In lieu of physical birthday and Xmas presents this year, I’d very much prefer that donations be made to any number of groups who I think can help protect Americans from…well, from other Americans. This list is largely simply copied from this article at Jezebel.com; I’ve done a bit of trimming and editing, but there’s a wealth of worthy organizations listed below. I'm sure you’ll be able to find something that you’d be happy to support.
The American Civil Liberties Union works to defend individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. Donate here.
The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, it fights against anti-semitism and bigotry as one of the largest civil rights organizations in the country. Find your local affiliate here and donate here.
Border Angels is an all-volunteer non-profit that advocates for immigration reform and social justice focusing on the U.S.-Mexico border. It offers educational and awareness programs and migrant outreach programs to San Diego County’s immigrant population. Donate to one of the multiple causes they support here.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America offers enrichment programs and support for children when they’re not in school. Donate and learn about ways to volunteer here.
Campaign Zero advocates for policy solutions to end police violence in America. To donate, click on one of the orange “Support” buttons on that page. Fill out this survey to learn how to get involved.
The Center for Reproductive Rights is the world’s foremost legal advocate for securing women’s access to quality reproductive health care. Donate here.
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) is an advocacy and organizing group focusing on achieving human, civil, and labor rights for immigrants. Donate here.
The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) is a national civil rights law and policy center devoted to advancing the rights of people with disabilities through advocacy, training, education, and public policy. Donate here.
EarthJustice is the largest nonprofit environmental law organization in the country, working to protect wildlife, for healthy communities, and for cleaner energy options. The organization represents its clients free of charge. Donate here, and sign up for action alerts, here.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been at the forefront of the fight for privacy and equality in all things internet (including phones and things like data caps and restricted access). Without them, it’s very probable that the extent of the government’s overstepping its own rules and laws regarding illegal search and surveillance would not be known (to the extent that we know it so far). You can donate to their efforts here.
Lambda Legal is a national legal organization dedicated to fighting for the civil rights of the LGBT population and people with HIV through litigation, education, and policy work. Donate here.
The Mazzoni Center offers healthcare services to LGBTQ population in Philadelphia, including trans clinical care services, walk-in HIV and STI testing, primary care, and addiction and recovery services. Donate here and find information about volunteer opportunities here.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) works to promote the civil rights of people of color and to eliminate race-based discrimination. Donate here, and find your local chapter for more ways to get involved here.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund fights for racial justice through litigation, advocacy and education. You can donate here.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) advocates for victims and attempts to change policy surrounding domestic violence. Click here to donate.
The National Immigration Law Center is dedicated to fighting for the rights of low-income immigrants through litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, and various other methods. Donate or learn how you can attend a local training here.
The National Immigration Forum is another leading immigrant advocacy group that offers various programs to integrate immigrants into the workforce and obtain citizenship. Donate here.
National Organization for Women (NOW) is an activist organization, foundation and PAC that advocates for equal rights for women. Donate here, and look for volunteer programs, like clinic escorting, on your local chapter’s page.
The National Women’s Law Center has worked for over 40 years to enact policies and laws on behalf of women and families. Donate here.
The Native American Rights Fund provides legal assistance to Native American tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide who may otherwise go without adequate representation. Donate here.
PEN America works to protect free and open expression in the United States and across the world through literature and writing. Donate here.
Planned Parenthood is the country’s leading sexual and reproductive healthcare provider. Click here for nationwide volunteer opportunities (including as a clinic escort) and click here to donate. Local chapters also list more extensive volunteer opportunities, so take a look at your specific chapter.
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) is the country’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, which operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE; Online: online.rainn.org; Español: rainn.org/es) and programs to help victims of sexual violence. Click here for information about how to volunteer for the hotline or in your community, and click here to donate.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers legal resources, support and advocacy to reporters to protect the First Amendment and freedom of information rights. Donate here.
The Reproductive Health Access Project is a non-profit that trains clinicians to make quality reproductive healthcare more accessible. Click here to donate.
Running Start is another organization dedicated to educating young women and girls about the importance of politics, through the Young Women’s Political Leadership Program and various other fellowships and internships. Donate here.
The Sierra Club is the largest grassroots environmental organization in the county, and works to protect millions of acres of wilderness and pass legislation like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Click here for ways to give.
The Southern Poverty Law Center fights hate groups and bigotry using education, litigation, and advocacy. Donate here.
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project provides legal services specifically to low-income people and people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming. Click here to donate, and click here for to volunteer.
The Union of Concerned Scientists works to create solutions to the planet’s most pressing scientific problems through research, advocacy, and policy. Donate here.
The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights works to protect the best interests of children who come to the U.S. on their own, including—in the devastating world of 2018—children who were taken from their immigrant parents. Donate here or learn about how you can volunteer as a Child Advocate in Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, Harlingen, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York, or Washington, D.C here.