You can help neighbors in need with #GivingTuesday donations
While we're still giddy about the joy our Black Friday steals and Cyber Monday deals will bring to our loved ones, Tuesday marks another day dedicated to bringing joy to others.
This is #GivingTuesday, an unofficial holiday urging people to donate to their favorite charity in the spirit of the season.
Launched last year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as an online push on social media, #GivingTuesday made an immediate impact for charitable organizations. Two donation processing companies reported seeing a roughly 50 percent increase in donations over the previous Tuesday after Thanksgiving, according to the #GivingTuesday website, givingtuesday.org.
This year, several local organizations are actively promoting #GivingTuesday and have secured matching grants for donations.
Over the past few years, we have featured a number of local nonprofit groups working to help neighbors in need and to make our corner of the world a bit brighter. Today, we share details about many of these charitable organizations -- all of which would be grateful for your gift on #GivingTuesday.
Edward Hospital SHARE Program
Mission: To serve and support parents who have lost a baby during pregnancy or soon after birth.
Services: SHARE support groups, for parents who have experienced ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant death, meet regularly at Edward Hospital, 801 S. Washington St., Naperville, and the Edward Plainfield Outpatient Center. SHARE also offers counseling services, assistance with cremation or burial costs, bereavement training and education, and memory boxes to recognize the lost child.
• Sharing Hope support groups, for parents who have experienced a loss and are now pregnant or considering pregnancy, meet monthly at the hospital.
• The Wings of Hope Angel Garden at Edward Hospital offers parents a place for reflection and remembrance.
Reach: Some programs open to anyone; some services are for those who deliver their babies at Edward Hospital.
Fundraising: Programs are supported largely with proceeds from the annual A Walk to Remember each October in Naperville.
Next event: Service of Remembrance begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, 821 S. Washington St., Naperville. Attendees should bring a memorial ornament to display on the SHARE tree at Edward Hospital throughout the holiday season.
Mission: To end homelessness in DuPage County.
Services: Overnight shelter offered daily year round; each individual offered three meals; family shelter available.
• Permanent supportive housing offered at low cost to individuals homeless longer than one year or four times in the past three years.
• The Client Service Center offers individual case management and counseling to address the cause of homelessness and assist with planning for re-establishing self-sufficiency.
• The Education and Employment Center assists with school and job training, career development, employment and financial literacy.
Reach: DuPage County
Fundraising: Taste of Hope on March 6, DuPage PADS Strikes Back bowling event on April 12; Wake Up Your Spirit Breakfast was in November, and the DuPage PADS 5K and 10K were in September.
Kathryn Bender Memorial Foundation
Mission: To provide financial assistance and support to scientific research and public education regarding Long QT syndrome, a heart disease that can cause sudden death, in memory of a 17-year-old Naperville girl who died unexpectedly before a dance performance.
Services: The foundation works with and supports Young Hearts for Life to offer free electrocardiograms to high school students.
• Scholarships are available for all ages to take dance classes as well as college-bound students.
Reach: Predominantly serves high schools in DuPage County communities.
Fundraisers: The Kathryn Bender Memorial Dance Showcase was in May and the Kathryn Bender Memorial Foundation 5K was in August.
Mission: To introduce the performing arts into people's lives while raising money for other local charitable organizations
Programs: Cabaret for a Cause allows new performers to sign up for classes that culminate in staging a fundraising cabaret show.
• Spectrum workshops offer those with special needs opportunities to sing, dance and try comedy improv; in-school workshops help educators and students with special needs stage musicals.
• Artful Impact workshops bring performance to classrooms or after-school programs, or encourage leadership, teamwork and collaboration in business settings.
Next event: Rehearsals for "Love is Cabaret" for men and women to benefit Edward Heart Hospital begin in January.
Mission: To help individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Services: The Little Friends Center for Autism is a nationally recognized resource for parents and professionals where children can receive diagnostic evaluations as well as speech and occupational therapy, and adults can learn more about supporting those with autism.
• Little Friends' Krejci Academy in Naperville offers a comforting learning environment for students ages 4 to 21 with autism and other disabilities.
• At Bridge High School in Downers Grove, students ages 14 to 21 with autism or cognitive disabilities as well as emotional or behavioral disorders receive vocational training to help them transition to adulthood.
• The Mansion High School in Naperville provides a safe atmosphere for students ages 14 to 21 with emotional disabilities who are unable to function productively in a traditional school setting.
• Lifeskills Training Center for Children with Autism is an intensive residential program in Glen Ellyn that focuses on improving children's communication skills.
Fundraising: Step Up for Autism walk was in June; annual Benefit Auction is March 1.
#GivingTuesday: Donations on Dec. 3 will be matched dollar for dollar up to $20,000 by the Coleman Foundation
CareNet Pregnancy Service of DuPage
Mission: To help women with a crisis pregnancy choose motherhood.
Services: CareNet has four DuPage locations that coordinate abstinence education programs, offer services for pregnant women, and organize support groups for men and women who regret abortions in their pasts.
• Pregnancy programs include testing and ultrasounds, counseling about options, guidance for teens telling parents about a pregnancy, parenting programs for new moms and dads, a baby bank offering diapers and other baby items, and personal counseling aimed at resolving relationship issues as well as legal and financial issues that may be barriers to a woman's success as a mother.
Reach: DuPage County
Fundraising: The Put Your Boots on the Ground walks were in June at each CareNet location.
Mission: To help families in financial crisis meet immediate essential needs.
Services: Naperville CARES provides emergency financial assistance to cover rent, utilities, car payments, insurance or other essential expenses.
• CARES will help clients find additional resources such as ongoing financial assistance, counseling and health services.
• CARES' car program refurbishes donated vehicles and gives them to clients who need reliable transportation to get to work.
• The rental deposit program helps clients pay the security deposit that can keep some from being able to sign a lease.
Fundraisers: Cuisine for a Cause is each April; Toasting for a Cause is each November; some proceeds from Naperville's Oktoberfest support Naperville CARES.
Next event: Karaoke for a Cause is Thursday, Jan. 30, at Aurelio's Pizza, 1975 Springbrook Square Drive, Naperville.
Junior League of Kane and DuPage Counties
Mission: To promote volunteerism, develop the potential of women and improve communities.
Programs: Literacy programs create reading nooks in elementary school libraries, encourage reading with read-alongs and other activities and foster family reading nights.
• Done in a Day projects send volunteers to short-term, hands-on efforts to fulfill community needs.
• Kids in the Kitchen addresses childhood obesity with lessons and demonstrations on preparing healthy, tasty and affordable snacks and meals.
Fundraisers: Readers on the Run 5K was in September; Spring Fling Shopping for a Cause will be March 9.
West Suburban Humane Society
Mission: To reunite lost pets with owners, shelter stray dogs and cats, and tend to their health needs.
Services: Operates a shelter in Downers Grove with capacity for 25 dogs and 60 cats, takes care of the animals' health needs and finds homes for about 600 pets annually.
• Maintains a database of information about pets and owners by offering free pet identification tags and by implanting adopted pets with identification microchips.
Fundraiser: Bark-a-palooza was in September, Paint Your Pet was in May.
Reach: Cook, DuPage, Will, McHenry, Kane, Lake and Kendall counties.
We Grow Dreams
Mission: To provide an environment in which people with disabilities have the opportunity to learn work and life skills while producing and providing products and services to the community.
Programs: The We Grow Dreams Greenhouse and Garden Center in West Chicago gives people with disabilities the opportunity to work in a supportive environment under the guidance of job coaches, employees and volunteers. They take on the responsibilities that go with growing plants and preparing them for sale, and they also make garden-themed crafts to sell.
• At the We Grow Dreams Garden Market in Freedom Commons in Naperville, participants work with customers to sell plants and crafts, developing another set of vocational skills.
Mission: To create a safe, supportive and respectful environment for youth, whether they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or gender-variant. Youth Outlook's programs facilitate ongoing personal growth and the development of a positive identity.
Programs: The organization staffs drop-in centers in DuPage, Kane, Whiteside and DeKalb counties.
• A youth leadership program, a group for transgender youth, off-site recreational activities and mobile programming.
• Cooperative programming at the middle school level to accommodate youth who are coming out earlier.
• In community education programs, volunteers work with school districts and corporations to change the social culture that makes youth feel threatened.
Fundraiser: The Dare to Dream Celebration was in October.
Reach: DuPage, Kane, Whiteside and DeKalb counties.
Mission: To provide education, therapeutic and recreational programs for elementary, junior high and high school students with autism spectrum disorders, their families and the community.
Programs: Giant Steps in Lisle offers a Day School with an autism-specific learning environment for children in elementary, middle and high school. Students have individualized education plans that help them build their cognitive learning, communication skills, social/emotional development and motor skills.
• One-on-one therapy programs include speech/communication therapy, neurological music therapy, occupational therapy and more.
• Giant Steps offers training and education programs for parents and families touched by autism as well as for educators, police and other emergency responders, and professionals in other areas who may want to know more about how best to help those with autism.
• An adult day program offers opportunities to take part in a work environment while learning job skills.
Fundraiser: Giant Steps' 5K Autism Awareness Run and Walk in October
Next event: Auction for Autism on Feb. 22 at Bobak Signature Events, Woodridge.
The Will B Foundation
Mission: To raise money for research and the development of therapies to improve the lives of those with cystic fibrosis, with the ultimate goal of a finding a cure.
Programs: The Will B Foundation is supporting the CF Center at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
To donate: The Will B Foundation, 311 S. County Farm Road, Suite 1, Wheaton, 60187
Mission: To help families transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency.
Programs: Bridge Communities offers transitional housing and a family mentor who helps clients develop personal finance skills by offering guidance on budgeting, reducing debt and saving for the future.
• Employment counseling programs offer job training, help with resumes and interview skills, and assistance with entering or returning to higher education.
• Bridge offers donated cars so clients can get to job interviews, work or school as well as tutoring for children falling behind because they've had to switch schools.
Fundraisers: Glen Ellyn Backyard BBQ in September; Sleep Out Saturday in November
To donate: bridgecommunities.org
360 Youth Services
Mission: To provide life-changing services to youth through prevention education, counseling and shelter.
Programs: Counseling services with trained therapists help school-aged youths and young adults cope with challenging issues at home, at school or in the community.
• Prevention programs like the Power of Choice and Operation Snowball encourage youths to choose to live substance free.
• Housing programs offer shelter to homeless adults ages 18 to 24 and to boys 13 to 17 years old who are unable to live with their families. They receive guidance in life skills and budgeting as well as counseling, art therapy and more.
• Mentors work with ages 12 to 24, including those in housing programs. The WINGS program directly connects women mentors to girls ages 12 to 17 to empower them and help them develop a positive self-image.
Reach: Youth service programs are available for those in Naperville and the surrounding communities; transitional housing programs serve DuPage County and the neighboring areas.
Fundraisers: Spring Ahead 10K, 5K and 1-mile kids run in April; annual auction in November.
Next event: Chocolate Festival is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Neuqua Valley High School Freshman Center, 3220 Cedar Glade Road, Naperville.
Mission: To provide accessible and customized tutoring in reading, writing, speaking and understanding English to help adults achieve independence.
Programs: Literacy DuPage volunteers provide learner-centered English language instruction in one-on-one or small group settings.
• English Conversation Groups allow English language learners to practice their speaking and listening skills, meeting regularly in 11 DuPage communities.
• On-site workforce education programs help employees and employers communicate more effectively to improve working conditions, performance and morale in the workplace.
Reach: DuPage County
Fundraisers: Literacy DuPage has been a participating organization in the Human Race organized by Giving DuPage to benefit local nonprofits that do not have their own races. The next Human Race is April 26.
Humanitarian Service Project
Mission: To alleviate the pain and suffering that poverty brings to needy seniors and children.
Programs: The Christmas Offering helps 150 families by providing three weeks of food and at least five gifts for each child.
• The Birthday Project helps 900 children celebrate their birthdays each year by providing gifts of toys, books and games for the child as well as cake mix and other supplies for a birthday party.
• The Senior Citizen Project delivers groceries, toiletries and household items to seniors at home, and seniors in the program can join the wish list program to ask for larger items such as televisions, microwaves, vacuums or medical assistive items such as wheelchairs.
• Feed the Kids helps ensure children who get most of their nutrition from federally subsidized meals provided by their school continue to eat well by providing families with a mix of boxed and fresh food during June, July and August.
Reach: DuPage and Kane counties
Fundraisers: The Humanitarian Service Project is largely funded by individual donations and supporters' fundraisers as well as corporate donations and grants.
Loaves and Fishes Community Pantry
Mission: To end hunger in the community by providing food and uniting and mobilizing resources to empower people to be self-sufficient.
Programs: The Community Food and Nutrition Program allows individuals and families with qualifying low incomes to shop the pantry once every two weeks.
• Pathways to Empowerment helps clients connect with additional resources such as public aid, job search support, veterans benefits and emotional counseling.
Reach: DuPage County
Fundraisers: Loaves and Fishes is funded largely through donations from individuals, corporations and community groups.
#GivingTuesday: Donations made on Dec. 3 will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $20,000 by an anonymous donor.
Mission: To provide furniture and household items to low-income families, helping them transform a bare apartment or house into a home.
Program: Sharing Connections Furniture Bank collects donated furniture and household items for distribution to households in need. A special emphasis is on providing safe cribs and children's beds. Clients include the formerly homeless, the working poor, victims of domestic violence, victims of natural disasters, veterans and immigrants.
Reach: DuPage County, as well as Chicago and other suburbs when referred by a partner agency.
Fundraisers: Sharing Connections' annual golf outing was in August.
Next event: Sharing Connections benefits from proceeds from tickets to see "It's a Wonderful Life" at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14 and 15, at the Tivoli Theater in Downers Grove. Tickets are $5.
Operation Support Our Troops
Mission: To support the morale and well-being of American forces by providing comfort, resources and education to them and their families while they are deployed and after their return.
Programs: Comfort Packages are sent to active-duty personnel, providing 25 pounds of items either not available from the PX as well as letters and drawings from community members who support the troops by funding the packages and shipping. Family and friends can request packages be sent to their loved ones in the military.
• Leap of Faith seminars are two-day therapeutic sessions for families of fallen servicemen and -women to help them cope with grief and to encourage them to embrace life after loss. Presented in partnership with the Army Golden Knights, participants sky-dive in tandem with a Golden Knight.
• Rehabilitative Support raises money to fund improvements at veterans hospitals, support research into treating post-traumatic stress disorder and help pay for new homes or home adaptations for returning severely wounded veterans.
• Stockings for the Troops sends seasonal comfort packages to serving personnel. Items such as hand warmers, cookies and candy, and unbreakable ornaments are sent in handmade stockings.
Reach: Originally serving troops from DuPage County and Illinois, Operation Support Our Troops now sends packages to troops from all over the country.
Fundraisers: Rockin' for the Troops music festival occurs each July.
Mission: To provide opportunities that allow children and adults with special needs to perform at their highest level of ability by offering sports, recreation and social activities in conjunction with area park districts.
Programs: The Western DuPage Special Recreation Association offers Special Olympics and adapted sports, recreational programs such as drama and dance as well as social events. Programs serve children through seniors.
• Inclusion services provide support, allowing individuals with special needs to participate in traditional park district programs through member park districts. Services range from providing adaptive materials to sending support staff to help the individual participate.
• Disability awareness programs educate groups, such as schools, about living with a variety of disabilities.
Reach: The park districts of Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Roselle, Warrenville, West Chicago, Wheaton and Winfield.
Fundraisers: WDSRA programming is funded largely by the member park districts. The WDSRA Foundation raises money to supplement program offerings and underwrite participation fees. Fundraisers include the men's and women's golf outings in June.
Next event: Charity Auction is March 8.
#GivingTuesday: On Dec. 3, the Coleman Foundation will match donations made online dollar for dollar up to $20,000.
Promote your charityDo you know of a nonprofit organization working locally to help others and to make DuPage County a brighter place? Let us know about it and we may be able to feature the group in our Caring in Action series. Send a note with a brief description of the organization and a contact email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.