How to Save a Life This Holiday: 10 Gay Nonprofits Worth a Dip Into Your Wallet

At home and abroad, being gay is not always so fabulous. It’s still a  dangerous, lonely place out there for many of us. This holiday season, support those domestic and international nonprofits that are making the world a safer, more hospitable place for the gay community.

With one in four homeless teens self-identifying as LGBT, we have placed special emphasis on those organizations helping out gay youth in our year-end recommendations. If you don’t have the time (or the patience) to mentor at-risk youngsters, then go Gaga with a check.

With the “Kill the Gays” bill still floating around the Uganda Legislature—and stories of honor slayings, rapes and murders all too common—we’ve also included a number of groups that aid LGBTs in Africa.

Of course these are just the tip of the iceberg— there are countless nonprofits in need of your financial help. We encourage you to look for smaller, local organizations as well.

1. The Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center has begun relying on donations to stay afloat but in May the organization’s executive director estimated that the group needed $45,000 to survive. The Center has been serving the LGBT community in the mid-South since 1989.

2. The Door in New York City operates 65-unit housing complex for disconnected youth (26% of whom identify as LGBT). Those aging out of the foster care system in NYC face a lack of resource assistance from the government, according to spokesperson Amanda Peck.

3. Ruth Ellis Center in Michigan is the only organization in the Midwest dedicated to serving the needs of LGBT homeless and runaway youth. With 40% of homeless teens in the Detroit area identifying as LGBT, its work is vital. The focus is on providing short-term and long-term residential safe spaces in the form of semi-independent living arrangements and transitional housing. Wanda Sykes (right) has personally pledged her support.

4. Wezesha in Tanzania houses LGBT folk who have faced violence and rejection from their families and who have lost their homes. They are currently raising money to help out with accommodations, health services and food for 25 people in Der se Salaam. You can contribute here.

5. Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago was a pioneer in the early days of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Since then the clinic has been instrumental in HIV prevention and treatment. They put together the Brown Elephant resale shop, with proceeds helping to fight AIDS.

6. Youth First Texas gives the older and wiser gays in Dallas the opportunity to become mentors and life coaches to LGBT youth ages 14-22, helping them with practical life skills like job hunting and saving for a first apartment.

7. St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation is a San Diego-based nonprofit focused on LGBT global equality. (They also support Ugandan Bishop/gay-rights activist Christopher Senyonjo.)  St. Paul’s just helped release queer musician Joseph Bukombe from a U.S. detention center. (He stayed in America illegally rather than face returning to his native Uganda) and is sponsoring a young transgender Ugandan who was abducted and tortured before being granted asylum. Tax-deductible donations can be made here.

8. Larkin Street Youth is a San Francisco organization dedicated to helping homeless youth by offering shelter, food,  addiction counseling, mentoring, recreational activities and more. In many ways it is a model of what a LGBT services nonprofit should be.

9. Lambert House in Seattle is a community center dedicated entirely to the needs of LGBT youth under the age of 22. It focuses more on social and community activities that form strong, lasting bonds. As Neil Patrick Harris said, “What really matters is the greater community that surrounds our children.”

10. Gay Kenya helps people in Kenya who have been thrown out of their homes and even assaulted for coming out. The non-profit is looking to raise $4,000 from a minimum of 50 donors in by December 31. The innovative safe-spaces facility will provide for immediate  protection, an opportunity to engage with career counselors and family mediation services.

There are many, many more LGBT organizations both in the U.S. and abroad that need your help—ones fighting for marriage equality, AIDS research, workplace rights and other issues of vital importance to our community. Giving money to any of them is a wonderful thing—giving of your time is a true blessing.

Have a favorite LGBT charity? Pass it along in the comments (and include a website!)

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  • Stephanie Cox

    The Rainbow Community Center in Contra Costa County, CA serves the queer community with a food pantry, senior and youth groups, counseling services and many volunteer opportunities. The agency is truly about creating community and is also very dependent on private donations.

  • Lee Ingalls

    Outreach United is a non profit serving mostly the Houston, TX area. We have provided funding to the Homeless GLBT youth program, scholarship program, and SPRY the program for elderly GLBT. We also have provided assistance to several other groups through out the 5 years we have been around.

  • DS

    Howard Brown is an amazing agency and their service providers are outstanding – they deserve our support! But their current CEO, Jamal Edwards, has recently banned our local gay paper (the Windy City Times) and takes home a shocking $265,000 per year, while the paper reports that he’s cutting healthcare and pay from his own staff and that every senior manager he’s hired has left the agency in less than a year. We should all do our research. If I’m going to support their worthy cause and services, I’ll restrict my gift to a specific department and insist it not support their expensive and messy management dept.

  • Oscar Raymundo

    @DS: Thanks DS for the information. We will be conducting an investigation on this in 2012. How many vacation homes in Palm Springs do Gay, Inc. execs need!

  • wamprat

    The GLBT National Help Center could always use some added support. They run the oldest GLBT support hotline in the world, both a youth and adult hotline, and peer support online services.

  • Chris S.


  • Lauren

    Pride Center of the Capital Region – the Nations oldest continuously operating LGBT community center. Serving people in the Capital Region of New York State. Programs for youth, families and seniors plus a million more specific good works.

    National Center for Transgender Equality – just like the name implies

  • NowMyButtHurts

    CASA of Riverside County addresses the needs the needs of LGBTQ foster youth. They are the first CASA program in the state doing so, but it is being replicated elsewhere. 20% of the youth in Riverside County are self-reported as being LGBT. That’s actually how a number of them found their way in to the foster care system.

  • Dan

    I randomly pick a group each month from the youth, community, and senior nonprofit groups listed at and donate to that nonprofit.

  • Christy

    MGLCC is a great choice. Few places in the US are harder on gay youth than the South and that Center is the only one for hundreds of miles around. Its a little place that does a lot of work.

Comments are closed.