Give The Gift of Giving

‘Tis the season to be jolly.

And to give.

This year — which for many Westporters was a surprisingly good one, Wall Street-wise — as we buy presents for loved ones, friends, and people whose good graces we need to keep, we should also think about 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 your suggestions local (southern Fairfield County). There are way too many very worthy national and international groups to include. Thank you!

Animals

Christine’s Critters: Rehabilitation of big birds
Connecticut Humane Society
: Westport branch
Save Our Strays: Animal rescue
PAWS: No-kill animal shelter
Rising Starr Horse Rescue: Gives at-risk horses a second chance at life
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
Music Theatre of Connecticut: Musical theater education for youngsters ages 4 through high school
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
Center for Family Justice: Provides services to fight domestic, child and sexual abuse
Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants: Service and advocacy for immigrants, refugees and survivors of human trafficking and torture
Integrated Immigrant & Refugee Services: Resettlement agency
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
VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399: Helping veterans, servicemembers and their families
Westport Department of Human Services “We Care”
:
Many options, including financial help with school supplies and heating costs
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

Disabilities

Catch a Lift: Westport supports veterans through fitness programs
Circle of Friends: Teens work with children with disabilities
CLASP
: Group homes and opportunities
MyTEAM Triumph:  Road race support for children, adults and veterans
STAR Lighting the Way: Support for all ages
Sweet P Bakery: Provides jobs for adults with learning disabilities; supplies The Porch at Christie’s with delicious baked goods

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
Kids in Crisis: 24-hour support, including emergency housing and crisis counseling
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

Environment

Aspetuck Land Trust: Preserving open space; maintaining 45 preserves
Connecticut Audubon Society: Protecting birds, other wildlife, and their habitats through conservation, education and advocacy
Earthplace:
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
Homes with Hope: Supportive housing, food pantry, food distribution and more
Open Doors 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
Mission
: 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

LGBTQ

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


Literacy

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

Seniors

Jewish Senior Services: Skilled nursing and other care
Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities: Support for the Senior Center (below)
Westport Center for Senior Activities
: Senior Center provides programs, meals and more

Women

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

27 responses to “Give The Gift of Giving

  1. Great list! Under Environment, please add CT Audubon

  2. Jack Klinge - President of The Friends

    Please add for Seniors: ‘Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities”

  3. Incredible post thank u Dan

  4. http://Www.risingstarrhorserescue.org gives America’s at risk horses a second chance at life

  5. Great list—thanks! Please add Sweet P Bakery, providing jobs for adults with learning disabilities who supply The Porch at Christie’s with all their delicious baked goods. https://sweetpbakery.org

  6. Please add the Center for Family Justice https://centerforfamilyjustice.org

  7. Suggestion for those with Wall Street profits in taxable funds…establish a donor advised charitable trust with the appreciated stock. You get a deduction for the current value AND get to self-direct the donations to your non-profit of choice.

  8. And thanks Dan for a fabulous list!

  9. You can donate stock directly to nonprofits and both erase capital gains and get a tax break on the donation. True for appreciated stock, crypto, etc.

  10. Amazing list Dan! Thanks so much.

  11. Dan – please consider adding Music Theatre of Connecticut (MTC)

    https://www.musictheatreofct.com/contribution

    Thank you for providing this great list of so many wonderful organizations.

  12. Many years ago in Westport there was a Community Council as well as a Community Leadership Project for Directors of non-profits. The communication and coordination of all groups was invaluable. And now seeing this list represents another opportunity to share with everyone how fortunate our community is. Thank you,Dan. Please create and post this every year!

  13. Nathalie Fonteyne

    Westport départment of human services also accepts donations. Their warm up funds qualifies for a tax deduction. In any case it is helping our neighbors.

  14. Westport Warm-up Fund.

  15. :Department of Human Services is listed under “Community Aid.”

  16. What a great list! Thanks for including Beechwood Arts – we could use a little boost to ramp up programs for 2022 as a small space like ours did not benefit from any of the rescue funds… we can’t wait to welcome everyone back next year!

  17. Wonderful post Dan! Thank you ✨✨✨

  18. The Hundred Club of Connecticut provides financial assistance to the surviving spouse and children of police officers, volunteer & paid firefighters and correction officers who lose their lives in the line of duty.

    https://www.hundredclubofct.org

  19. This is a fantastic list! Please consider adding Family & Children’s Agency. It’s a social services nonprofit serving all of Fairfield County and they have incredible programs. http://www.familyandchildrensagency.org

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