An estimated one in three parents are concerned about losing jobs or pay when they stay home with a sick child. The National Partnership for Women & Families fights to create policies that help people meet the demands of work and family. Along with promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive rights and affordable health care, the organization has helped enact policy prohibiting pregnancy discrimination and giving families the opportunity to take medical leave.
When Hurricane Sandy swept the northeast last month, people felt compelled to help, but many organizations couldn’t handle the burden of so many extra people. All Hands Volunteers accepts help as it comes. It organizes its volunteers to clean and rebuild communities ravaged by natural disaster, and provides them with housing, meals and tools at no charge. AHV has assisted survivors in places such as Haiti, Japan and New Orleans.
All parents want what’s best for their children. Sadly, those living in poverty often lack the resources necessary to help their kids thrive. Enter Room to Grow, which provides financially strapped parents with one-on-one support from social workers and essential baby items (books, clothing, bedding) during the critical first three years of their child’s life. This early support makes kids more likely to escape poverty as adults.
Only 21% of Americans with disabilities are employed. The National Organization on Disability aims to change that low rate by promoting career opportunities for Americans with disabilities. NOD programs benefit injured service members, employers seeking to become more disability friendly and disabled high school students transitioning into the workforce.
Playwright Eve Ensler established V-Day with a simple mission: End violence against women and girls. To do this, Ensler allows groups around the world to produce performances of her play “The Vagina Monologues,” as well as other V-Day works, to raise funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities. V-Day also produces large-scale benefits, films and campaigns to educate and change social attitudes toward violence against women. On its 15th anniversary on February 14, 2013 the group is asking 1 billion people to “rise and dance” in recognition of the 1 billion women who will be raped or beaten in their lifetime.
Thousands of Holocaust survivors are currently living out their final days in poverty. Most grantees of the Blue Card—a non-profit dedicated to helping those frail seniors—live on $15,000 per year or less, never received restitutions and are unable to afford everyday necessities. The Blue Card offers comfort and aid with emergency cash assistance, monthly stipends, Jewish holiday gifts,emergency response services and summer vacations. Donations also go toward psychological services to help survivors cope with recurring nightmares and trauma.
In the U.S. alone, more than 1 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, according to the American Cancer Society. The Cancer Research Institute hopes to curb those numbers through its cancer immunology research. Though many charities raise funds for cancer, CRI is the only one that focuses exclusively on immune-based approaches for treating, controlling and preventing the disease. One of its more recent triumphs: funding the scientist who developed the HPV vaccine that protects against cervical cancer.
Countless seniors will face significant challenges living healthy and independent lives over the next decade. The National Council on Aging, a service and advocacy organization, works as a voice for those vulnerable and disadvantaged older adults. The group coordinates with thousands of organizations nationwide to help seniors live independently, find jobs and benefits and remain active in their communities.
Human trafficking is considered one of the fastest growing crimes; according to Polaris Project, an organization that fights modern slavery, there are currently hundreds of thousands of trafficking victims in the United States alone. Polaris is combating human trafficking through public outreach and policy advocacy. The organization runs the national human trafficking hotline and provides emergency responses, transitional housing programs, counseling and jobs to victims. Last year, Polaris helped pass 18 anti-trafficking bills and provided services for nearly 3,000 victims.
The Dream Foundation is for adults what the Make-A-Wish Foundation is for kids— an organization that enables the sickest among us have one last hoorah. For some, that’s sitting front row at New York Fashion Week, for others, it’s being reunited with family members. While it can’t change the quantity of life remaining, the Dream Foundation aims to impact the quality of end-of-life experiences. With the help of hundreds of volunteers, hospices and health care organizations, the foundation has granted thousands of wishes.
Heifer International doesn’t just give food to people who can’t afford it; the organization enables them to feed themselves. Through its live gifts—animals, seeds and trees—Heifer provides impoverished families with sources of both food and income. Each participant passes on the gift of their animal’s first female offspring, training in its care and in sustainable agriculture to another family in need, multiplying the benefit. The Heifer model has improved nutrition, agriculture, income and opportunity for participants.