This article has been updated from a story first published on November 27, 2018:
November 29 is Giving Tuesday — time to support your local non-profit and charitable organizations around the globe and close to home. Here, we present 30 local causes for your consideration.
Did we miss your favorite local cause? Email us at VillageGreenNJ@gmail.com.
Raising funds to “promote exemplary public education for all students and educators in the School District of South Orange and Maplewood.” Achieve supports efforts such as the Seth Boyden Outdoor Learning Center and the CHS Robotics Club. Find out more and donate here: achievefoundation.org.
Bridges Outreach’s mission is to end homelessness in Essex County, starting in Newark, through volunteer-driven outreach and individual case management focusing on health, housing and independence. Bridges Outreach forms relationships with those experiencing homelessness while meeting their most urgent needs. Since the pandemic began, Bridges Outreach has assisted 51 people into permanent housing. The Bridges Outreach Giving Tuesday campaign can be found here: www.bridgesoutreach.org.
The CHS Cougar Boosters is a 501(c)(3) non profit which provides critical financial support for the student organizations of Columbia High School in Maplewood and South Orange, New Jersey. Donate here. Find out more at chscougarboosters.org.
Cougar Cares of the CHS Home & School Association (HSA) seeks to address food insecurity and remove financial obstacles to students via Senior Fund, food pantry, Prom Shop and more. Donate to Cougar Cares through the HSA website; select *Donation and write “Cougar Cares” in the notes at https://columbiahsa.com/donate-to-the-hsa/. Follow Cougar Cares on instagram @cougarcares.
The Columbia High School Scholarship Fund (CHSSF) was established in 1923 with the mission of providing need-based financial assistance to graduates of Columbia High School for any kind of post secondary education. Since its founding, CHSSF has awarded over $1.1 million in scholarships to several thousand students. CHSSF is governed by an independent board of local volunteers and is proud to be the largest provider of need-based scholarships in the South Orange and Maplewood community. Donate here.
Durand-Hedden House and Garden is an historic house museum that finds interesting ways to explore the South Orange-Maplewood community’s fascinating past – through nature, architecture, music, food, social life, local history, reenactments and participatory activities – and to spotlight the “treasures” in our own backyards. The aim is to make history exciting and relevant for all ages. Join here.
The Foundation for the SOPL was established in 2014 by a group of engaged citizens who understood that needed capital improvements would require more funding than could be raised through public sources alone. Donate here.
Helping homeless families — parents and children — who are in need of shelter, giving them a place to stay and three meals a day by housing them at our network of churches and synagogues. While they’re in our shelter network, the network works with moms and dads on a plan that addresses the issues that led to their homelessness. Goals are set and parents are compassionately guided to take the steps necessary to find a home and become self-sufficient. Donate here.
Impact100 Essex is a giving circle founded and funded by women in Essex County that brings women together to amplify the impact of their giving and empower solutions for the community. Each year, Impact100 Essex awards a grant of $100,000 to support an important, innovative project managed by a local non-profit organization. Join here.
Providing shelter, nourishment and support to Essex County’s most fragile families and individuals since 1988. Donate here.
JESPY House is a nonprofit organization that enables adults with learning and developmental disabilities to achieve their full potential and lead independent lives. Our philosophy promotes choice, self-direction and independent community living for our clients. Donate here.
As the fundraising arm of the Maplewood Library, the Foundation has been raising funds toward the $22 million, two-story renovation and expansion of the Baker Street branch of the library, which is currently underway. The project is being paid for by a combination of local public bonding and matching state funds as well as private donations raised by the Foundation. Read more about the project and donate here.
The three special improvement districts (SIDs) in South Orange and Maplewood are funded primarily through assessments on commercial properties as well as contributions from the townships. However, local residents can contribute directly to help support events and beautification projects by donating to their non-profit management organizations: the Maplewood Village Alliance, South Orange Downtown and Springfield Avenue Partnership.
MEND is an interfaith network of 17 member food pantries located throughout Essex County, NJ. MEND strengthens and supports its food pantry network by providing supplemental food, funds, volunteers, and a monthly forum for collaboration. MEND also advocates for policies to improve the quality of life for those in need in the County. Donate here.
Rent Party, founded in October 2009, is a live music series based in Maplewood / South Orange, New Jersey. Proceeds from these shows help fight hunger in our community. Join us at our new digs – The Woodland, 60 Woodland Road in Maplewood, NJ. Donate here.
SOMA Justice is a registered 501(c)(3) that advances racial and social justice in South Orange and Maplewood, provides monthly support for more than 25 families in the South Orange-Maplewood School District, creates educational and cultural events like Black History Month programming and the annual Kwanzaa celebration, delivers mutual aid to neighbors, and more. Donate here: somajustice.org/give. You can also seek matching donations from your employer: The tax ID for SOMA Justice is 84-2871570.
The South Mountain Conservancy is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the 2,100-acre South Mountain Reservation. Visit https://www.somocon.org/.
The South Mountain YMCA is one of the largest providers of childcare, summer day camp and youth sports programs in Maplewood and South Orange, New Jersey. All programs and services are designed to nurture the potential of children, promote healthy living and foster a sense of social responsibility. Donate here.
Now in its 88th year, SOMAS is a key contributor to the educational and cultural life of the South Orange-Maplewood community. Your contribution can help fund course offerings and programs such as:
- The Children’s Summer Program, attended by approximately 700 children each summer. We employ over 70 high school students as “Yellow Shirt” counselors, as well as many local district teachers and talented community members.
- English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, provided since 1937, helping non-native speakers learn the basics of the English language including listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
- Suzuki Violin Lessons for grades K-5 and two orchestras for grades 5-8.
- A wide variety of lectures on topics ranging from the current state of investigative journalism to the American Movie Musical.
- Personal enrichment classes, such as college planning, finance, languages, fitness, art, technology and more.
The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race is a nationally recognized non-profit organization committed to building a unique, suburban community that is free of racial segregation in housing patterns and community involvement. The Coalition was founded in 1996 by a diverse group of citizens concerned about stagnating property values and a perceived decline in the quality of local public schools. Since then, the Coalition has developed programs that promote the advantages of living in a racially inclusive community where all aspects of community life are integrated. Donate here.
South Orange-Maplewood PTAs and HSAs
- Clinton Elementary School — www.clintonelementary.org
- Marshall/Jefferson Schools — marshalljefferson.org
- Seth Boyden Demonstration School — sethboyden.com
- South Mountain School — smsuperstars.com
- Tuscan School — www.tuscanpta.org
- Columbia High School — www.columbiahsa.org
SOPAC is an accessible cultural destination located in the heart of downtown South Orange that presents world-class artists in an intimate and welcoming environment. The mission of SOPAC is to enrich individual lives, and to engage and serve the community in South Orange and beyond, through arts experiences that inspire and transform. Donate here.
This all-volunteer organization that responds to medical emergencies within South Orange, and also assists when necessary in Maplewood, Newark, and surrounding communities. Make a donation, do your online shopping via Amazon Smile or iGive.com, or you can sign up to volunteer with the Rescue Squad.