Chairty for the Working Poor?
November 12, 2006 7:14 PM   Subscribe

help me find a charity to help the working poor.

I have read books like 'Nickel and Dimed' and I want to help that segment of society with my charitable givings. I plan on giving approximately $100/month. How can I get the most bang out of my dollar and where to I find the charity.

Things I was thinking of that helps that segment:
Food subsidy type places
Housing type places
Job training (not so much for this one, since a different segment just comes to fill the jobs after the first has moved up).
posted by cschneid to Work & Money (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Housing type places

Habitat for Humanity.
posted by winston at 7:28 PM on November 12, 2006

Habitat for Humanity, or your local branch of same?

Are you interested in considering issue education or political-type organizations?
posted by amtho at 7:30 PM on November 12, 2006

Modest Needs bails out low-income families when they're hit with unexpected bills they can't pay. Not exactly what you're looking for, but definitely helping the working poor.
posted by stefanie at 7:30 PM on November 12, 2006

In the housing sector, Neighbor to Neighbor looks like a local affordable housing developer (a group that actually builds buildings) (but I don't know if affordable housing developers accept donations or if they need so much money that they only care about state grants and banks), and Housing Colorado seems like a local policy advocate group (they try to get cities and the federal government to build more affordable housing). You could support one of those groups or ask someone at the second link for names of groups doing whatever it is you most want to support (down payment assistance, credit counseling, emergency loans for rent...)
posted by salvia at 7:48 PM on November 12, 2006

YouthBuild is a national non-profit that educates 16-24 yr olds who are typically out of school, low-income, and many have been in trouble with the law. They spend 1/2 their time in the classroom and the other 1/2 learning construction and either rehabbing or building low-income housing for someone in their community. They end up with a skill (construction), their GED or a diploma and have helped someone in their community.

A good description of what a YouthBuild program does can be found here.

There are over 200 local programs around the country -- you could donate to a local one or the national office. I work at the national office, email is in my profile if you want more info.
posted by jdl at 7:53 PM on November 12, 2006

Full disclosure: I work for this non-profit.

Volunteers of America manages, owns and develops affordable housing (in addition to numerous other human services) all over the country and has many local affiliates you can donate to directly. The affiliate I work for (Volunteers of America of the Carolinas) is the largest provider of affordable housing in North and South Carolina, with a number of our properties targeted directly to the working poor. Send me an email if you have any questions.
posted by chiababe at 9:15 PM on November 12, 2006

There are some organizations that will take bicycles as donations, fix them up, and give them to the working poor as a way of helping them get to work. Since bike parts can be expensive, maybe your $100/month would be helpful to one of these groups.
posted by fvox13 at 9:37 PM on November 12, 2006

The National Community Tax Coalition helps lower-income working people benefit from tax credits and take advantage of economic opportunities, through free tax-preparation services and financial literacy training. (Disclosure: My girlfriend works for its Illinois program, Center for Economic Progress.)

Your profile says you're in Ft. Collins. Are you looking for something local? The NCTC has a partner in Colorado: The Denver Asset Building Coalition. Here's a food bank in Ft. Collins: The Food Bank for Larimer County.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:30 PM on November 12, 2006

The Women's Alliance provides professional clothing and career skills coaching to help more than 50,000 women each year in transition from welfare and poverty.
posted by candyland at 6:06 AM on November 13, 2006

>Food subsidy type places

Try America's Second Harvest. They give to many foodbanks and also provide job training (and other services).
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:21 AM on November 13, 2006

Just chiming in to second Youthbuild - not only do they support rehabbing low-income homes, they help another generation of would-be working poor to develop construction skills very early in life, which could lead to very lucrative jobs.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 7:39 AM on November 13, 2006

The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is an absolutely wonderful organization and almost half of homeless individuals work.
posted by purplevelvet at 8:01 AM on November 13, 2006

It's worth noting that Modest Needs is having all recurring monthly contributions matched by an anonymous donor in 2006, so were you to donate $100 in November and December, they'd actually get $400.
posted by rachelv at 9:27 AM on November 13, 2006

There is a niche of working poor who have a double whammy.

Go to your local Children's Hospital, and seek the cancer ward. 9 times out of 10, those people are working families, who have only recently become poor, and can't do anything about it.

A hundred bucks a month could pay for a lot of hospital parking / meals / roofs for these people.

You can also ask around for any local charities that provide these beneficial services to those in need.

More ideas
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 10:31 AM on November 13, 2006

Call your local welfare office, and ask a supervisor. They'll know who out there is really helping folks out, who runs out of money every June and who is blowing smoke.
posted by QIbHom at 1:10 PM on November 13, 2006

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