25 Great Charities for Children Around the World

The holidays are just around the corner, and many families are eager to give back to their communities or make charitable contributions in the spirit of the season. And since it’s never too early to begin teaching empathy to your children, now is a great time to make a donation to a worthy cause. With so many people in need, how can you possibly determine the best foundations to support? Today, we’ll take you through 25 great charities for children around the world, some of whose names you may be hearing for the first time. When it comes to deciding where you’ll donate, the sky’s the limit!

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These Worthy Causes Might Be New to You

We’ll introduce you to some lesser-known nonprofit organizations first, because with less media exposure, they don’t attract donations as easily as nationally or internationally recognized charities. This means your donation can make an enormous difference!

  • Alex’s Lemonade Stand raises money for pediatric cancer research and celebrates the legacy of Alex Scott, a neuroblastoma patient who, at age four, was inspired to open a lemonade stand to raise money to help other children with cancer.
  • Binky Patrol delivers beautiful handmade blankets to children affected by natural disasters and other tragedies, in foster care and shelters, and elsewhere. In addition to financial support, if you’re a skilled knitter or a crocheting whiz, they love to accept handmade binkies!
  • CASA, short for Court-Appointed Special Advocates, pairs at-risk children with adult volunteers who will act in their best interest in the courtroom and beyond. A CASA volunteer is sometimes the only consistent positive adult presence in an abused, neglected, or abandoned child’s life.
  • Hunter’s Hope raises money for Krabbe disease and other leukodystrophies, which are degenerative and often fatal neurological disorders. The foundation also emphasizes the importance of newborn screening tests for early diagnosis and treatment.
  • KaBOOM! builds fun and safe playgrounds for children, especially those living in underprivileged communities. Who doesn’t love a great jungle gym?
  • Music for All Seasons, based in northern New Jersey, brings performances by professional musicians to children who don’t have many opportunities to hear live music, like those in foster care facilities and safe houses.
  • Newborns in Need provides care packages of baby-care essentials, like diapers, shampoo, and jammies, for new parents who need a helping hand with their little additions.
  • Project Linus brings snuggly, comforting handmade blankets to children in hospitals, shelters, and other places where it’s tough to be a kid. (This is our second blanket-related charity, but what can we say? We believe everyone deserves to be cozy!)
  • Reach Out and Read supplies pediatric waiting and exam rooms with children’s books to help doctors promote family reading time and childhood literacy.
  • Sandy Hook Promise promotes mental health and wellness initiatives for young people, as well as important violence prevention programs in communities.
  • Stuffed Animals for Emergencies (or SAFE for short) donates adorable plush friends to children in need or in crisis, including those in war-torn areas overseas, providing security and comfort.
  • Your local children’s hospital will happily accept your support for important services like neonatal and pediatric intensive care and therapy for patients with special needs.

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Big-Name Charities We Love

Want to donate to a charity that’s a household name? Here is a list of some of the best charities for children with many names you’ll recognize.

  • Children’s Defense Fund works diligently to give every child in the U.S. a great start in life, with vital initiatives that include education, health, justice, and violence prevention.
  • Oxfam International, based in the United Kingdom, supports families and communities living in poverty and crisis in nearly 100 nations around the globe, like Nepalese families who lost their homes in earthquakes and Syrian refugees.
  • Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital treats the absolute toughest cases of pediatric cancer with great skill and compassion—at no cost to the patients’ families.
  • Save the Children gives you the opportunity to sponsor a child in need in the U.S. or aboard, helping to provide health care, nutrition, education, and other basic necessities.
  • Toys for Tots, a program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, ensures that children living in underprivileged communities receive brand-new toys during the holiday season. This year, you can help bring the magic of Christmas to a child who might otherwise feel left out of the fun.
  • JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) funds research efforts for a cure for Type 1 diabetes, which affects both children and adults, and also provides vital support and encouragement to patients and their families.
  • Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) provides critical medical care to families living in crisis or in underprivileged communities in more than 60 countries around the world, including Afghanistan and Syria.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America pairs volunteer adult mentors with at-risk children, fostering enduring friendships that can change the course of a young person’s life.
  • Make-a-Wish America grants the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses, whether it’s to work alongside firemen, ballerinas, or airline pilots or to visit an exotic destination.
  • March of Dimes raises awareness of premature birth and birth defects and funds research to help prevent these often very serious issues. It also provides valuable information to couples who are expecting a baby or who have given birth to a preemie or other child in need of special care.
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities provide low- or no-cost housing and other important support to children who are receiving medical treatment for serious illnesses and their families.
  • Shriners Hospitals for Children specialize in orthopedics, burn care, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate treatment for children and are also leading researchers in those fields.
  • The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) responds to children around the world living in crisis, providing a wealth of services that range from life-saving immunizations and HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns to protection from exploitation and abuse.

Where to Start?

With so many wonderful charities to choose from, you may not know where your donation will make the most difference. When you think about it, this is a great problem to have: it means there are talented, caring people attacking the many problems children face from just about every angle. To get started, choose a charity whose mission speaks to you and your family—and don’t be afraid to start a dinner table conversation with your partner and kids about where you’d like your family’s money to go. Involving your children in your charitable giving and community outreach can help to teach them empathy, generosity, and selflessness—qualities that help kids grow into compassionate, motivated young adults. You might even consider making a special donation to a different charity from this list once a season!

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