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Feeling a little altruistic? Maybe you just got an end-of-the-year bonus and you’re looking to pay it forward. Or maybe you’re just trying to get in some last minute tax-deductable donations before the year’s end! (No shame, you’re still looking to give support and that’s what counts!) Well, #GivingTuesday is just around the corner! But where, oh where to donate!?

My Giving Tuesday Wishlist: 3 of My Favorite Animal Charities

If you’re wondering where you can donate your money, I just may have some ideas! Here are 3 organizations that are working to help animals and our planet that could certainly benefit from your support!!


Charity Navigator Score: 100

WildAid’s mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes. WildAid works to reduce the demand for illegal wildlife products, and to promote energy conservation, via global public awareness campaigns. WildAid also strives to create model field conservation programs and to strengthen marine protected areas around the world.

WildAid is one of my favorite groups out there because they work hard to protect endangered species. I think hunting animals is one of the most cowardly and egregious forms of cruelty toward animals. WildAid’s efforts fight poaching—and raise awareness while doing so. Furthermore, as someone who enjoys traveling, WildAid’s expeditions present an opportunity to travel ethically, which I am so thrilled about!

WILD Foundation

Charity Navigator score: 95.81

As the heart of the global wilderness community for over 40 years, The WILD Foundation protects wilderness while meeting the needs of human communities, working across cultures and boundaries by collaborating with local peoples, organizations, the private sector, and governments to create dynamic practical projects and communications initiatives. WILD’s work promotes and demonstrates Nature Needs Half, a science-based and common-sense vision in which humans and wild nature share our planet so that large natural areas – land and water – are of sufficient size and are interconnected so they can continue to provide essential, life-supporting services that assure both human health and prosperity, and a bountiful, beautiful resource of wild nature. WILD is also the founder and steward of the World Wilderness Congress, the world’s longest-running, public, international conservation program.

By day, I’m an urban planner. I work with communities all over to help create places people (and wildlife) can thoroughly enjoy. I got into planning because I recognized the need to protect our planet’s wild landscapes. WILD Foundation has similar interests in protecting non-human nature while at the same time empowering local communities.

Animal Legal Defense Fund

Charity Navigator score: 96.56

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) fights to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. Founded in 1979 by attorneys active in shaping the emerging field of animal law, ALDF has blazed the trail for stronger enforcement of anti-cruelty laws and more humane treatment of animals in every corner of American life. Today, ALDF’s groundbreaking efforts to push the U.S. legal system to end the suffering of abused animals are supported by hundreds of dedicated attorneys and more than 100,000 members. ALDF files groundbreaking lawsuits to stop animal abuse; provides free legal assistance to prosecutors handling cruelty cases; works to strengthen anti-cruelty statutes; encourages federal enforcement of existing animal protection laws; nurtures the future of animal law; and provides public education.

There are too many deep-rooted systems of exploitation out there in the world for me to believe we can change the world through mindset alone, unfortunately. Large scale, long-term change has to come about through policy changes. And oftentimes, the process has to start by fighting back against existing systems of cruelty. ALDF is doing work which I know to be crucial in the fight to end suffering—from hunting to animal testing, animal agriculture, and animal rights more generally.

Bonus Organization!

Okay, I lied. I said three organizations, but I just can’t forget some of my favorites. So here’s one more worthy cause!

EcoHealth Alliance

Charity Navigator score: 92.92

Building on over 40 years of groundbreaking science, EcoHealth Alliance is a global, nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting wildlife and safeguarding human health from the emergence of disease. The organization develops ways to combat the effects of damaged ecosystems on human and wildlife health. Using environmental and health data covering the past 60 years, EcoHealth Alliance scientists created the first-ever, global disease hotspots map that identified at-risk regions, to help predict and prevent the next pandemic crisis. That work is the foundation of EcoHealth Alliance’s rigorous, science-based approach, focused at the intersection of the environment, health, and capacity building. Working in the U.S. and more than 30 countries worldwide, EcoHealth Alliance’s strength is founded on innovations in research, training, global partnerships, and policy initiatives.

This is another organization that combines my love of the environment and non-human wildlife with my passion for working with human communities. EcoHealth Alliance looks at the big picture—they think holistically—and as a result they can touch upon a range of issues which I’m interested in.

Get Those Donations Ready!

Just in time for the season of giving, I hope this list helps you identify some worthy causes. This time of year, I’m reminded that there are many in need, and I’m also reminded that I have much to give. So, though you may not have heaps of cash to offer, I hope you’ll consider giving what you can!

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