(credit: Saul Loeb/Getty Images)

(credit: Saul Loeb/Getty Images)

To help them fulfill their annual goals and realize their vision of how to make the world a better place, non-profits rely heavily on end-of-year giving. With thousands of charities competing for the public’s support at this time, it’s hard to determine which should receive your hard earned dollars. Many families choose non-profits reflecting causes important to them, such as the local museum, cancer chapter or opera house. Others opt to support charities able to create huge impact on a global scale. Whether large or small, any non-profit you decide to support should have a solid track record of accomplishment, history of ethical practices and high ratio of programmatic-to-operational spending, so you know exactly where your money is going. Giving comes from the heart as well as the wallet, so choosing wisely makes sense. If you’re looking for suggestions and want to have huge impact, these five charities are worth your consideration and discretionary income.


St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN 38105
(901) 595-3300
www.stjude.orgSt. Jude’s is a field leveler. No child, no matter how sick, is ever turned away for treatment because their parents can’t afford to pay for it. Absorbing the cost of treatment, travel, food and lodging, St. Jude’s Children Hospital makes sure its little patients receive state-of-the-art care for diseases like leukemia, HIV or brain tumors. All patients treated here are accepted via physician referral as clinical trial study participants, and through St. Jude’s unrelenting focus on research, it provides higher cure rates, less side effects and more grateful families with children who get to grow.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles
8739 Artesia Blvd.
Bellflower, CA 90706
(310) 323-4663
www.habitatla.orgNowhere is home ownership more equated with the American dream than in Los Angeles, one of the least-affordable housing markets in the country. Habitat LA provides affordable housing programs for families and individuals earning between 30 and 80 percent of the national median family income, in order to make this dream a reality for more hard working, lower wage earners. Sustainable, green building practices are a priority for every house built through the program. Habitat LA has also expanded its mission to include rehabilitation of foreclosed properties for home ownership purposes and worldwide disaster relief.


Wounded Warrior Project
4899 Belfort Rd., Ste. 300
Jacksonville, FL 32256
(904) 296-7350
www.woundedwarriorproject.orgThe Wounded Warrior Project supports all of those who have served our nation in the armed forces since September 11, 2001 and their families. Services range from mental health initiatives to economic empowerment, through a myriad number of programs, such as the Soldier Ride 4-day cycling opportunity and Warriors to Work career guidance training. Recognizing the challenges families face after deployment, the WWP works with caregivers and other household members on coping mechanisms and overall support techniques through its Reality After The Reunion program.


Human Rights Campaign
1640 Rhode Island Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036-3278
(202) 628-4160
www.hrc.orgA national organization devoted to ensuring the civil rights and safety of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, The Human Rights Campaign works towards ensuring equality for the LGBT community and works to educate the public. In addition, HRC strives to create a safer, freer and more honest America for everyone. A vast variety of programs focus on a number of community and family-related issues, including health and aging, religion and faith and workplace equality for LGBT individuals and their families.


Autism Speaks
6330 San Vicente Blvd., Suite 401
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 549-0500
www.autismspeaks.orgIn order to create a brighter future for individuals on the autism spectrum, Autism Speaks provides funding for global, biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatment and potential cure for this disorder. In order to build community and empower families, Autism Speaks also provides an action-based platform for those affected by autism to use in Washington, D.C.


Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.