With more than 25,000 nonprofits in the state, picking a philanthropic institution to support on Colorado Gives Day (December 4) can be as stressful as a last-minute gift run to Cherry Creek Shopping Center. Fortunately, these five innovative organizations select the worthiest nonprofits for you, taking some pressure off your charitable choices—and helping make everyone’s holiday bright. (To donate to one of the more than 2,000 nonprofits directly associated with the Colorado Gives Day organization, visit coloradogives.com.)
If you’re looking for a diversified investment, give Jeengle a ring: The Denver nonprofit divides your donation among 20 rotating national organizations encompassing a range of causes, from the environment to international affairs. Whether it’s for the Alzheimer’s Association, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, or Human Rights Watch, rest assured your dollars will support a well-known, respected, and (most important) effective outfit.
Grown-ups aren’t the only ones who can have fun with philanthropy. Coloradogives.org has a section reserved for kids, too. Adults simply buy an online gift card and send it to their budding Bill or Melinda Gates. An online quiz (sample question: “If you wrote a book about yourself one day, what would the title be?”) helps children figure out the issues that matter to them. Once they pick a charity—such as Friends of Dinosaur Ridge—from a vetted list, they donate directly from the site.
For those who want to put their money where their political beliefs are, there’s SameSide. This Denver- and Los Angeles–based group taps locals to organize get-togethers that typically feature food, drinks, and a call to action around a hot-button issue, including gun control and immigration reform. (During SameSide’s Denver for DACA series this past summer, attendees signed postcards and called their congressional representatives to ask them to support a comprehensive DREAM Act.) The hosts often donate a portion of the $20 to $35 registration fees to varying nonprofits; a women’s-rights-focused event, for instance, might share some of its proceeds with the Women’s Foundation of Colorado.
At this organization’s events, each team brings three bottles of wine, two of which are sampled by other attendees. After the imbibing, folks vote for the best and worst vintages. The top three squads get the uncorked bottles—minus the losing team’s variety, because no one wants that swill as a prize. Meanwhile, the sponsoring charity (recent examples are the Young Professionals Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado and tech literacy nonprofit KidsTek) wins the participants’ $25 entry fees.
Who says vanity can’t be altruistic? Denver-based Levin Family Dental’s teeth-whitening procedures range from $300 to $500, and all proceeds support Colorado charities such as the Kitchen restaurant empire’s Big Green, which builds gardens at schools.