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17 Charities You Should Donate To This Black History Month

A little change can change the world.

Every February for nearly the past 50 years, the United States has been observing Black History Month. The holiday has always been a time to honor, learn about, and celebrate black history. And what better way to do that than to donate to those working hardest to make racial equality a reality in America? In the spirit of justice, here are 17 renowned charities that could use your help this Black History Month as they try to make the world a better place. While there are countless other charities that are also deserving, these are a great place to start.

National Civil Rights Museum

civil rights museum

This museum opened in 1991 in Memphis, Tennessee, taking over the Lorraine Motel, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination more than two decades prior.

The National Civil Rights Museum puts on exhibits that "illustrate chapters of the fight for civil rights in our country in order to promote better understanding of the struggles involved," according to their website. The exhibits begin with the early days of slavery and continue to the present fight for racial equality. Dr. Clayborne Carson of Stanford University, a noted King scholar, has said the museum provides the "best and most recent scholarship on civil rights available today."

With three-quarters of all donations going towards the programs and services it delivers, the National Civil Rights Museum is a worthy recipient of your dollars this Black History Month.

You can make your donation here.

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

naacp legal defense fund

The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF) was founded in 1940 under the guidance of Thurgood Marshall in order to fight for justice for African Americans. According to their mission statement, their aim is to make "structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans."

Outside the legal system, the LDF also does advocacy work and policy research, puts on educational programs, and provides scholarships for outstanding African-American students. As per Charity Navigator, they have an outstanding record of transparency, scoring a 96 out of 100.

You can make your donation here.

The Sentencing Project

sentencing project

So much jarring information has come to light in recent years regarding mass incarceration and racial disparities in the criminal justice system. And that's where The Sentencing Project comes in.

This organization, which was founded in 1986, is foremost in its field in promoting research and challenging the way Americans think about criminal punishment. In 2010, for example, the organization played a seminal role in passing the Fair Sentencing Act, which was signed by former President Barack Obama.

A whopping 86 percent of donations The Sentencing Project receives are spent on the programs and services delivered, according to Charity Navigator.

You can make your donation here.

Equal Justice Initiative

equal justice initiative

The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)—which was founded in 1989 by public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson—also works to remedy the problems of mass incarceration. Their approach, however, is in the courtrooms, providing expert representation to those who have been "illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons." In addition, this organization advocates for the abolition of the death penalty and more effective means for convicts to reintegrate into society.

In 2018, EJI opened The Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama to preserve the history of racism and slavery in America. The site holds a wealth of archival materials, as well as artworks by notable African-American artists.

The EJI has an impressive perfect score from Charity Navigator in terms of their financials, as well as their accountability and transparency.

You can make your donation here.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund

thurgood marshall college fund

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is only about 30 years old, but it's the largest organization in the nation that represents HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) and predominantly black institutions. Providing leadership, lobbying, job recruiting, and scholarships, TMCF helps to groom the next generation of cultural leaders.

Like EJI, they are also one of only a handful of organizations to receive a score of 100 on their transparency from Charity Navigator. And their achievements speak for themselves: In 2017 alone, they helped to confer more than 30,500 undergraduate degrees, 7,500 graduate degrees, and about 2,000 doctorate degrees.

You can make your donation here.

Facing History and Ourselves

facing history and ourselves

Facing History and Ourselves (FHAO) seeks to educate students of all backgrounds about the history of racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism.

A majority of their work, however, is aimed towards "underserved urban areas," helping to provide an education these kids may not otherwise receive. By working with individual teachers and school districts, FHAO tailors their programs specifically to every situation to ensure effectiveness.

The organization, which was founded in 1976, scored an impeccable 100 on financial transparency, as per Charity Navigator.

You can make your donation here.

Black AIDS Institute

black aids institute

The Black AIDS Institute, which was founded in 1999, is the only national HIV/AIDs think tank focused solely on African Americans. Their mission "is to stop the AIDS pandemic in black communities by engaging and mobilizing black institutions and individuals in efforts to confront HIV."

They provide information on health policy, train individuals in best practices, and offer technical assistance, all from an "unapologetically black point of view."

Charity Navigator reports that 82 percent of the charity's donations is spent on their programs and services, which are truly crucial when you look at the statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while approximately 12 percent of the total U.S. population is black, almost half (44 percent) of all new HIV infections in 2010 were among black individuals. Also, black people are almost eight times more likely to contract HIV.

You can make your donation here.

My Brother's Keeper Alliance

brothers keeper alliance

The My Brother's Keeper Alliance (MBKA), which was launched by former President Obama in 2014, seeks to cultivate communities that empower young men of color. As of 2018, 250 cities, counties, and tribal nations across the globe have accepted the MBKA Community Challenge.

MBKA also provides funding and support for communities that have proven to "reduce youth violence, grow mentorship programs, and measurably improve the lives of boy and young men of color." Their initiatives include fellowships, a community leadership corp, and a scholars program, among others.

You can make your donation here.

The I Project

the i project

Eva Maria Lewis, a teen from Chicago's South Side, founded the The I Project in 2015 in an attempt to support queer women of color under the age of 20. The I Project runs a host of programs supporting urban youth in Chicago, prioritizing the inclusion and benefit of the most oppressed subsets of society.

Currently, they are fundraising to provide in-school laptops at Bouchet Elementary School, where the majority of the students do not meet state standards. Lewis hopes to raise $25,000 so that the school has a 1:1 student to laptop ratio.

You can make your donation here.

100 Black Men of America

100 black men of america

In 1963, a group of distinguished African Americans in New York City who wanted to improve their communities formed 100 Black Men of America, which is now one of the country's largest mentorship programs.

Its inaugural members included visionaries like Jackie Robinson, so it has a well-worn track record. Today, 100 Black Men of America boasts a membership of 10,000 members reaching over 125,000 minority youths. Despite their growth, however, their tenets remain the same: "respect for family, spirituality, justice, and integrity."

Their ratings have continued to improve over the years, according to Charity Navigator. As of 2018, 100 Black Men of America has an impressive 86 out of 100 in terms of accountability and transparency. And the organization promises that "89¢ out of every $1 donated at a national level goes directly to serving our youth and communities through programs." 

You can make your donation here.

Black Lives Matter

black lives matter

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin case, Black Lives Matter (BLM) formed to "build local power and to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes." Member-led and chapter-based, the organization is grassroots to the core. BLM also seeks to bring members of the black community who have been marginalized by past liberation movements into the fold, including "trans folk, disabled folks, undocumented folks, and all black lives along the gender spectrum."

With chapters all across the country, it's easy to donate not just your money, but your time, too. If you choose to do the former, you can make your financial donation here.

Black Girls CODE

black girls code

Founded in 2011, Black Girls CODE is committed to teaching underprivileged African-American girls computer programming languages. Their goal is to "train 1 million girls by 2040," in the hopes they'll be the ones to fill high-paying computing jobs.

As of 2017, the organization had trained over 6,000 young woman nationally. As a sign of their progress, they were recently granted a new home inside Google's headquarters in New York City.

"Black girls, brown girls, tan girls—they matter," the organization's founder, Kimberly Bryant, told the New York Daily News. "They are worth expending dollars, ties, support."

You can make your donation here.

The Innocence Project

the innocence project

Twenty-five years ago, two law professors—Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld—founded The Innocence Project, which uses DNA testing to exonerate men and women wrongly convicted by the justice system. As of 2018, they'd freed 362 wrongfully convicted men and women, while helping to find 158 of the actual perpetrators.

Such was the case with Darryl Hunt, an African-American man from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who was wrongfully convicted for the rape and the murder of Deborah Sykes, a young white newspaper copy editor. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1984 and was exonerated after serving nearly 20 years of his sentence.

Hunt went on to volunteer for The Innocence Project himself, which says a lot about the organization. They also have social workers who provide support to the freed men and women as they reintegrate into society.

In addition, The Innocence Project testifies before Congress and other governmental bodies to argue for effective criminal justice reform.

You can make your donation here.

Susan G. Komen For the Cure

susan g komen

This might seem like an odd choice for a charity to donate to during Black History Month, but the fight to end breast cancer is particularly important to the black community. There are nearly 41 percent more breast cancer deaths amid African-American women compared to white women, according to Stacy Nagai of Susan G. Komen For the Cure. "The need for early detection is higher than ever," she explains.

A donation to Susan G. Komen, which has a 96 rating in accountability and transparency from Charity Navigation, can help increase free detection services for underserved groups.

You can make your donation here.

Point Foundation

point foundation

The Point Foundation is the nation's largest provider of higher education scholarships for LGBTQ youth. Considering that 75 percent of those currently on scholarship from the Point Foundation are people of color, it's the perfect place to donate for Black History Month.

In addition to scholarships, The Point Foundation also provides mentoring and leadership development training, while requiring its scholars to develop and perform an annual community service project.

And with a perfect 100 rating from Charity Navigator in accountability and transparency, you can trust your money is really going to those who need it.

You can make your donation here.

Black Youth Project

black youth project

Black Youth Project has two aims: 1) Do research on what young black Americans think and what challenges they're confronting, and 2) Provide a platform that amplifies their voices and ideas. This organization creates content for a young black audience that's by a young black audience. Plus, they also run fellowship programs in Chicago.

You can make your donation here.

Associated Black Charities

associated black charities

Kisha A. Brown—an attorney, organizer, and founder of Justis Connection—says that any list of charities to donate to during Black History Month "must include Associated Black Charities."

This Baltimore-based organization was founded in 1985 by ministers and businessmen "to represent and respond to issues of special significance to Maryland's African-American communities." ABC raises and distributes funds in highly targeted, specific efforts, Brown says. Three decades later, she adds, "they are leading the charge to close the wealth gaps that put so many African-American families at a disadvantage in achieving the American dream."

You can make your donation here.

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