Although charitable giving and volunteering happen year round, now is the time when many are focused on donations — both the people who are giving and organizations hoping for funds to continue their work.
Our cover story this week shows how difficult it can be to evaluate where to invest your money. Some websites can help you research charities so you know how they're using the money they receive.
Sometimes it helps to ask a friend. We queried Folio Weekly's Facebook fans and Twitter followers for the local charities and nonprofits where they donate their time and money. Here's a sample of what they said.
Christina Cunninghame Schriver: The Guardian ad Litem Program is a wonderful organization working to serve the best interests of dependent children (those children whose parents have been determined to be unfit) on the First Coast. They are ALWAYS in need of dedicated, caring adults to make a forever difference in the lives of children in turmoil.
Kristina Bewley: The Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville.
Brett Wolfe: The Cherry Bomb Charmers Junior Roller Derby is a 501(c)(3) youth athletic organization that empowers North Florida girls to become courageous young women on and off the derby track. Check 'em out at cherrybombcharmers.com!
Mike Klippel: Dignity U Wear.
Keri Kidder: JASMYN for the LGBT youth that are kicked out of their homes by families who do not agree with them being gay!
Bianca Heard: Why Not Me Campaign Inc.
Ashley Roseanna Combs: Friends of Jacksonville Animals works with Jacksonville's Animal Care & Protective Services to GREATLY reduce the number of animals euthanized at the shelter. Before Friends of Jacksonville Animals was created, heartworm-positive dogs were put to sleep. Thanks to FOJA, they're now treated and put up for adoption.
J-iPolitic Frinks: OneJax, WJCT.
Katherine Willard Scott: Foster Closet. They have a big heart in helping children who need to be placed in a time of stress and need.
Sally Ebanks England: Jacksonville Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Marie McCauley: Friends of the
Jacksonville Public Library is a great organization to volunteer.
Mike Altee: Jewish Family &
Khristi Keefe-Bowens: Camp Healing Powers with Community Hospice of Northeast Florida and Marathon High. All these programs are funded totally, or at zero profit, by donations and volunteers. Check them out! So worth our time and money.
Jennifer O'Connell: Hubbard House in Jacksonville or the Shriners Hospital.
Barry Milligan: Mal Washington Foundation, Beaches Habitat for Humanity and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Kimberly A. Miller: Daniel Kids.
Brando Allen Manies: Landmark Family Church in St. Augustine. They are a small church with a humongous heart for their community! The pastor there gave his own nice new boots to a homeless man just because they were the perfect size, and he felt it was the right thing to do! Amazing place! More than a church!
Michelle Simkulet: Theatre Jacksonville, Mental Health America of Northeast Florida.
Juli Davis: I'm a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida and a volunteer for First Coast No More Homeless Pets.
Sherry Krol: Church of Eleven 22.
Ray Eme: The Foundry in St. Augustine! It's a community project and venue that aims at providing a safe and productive place for youth to hang out, be productive and discover their passions. Every Friday night, we host a youth gathering ranging from 100-200 kids and teens. Check us out!
Salon Above by Liza: Borders of Love.
Kristie Grabel Reeves: K9s for Warriors, Friends of Jacksonville Animals, Bright Holidays and North Florida National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Claudia Baker: Take It To Heart — An Alert to Women about Heart Disease. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, more than all cancers combined, yet most women do not know this and therefore miss opportunities to live heart-healthy.
Scott Lara: Best Buddies.
Erin Dupree: The St. Johns Riverkeeper for doing their best to keep the lifeblood of this city healthy. This is especially true right now, with algae blooms being such a threat due to over-fertilizing, a potentially devastating dredging project and on-going threats to
Heather Reneé Corey: The City Rescue Mission.
Pele's Wood Fire: We have worked with a variety of terrific local organizations including Second Harvest North Florida, March of Dimes, 26.2 with Donna The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer, Child Cancer Fund and Safe Animal Shelter. Wish we could help everyone — the North Florida community is so amazing!
Donna O'Connell: Wolfson Children's Hospital, Hospice of North Florida, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Champions Against Bullying.
William Bratcher: Saint Francis House.
Rosa Lopez: Healing Hands.
Dean Phifer: The USS Adams. Help us bring the ship here. We need donations.
DeeDee Nelson Roundtree: Wounded
Amy Green Emling: Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) North
Deanna Lynne: Take Stock in Children! They give scholarships, mentors and hope to underprivileged, but promising young students!