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Make a Difference This Holiday Season: Top-Rated Charities


I love to focus the end of my year on giving, and so I thought it would be nice to write about some top-rated charities that get great reviews on Charity Watch that I think are worth donating to this holiday season! I tried to pick charities that do really interesting, useful, and necessary things, but that you may not have heard about. I would love to hear about favorite charities that you support in the comments!

American Refugee Committee

This group provides services to refugee communities around the world, from shelter, clean water and sanitation, to health care, skills training, and more.

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

We don’t understand very much at all about how brains work. There is a lot of work to be done here!


Getting a cancer diagnosis is overwhelming. This non-profit provides telephone, online, and face-to-face counseling, support groups, education, and financial and co-payment assistance. All of their services are free.

Curesearch for Children’s Cancer

I want to live to see a day when all children with cancer get to grow up.

Donors Choose.org

I discovered this charity that pairs teachers who need classroom supplies with donors earlier this year. One of the biggest problems with our public school education system is that the school districts that have parents donating time and supplies are often the ones that already the best off. I love that this site helps to mediate this issue somewhat, and it is a lot of fun picking projects to support.

HealthRight International

They are working to create sustainable access to health for marginalized and vulnerable populations.

National Alliance to End Homelessness

Because everyone needs a home, and this is an issue that I think we need to talk about more.

Save the Children

This is a fairly well-known organization, but I wanted to highlight them because I believe that we should do anything we can for the next generation. This group provides valuable services for children all around the world.

The Fund for Global Human Rights

Because we need a world where people are treated kindly and with respect.


Can you imagine life without water?


Donating to charities is one way to make a difference, but certainly not the only way! What are you doing to give back this holiday season? What can you do to make the world  a better place?

MaryAnne at Mama Smiles
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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

8 thoughts on “Make a Difference This Holiday Season: Top-Rated Charities”

  1. Elisa | blissfulE

    I support a water charity through Amazon Smile, and we also donate to Caritas to help end world poverty and injustice.

  2. jeannine: waddleeahchaa

    Our children pack Operation Christmas Boxes each year. They purchase items with their own money and they always make a personal craft /toy to include.

    We also support Agape International Missions, a grassroots organization fighting the sex trafficking of children in Cambodia. They rescue and lovingly rehabilitate girls. They are also proactive in the community providing healthcare, a women’s community center, a gym for young men and the elementary school with which I volunteer.

    Thank you for putting together this list. We also donate to some of those you highlighted.

  3. Natalie PlanetSmartyPants

    Ticia is thinking of http://www.heifer.org/, I think. That’s what my 8 year old wants to donate. We also contribute to local Second Harvest, to Save the Children, Donors Choose, and Alzheimer research.

  4. Hmmm….. Now of course I can’t think of the names of the group I’m thinking of donating to this year. They provide animals for families in different countries to help people become self-sufficient. I can picture the brochure you look at, and everything, but can’t remember the name.

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