodwill and immigration reform.

Upward Globally – Immigrant Employment

There are many reasons why people come to America. Better infrastructure, a better quality of life, and access to quality education are some of these reasons. One of the problems that immigrants face upon arriving in the country is the lack of opportunities. 

To make the most of one of the greatest economies in the world, one has to first find employment. That is the battle Upward Globally has picked. With 20 years of service, the organization has provided opportunities for millions of refugees.

Area of Impact: Globally and all over the United States.

Focus of mission: Connecting employers to college graduate refugees for equity-based hiring.

How to contribute: Become a community partner organization, become a volunteer,  or donate to the charity.

Child Foundation – For High Achieving Kids in Poverty

Our children are our future, and to make sure the next generation of Americans include talented individuals from all over the world, we have to be open to letting children into the country. Unfortunately, the barriers to adoption and immigration of children become an obstacle worth tackling. 

Furthermore, the bright talent among our high achievers is taken for granted as they can be forced to drop out of school because of the inability to pay their fees and other responsibilities at home. The Child Foundation battles this and has a stellar record since its inception in 1994. It helps children who could not get into the States for a chance at a better life.

Area of impact: All over the world.

Focus of mission: Scholarships for high achieving kids living in poverty.

Ways to contribute: Sponsor a child’s education in a foreign country by paying a fraction of what it costs to get educated in America.

Hispanic Federation – For the Hispanic Community

One of the biggest pools of immigrants in the United States is Hispanic because of the proximity of these countries, the at times atrocious conditions, and the possible opportunities in the United States. However, many in the Latino community are confined to working in areas where they make below the minimum wage. This, in addition, puts Hispanic citizens at risk with a lack of access to health care and quality education. 

The Hispanic Federation has taken charge of the well being of the Latino community. They understand that it all begins with education and are committed to providing support to parents and children throughout their educational journey. How do they do that? The Hispanic Federation seeks  to provide parents and children alike with the tools to succeed in the education system.

Area of Impact: Hispanic communities in the United States.

Focus of Mission: Partnering with over a hundred organizations that provide free healthcare, accessible education, and other services to the Latino community.

Ways to contribute: You can take coordinated action based on the (at your time of reading) most relevant initiatives they are involved in or donate to the federation.

Givedirectly Inc.

One of the key freedoms afforded by cash is the choice of how one wants to spend it. That is why capitalism has persisted with its appeal despite the criticisms against it. However, when it comes to the poor, they are stripped of this choice and given clothes, books, and food. And while this helps, it keeps them fixed in the socio-economic position they are in because they are unable to use the money to buy the tools or training they need to improve their lives. 

Givedirectly Inc. believes there is a dignity to having choice and is dedicated to bringing this choice to the people who deserve it.

Area of Impact: Countries with a high population of people living under the line of poverty all over the world.

Focus of mission: connecting the vetted individuals who deserve financial support with those who can directly send money to them.

Ways to contribute: Donate to one of the families vetted by the organization through its online platform.

Oxfam International – Global Alliance for Local Impact

America is one of the most charitable countries in the world. With the donations given and advocacy championed by American citizens, many countries have experienced sustainable development. As a global collective, the philanthropic individuals in the world have lifted more people out of poverty in the last fifty years than the world has in the entirety of its history. Is this only because of a sudden change of heart? 

No, it is because of access to the charitable infrastructure where we can make our money go the farthest. Organizations like Oxfam America have made the aforementioned possible by removing effort out of philanthropy. You can simply donate your money to the causes you believe in, and the organization uses its human resources to make money matter.

Area of Impact: Over 90 countries with a high density of low-income populations.

Focus of mission: Partnering with local organizations to create long-term positive change, including access to employment, advocacy for better laws, and monetary donations.

Ways to contribute: You can work or volunteer with Oxfoam, campaign for one of their causes, join their global movement for change, or simply donate.

National Immigration Forum

America has a history of immigration that built it into the most advanced country in the world. The role of immigration in the US national identity earned it the title of the ‘nation of immigrants.’ However, recent spikes in xenophobia and a structural barrier to immigration have produced a slowdown in the cultural diversity of the nation.

The National Immigration Forum has addressed exactly this issue since the 1980s.

 And their tagline “Our nation thrives when new Americans reach their full potential” aptly highlights the benefit of their work for all Americans.

Area of Impact: The United States (on federal and local levels).

Focus of Mission: Dialogue and awareness regarding the mistreatment of immigrants and deliberate barriers to immigration.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the National Immigration Forum.

International Rescue Committee

Perhaps no one is needed as much as someone whose life is on the line. The general consensus that holds together modern life is that human life has intrinsic value. Yet, not enough is done to rescue those in need. The International Rescue Committee was founded on the recommendation of physicist Albert Einstein. It happens to be one of the few organizations that blend social justice with disaster response.

Area of Impact: Worldwide with a priority to fight the worst humanitarian crises. 26 US cities and 40 countries have been impacted so far.

Focus of mission: Providing stability when an area is disrupted by crisis, Upholding educational infrastructure, giving access to emergency healthcare, providing economic opportunities and relief.

Ways to contribute: You can get involved through working with them, becoming a volunteer, or by donating.

UNICEF USA – For Children Worldwide

When making their money work for social good, some people prefer to go to the top. They believe that an organization that is large enough has the economies of scale that can make their dollars make a bigger impact than smaller charities. 

When it comes to charitable efforts, there are very few organizations as big as UNICEF. Though UNICEF impacts 190 countries, the UNICEF USA chapter focuses on domestic wellbeing and is one of the most recognized, transparent, charitable organizations in the States.

Area of Impact: All 50 states and all countries served by UNICEF globally.

Focus of mission: Putting children first and making sure no child dies of preventable diseases, children’s education, and preserving innocence.

Ways to Contribute: You could help by advocating for humanitarian causes, shopping from the organization’s store, attending an event, or by joining their “guardian circle” through a financial contribution.

Migration Policy Institute

One of the barriers to migration is the locals’ fear of their own economy. Slogans like ‘immigrants are stealing our jobs‘ become a war cry of xenophobes who use fear to get people on their side. In such an environment, the need for experts who can acknowledge the impact of immigration and design policy to allow immigration while retaining the local communities’ financial and cultural position. That is what the Migration Policy Institute aims to do.

Area of Impact: The United States

Focus of mission: Analysing and researching the impact of migration to produce sustainable solutions.

Ways to contribute: You can donate or also apply to work for the organization as a staff member or an intern or share their publications to advance awareness.

Church World Services

There are many reasons for charitable giving, including a passion for a specific cause, tax incentives, and general goodwill. One of the biggest influences of unconditional giving is one’s religious influence. 

Church World Services is a faith-based philanthropic organization with hundreds of denominations of Christianity that produce a strong infrastructure for global giving. If your charitable efforts are driven by faith and religion, this could be the right fit for your donations and support.

Area of Impact: Countries all over the world, including the United States.

Focus of mission: Ending world hunger, sustainable development.

Ways to contribute: The best way to contribute is to donate to the Church World Services.

Texas Civil Rights Project

The United States is not a single homogenous country. With state laws and being enforced on the county and city level, it becomes important that each state with a bad record of civil rights and institutional discrimination has an organization involved in advocacy and activism on the cellular level. That’s one of the key responsibilities of the Texas Civil Rights Project, which has a twenty-five-year history of serving these locales.

Area of Impact: Austin, Dallas, El Paso, and Houston.

Focus of mission: Pro-bono legal counsel, defending voting rights, and fighting institutional discrimination.

Ways to contribute: You can get involved through many different ways, including joining a campaign, joining their team and working with them or donating to the project’s civil rights fund.

Charities for LGBTQ+ Rights

With the legalization of gay marriage on the federal level, the LGBT community has come a long way. But unfortunately, this has resulted in the dismissal of civil discrimination against the communities. Just because gay marriage is legal does not mean it is accepted. There are still a lot of social stigmas to fight. These charities address that.

Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)

It has been established that one of the most significant predictors of one’s life success is whether or not one is supported in their dreams by friends, family, and parents. Partners, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), as is indicated in the name, is an organization that encourages parents, friends, and family of homosexual individuals to stand by their lesbian and gay friends/ relatives. 

Since the 1970s, this organization has ensured the wellbeing of homosexual individuals by sticking to its mission. As the society around us changes, so do the challenges faced by lesbian and gay youth. What remains constant is that the family’s support goes a long way.

The organization has 400 chapters, including a national chapter that collaborates with brands and corporations to bring awareness to the public in general. It was founded by Jeanne Manford, a parent who led by example and stood by her gay son Morty in the 1972 Christopher Street Liberation Day March. 

With over four decades of experience, the organization has expanded its role to allies and family of Queer and Transgender Individuals in addition to those of lesbian and gay youth.

Area of Impact: All over the United States.

Focus of Mission: Normalizing a positive view of parents, families, and friends supporting their LGBTQ+ relatives/ friends.

Ways to contribute: Donate to the organization.

Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network

When trans adults are asked about the most difficult aspects of their life, the most common answer is discovering themselves at a young age and realizing the lack of freedom in expressing their identity because of their surroundings. That is why it is incredibly important that social justice movements keep the youth in mind. 

After all, not only are they in the most need of support, but they also are better at organizing and educating their peers provided the right resources.

The Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network helps the next generation of trans individuals by empowering them with tools for organizing and educating people around them. It also makes them realize that they have those who support and validate them despite how the world might seem like.

Area of Impact: All over the United States.

Focus of mission: Trans and Queen Youth Education and Activism.

Ways to contribute: Donate to the charity or start a GSA chapter (for queer and trans youth only).

The Center of Colfax

While virtual support and online communities have become accessible to LGBTQ+ youth and individuals, the need for the organization on a state level still matters. After all, legislation that carries the most impact happens on the state level. 

Today, The Center of Colfax does exactly that as the center has retained a physical organizing space since 1976. The Denver based organization makes sure the LGBTQ+ members and the community in its area of impact receive the support they need in resources and education to live their lives more happily.

Area of Impact: Colorado.

Focus of Mission: giving LGBTQ+ individuals in Colorado access to education, resources, and a space to gather and organize for support.

Ways to contribute: Donate to this charity.

Los Angeles LGBT Center

Sometimes you want to make your dollar go the farthest in contributing to a cause. That’s when you prioritize organizations that are efficient in the services they provide. Especially when it’s an organization that has already provided services for more LGBT people than just about any other organization in the world.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center goes the extra mile in contributing to the LGBT community of Los Angeles by focusing on four different aspects of services: health services, social services & housing, culture & education, and leadership & advocacy. Their more than 800 employees fight against “bigotry and the struggle to build a better world, a world in which LGBT people can be healthy, equal, and complete members of society.”

Area of Impact: Los Angeles

Focus of mission: LGBT Health, Social Services and Housing for LGBT, LGBT Culture and Education, and the promotion of Leadership and Advocacy.

Ways to contribute: Donate to the center.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center

Our society’s views regarding the LGBT community have changed quite a lot since the 1980s. This has been reflected in legislation and representation in pop culture. But many people take for granted the role of advocacy groups and charitable organizations that continue to fight for LGBT rights and representation.

The Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center is at the heart of providing emotional and essential support to the LGBT community and has been the backbone of the movement since 1983. As of now, an average of six thousand LGBT individuals receive support from the center every week.

Furthermore, the social aspect is key for the LGBT community because they are often robbed of social acceptance. The members of this center organize in over 600 groups, to help ensure each visitor gets plenty of networking and social support.

Area of Impact: New York

Focus of mission: Social services for the LGBT community, transforming public policy positively, and educational programs with recreational elements.

Ways to contribute: There are many different ways to support the center, including center membership, fundraising for the center, stock donations, and volunteering.

Openhouse – Old Age Home for LGBTQ+ Senior Citizens

Many LGBT Youths have complained that they are only given a voice while actively marching and demanding change. They assert that upon seizing activity, society becomes complacent with older ways of discrimination and judgment. It can be tiring to be expected to stay active, especially as people age.

When LGBT individuals begin aging, they find themselves unable to actively advocate and fight for their rights. With so much emphasis on LGBT youth and the next generation, someone has to take care of the senior citizens in the community. That is that space Openhouse positions itself in. With an emphasis on the older people among the LGBT community, the organization provides a suite of curated services.

Area of Impact: San Francisco.

Focus of mission: Housing for LGBT community, Wellness, and Community Engagement.

Ways to contribute: Donate or volunteer.

Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center

It can be incredibly empowering to learn that one is not alone. By affirming that being gay is nothing unnatural, the Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center helps fight the stigma and the loneliness associated with coming out as homosexual in an unaccepting society.

When LGBT individuals hear judgment and criticism of different sorts, it is important that a positive voice balances this out. Affirmations center fills this role and has become a cornerstone in its locale.

Area of Impact: Ferndale, Michigan.

Focus of mission: Positive community building and peer support.

Ways to contribute: Donate to the organization or volunteer at the center.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on this list are, we deem, the best charities for social justice. But don’t just take our word for it! You might want to do your own due diligence for each of these – as you should. Or for a particular charity that you may have in mind.

Either way, check out our six-step approach to select the best charity to support:

  1. Check out the charity website and their mission. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. The website is the best place to start. And while you are on it, also check out their mission to see how clearly you align with it.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 the progress a charity makes in reaching its targets, the chances are not making positive change.
  4. 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.
  5. Double-check the charity’s independent ratings. Two great places for this are Charity Navigator, the largest database on charities that analyze their financial health, accountability, and transparency, and Charity Watch, which details the amount of money spent on charitable activities versus overheads.
  6. 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 You Can Support Your Favorite Charity?

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.

Final Thoughts

If you have your heart set on bringing social justice to those in need, it is important that you pick a social justice cause that you are the most passionate about.

Some of the top social justice causes continue to be:

  • LGBTQ+ rights and discrimination against individuals in the LGBT community.
  • The marginalization of people of color and systemic racism resulting from a lack of awareness.
  • Barriers to immigration and the refugee crisis happening worldwide.

Once you have opted for the social justice issue you care for the most, it is time to select the charity that you believe will contribute the most to social justice.

Stay impactful,



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:

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