Give on Tuesday and explore: 5 non-profits to support on #GivingTuesday

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With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday marking the traditional beginning of the holiday shopping season, it’s a breath of fresh air that #GivingTuesday came about in 2012. While it’s hard to resist tempting deals that are all over the place during those three days, on #GivingTuesday, we can take a break from consumer culture and give to those in need.

No matter what amount, anything will help. Non-profits and charities are struggling these days, and, as that cliché phrase goes, if we all give a little, we can give a lot.

Since I’ve started donating, I’ve always opted to give to non-profit organizations. One of the nice things about them is that, in addition to one having a distinct mission, they’re also great ways to travel within your backyard. Helping various organizations is also an avenue to learning more about wherever you may live. Another tidbit to keep in mind is that donations made to registered non-profits are tax deductible.

With that, here are frive non-profit organizations I’ll be donating to for #GivingTuesday 2015:

Descanso Gardens

Long-time followers of Backyard Destinations know that Descanso Gardens has a special place in my heart. From poking around on Google Maps out of boredom one day, I would up falling in love with one of the best gems in LA County. The Gardens offer a nature getaway just minutes north of Downtown Los Angeles. Whether you become a member or donate a couple of dollars, every cent helps in keeping this beautiful space operating.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
The Natural History Museum is a place I recently visited and is an intriguing place to spend the day. Allocate several hours when planning a visit and come in some comfortable walking shoes. There are tons of exhibits, including an extensive section on dinosaurs and African mammals, that will keep adults and kids captivated for hours. The museum is a great way to spend some time in LA when it’s too hot outside and if you’re interested in museums. (It’s also worth noting that members of NHM get access to the La Brea Tar Pits and the William Hart Museum.)

Farm LA

Photo from organic farming through WWOOF in Mount Vernon, Washington

There’s something really satisfying about being involved in food production, and in LA, there’s a non-profit dedicated to doing that by taking abandoned land in the area for solar and agricultural farming. By 2020, Los Angeles has to generate 33 percent of its energy from renewable resources, and Farm LA helps toward that effort. I’ve farmed previously through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, but it’s nice to have an opportunity to care for the planet without straying too far from home.

Valley View Vaulters
Valley View Vaulters is a Lake View Terrace-based non-profit organization that strives to teach Equestrian Vaulting, a combination of gymnastics and horseback riding. It’s a place I came across while driving on Foothill Boulevard last year, and I ended up meeting the organization’s co-founders, Rick and Virginia Hawthorne. While this isn’t a non-profit that lends to “exploring,” a huge part of traveling is who you meet along the way. Meeting Rick and Virginia was inspiring because Rick only has one arm and their organization also teaches disabled kids. They’re a fun couple that’s really dedicated to teaching people of all ages the world-class sport of vaulting.

Project Pearls
Project Pearls is a non-profit based in Northern California that feeds Filipino kids and sends them to school. It is focused on education, nutrition, economic and community development. While this isn’t a destination or an organization that lends itself to backyard travel experiences, it’s a worthy cause. And as a Filipino-American who has seen the stark contrast in the standard of living and available opportunities in the Philippines and in America, I’ll be donating to Project Pearls in hopes it will contribute to the improvement in the backyards of those living in the Philippines.

How are you participating in #GivingTuesday? Feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email!

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