All posts by Linda Allen

Top Non-Profits for Homeless Veterans

The federal government has a goal of eradicating homelessness among veterans. Many nonprofit and government organizations have joined the effort to get to that goal.

Here are four nonprofits deemed standouts for their work in combating homelessness among U.S. veterans.

Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
Four-stars by Charity Navigator, the two million-member Disabled Americans Veterans (DAV) aids veterans lead high-quality lives with dignity and respect by making sure they and their families can access the complete range of benefits available to them based on the organization’s mission statement. Shown on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ alternative resources Web page, DAV also works to unite in-need service members with housing with its Homeless Veterans Initiative.

United States Veterans Initiative (U.S. VETS)
The Center for Public Integrity named U.S.VETS as one of the nation’s Top 25 veterans charities. The organization says its role is offering employment, counseling services, and housing to our nation’s veterans. The 11 U.S. VETS chapters work to get homeless veterans and guide them to vital services that might help ease the challenges they face as a consequence of their homelessness.

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV)
Shown significantly on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ alternative resources Web page, NCHV refers to itself as the most complete source of information about America’s homeless veterans. Its role is to offer research and technical resources to a nationwide network of organizations, non-profit and governmental that in turn give emergency and supportive housing, health services, job training, placement assistance, legal aid, case management support, and food to thousands of homeless veterans every year.

American Veterans (AMVETS)
Through its highly rated National Service Foundation, and with organizations like the above-mentioned NCHV, AMVETS offers grassroots programs like “Stand Down,” which aids homeless veterans get shelter refuge from the streets and start to get their lives together. Also, AMVETS works with the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans and is one of the non-governmental organizations suggested by the VA for addressing this crucial issue.

Veterans’ Charities: Best and Worst keeps tabs on the worst and best veterans’ charities you can donate to on behalf of the brave men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform. The organization grades every charity using an A-F scale:

Best choices among veterans’ charities:

  • Fisher House Foundation (A+)
  • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (A)
  • Wounded Warriors Family Support (A)
  • Wounded Warriors Family Support (A)
  • Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (A)
  • Homes for Our Troops (A)
  • Bob Woodruff Family Foundation (A)
  • Gary Sinise Foundation (A)
  • Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind (A)
  • Hope For The Warriors (A-)
  • National Military Family Association (A)
  • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (A)
  • Operation Homefront (A)
  • Semper Fi Fund (A+)
  • Team Rubicon (A-)

Avoid these veterans’ charities:

  • Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation (F)
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America (F)
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (F)
  • AMVETS National Service Foundation (F)

How to make your donation work for any charity

Before donating to any charity, you should know the precautions to take to guarantee that the money will go where it’s needed.

  • Don’t give cash. Real charities take checks and money orders.
  • Don’t provide bank account, personal information, or credit card information to telemarketers. In fact, you should be suspicious of telemarketers. If you want to donate, you should be the one who instigates the call.
  • Don’t give to online charities if the cause does not look genuine and doesn’t check out. Traditional scamming has gone internet in recent time, giving con artists easy access to millions of potential victims.
  • Check out the charity with the authorities. Established charities are registered with the IRS. You can look for particular non-profit organizations on the IRS website.
  • Report abuses to the State Attorney General’s office and the BBB. You can also report abuses to the National Fraud Information Center or at

Charities that Help Pay Bills

Several charity foundations and organizations throughout the United States provide aid to people for paying their bills. These nonprofits frequently assist those in need by paying for needs like electric, rent, heating, and water as well as provide referrals to agencies that can give continuing assistance.

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is possibly best known for its assistance of those in emergency situations and disasters like earthquakes and fires. However, local chapters of the American Red Cross also aid with emergency housing assistance and utility bills for those who are facing eviction or foreclosure. Services offered by the American Red Cross may differ by location and are based according to individual need.

The United Way

The United Way is a global nonprofit organization that assist in paying utilities bill by helping hundreds of people in need every day. The United Way gives support and aid to the needy in paying for things such as utilities, housing, child care, food and much more. Also, The United Way works with other charitable organizations to give ongoing assistance to those who need long-term care or counseling. United Way even help domestic violence victims to get out of a dangerous situation.

Catholic Charities USA

When it comes to using charities to aid in paying bills, Catholic Charities is a great place to go. The organization explicitly states that they are willing to help those is poverty regardless what religion they are. They have a long list of programs for those in need like disaster relief services, immigrant and refugee services, health and nutrition assistance, and housing assistance. Also, many local chapters are able to provide emergency assistance. These programs helps families that have suffered hospitalization, death of a loved one, or a job loss with groceries, paying utility bills, and medications.

Michelle's Love Charity

Michelle’s Love Provides Cleaning Service For Parents With Cancer

Since its beginnings in Phoenix, Arizona in 2005, Michelle’s Love has remained focused in its drive and purpose. Fueled by donations and volunteers, they provide practical care and support for single moms undergoing treatment for cancer. With meal preparation and cleaning services, this group helps to meet critical needs for the parents they serve.

Born Out of Loss

After watching her best friend, Michelle, battle the disease that ultimately claimed the young mom of four, Andy McCandless set out to make a difference for other women in the fight of their lives. Now expanded into Portland, Oregon, Michelle’s Love seeks to meet basic needs for the parents in their care so they can focus on treatment and getting well.

Cleaning Service, Rental Assistance, and Food Delivery

Once someone is accepted into the program, the organization pays their rent, cleans their home, and provides some meals for the family. Occasionally other needs arise for the parents that Michelle’s Love serves, such as car repairs or yard work. Whenever possible, the network of volunteers and supporters meet those needs too.

To qualify for assistance from Michelle’s Love, the recipient must be a single parent undergoing treatment for cancer. They must have been working at the time of their diagnosis, but they do not need to be working while receiving services. The organization is very focused in its mission and is careful to use its resources wisely to meet the specific needs of housing and meals.

How to Help

Michelle’s Love relies primarily on two fundraising events each year. During October each year, volunteers organize “Step Up Your LOVE” events in which they get sponsors for walking, running, or biking for their goal distances. In the spring each year is the organization’s “Share the Love” dinner and silent auction. This fun evening for couples is a fantastic way to support the group’s work and mission. The popular local eatery, The Buffalo Gap, hosts this incredible event each year.

The group is able to accomplish everything it does thanks to a vast corps of volunteers. They show up to make and deliver meals, clean homes, pull weeds, and pay the rent for the parents during their time in treatment. As one mom said, “I don’t know what I would have done without the love and constant giving of this organization.”

Parents the world over will forgo many things they want and even need in order to provide for their children. But when a parent undergoes treatment for cancer, they must be able to focus on their needs if they are going to heal. Many parents do not have the means to do this, however. They are trying to raise children by themselves and still somehow manage to make time for their own significant health needs. Things fall through the cracks. Michelle’s Love seeks to fill that gap for parents. In Michelle’s honor, this group serves tirelessly and lovingly so parents can heal.

Tips on Researching a Charity Before Donating

If you’re pondering a request for a donation to a charity, do your research before you give. By discovering as much as you can about the charity, you can avoid scammers who try to take advantage of your kindness. Here are tips to help guarantee your charitable contributions are used for its intention.

Signs of a Charity Scam

These days, non-profits and charities use the web, email, texts, and face-to-face to solicit and get money. Naturally, scammers use these same techniques to take advantage of your kindness.

It doesn’t matter how they come to you, avoid any charity or non-profit that:

  • Refuses to give detailed information about its costs, mission, identity and how the donation will be used.
  • Won’t offer proof that your contribution is tax deductible.
  • Uses a name that is very similar to that of a reputable, well-known organization.
  • Thank you for a pledge you don’t remember making.
  • Uses high-pressure strategies like trying to get you to donate right away without giving you time to do any research and/or think about it.
  • Asks you to wire money or to donate cash.
  • Wants to send an overnight delivery service or courier to collect the money ASAP.
  • Promise sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a donation. By law, you don’t have to give a donation to qualify to win a sweepstakes.

Charity Checklist

Take the following steps to make sure your donation helps the organizations and people you want to help.

  • Ask for in-depth information about the charity such as the name, address, and telephone number.
  • Get the exact name of the organization and research. Look up the name of the organization online, particularly with the word scam or complaint. This is one way to learn about its reputation.
  • Call the charity. Find out if the organization knows of the solicitation and has approved the use of its name. The organization’s development staff should be able to assist you.

Better Basics

Better Basics has the goal to improve the lives of children by encouraging literacy via enrichment programs. Over 1, 200 volunteers help more than 22, 000 children each year. Last year alone, Better Basics gave away over 70,000 books.

Better Basics offers enrichment programs, educational opportunities, and literacy intervention for elementary- and middle-school students all through the state of Alabama. Through active partnerships with the various communities and schools, they bring a sense of confidence by nurturing an interest in learning and improving every child’s ability to read and be successful in life.

Our programs encourage kids as they proceed along the learning range, from reading to retention, while instilling literature into their homes and revealing to them enrichment programs and multi-cultural arts.

As they boost childhood literacy rates, they lessen future adult illiteracy issues and their many side effects, forming countless benefits for our society as a whole. Better Basics is a non-profit organization and well-known authority on childhood literacy in Birmingham, Alabama.

Empowering Children: They empower children by promoting an interest in learning, building confidence, and giving kids the tools to be a successful student.

Enriching the Community: Their programs absolutely impact AL students and their communities by raising literacy rates, increasing educational achievements, and boosting productivity levels.

Reducing Illiteracy: By improving childhood literacy rates, they decrease adult illiteracy issues and enhance quality of life.

In 1993, John Glasser established Better Basics on the principle that illiteracy and poverty are so closely connected they are literally one and the same. Mr. Glasser also realized that because reading skills are the basis of learning, children who lack these crucial skills had little hope of being successful in school or life. What started as an agency with two devoted employees providing tutoring in one Birmingham public school has developed into a full-fledged organization.


Sharsheret is a not-for-profit, national organization assisting young Jewish women and their families in dealing with breast cancer. Our mission is to provide a community of support to women, of every Jewish background, diagnosed with breast cancer or at increased genetic risk, by nurturing culturally significant personal connections with networks of health professionals and peers.

Sharsheret knows and supports the complete spectrum of diversity within our communities. Sharsheret’s volunteers, staff, and leaders welcome all voices to be heard and treated with respect. Everyone who reaches out to Sharsheret, doesn’t matter their social or economic status, will not be turned away. They don’t discriminate based on color, political belief, ethnic origin, race, national origin, religion, gender, marital status, age, or sexual orientation.

In 2001, Sharsheret was established by Rochelle Shoretz, a Jewish mother with breast cancer. Part of a tight NJ Jewish community, many people offered to assist Rochelle with cooking and taking care of her children, such as taking them back and forth to after-school activities.

However, what she truly wanted was to talk with another young mother who could tell her sons about breast cancer and how it would affect her. How she would feel preparing for High Holidays while going through chemotherapy.

Rochelle’s grandmother had died of the disease and cancer was unmentionable and not talked about within her family. She soon found out it was talked about within the Jewish community either.

In 2015, Rochelle died from breast cancer, a disease for which she created a community of support for many. The Sharsheret community lost a founder, mentor, and leader. The Jewish world and the cancer world had lost a real champion of women and their families. Rochelle’s legacy is her children and an amazing organization that only she could have built. Her drive and passion will forever be the basis of Sharsheret.

Alpha House of Tampa

Who We Are

  • Founded in 1981, we are a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization
  • Alpha House of Tampa provides homeless pregnant women and mothers with young children safe housing and the things necessary in becoming self-sufficient, responsible parents.
  • We offer a temporary and safe to stay. We also help with employment, housing, as well as talking about the underlying problems that contributed to homelessness.
  • We give strength, hope, and vision for a better life.
  • We are thankful to our bighearted funders and community partners who make it possible to accomplish our goal.


Program Description: Alpha House of Tampa is a wide-ranging residential program assisting around 100 homeless pregnant and parenting women, as well as their children, every year in and their infants and children each year in 39 units of emergency shelter.

Mothers and pregnant women and mothers who are homeless or in danger of being homelessness are given safe housing and an assortment of support services while staying in the emergency shelter. Every mother partners with her case manager to link to community resources, create a plan to get permanent housing, get counseling, partake in healthy child development programs and parenting classes, and take advantage of employment and education opportunities. The campus is staffed 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Program Services: Alpha House of Tampa offer topnotch services established in a client-centered model and crafted to fulfil our mission goals:

  • Healthy births
  • Increase each child’s developmental ability
  • Improve the mother’s capability in becoming and staying employed
  • Getting safe housing upon departing the program

Alpha House Academy

Alpha House Academy concentrates on life skills to aid in supporting mothers and their children. Classes given by Alpha House staff and partner agencies are job readiness, childbirth preparation, literacy, health, housing, self-esteem, and parenting.

Every mother and child deserves to life a fulfilled and safe life.

Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW)

ELAW (Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide) aid communities around the world in demanding clean water, clean air, and a healthy planet. They are a global alliance of scientists, lawyers, and other advocates working together across borders to encourage grassroots efforts to create a just, sustainable future.

ELAW activists, serving in their home countries, understand best how to protect the environment. By giving their partners the scientific and legal support needed, ELAW assists in challenging environmental abuses and forms a worldwide corps of skilled, dedicated activists working to safeguard ecosystems and communities for future generations.

Our strategy: Discovering passionate lawyers who are devoted to protecting the ecosystem in their home countries.

ELAW advocates play crucial roles in aiding communities go after environmental justice. They aid citizens with participating efficiently in decisions about the environment, confront environmental abuses, and administer environmental laws. They provide guides to citizen participation, school community paralegals to speak for community interests, and bring legal action to bring to an end the worst offenders. As businesses spread their reach around the globe, many communities deal with unjust issues.

These communities have to be able to speak out to safeguard their health, environment, and rights. Grassroots activists have a key role in aiding communities speak out and ELAW provides these activists the scientific and legal support needed to confront abuses and craft a viable future. ELAW finds the most dedicated environmental defenders and works with them to follow these initiatives to advance environmental justice.

Legal professionals around the globe call on ELAW for tools to enforce and support environmental laws. ELAW U.S. attorneys partner with local activists to evaluate proposed statutes, recreate model laws, and bring enforcement actions.

ELAW activists depend on ELAW staff members to analyze plans for planned developments, make systems to observe environmental settings, give professional testimony, and suggest cleaner alternatives.

GBS/CIDP Foundation International

The vision of GBS/CIDP Foundation International is that each individual affected by CIDP, GBS, or MMN has easy access to early and precise diagnosis, low-cost treatments and reliable support services.

The theory is that the body’s immune system, which usually protects itself, identifies myelin as unfamiliar and attacks it. Myelin is a vital part of the peripheral nervous system. It coats the nerve axon (the long, wire-like part of a nerve cell) similar to insulation covering an electrical wire. The nerves expand from the spinal cord to the rest of the body, arousing muscle contraction and spreading sensory information back to the nervous system from receptors in the joints and skin.

This myelin lets electrical impulses proficiently travel down the nerve axon. When myelin is removed or damaged, these electrical impulses are lost or slowed, and messages sent from the brain are interrupted and may never make it to their ending destination. What instigates this process is not yet clear.

Offering support to our community is utmost to our grass-roots mission. All volunteers have a relation to GBS, CIDP or variants via a personal journey or due to a loved one or family member. The Foundation knows how critical it is to get the care and support needed to live through these trying times. While we are not physicians, we do connect ourselves with some of the best doctors on the globe. Our Global Medical Advisory Board has made a pledge of support for our constituents and to make sure our patients have access to their resources via the Centers of Excellence.

We have local chapters everywhere on earth. Find the chapter nearest to you and bond with volunteers who have lived through a parallel journey. Ask for our printed literature and gain access to the current and most knowledgeable information.