Give a little bit of your love — to one of these worthy nonprofits
By Daniel Borgen, PQ Monthly
As we all know, the holiday season isn’t all about presents. (Although those are kind of nice!) And it certainly isn’t always about buying things — although, if you do, we implore you to shop and support local. There are plenty of crafty, heartfelt ways to show loved ones you care. (Supporting local organizations that support us is a good start.)
Anyway, to kick start — and hopefully inspire — our community in the donation department (maybe money, maybe time), we’re offering our first annual nonprofit giving guide. And don’t you fret, we’ll be expanding our guide online, so add our blog to your favorites and stay up to date on all the hippest places you can make an important difference this time of year. In the interim, here are a handful of spots that could use a few good queers. There are many, many in our community who remain in need. And there’s surely something below that’ll tug at your heartstrings.
BASIC RIGHTS OREGON
This is a no-brainer, right? We’re still smarting from our big marriage equality wins, and BRO has already started work for a possible win in Oregon for 2014. Overturning a constitutional amendment (as is the case in our state) is a formidable challenge, though, and BRO can use all the help they can get. Consider donating some cash to their efforts — or better yet, some time. There are still hearts and minds to win, dear readers. (Plus, BRO remains our region’s trans rights champion.) Go here: basicrights.org.
OUR HOUSE/ESTHER’S PANTRY/TOD’S CORNER
Since 1988, this Portland staple has been providing healthcare, housing, and other vital services to low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. Their teams — expert clinicians — work with those in our community with advanced HIV/AIDS who struggle to live independently. They offer everything from regular in-home visits to 24-hour residential nursing services. Two specific Our House programs — Esther’s Pantry and Tod’s Corner — provide some of the most vulnerable in our community with food, clothing, and household goods. Big-time needs during the cold winter months. For more: ourhouseofportland.org.
This dynamic, transformative nonprofit works to help homeless youth and other marginalized people “move toward improved health and self-sufficiency.” This year, Outside In has set a goal to make sure every homeless youth there receives a holiday gift. They’ve already got the wish list set up — and they even wrap the gifts for you. Call Breanna Romer at 503-535-3840 to help. Additionally, a sidebar regarding financial gifts: $35 means two youth attend weekly support groups for a month; $50 pays for a homeless youth to see a doctor; $70 helps someone get a job and job retention training; $300 feeds 25 homeless youth for an entire month. A little goes a long way, indeed. Check it: www.outsidein.org.
Committed to ending intimate partner violence for good, Raphael House serves people from a variety of backgrounds, ages, and sexual orientations. They offer emergency shelter in confidential locations, provide a round-the-clock in-house crisis line, transitional housing — and much, much more. The holiday season can be a very lonely, hopeless time for those in domestic violence situations. But you can help: raphaelhouse.com.
The first-ever domestic violence shelter on the West Coast, Bradley Angle also provides a 24-hour crisis line, transitional housing, and various support groups. Additionally, their vital services include support for LGBTQ survivors, an economic empowerment program, and culturally-specific programming for African and African-American survivors. Consider a financial donation: bradleyangle.org.
CASCADE AIDS PROJECT
It’s never too early to start soliciting donations for AIDS Walk 2013. Why not ask family and loved ones to pledge a gift to you for your next walk? (Maybe you’ll help set another record.) There’s also the Art Auction fast-approaching, and myriad volunteer opportunities if you’d like to give some time. And remember, over 80 percent of donations go directly to vital programs and services. Check this out: cascadeaids.org/donate-or-volunteer. (The link includes information about where exactly your time and money goes.)
Q Center is our city’s de facto queer community center. Their mission: “To provide a safe space to support and celebrate LGBTQ diversity, visibility, and community building.” Their focus: arts/culture, education and training, health and wellness, and advocacy. And Q is always in need of volunteers — so if time is what you have to spare, consider sparing it. Programs we consider especially important: SMYRC, the city’s most important queer resource center, and E.R.A., Q’s newest program helping queer seniors. Learn more about donating and volunteering at pdxqcenter.org.
June’s Pride festivities don’t pay for themselves with magical gay monies falling from the sky. Planning for 2013 is well underway, and Pride NW can use some sweet cash and even sweeter volunteers. Their mission, if you choose to support it: to encourage and celebrate the positive diversity of the LGBTQ community, via showcases that celebrate our shared history, talent, and accomplishments. pridenw.org.
Have ideas about a worthy nonprofit? Email Daniel@PQMonthly.com and we’ll include it in our blog updates, which, as always, will have all the latest on nonprofit events and related fundraisers. Happy giving!