The holiday season is all about sharing love, spreading joy and giving back. And there’s hardly a better way to embrace the spirit of giving than by shining a spotlight on unsung heroes and impactful organizations working tirelessly to make the world a safer, healthier and more equitable place.
Year after year, these five charitable foundations serve society’s most vulnerable residents and safeguard the planet’s precious resources. If you’re looking for meaningful gift ideas or an opportunity to pay it forward, keep these philanthropic organizations on your radar this holiday.
Co-founded in 2015 by Josie Naughton – who moderated the “Refugees Welcome” panel at this year’s Global Citizen Forum – Choose Love is now the largest facilitator of humanitarian aid in Europe. The UK-based charity started as a grassroots operation, supporting refugees and displaced people in makeshift camps in Calais, northern France. Since then, it’s transformed into a global movement across 15 countries, reached 1 million refugees, and raised tens of millions for support organizations along migration routes.
How does it work? Through the organization’s e-commerce platform – the first of its kind in the world – anyone can purchase everyday necessities and emergency supplies, such as life jackets, blankets, waterproof ponchos, hot meals, diapers, and personal hygiene products. The charitable online shop also sells “Building Futures” bundles designed to help displaced people rebuild their lives with items like childrens’ educational materials or adult learning and vocational training kits.
Save the Children UK
For over a century, Save The Children UK has been a vocal advocate for children’s needs around the world. Established in 1919, this pioneering organization has a mile-long track record of impactful work, ranging from launching education initiatives and global health programs to advocating better policies and coordinating child-focused humanitarian responses worldwide.
The foundation has also raised awareness about social issues like child marriage, LGBTQI+ rights, and female genital mutilation, among other topics. To learn more about Save the Children’s progress and evolution, the Global Citizen Forum welcomed UK CEO Gwen Hines to the stage on December 12 for the “GCF Action Spotlight”, and you can watch the conversation here.
In the meantime, make a difference by donating to the cause this holiday season. Just 7 GBP (US$10) can provide three bottles of hand sanitiser in medical clinics, while 12 GBP (US$16) can provide antibiotics to treat 20 children with pneumonia.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and raised in Europe, model and activist Noëlla Coursaris Musunka has long championed the rights of African girls and women. In 2007, after a trip back to her birth country, Noëlla founded Malaika, a non-profit operating in the DRC with a mission to empower young women and girls through education and health programs.
The foundation has since established a girls’ school with over 370 students, refurbished more than 20 wells to provide clean drinking water, and erected a community center with FIFA that offers education, health and sports programmes. A Global Citizen Forum ambassador, Noëlla joined the GCF CEO Talimka Yordanoba on the forum’s second day to discuss Malaika’s vision, mission, and progress.
Global Gift Foundation
Global Gift Foundation, founded by Spanish actress Maria Bravo in 2013, seeks to build a more inclusive world for vulnerable children and families at risk of social exclusion. The philanthropic nonprofit has developed and launched a wide array of projects, including a special needs day center in Marbella, Spain; a shelter for homeless children in Gurgaon, India; and an orphanage for abandoned infants in Da Nang, Vietnam.
The organization also collaborates with international partners as well as celebrities, influencers and business leaders through its Global Gifters ambassadors program. Their ambassador network includes the likes of high-profile voices – think Eva Longoria, David Beckham, Meghan Markle, Mariah Carey, Zoe Saldana, Will.i.am, Adrien Brody, and more.
But you don’t have to be a celebrity to help out: Individuals can donate to a specific need – such as education, housing, food, clothing or medical care – or help in other ways, like volunteering their time or skills. This year, the Global Citizen Forum was proud to donate all proceeds raised at the 2021 GCF Gala Dinner directly to the foundation’s community and essential outreach work.
Our oceans cover just over 70% of the planet – and they are a vital frontier in the fight against climate change. As the most significant environmental charity to focus exclusively on marine conservation, Oceana has been integral in raising awareness about overfishing, biodiversity, plastic pollution and ocean health since its inception in 2001.
To safeguard biodiversity, the foundation focuses on effecting policy change through science-based solutions. For example, the group has successfully lobbied against industrial fishing, targeted major sources of ocean pollution, and campaigned for improved coral reef protections. When you donate to Oceana, you are supporting their work to protect and restore the ocean’s abundance and diversity.