Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. You give gifts, receive gifts and spend time with loved ones. You also have the chance to make a real difference.

Thousands of charities around the country are working tirelessly to help improve the circumstances of people who might not have such a merry Christmas. They can’t do these things without funding – which is where you come in.

I’m not saying you have to give away all the money you have – you have bills to pay, I know. Instead, think about someone you know or know of who might not be as fortunate as you. What’s their situation? How could you help make their Christmas, and their life, a little better?

If nothing comes to mind, I’ve left a couple of starting points for you.

Breast Cancer Research Foundation

This organization is dedicated to preventing and curing breast cancer. The funding it provides is used for worldwide research on tumor biology, treatment, prevention, genetics and survivorship.

Founded in 1993, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation has raised more than half a billion dollars for breast cancer research. In 2016 and 2017, it will award $57 million in grants to more than 250 scientists from top medical institutions around the world.

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation created the Evelyn H. Lauder Founder’s Fund – an international program that works to study and understand the biology of metastasis, secondary growths near the primary site of cancer.

It is the largest privately funded project in the world that is focused solely on metastasis.

National Alliance to End Homelessness

While I’m huddled up by a fire with a cup of hot chocolate, it’s hard for me to remember there are countless people in America who don’t even have a roof over their heads. In fact, in January 2015, 564,708 people were homeless on a given night in the United States.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness works tirelessly to end homelessness and provide housing for homeless men and women through improving policy, building capacity and educating opinion leaders. It’s a leading voice on federal homelessness policy, and is active in engaging legislative processes.

Healing Haiti

Clean drinking water is arguably the amenity I take for granted the most. So as you can imagine, it’s disturbing to learn that a significant portion of the world is without safe, clean drinking water.

Healing Haiti focuses on providing clean water to Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world. Only 30 percent of Haitians have access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, according to UNICEF. Unclean water introduces bacteria and parasites into children’s bodies, and these can wreak havoc on their immune systems.

Healing Haiti delivers clean water by truck to the poorest part of Haiti that other water trucks don’t deliver to.

Prevent Child Abuse America

Prevent Child Abuse America is dedicated to promoting services that prevent the abuse and neglect of our nation’s children, as well as improve their overall well-being. Their services include shaken baby syndrome prevention, sexual safety and child sexual abuse prevention, peer abuse, bullying prevention and many more.

Its signature home visiting program, Healthy Families America, has been largely successful in the U.S., and reaches roughly 100,000 families every year.

International Peace Institute

Definitely the nonprofit on the largest scale of any on this list, the International Peace Institute is a think tank that promotes peace, sustainable development and security throughout the world. It accomplishes this through managing risk and building resilience to threats and attacks in order to advise world leaders.

Founded in 1970, the International Peace Institute operates as a research institution that navigates regional and global security challenges. The International Peace Institute has staff in more than 20 countries and even has an office in New York City.

American Foundation for AIDS Research

More than 1.2 million people in the U.S. currently live with HIV infection, with new cases being reported every day. The American Foundation for AIDS Research works tirelessly to fund research initiatives dedicated to understanding AIDS and the HIV virus and finding a cure.

To date, this organization has invested more than $450 million in these programs and initiatives. These investments have led to great advancements in HIV prevention, treatment and care.

Christian Relief Fund

Founded in 1971, the Christian Relief Fund feeds the hungry to minister to human needs spiritually, physically and emotionally. It also devotes money and resources to help heal diseases and improve education programs among lower-class citizens in third-world countries.

Working across 33 countries, the Christian Relief Fund provides child and family sponsorship, and operates children’s homes and schools. It provides food, clothes, medical care, schooling and Bible teaching to inspire hope of a poverty-free life.

Prevent Blindness

Prevent Blindness has been the leading volunteer eye health organization in the U.S. since 1908. Its mission is to fight blindness and save sight through promotion of quality vision care.

This organization screens for eye problems, educates your community on eye health, advocates for institutional partnerships that help improve eye health nationally, supports innovative vision research and trains vision screeners and instructors.

Giving to any one of these organizations will help make the new year a bit happier for so many people – and will make a difference in your life, as well.

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Hi, I'm Kate Harveston. I'm originally from Williamsport, PA. After pursuing my degree in Professional Writing, it seemed only natural to get out there and start blogging! I am currently pursuing a career as a journalist and freelance writer, covering everything from human rights and gender equality, to US government and international politics. My life goal is to be one of the best female political writers online, while having some fun along the way (because politics can be fun!).

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