Humans tend toward altruism. And the impetus behind lending a helping hand or donating some dollars is usually quite simple: It feels good. Luckily for Coloradans, the annual Colorado Gives Day fundraiser, which takes place on Tuesday, December 10, makes it easier than ever to feel what Psychology Today calls the “helper’s high.” Each December, folks from across the state are invited to donate to more than 3,500 participating nonprofits and fundraising pages through the organization’s online platform. Now in its ninth year, the program has altogether raised more than $217 million.

Another reason to participate: There’s now scientific evidence that proves the high you get from helping out contributes to a better quality of life. Last month, the Ascent from the Motley Fool, a Lakewood-based personal finance company, released a study revealing that the more generous you are, the more satisfied you feel. Based on the results of their survey of more than 1,000 Americans, they found that “high-generosity” folks were more than twice as likely as their less generous counterparts to be “very satisfied” with their life. Want to be a part of that pool? Donate to one of the nonprofits listed below (or any featured on the Colorado Gives Day website).

Access Unbound

Access Unbound Colorado Gives Day
Courtesy of Access Unbound

What they do: As Coloradans, we are lucky to have some of the most beautiful hiking destinations and world-renowned ski resorts right in our backyard. But for those with physical or mental disabilities, hitting the slopes or the trails can be a daunting endeavor, usually starting with the gear. Access Unbound helps get amateur and experienced athletes with disabilities back on the mountain (or on it for the first time) through their adaptive equipment and instructor training, all of which are provided through scholarships funded by businesses and people like you. 
How you can take part: Get inspired by the participant stories they share on their Facebook page.
Make a donation.

Bicycle Colorado

Bicycle Colorado
Courtesy of Jack Todd and Bicycle Colorado

What they do: Since 1992, this organization has relied on pedal-pushing power to make Colorado a safer place for cyclists and pedestrians. This year marks the culmination of their four-year initiative to make Colorado the best state to ride a bike, but they still need help getting there (While Boulder is ranked second in the country for cities with the highest number of bike commuters, Denver doesn’t even make the list). The group also spearheads the Denver Streets Partnership, a coalition of advocates who want our cities to be safer for those on foot or on two wheels.
How you can take part: Go to Safe Streets Day at the Capitol on January 23 to make sure your voice is heard by Colorado legislators.
Make a donation.

Bridge House Boulder

Bridge House Boulder Colorado Gives Day
A Ready to Work participant. Courtesy of Bridge House Boulder and Shannon Kiss

What they do: This Boulder-based resource and care center for the homeless goes above and beyond most shelters. As its name suggests, Bridge House provides programs that span a range of needs, so previously homeless individuals can rebuild their lives and gain secure employment. One way they make this happen is through their Ready to Work Program. A total of 42 trainees have completed the program, which provides work training, housing, and case management support, and landed full-time jobs and permanent housing. 
How you can take part: Community Table Kitchen is one way the nonprofit helps create jobs and training opportunities for individuals experiencing homelessness, and you can hire them to cater your next event or simply stop by one of their brick-and-mortar locations for a grab-and-go sandwich or burrito. 
Make a donation.


What they do: Just northeast of the Four Corners, where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona collide, sits this nonprofit powerhouse, which has fought for immigrant rights since 1999. The organization’s three main programs provide crucial services for the region’s immigrant population: from bilingual assistance filling out important documents to workshops that help break down the U.S. Constitution so participants can better understand legal situations. Together with leaders and allies, they also work to develop a strong coalition that continues to protect and preserve the rights of immigrants.
How you can take part: If you’re bilingual, reach out to see if there are any upcoming volunteer opportunities.
Make a donation.

Conservation Colorado

What they do: This environmental NGO does it all: fight climate change, protect the state’s lands, water, and wildlife, and advocate for policy change. In 2015, they helped get the rivers, canyons, and backcountry east of Gunnison National Forest designated a national monument by President Barack Obama. In 2016, they celebrated helping make Colorado the first state to establish a holiday dedicated to our public lands (Colorado Public Lands Day). And 2019 was a year of countless successes, including establishing targets to reduce carbon pollution and protecting over 400,000 acres of land in the state. 
How you can take part: Sign their petition to help make sure all of Colorado’s students have access to clean air and safe transportation.
Make a donation.

First Nations Development Institute

What they do: Although this nonprofit operates nationally, its headquarters are right here in Longmont. Once, the territory we now know as Colorado was home to peoples of the Apache nation, Arapaho nation, Cheyenne nation, Pueblo tribes, Shoshone tribe, and Ute nation. Today, only the Southern Ute Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe are federally recognized in the state. First Nations helps these Native communities by bolstering their economies through grant programs and other projects. Two such programs—Investing in Native Youth and a grant for food sovereignty—contribute to the preservation and future existence of tribal cultures and traditions. 
How you can take part: Visit their Knowledge Center to learn more about their programs, impact, and research.
Make a donation.

High Line Canal Conservancy

High Line Canal Conservancy Colorado Gives Day
Courtesy of Evan Anderman

What they do: Stretching through rolling foothills, urban neighborhoods, wooded villages, and prairie landscapes for 71 miles is the High Line Canal. The urban trail provides space for adults to exercise, kids to learn how to ride bikes, and all to experience nature close to downtown Denver. The conservancy exists to protect and preserve the canal so communities can continue to enjoy its natural beauty while engaging with it through educational programs.
How you can take part: Go on one of their family-friendly winter walks. There are still three left this winter. 
Make a donation.

Mental Health Colorado

Mental Health Colorado Colorado Gives Day
Bill signing for House Bill 1044. Courtesy of Mental Health Colorado

What they do: In Colorado, the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 and 24 is suicide. Mental Health Colorado is doing everything it can to change that, starting with increasing the availability of mental health and substance abuse care across the state. In 2019 alone, the nonprofit was behind the passing of 11 House bills and eight Senate bills here in Colorado. Many of these include the establishment of improved emotional and behavioral healthcare services where it is often needed most: schools. 
How you can take part: There are many ways to contribute to Mental Health Colorado’s efforts, but sharing your story is a simple and profound way to show the prevalence of mental health hardships, and that those suffering from mental illness or distress are not alone.
Make a donation

One Colorado

What they do: There’s a lot more to LGBTQ rights than legalizing same-sex marriage. One Colorado focuses on these issues to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Coloradans are treated equally and justly. Current initiatives center largely around improving healthcare access, creating gay–straight alliances in Colorado schools, and securing transgender equality. (You can read more about transgender healthcare access in the state here.) 
How you can take part: Participate in 2020 LGBTQ Lobby Day on February 24 at Central Presbyterian Church Denver.
Make a donation.

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado

Womens Foundation of Colorado Colorado Gives Day
A participant of OneMorgan County, a direct-service grantee that started a program with WFCO funding to help women from immigrant backgrounds earn their degrees. Courtesy of Women’s Foundation of Colorado

What they do: This foundation aims to make sure Colorado women can prosper through research, reports, and community engagement. According to their website, more than 260,000 Colorado women live in poverty due to social, educational, and childcare barriers. By targeting these obstacles, WFCO hopes to improve access to education and job training so that women of all identities can live with financial independence and security. They also know that women aren’t the only ones who need to participate in this fight. Their Dads for Daughters and Men for Women initiatives create opportunities for men to speak up and stand up for women’s rights as well.
How you can take part: On January 16, join WFCO at the Riveter in Denver for their training on advocating for impact, so that you can be a part of systemic change for women in the state. 
Make a donation.