Inside & Out: Make a Difference this Holiday Season

During the holiday season, my husband and I make a donation to a children’s charity on behalf of our daughter.  As she gets older, we plan to include her in the process so that she also shares in the joy and satisfaction of helping others in a small way.*

As gift-giving goes into full swing, RebelMom readers share below their favorite charities that make a difference and ones they’d like you to consider including on your gift list. Other local initiatives to consider giving to are food banks, children’s hospitals, women’s shelters, senior citizen homes, homeless shelters, and secret santa programs for kids.

If you are concerned that your funds may not get to the intended recipient, organizations such as Charity Navigator (U.S.) give you insight on how funds are allocated within your specific charity. It also has a Top Ten List of organizations to choose from.

Most of the not-for-profits below can issue gift cards for donations, which make great presents for those family and friends who have everything!

*This article was originally featured in 2010 and recently updated.

Doctors Without Borders, USA (MSF)

Nurse in Nasir, South Sudan - Photo by Sven Torfinn

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an independent, international humanitarian organization that provides emergency medical aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters, and exclusion from health care.  It currently operates in more than 60 countries worldwide.

“Support from individuals is essential to our ability to operate independently, and to respond at a moment’s notice to the most urgent emergencies, even in areas farthest from media attention. MSF’s decision to intervene in any crisis is based solely on our independent assessment of people’s needs.” – Jennifer Tierney, Development Director, MSF-USA

Charity Navigator Rating: 4 out of 4 stars Website:

Habitat for Humanity

100 Houses Built in 5 days in Lonavala, India - Photo by HFHI Steffan Hacker

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit,  ecumenical Christian housing ministry that aims to “eliminate poverty housing and homelessness around the world.”  It builds home for families, who pay for it with interest free loans. To date, the organization has built over 300,000 homes providing shelter for more than 1.5 million people.  Local residents help identify those most in need for housing and assist in the construction and fund-raising.

Charity Navigator: 4 out of 4 stars Website: www.


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