Give The Gift Of Giving

‘Tis the season to be jolly.

And to give.

Separately, but with the same idea, alert — and generous — “06880” readers Karen Abramson and Polly Newman gave me the gift of a perfect story idea.

As we buy presents for loved ones, friends, and people whose good graces we need to keep, we also want to help others.

Give what you can.

It does not hurt that helping them can also ease our tax burden a few months from now.

But who to give to?

Far be it for “06880” to say. So here is a list — off the top of my head — of some worthy local organizations. Each one has a clickable link 🙂

I know I’ve missed some. Rather than bite my head off (very un-Christmas-y), please mention them in the “Comments” section. Then I’ll add them to this list.

And please: Keep it local (southern Fairfield County). There are way too many very worthy national and international groups to include. Thank you!


Christine’s Critters: Rehabilitation of big birds
Connecticut Humane Society
: Westport branch
Save Our Strays: Animal rescue
PAWS: No-kill animal shelter
TAILS: Spaying and neutering
Westport Animal Shelter Advocates: Care, shelter and adoption of homeless dogs
Wildlife in Crisis: Preservation and emergency help

Arts and history

Artists Collective of Westport: Creativity, education, shows, forums and more
Beechwood Arts and Innovation: Exhibits, salons, talks, food — wow!
Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County: Supporting cultural organizations, artists and creative businesses
Levitt Pavilion: More than 50 nights of free entertainment
MoCA Westport
: Exhibitions, concerts, education and more
Remarkable Theater: Providing entertainment and employment for people with disabilities
Westport Country Playhouse: 90-year-old cultural institution
Westport Museum for History & Culture: Exhibits and education
Westport Public Art Collections: Bringing art to schools and public spaces

Community aid

Al’s Angels: Help for children and families battling diseases and hardships
Bridgeport Rescue Mission: Fighting poverty, offering help
Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants: Service and advocacy for immigrants, refugees and survivors of human trafficking and torture
Lifebridge Community Services: Bridgeport youth development behavioral health and family resources organization
Norwalk Hour
: Aid to families in need
United Way of Coastal Fairfield County:
Access to food, shelter, transportation and childcare
Westport Department of Human Services “We Care”
Many options!
Westport PAL: They do it all: college scholarships, youth sports programs, fireworks, ice rink, etc., etc., etc.
Westport Weston Family YMCA: Help in many ways


Catch a Lift: Westport strongly supports veterans through fitness programs
: Group homes and opportunities
MyTEAM Triumph:  Road race support for children, adults and veterans
STAR Lighting the Way: Support for all ages

Education and youth

A Better Chance of Westport: Education and support for outstanding minority boys
Achievement First: Schools provide Bridgeport families of color with a high- quality education at no cost
Adam J. Lewis Academy: High-quality experience for Bridgeport youngsters
Carver Foundation: K-12 pre- and after-school programs in Norwalk
Child Advocates of SW Connecticut: Providing advocates for abused children
Child & Family Guidance Center: Counseling and support for youth and families
Kidz Give Back: Children helping children
Neighborhood Studios: Arts education for Bridgeport youngsters
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities: Helping fulfill potential; support for parents too
Staples Tuition Grants: Need-based scholarships for Staples High School students and alumni
The Susan Fund: Scholarships for young people affected by cancer


Aspetuck Land Trust: Preserving open space; maintaining 45 preserves
Education, wildlife exhibits, and a 62-acre sanctuary
Friends of Sherwood Island: Preserving, maintaining and enhancing our state park
Future Frogmen: Teaching students to protect the oceans
Norwalk River Valley Trail: Maintaining 30 miles of open space 
Save the Sound
: Protecting Long Island Sound
Sustainable Westport: Helping our town become Net Zero by 2050
Wakeman Town Farm: Sustainability center, with plenty of programs
Westport Farmers’ Market: Food, education, programs and more

Food and shelter

Filling in the Blanks: Providing weekend meals for children in need
Food Rescue:
Helping volunteers pick up and deliver excess food
Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County: Building houses and creating affordable home ownership
Homes with Hope
: Supportive housing, food pantry, food distribution and more
Open Door  Shelter: Aiding Norwalkers in need
Person-to-Person: Food, rent help, clothing and more

Grant-giving and foundations

100 Women Who  Care of Fairfield County: Raising funds to give them away!
Fairfield County Foundation: Philanthropy to strengthen communities
Near and Far Aid:
Fighting poverty in Fairfield County
Newman’s Own
: Okay, they’re global — but they’re headquartered in Westport!
Westport Rotary: Noontime chapter meeting of Rotary International
Westport Sunrise Rotary: 7:30 a.m. chapter meeting of Rotary International
Westport Woman’s Club: Raising funds for charitable, educational, cultural and public health services
Westport Young Woman’s League: Building community through volunteerism and social activities

Health and Safety

Breast Cancer Emergency Aid Foundation: Funds for non-medical expenses
Domestic Violence Crisis Center:
Help for victims and families
: Helping survivors create lives after cancer
Pink Aid: Financial aid and services to woman and families facing breast cancer
Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service
: Providing staffing, supplies and apparatus to keep the town safe


Triangle Community Center: Providing programs and resources for the LGBTQ community


Mercy Learning Center: Life skills training for low-income women
Read to Grow: Promoting children’s literacy from birth, supporting parents as babies’ first teachers
Westport Book Sales: Providing employment for people with disabilities — and offering books, while providing funds for the Westport Library
Westport Library: They do it all!

Mental health and addiction 

Laurel House: Mental health and recovery resources
Positive Directions: Treatment and prevention for addictive behaviors


Jewish Senior Services: Skilled nursing and other care
Westport Center for Senior Activities
: Senior Center provides programs, meals and more


AWARE: “Assisting Women through Action, Resources and Education”
Dress for Success Mid-Fairfield County: Empowering women by providing professional clothes and other support
Malta House: Shelter and programs for young pregnant women and their babies


50 responses to “Give The Gift Of Giving

  1. Holy crap, Dan, ya left off the animal list our very local WASA) (Westport Animal Shelter Advocates) 1 Tower Ridge, Westport…a most important, active and dedicated animal welfare 501c3…

  2. The Child & Family Guidance Center, Bridgeport

    Mission: “We provide children and families with culturally-informed mental health care and complementary supports, regardless of ability to pay.”

  3. Louis Weinberg

    Great reference Dan. Fantastic idea.

  4. Andrew

    Pink Aid a westport founded charity delivering emergency assistance (rent, utility payments, transportation to treatment etc) to local women going thru breast cancer treatment. Compassion until there’s a cure.

  5. Jocelyn Barandiaran

    Terrific resource!
    Please add non-profit Westport Book Sale Ventures, Inc. —
    We’ve expanded the mission of the Westport Library Book Sale: to provide meaningful employment for people with disabilities, while raising funds for the Westport Library, through our used book sales

  6. Beth Berkowitz They are in weston and they rehab these big birds.

  7. what an awesome article, thanks Dan! lot of great organizations

  8. Nice job, Dan!! I would also add Bridgeport Rescue Mission

  9. Nicely done Dan!

  10. Thank you, Dan! This is great.
    Can you add Read to Grow?

    Their mission is “to promote children’s literacy, starting at birth, and to support parents as their babies’ first teachers” throughout the state, including several programs in Bridgeport. (For example, they gave away thousands of books at the Bridgeport public schools lunch/food pickup this past June!)

  11. Also, in your grant giving section, there is 100 Women Who Care of Fairfield County 🙂

  12. Thanks Lori. Both have been added to the list! And thanks for providing the links 🙂

  13. Brilliant Dan! I’d like to suggest two – Open Door Shelter ( in Norwalk and Norwalk River Valley Trail ( Thank you!

  14. Child Advocates of SW Connecticut! Office in Westport, serving Fairfield County.

    Child Advocates of SW Connecticut (CAC) is a non-profit that transforms the lives of vulnerable children and youth by providing trained and supervised one-on-one volunteer advocates in the community and the courtroom.

    Many local residents are dedicated advocates – check out video

  15. Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI),

  16. Robert Mitchell

    Domestic Violence Crisis Center in Norwalk.

  17. Well done, Dan! What a great resource you’ve put together! Happy holidays!!

  18. Dan, Great list! The Fairfield County Foundation takes us to a site in Ohio. Perhaps it’s the Fairfield County’s Community Foundation you refer to.

  19. Roseann Spengler

    Terrific and important post, Dan. Thanks for reminding me to contribute to worthy organizations that don’t benefit me directly. A great year ahead to you……

  20. Excellent post Dan. Thank you! Can you please add The Susan Fund

    The Susan Fund is dedicated to assisting Fairfield County residents, who have been diagnosed with cancer, to pursue their educational goals through scholarship grants. The Susan Fund was established in memory of Susan Lloyd, a Westport teenager who passed away from cancer in 1980.

  21. Please add Westport Farmers’ Market!!!

  22. Ngassam Ngnoumen

    Thanks Dan for this article. We have so many ways to touch the lives of others this holiday and always. Happy Holidays!

  23. Don’t forget Beechwood Arts and Innovation!

  24. Thanks for this post, Dan! Please add Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, dedicated to helping children with learning and attention differences fulfill their potential through inspiring, educating and empower parents.

  25. If the spirit of giving to the ARTS is in your scope, please consider donating to “Friends of Westport Public Arts Collections” too. Your generous giving, in any amount–large or small –has an enormous impact on our ability to make art come alive for our students, teachers, staff, and residents. Your gift will help provide annual support where it is needed most: to present our beautiful artworks while continuing to support educational programs for our students and to preserve works of art for future generations of Westport students and residents! All contributions to Friends of WestPAC, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization, are tax deductible. To donate: please visit:

  26. I hope it’s not too late to suggest the Friends of Sherwood Island State Park instrumental in running the Sherwood Island Nature Center, organizing its internship program and sponsoring countless environmental enhancements ranging from dune restoration to purple Martin banding. The Friends’ group celebrated its 25th anniversary this past fall.

  27. Dan, thank you for doing this. I’d like ask you to add Achievement First Bridgeport Academy and Elementary charter schools to your list as we serve Bridgeport families of color with a high quality education at no cost, helping to eliminate the tremendous education gap that currently exists in our state. The non-profit schools were founded by and currently have 3 Westporters on our board. Support during these difficult times is greatly appreciated. To learn more and donate go to

  28. Monica Cavanagh

    The wonderful Carver Foundation of Norwalk is a most
    worthy cause. They do a world of good.

    • Another great organization that I just added in. A reminder: Please include websites when you comment, so I don’t have to hunt them down. Thank you!

  29. Thanks so much for your detailed list and all these additional suggestions! It’s been a tough year for so many people in Fairfield county. This is a great resource. Thanks Dan!