Have aspirations of saving the world—or at least your little corner of it? Well, plenty of non-profits get tons of exposure, and for good reason. But what about the smaller guys, who work just as hard but don’t have someone like, oh, U2’s Bono as their figurehead? Here’s our list of non-profits worth supporting, some of which you might not have been aware of until now.
MUSIC SAVES LIVES
WHO: Maybe you saw Music Saves Lives on Warped Tour. Maybe you bought their Glamour Kills collab tee. Or just maybe you watched the “Nurse, Boobies Please!” webisode with 3OH!3. The MSL crew aims to educate and inspire people to take life-saving community action by involving your blood. Morbid? Hardly: Donating blood, running blood drives or registering for the bone marrow program to help those with leukemia all make a huge difference to people who need those little red and white cells to live.
WHY THEY'RE NEEDED: Since January 1, 2011, over 13 million people (and climbing) have been in need of blood. That’s a whole lot of people.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: If you feel squeamish about giving blood, or you’ve just been tattooed—you have to wait 12 months after your last tat to donate—MSL has another way you can help. They recently partnered with socially responsible True Beans Coffee Roasters in Long Beach, CA, to create a 100% organic and fair trade coffee called More Perks. A single donation to MSL gets you one bag of the beans, while a regular monthly donation gets you—wait for it—two bags of coffee a month! We’re getting out our wallet with jittery, caffeinated fingers now.
KEEP A BREAST
WHO: You rock your I Love Boobies bracelet all the time. In fact, maybe you were even one of the people who got in trouble for it at school. (Now that’s support!) KAB continues to help raise breast cancer awareness through their scene-friendly campaigns such as All Time Low’s PSA demonstrating proper breast exam techniques (hey, get your mind outta the gutter), traveling education booths at fests like Warped and Bamboozle, and their first-ever Keep A Breast Tour.
WHY THEY’RE NEEDED: You’d think that by the 21st century, with scientists cloning sheep and doctors experimenting with stem cells, that we’d have a cure for cancer. In the meantime, awareness, early detection and prevention can help a lot.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: If you missed the Keep A Breast Tour, there’s still plenty you can do. How about purchasing the infamous bracelets online? Even better, contact KAB about getting involved in their Music For Awareness campaign, which so far has partnered with bands such as Foo Fighters, Taking Back Sunday, Cobra Starship and tons more for benefits across the country.
WHO: Most people have a preconceived notion of diabetes, and associate it with Bret Michaels or their grandma. But there are plenty of young people out there who suffer from type 1 diabetes, like Kelly Kiernan, who started Cure Apparel. The misconceptions and stereotypes inspired Kelly to look for ways to support diabetic research, and help people understand a bit more about the disease.
WHY THEY’RE NEEDED: A quarter of a million kids under the age of 20 were diagnosed with diabetes last year, and a lot of them don’t understand how to manage it. (For example, there’s a practice called “diabulimia,” when type 1 individuals skip or restrict their insulin doses to lose weight.) Kelly is thinking about launching a web application that would act as a diabetic journal, helping keep track of meals, blood sugar and insulin doses.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Buy a cool blood drop t-shirt on the Cure Apparel site – proceeds go to benefit JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), or check the JDRF site for upcoming Walks to Cure Diabetes.
REVEL & RIOT
WHO: While not technically a non-profit, the primary objective of this super-cool merchandising company is to raise awareness of LGBTQ rights and equality through new media, graphics, art and writing. Their site also offers a comprehensive news section and an amazing resources listing with a focus on fundraising and community building.
WHY THEY’RE NEEDED: There is still a scary high amount of discrimination, hate speech and crimes taking place against LGBTQ youth in America today. According to Youth Pride Inc., 84% of LGBTQ students have reported harassment, 50% report parental rejection and, in one report, 41% experienced violence at the hands of families, peers or strangers. It’s time for all of this to stop.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: A portion of the proceeds from their incredibly well-designed merch, such as God Hates Bags totes, Ask, Tell shirts or We Are The Gay Kids posters go to LGBTQ organizations and campaigns. Go buy something cool!
THE TREVOR PROJECT
WHO: When the short film Trevor, about a gay 13 year-old boy who attempted to take his life when rejected by friends because of his sexuality, was scheduled to air on HBO in 1998, the creators searched for an appropriate support line to broadcast during the airing. They found none – so they started their own. The Trevor Project became the first and only nationwide, 24/7 crisis and suicide prevention lifeline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.
WHY THEY’RE NEEDED: According to the Pediatrics journal, roughly 20% of LGBTQ teens have attempted suicide – compared to 4% of straight kids.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: One of the best ways is to volunteer! They have nationwide opportunities as Lifeline counselors, “Ask Trevor” authors, and TrevorChat authors, as well as regional project and event volunteers. Check their site for more info.