Just in Boulder County, an area with about 300,000 people, the number of charities and non-profits working to change the world is staggering. We had no idea until we started looking around.
Below is a list of 40 Boulder charities you should know about. Some work with local homeless, some work with local pets, and some have global ambitions of empowering people through education or saving the oceans through storytelling. It’s an inspiring list.
A Woman’s Work helps women in the Longmont area who are in financial need. In return for financial assistance, all AWW asks is that the recipient perform an act of kindness for someone else.
Adaptive Adventures makes outdoor sports accessible and available for children, adults, and veterans who have physical disabilities, plus their family members.
American Natural Foods helps educate chefs and food service professionals in the preparation of vegetarian and vegan cuisine so those options can become more widely available to restaurant customers.
Attention Homes helps at-risk youth by giving them a safe place of refuge, and it teaches them essentially live skills so they can thrive in a community. In 2012, the organization was able to help 530 different youth who had run away or had become homeless.
The Audio Information Network has been giving the visually impaired free audio access to newspapers, magazines and other forms of printed media for 24 years. Some 300 volunteers currently read and record media for them to broadcast over the radio.
Beadforlife brings a global marketplace to women in Uganda, who offer recycled paper bead jewelry and Shea butter products as a sustainable way to lift themselves out of poverty. The organization has since expanded projects to connect with those in the developed world to foster fair-trade entrepreneurship.
BoldeReach helps raise funds for other organizations that provide aid to and empower women and children around the world. To date, BoldeReach has raised more than $670,000 for such organizations.
BCAP essentially has two functions: To be a supporter and advocate for those in the community who are infected by or otherwise affected by HIV, and to serve as an information outreach to help curtail its transmission. Donors in 2013 raised more than $200,000 to help BCAP’s efforts.
Since opening 32 years ago after a woman died from winter exposure in the streets of our city, Boulder Shelter for the Homeless has been able to expand its number of services, including winter sheltering, a transition program to help people move back into independent housing and the Boulder Country Cares program, which provides essential supplies to those living on the streets.
Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center provides reproductive and sexual health advice and services to women in the community. Services are offered on a sliding scale that takes into account how much a person is able to pay.
11. Bridge House
Bridge House works to meet the immediate needs of the city’s homeless, from bus fare and a bite to eat to housing and help finding a job.
This year, Colorado Haiti Project celebrates 25 years of work that has gone to help rural Haitians pull themselves out of poverty through education, access to clean water, job training and a variety of other efforts.
Colorado Families for Hands & Voices is a parent-driven organization to help out those families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. They help to provide avenues for communication and learning, as well as assistance from local professionals and support from one another. Hands & Voices has grown from its Colorado roots to reach nearly every state in the nation, and several countries have growing chapters as well.
14. Community Cycles
Community Cycles helps get people riding bikes through their recycled bicycles program and their outreach and advocacy. CC also has a dedicated space where newer cyclists (or at least those who are new to biking on the road) can learn all about cycling, bike care, and safety.
Conscious Alliance operates nationwide to distribute food. The focus is ultimately on long-term solutions to hunger through local empowerment. One of Conscious Alliance’s main activities is food drives at concerts and festivals. This has led to 1.7 million meals being served across the US since 2002.
The Davis Phinney Foundation seeks to improve the lives of those living with Parkinson’s disease. The foundation publishes a great deal of research and general information for people who are living with Parkinson’s, plus it hosts the Victory Summit symposium four times per year in cities around the country. The org focuses on living well now instead of waiting for the day when a cure is discovered.
Forbes named Educate! co-founders Eric Glustrom, Boris Bulayev and Angelica Towne among the 30 top social entrepreneurs under 30 years old for their work in teaching entrepreneurship programs to high schoolers in Uganda.
EFAA has been working for almost a century to help families meet their immediate needs of food, shelter and other basics. Some of the proceeds from Taste of Pearl go to benefit EFAA.
The Fascinating Learning Factory was founded by two broadcast television professionals who wanted to address the dearth of quality educational television. The programs they have so far created educate children on topics as diverse as the Holocaust, natural science and the Eastern Shoshone nation.
This is a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, which builds and repairs homes for families. Flatirons Habitat for Humanity has served Boulder County for more than 20 years.
Global Greengrants provides small grants to local organizations that strive for social or environmental justice. Last year, $5.8 million in grants were given out to 724 projects across 85 countries.
Greenwood rehabilitates sick and injured wildlife so they can return to their natural habitats. The people here at Greenwood have been working in the Boulder area for 32 years. In 2005, they opened a permanent raccoon village (here’s an HD video of one of their raccoon pool parties), and in 2009 they moved operations to a brand-new, 5200-square-foot facility.
The aptly-named GASP works to promote smoke-free policies throughout the state and also raise awareness of the effects of second-hand smoke.
Harvest of Hope is a joint food pantry run by the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center and the Sacred Heart of Jesus church. Through donations, the organization is able to offer grocery store-style shopping experience for individuals and families who need help supplementing their food supplies.
Help Colorado Now is a great gateway if you would like to contribute to ongoing flood or disaster relief but don’t know with which organizations to trust your donation. The site is maintained in coordination with the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
Boulder Valley’s humane society offers the opportunity to adopt dogs, cats and other pets, plus the organization holds training classes for your pets and offers a health clinic.
International Midwife Assistance has been developing projects in countries around the world where new mothers struggle to get access to maternal/child healthcare. The group’s most recent work has been focused around Uganda.
28. Mother House
Mother House has provided a safe refuge for expecting mothers in the Boulder area since 1982. Mother House also helps new mothers by providing information and other support.
MuttSavers rescues puppies from euthanasia at area shelters then tries to find them loving homes. MuttSavers will be glad to help you out with puppy adoption or fostering.
NITA has been providing legal advocacy skills training for more than 40 years. Their focus is to teach law students through hands-on programs in an effort to improve legal advocacy in all American courtrooms.
North Denver Cares is a food pantry based in Broomfield so that people in the area can receive short-term help in finding food when they are hungry.
The Oceanic Preservation Society creates documentaries and other films, publishes great photos and produces other forms of media to inspire people to help save the oceans. The society’s 2009 documentary The Cove won an Oscar and received a four-star review from Roger Ebert.
33. Open Studios
Open Studios works to make the visual arts more accessible. This includes fairs, studio tours, art-education programs for schools and festivals.
Phoenix Multisport’s Boulder chapter works to develop an active, supportive community to give people the chance to go climbing, biking, hiking and do yoga in a sober environment. Besides the obvious benefit and fun, this helps members develop the emotional strength needed to stay sober.
35. Project V.E.T.S.
Project V.E.T.S. collects veterinary equipment and supplies from veterinary facilities, zoological societies, and human hospitals, then it distributes these resources to nonprofit veterinary groups and animal-focused NGOs worldwide. The total value of supplies shipped between 2009 and 2012 was more than $126,000.
SPAN’s goal is to end violence and abuse against children, older youth, and adults via a number of educational, advocacy and outreach programs. They also maintain a discreet shelter where those in need can seek refuge and a 24-hour helpline (303-444-2424).
Thorne Nature Experience seeks to instill wonder in children by giving them hands-on educational experiences in a natural setting. Thorne Nature Experience is celebrating 60 years of environmental education and advocacy this year.
For 40 years, The WILD Foundation has been working with local communities around the world to preserve their unique local wilderness. Check out one of the foundation’s more recent projects, studying elephants in Mali.
Wildlands Restoration Volunteers organizes some 60 projects on public lands around Colorado every year in which anyone can participate to help ecologically restore the area. This is a great way to check out some of our state’s beautiful nature and give even a little something back to it.
Women Work Together partners with a sister organization in Guatemala to help girls in the Mayan highlands get the educations they want and unlock their potential. Their Leadership Institute works with more than 600 girls every year to emphasize the value of education.