9 Best Charities That Support Trauma Victims (Complete 2024 List)

9 Best Charities That Support Trauma Victims (Complete 2024 List)

By
Alycia O'Dell

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Over 70% of adults in the US alone, have experienced some form of trauma. For some people, emotional responses to traumatic events will resolve over time. But for others, those emotional responses linger, impacting their ability to function, damaging their relationships, and exacerbating their depression. Fortunately, organizations around the world are helping traumatized individuals heal and move past their experiences. So we had to ask: What are the best charities that support trauma victims?

The best charities that support trauma victims are The Home for Little Wanderers and Mental Health America. Charities like NATAL and Victims First support those traumatized by violent acts resulting in mass casualties.

Whether you want to help an abused mother build a new life for herself and her children, create permanent stability for a foster child, or ensure victims of gun violence receive the support they need, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that support trauma victims are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to contribute.

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

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact, transparency ratings, and achievements. They operate primarily throughout the US and Canada, but some support trauma victims internationally.

Many of these charities provide direct counseling services to those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, while others provide resources to guide families through their loved one’s healing journey. 

Some cater to specific populations like soldiers, police officers, or children. Others cater to victims of specific traumatizing events, like violent crime, child abuse, or human trafficking.

Some of the charities below focus on providing professional development to ensure that practitioners are up to date with the latest evidence-based treatments. In contrast, others take a more holistic approach by incorporating activities like art, yoga, and horsemanship.

Yet, they all share the same goal of supporting victims of trauma.

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Support Trauma Victims in 2024

Below are our favorite charities that support trauma victims (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

The Home for Little Wanderers: Better, Brighter Futures for Kids

Logo for The Home for Little Wanderers
The Home for Little Wanderers -  Turning Hurt into Hope

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Home for Little Wanderers holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Programs that create permanent, positive change.”

The Home for Little Wanderers

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What they do:

The Home for Little Wanderers supports trauma victims through their community-based programs which are designed to ensure the emotional, social, educational, and physical well-being of youth up to the age of 26. For example, The Center for Early Childhood provides services for children suffering from trauma-related challenges like attachment, anxiety, and depression. As another example, they provide in-home counseling, and family stabilization services through their Safe at Home program, while their Young Adult Programs help youth transitioning out of the foster care system. Moreover, the organization utilizes evidence-based clinical approaches to treat trauma, like Integrative Treatment of Complex Trauma and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

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What they’ve achieved:

The Home For Little Wanderers is the oldest child welfare agency in the US. Each year, their team of over 1,000 providers-including psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals- serves more than 15,000 children and families. And, their advocacy efforts have given life to two new organizations; the Aging Out Youth Coalition and the Massachusetts Permanency Practice Alliance, to drive policy impacting vulnerable children. Moreover, they are the largest mental health provider for Boston Public Schools.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to The Home for Little Wanderers through their website. You can also support the organization by becoming a mentor or organizing an Essential Items Drive.

2

Mental Health America: Action Before Crisis

Logo for Mental Health America
Understanding our #B4Stage4 Philosophy

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Their transparency & ratings:

Mental Health America holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

Crisis is not a starting point.”

Mental Health America

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What they do:

Mental Health America supports trauma victims through advocacy, education, research, and integrative services. They provide comprehensive resources on trauma to help those suffering and their loved ones navigate relevant mental health challenges, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. For example, their MHA Screening test for post-traumatic stress disorder, allows people to learn more about their conditions, connect with peer support, and find a local treatment provider. They also offer tools to help with everyday challenges, like changing negative thoughts using AI-generated positivity, optimizing your home environment to promote mental wellness, and practicing radical self-acceptance

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Mental Health America has educated millions of people about mental illnesses, including those impacting victims of trauma. For example, their MHA Screening tool has helped more than 21 million people gain insight into their mental health. Moreover, their 2022 campaign for Mental Health Month reached more than 100 million people.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Mental Health America via their website. You can also get involved by joining their advocacy movement or creating your own fundraiser.

3

NATAL: Supporting the Mental Health of Traumatized Citizens

Logo for NATAL
NATAL's 25th Anniversary

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Their transparency & ratings:

American Friends of NATAL holds a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Bronze Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

Our hearts need an Iron Dome.

NATAL

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What they do:

ATAL provides multidisciplinary mental health treatment to direct and indirect victims of war and terror-related trauma in Israel, regardless of religion or political affiliation. Their programs advance the resiliency of Israeli society through direct treatment, prevention, public awareness, and research. For example, their Clinical Unit provides both individual and group therapy to traumatized individuals. In addition, their Community Outreach Unit provides special programming throughout Israel to equip the population with skills to remain resilient in national emergencies. Furthermore, their Trauma Advocacy and Public Relations Unit works to normalize seeking psychological assistance for trauma.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, NATAL’s services have reached more than 450,000 children and adults across Israel. For example, in 2022, a wave of terror attacks in Israel led to a 340% increase in calls to NATAL’s Helpline, indicating that an even greater increase will result from the ongoing Israel-Hamas War. And, Direct Relief has pledged a $200,000 grant to help NATAL treat victims of trauma during and after the ongoing conflict.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to NATAL through their website. You can also support the charity’s mission by attending training or utilizing their educational materials.

4

Victims First: Victim-Centric Fundraising and Education

Logo for Victims First
An URGENT Message from Families and Survivors of Mass Shootings

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Their transparency & ratings:

Victims First holds a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

Dedicated to empowering victims of mass casualty crime.

Victims First

⚒️

What they do:

Victims First supports individuals traumatized by mass casualty crime by providing financial support, advocacy, and public education. For example, their National Mass Shooting Victim’s Fund provides emergency financial assistance to those impacted by mass shootings to cover expenses like medical bills, rent, and travel. They also offer trauma-informed, victim-centric Community Preparedness Education to promote an ethical and humane response to mass casualty crimes. Furthermore, they provide in-person and remote support in the immediate aftermath of tragedy and act as a watchdog to ensure other organizations are raising and distributing funds ethically.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, Victims First has responded to 50 mass casualty crimes by providing direct, immediate, and long-term assistance to traumatized victims and communities. Since 2021, they have collected and directly distributed over $10.71 million across 1,258 survivors and victims’ families. Furthermore, their Best Practices for Mass Casualty Crime has been adopted across the US and abroad as a guide on organizing response efforts without re-victimizing those impacted.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Victims First through their website. You can also support the organization by participating in their social media campaigns.

5

Child Mind Institute: Trauma Support for the Developing Brain

Logo for Child Mind Institute
No Child Should Suffer: 60 second PSA

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Child Mind Institute holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

Reaching struggling kids wherever they are.”

Child Mind Institute

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What they do:

The Child Mind Institute supports child trauma victims through three key initiatives: Care, Education, and Science. For example, through their Care initiative, parents can have their children evaluated and treated for trauma-related mental health disorders, like depression, social anxiety, and stress. As another example, their Education initiative’s School and Community Programs include Trauma Treatment Groups in Schools, an evidence-based treatment for students between the ages of 8 and 18 who have experienced a traumatic event. Furthermore, their Family Resource Center offers resources to help parents support their children, including how to cope after a traumatic event. And the Science initiative drives research into the causes of mental health and learning challenges in developing brains.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Child Mind Institute has treated more than 15,300 patients across 45 countries, over 75% of whom received services for free or at a reduced cost. Their Healthy Brain Network has included more than 6,880 children and the data has been cited in more than 1,289 research articles. Furthermore, each month up to 2 million parents and caregivers rely on childmind.org for credible information regarding their child’s mental health.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Child Mind Institute via their website. You can also register to participate in an event by attending or becoming a sponsor.

6

House of Ruth: Empowering Survivors of Domestic Violence

Logo for National Alliance on Mental Illness
House of Ruth Domestic Violence Support Center

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Their transparency & ratings:

House of Ruth holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Hope starts here.”

House of Ruth

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What they do:

House of Ruth supports survivors of intimate partner violence through comprehensive, trauma-informed services that help them break the cycle of abuse and achieve independence. For example, in 1998, they opened the Domestic Violence Support Center to provide crisis intervention and mental health assistance to women and children impacted by domestic violence. The center provides both individual counseling and case management services, so survivors can heal while also planning for the future, including housing and employment. Furthermore, in 1990, they founded Kidspace to serve young children who have experienced homelessness, abuse, or poverty.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, House of Ruth has empowered thousands of traumatized women and children to break the cycle of abuse and achieve independence. In 2023, their programs served more than 15,000 individuals. For example, 118 victims of domestic violence received individual and group counseling services through their Domestic Violence Support Center, while their Kidspace facility in Washington DC’s Ward 7 provided developmental and therapeutic daycare for 56 previously houseless children.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to House of Ruth through their website. You can also support the organization by volunteering or making an in-kind donation.

7

Save the Children: Protecting Trauma-Exposed Children

Logo for Save the Children
I Am The Future | Save the Children TV Advert

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Their transparency & ratings:

Save the Children holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

All children deserve a healthy start in life.”

Save the Children

⚒️

What they do:

Save the Children supports trauma-exposed children through their protection and rehabilitation programs. For example, their HEART program is an evidence-based approach to psychosocial support in which children learn to adapt and overcome their trauma through arts-based group activities. As another example, their Journey of Hope program draws on children’s strengths to support their resilience by normalizing emotions and developing positive coping strategies through play, arts, and literacy. Moreover, they work to protect children from traumatizing situations, like child trafficking, child marriage, and gender-based violence.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Save the Children has changed the lives of over 1 billion children, including those who have experienced trauma. Since 2013, their HEART program has supported more than 1 million children across 30 countries, and they have helped reduce child marriage by one-third since 1990. And, in 2022 alone, their programs reached over 118 million children, including helping 3.8 million live a life free from violence.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Save the Children via their website. You can also participate in a fundraiser, volunteer, or sponsor a child.

8

Concerns of Police Survivors: Support for Families of Fallen Officers

Logo for Concerns of Police Survivors
The Reason Why

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Their transparency & ratings:

Concerns of Police Survivors holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

Rebuilding shattered lives of survivors and co-workers affected by line-of-duty deaths.

Concerns of Police Survivors

⚒️

What they do:

Concerns of Police Survivors’s programs and services support families and co-workers of fallen police officers as they overcome the trauma of loss. For example, their C.O.P.S. Kids Counseling Program provides financial assistance to families seeking therapy for their child. Additionally, their Hands-On Programs provide retreats for family members where they can grieve and process their loss among peers, such as the Spouses Retreat, Parents Retreat, and C.O.P.S. Kids Camp. Furthermore, they provide college scholarships to children and spouses of fallen officers.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Concerns of Police Survivors has reached more than 50,000 family members and co-workers of fallen police officers. For example, in 2022 alone, 214 survivors attended their C.O.P.S. Kids Camp, while their Spouses Retreat and Parents Retreat hosted 133 and 169 survivors, respectively. In the same year, they awarded $210,499 in scholarships to 69 surviving children and spouses, bringing their total to over $2.3 million since the scholarship program’s inception in 1994.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Concerns of Police Survivors via their website. You can also support the organization by participating in Project Blue Light or fundraising.

9

Trauma Institute and Child Trauma Institute: Professional Development to Maximize Healing

Logo for Trauma Institute and Child Trauma Institute
Clients talk about their experiences with intensive trauma-focused therapy (EMDR and PC)

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Trauma Institute and Child Trauma Institute holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator

Get your life back.”

The Trauma Institute and Child Trauma Institute

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What they do:

The Trauma Institute and Child Trauma Institute supports trauma victims by equipping clinicians, researchers, and other stakeholders with the most innovative information and resources to help their clients heal. For example, their Trauma Therapy training offers providers continuing education courses in research-based treatment approaches, like EMDR and Progressive Counting. They also offer certification packages to help practitioners enhance their knowledge and repertoire of treatment approaches, as well as consultation services to ensure accurate implementation. Moreover, they directly provide Intensive Therapy retreats, an approach in which participants spend full, consecutive days working through their trauma with a highly skilled professional.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Trauma Institute and Child Trauma Institute has helped thousands of mental health practitioners in over 20 countries around the world enhance their ability to serve trauma victims. For example, in 2022, they presented 46 teaching and training events, reaching almost 2,000 mental health professionals. In the same year, they provided 171 Intensive Therapy retreats, 70 of which were provided at no cost thanks to their Victims of Crime grant-funded program.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Trauma Institute and Child Trauma Institute via their website. You can also support the organization’s mission by utilizing their educational resources or subscribing to their blog.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that support trauma victims. 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. Familiarise 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 websites 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. 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 trauma victims—based on the causes that matter most to you./al

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Alycia

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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