If you’re anything like me, becoming more philanthropic and involved in the community is one of your New Year’s resolutions. There are thousands of worthy causes in Atlanta — where do you start? If you’re looking for an organization to support with your money, time, and labor next year, here are some of my favorite organizations that rely on community involvement in order to serve the people of Atlanta.
Out On Film
Out On Film is on a mission to celebrate LGBTQ stories through film, creating a space for diverse voices and stories with its annual film festival as well as events throughout the year. Your support empowers independent filmmakers, amplifies diverse voices, and helps the organization build a vibrant LGBTQ film culture.
If you become a part of OOF’s donor program, your contribution can earn you special perks. The levels start at $100, which gets your name listed on the website, program guide, and preshow reels, and go all the way up to $10,000, which gets you festival T-shirts, all-access passes, individual tickets, an invite to the filmmaker event, and early access to special events on top of the entry level perks. These perks are on a request-only basis.
Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the work Planned Parenthood does is more crucial than ever. Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of people worldwide.
If you donate by midnight December 31, your gift will be doubled by a generous anonymous donor, up to a total of $500,000. Donate at plannedparenthood.org.
If you’d rather offer hands-on support, positions you can apply for in Atlanta include activism and policy, administrative support, the defender program, events support, and patient escorting. Apply here.
Keep the Atlanta arts community alive! The Bakery is a collective of artists, curators, and administrators dedicated to offering alternative models to local creatives. Their mission is to broaden awareness of, and build community around, progressive ideas in the arts. Your donation will support gallery programming, community programming, art curation and installation, and more.
AID Atlanta has been providing HIV/AIDS-related services, care, and education for more than 40 years. Established in response to the devastating impact HIV/AIDS was having on Atlanta, the organization offers HIV/AIDS prevention and care services like HIV medical care, HIV/STI screening, PrEP, HIV prevention programs, and more. Your donation will benefit expanding behavioral health and case management services, expanding HIV/STI testing and clinic hours, and operating the onsite pharmacy.
To donate, visit aidatlanta.org/donatenow. Volunteer opportunities cover a variety of areas, including fundraising through an annual AIDS Walk, advocacy, event support, office support, community outreach, and more. To volunteer, go to aidatlanta.org/volunteer.
Atlanta Solidarity Fund
When activists face repression, Atlanta Solidarity Fund stands with them. The organization provides support for people arrested at protests or otherwise prosecuted for their involvement in activist movements, including the ongoing Stop Cop City movement. The resources they provide include jail support, where ASF helps arrestees ensure their rights are respected; cash bails; and access to legal representation and assistance in navigating the legal system.
Positive Impact Health Centers provides comprehensive health care to those affected by HIV through medical services, emotional wellness and recovery programs, pharmacy services, support programs, HIV prevention programs, HIV/STI screenings, immunizations, transportation services, nutritional aid, and more. There currently are four centers in Marietta, Chamblee, Decatur, and Duluth.
Last year, Positive Impact provided 6,490 patients with clinical care, screened 7,509 clients for STIs, conducted 5,042 HIV tests, and distributed 142,607 condoms. The organization was crucial in the fight against mpox, administering 1,031 vaccines on top of vaccinating against COVID-19, the flu, hepatitis, and more.
To donate, visit positiveimpacthealthcenters.org. If you want to support the work in another way, they will be hosting their annual Party with Impact on December 30, which will a night of comedy with “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Bob the Drag Queen. Ticket sales will benefit Positive Impact. Buy tickets at aso.org.
The Mainline is a 100 percent independent, grassroots, women-led media organization working to provide a free press and autonomous journalism. The Mainline seeks to embody the tenets held by abolitionist papers throughout history by engaging audiences through education and messages that disrupt the status quo of corporatized media, inspired by Mariame Kaba and Media 2070. Along with covering local music, art, and culture, The Mainline also covers local politics, namely the Stop Cop City movement.
Formerly Jerusalem House, Status: Home is the oldest and largest provider of permanent housing, holistic support, and empowerment for Atlanta’s low-income and homeless individuals and families impacted by HIV/AIDS. With nearly 250 housing units and counting, Status: Home provides homes for almost 300 people, including almost 100 children.
You can provide one-time or monthly financial donations, food boxes, and hygiene items, or you can become a member of Philanthropy Circle, Status: Home’s major donor program including those who give at least $500 annually. Members enjoy benefits including site tours and donor appreciation events throughout the year.
disABILITY LINK is a grassroots, peer-led, nonmedical organization that advocates for people with disabilities, promoting choice, autonomy, and full participation in community life. Programming includes youth empowerment, employment services, deaf/blind services, food stamps, housing and home modification, transportation, and so much more. disABILITY LINK also formed a peer group for LGBTQ people with disabilities to share their experiences and support one another.
Along with donations, SFQP is always looking for volunteers to help out with setting up and running events. SFQP is an organization dedicating to empowering Black queer and QTPOC-centered communities in the South through the arts. You can join the organizing team, which will require attendance at the regular organizing meetings every third Sunday of the month, or you can respond to volunteering calls via the Instagram account @sfqp.
Upcoming SFQP events include The Vast Unsaid!, a lesbian open mic, and New Year, Who Dis?, a queer New Year’s Eve party and drag show.
Unearthing cultivates a vibrant community green space with its hyper-local farm and market, and it’s always looking for volunteers on the farm. Get your hands dirty, create community, and help Unearthing in its mission to provide fresh food to people in need through its pay-what-you-can system. Volunteer opportunities include farm maintenance, harvesting, operating the market, community outreach, animal help, and cooking.
Chris 180 provides children, adults, and families with high-quality, trauma-informed behavioral health services and support systems. While always appreciative of donations to support their work, they also offer a number of volunteer opportunities. Currently, they’re looking for volunteers to help sort, organize, and purge their distribution center and help facilitate a shopping experience for clients on December 15 from 10am to 2pm. They’re also looking for elf holiday shopping assistants, who will help guide clients through holiday shopping and labeling each item for each family member, as well as holiday gift wrappers, on December 18 from 9am to noon.
Women on the Rise is a group of formerly incarcerated women building political power through organizing, base building, leadership development, and civic engagement. To become a member, you must be a formerly incarcerated or otherwise directly impacted woman of color (including trans women and gender nonconforming women), willing to give personal testimony and speak out publicly about your experience, and the ability to attend monthly virtual membership meetings. As a member, you will be able to choose and inform the campaigns they work on, have the opportunity to share your story with lawmakers, access free political education trainings, and more.
Sol Underground is an autonomous community-led group dedicated to Black and Indigenous liberation through various workshops, classes, and projects. They currently host monthly community days at The Bakery and they also operate a mini outdoor free store outside For Keeps Books every second and fourth Friday for people to redistribute their resources and take what they need. During the winter, they also lead an outdoor warming shelter for unhoused people, which is entirely volunteer run.
Sign up to help at their warming station here. Sign up to help with their free store here. To donate to help sustain their work and cover expenses, visit saintsol.org/giving.
Lake Claire Land Trust
The Lake Claire Community Land Trust was founded by a group of neighbors in 1983 with the intention of creating a green space for community use and enhancement. Today, it’s a neighborhood-based nonprofit consisting of over 1.7 acres of 50 community garden beds, a children’s garden, a playground, a stage and amphitheater, and a pond. They host regular community events like monthly tarot classes, drum circles, arts fairs, and more.
Lake Claire hosts monthly Community Work Days on the third Saturday of each month, with rain days on the fourth Saturday if needed. Shifts last three hours, starting at various times depending on the season, and free pizza is served afterward. To sign up to volunteer, visit lcclt.org/volunteer. You can donate to Lake Claire through Venmo (@LakeClaire-CommunityLandTrust) and PayPal.