Holly tree with red berries and snow.

Big Ideas, Roddenberry Fellowship

9 Organizations to Support This Holiday Season

Was it just us or did 2019 feel loooooooong? Well, it’s finally December and time to take stock of the past 12 months and look ahead. How do you want to wrap up 2019? What do you want 2020 to look like? Whether you want to make a difference, support an important issue, or up your civic engagement- below are 9 amazing orgs and lots of creative options to end 2019 on a positive note and look towards 2020 with some fire in your belly- we’re all going to need it.

1. Activist Graduate School 

The Activist Graduate School is an online educational institution designed specifically for the needs of experienced activists who want to take their movement work to the next level. Their emphasis is on university caliber seminars on history, strategy, and theory of social change through collective action. 

Activist Graduate School is a creative educational environment for the practical, urgent and important task of addressing the deep theoretical and strategic challenges facing social movement creators. Their mission is to enable activists to expand their repertoire of collective action and evolve how they approach the challenge of social change.  

Ways you can get involved: 


2. Brooklyn Institute for Social Research 

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research (BISR) is an interdisciplinary teaching and research institute that offers critical, community-based education in the humanities and social sciences. In spaces now across the country and for thousands of students a year, BISR integrates rigorous but accessible study with the lives of working adults, creates programs for non-profit, activist, labor, and political organizations, and democratizes study, learning, and research.

Want to support re-imagining scholarship for the 21st century?

  • Become a member! With six membership levels to choose from, and perks ranging from swag to in-person classes, you’ll help sustain BISR’s programming – from low – and no-cost regional programming from Kentucky to Puerto Rico to the work they do in building movement infrastructure, to digital spaces, events, general operations and beyond.
  • Make a one-time donation! Donations are used to fund scholarships, support BISR programming, cover a portion of general operating costs, produce the Podcast for Social Research and other public programs including the BISR Network, BISR Community Initiative and BISR Praxis. Help them build a more inclusive and accessible form of public intellectual life.
  • Sign up for the BISR newsletter! Each week BISR sends out a newsletter with updates regarding courses, faculty writing, events local and abroad, new episodes of the Podcast for Social Research (join our Patreon here!), and more. It’s the best way to stay current with various goings-on. Visit their website to sign up today!

Please visit our website (www.thebrooklyninstitute.com), send us an email (info@thebrooklyninstitute.com), or give us a call (718-422-7767).

3. EmbraceRace

EmbraceRace is a national nonprofit that supports parents and other caregivers to raise children who are thoughtful, informed and brave about race. They believe that the sensibilities, insights, and convictions around race and identity our children develop today will profoundly shape the world-changing work they do tomorrow. EmbraceRace creates the resources, community, and partnerships caregivers need to nurture children who can mend our racial divides and help realize the full promise of multiracial democracy for all.  

Ways you can get involved:

  • Give them a look. Start by checking out their new web site at www.embracerace.org. From there you can join their mailing list to get occasional notices about the happenings in EmbraceRace’s growing community.
  • Help them build a network of champions. These are people from the arenas of research, racial justice, education and child advocacy, media, business, philanthropy and more who understand how central EmbraceRace’s interests are to the present and future of US economic, political, and social life. If you know someone, or are someone, who might be willing to help propel them efforts forward in 2020 and beyond, email our Fellow, Andrew, at andrew@embracerace.org.
  • Become a monthly supporter. If you believe in and want to support this work, please become a monthly donor. $10/month? $5/month? $20/month? Whatever amount you can offer is welcome. Our donation page is here: https://www.embracerace.org/support.

4. FreeFrom

FreeFrom works in service of the 1 in 4 women who will experience domestic violence in our country – women who will cite financial insecurity as the number one reason why they remain in and return to abusive relationships. FreeFrom’s Self-Help Online Compensation Tool supports survivors in navigating four avenues to compensation to recoup the financial costs (medical, legal, lost wages, property damage, etc.) they have incurred as a direct result of domestic violence. 

Ways you can get involved: 

  • Shop the store: Support survivor-owned businesses while shopping for everyone on your holiday gift list this season. They have luxury bath and body products, carefully curated gift boxes for each zodiac sign, holiday cards, stocking stuffers and more.
  • Try and share the Compensation Compass: This groundbreaking tech platform provides survivors in all 50 states with the knowledge and step-by-step guidance they need to pursue economic justice to cover the costs of the harm they have experienced. Please share this resource wide and far.

5. IssueVoter

IssueVoter is a non-partisan online platform and your guide to contacting Congress. Since its founding, IssueVoter has become the first-ever technology platform to provide a 21st-century constituent relationship – at the individual level – in every district in the United States. IssueVoter is dedicated to ensuring that everyone has a voice in our democracy.

Civic engagement is critical because policy and legislation affect every issue that you care about. By sustaining IssueVoter, you’re creating lasting change – far beyond election cycles.

Ways you can get involved:

  1. Sponsor Our Bills”: Become a patron at any level and your tax-deductible contribution goes straight to solving the root causes of civic disengagement, making our democracy work again. Recurring donations are the best way to give steady support. This year, IssueVoter has sent over one million opinions to Congress. Learn about IssueVoter’s impact, 2020 goals, and how to help: Give Everyone A Voice Today!
  2. Share IssueVoter: Show off your support by shopping IssueVoter merchandise for the holidays. Follow and share @IssueVoter on social media; you can even expose the exact percentage that your representative actually represents your viewpoints. Have they been naughty or nice?
  3. Introductions & Ideas: IssueVoter is looking for people interested in serving as advisors and organizations who want to provide civic engagement for their community. Send Founder, Maria Yuan, an email at info@issuevoter.org for more details.

IssueVoter engages individuals on the issues they care about, provides transparency, and empowers participation in accountable governance. Together, we can create the world we want to live in through a truly representative democracy!


6. Local Clean Energy Alliance 

The Local Clean Energy Alliance is advancing a just transition with a Green New Deal for the East Bay using net revenues from East Bay Community Energy Alameda County’s Community Choice energy program. As of November 2019, they have won $5.6M towards advancing clean energy programs and projects to build community energy resilience and wealth we need to bring Clean Power to the People!

Simultaneously, amidst the PG&E rolling power shut-offs and deadly wildfires, the LCEA has been busy fighting back. The Local Clean Energy Alliance is launching a new project: the California Utility Justice Campaign.  The campaign will strengthen the voice of low-income communities and communities of color, as well as other sectors most impacted by California’s collapsing electricity system. Its goals are not only to resist the current PG&E bailout but to move California to a public utility model. This is part of a broader restructuring of California’s electricity system to meet the urgent needs of communities rather than enrich private utility shareholders.

LCEA is working at the local, state, and national level to bring energy democracy by promoting a clean energy future through the development of local renewable energy resources. These resources are key to addressing climate change, advancing social and racial justice, and building sustainable and resilient communities.  

Ways you can get involved: 

Clean Power to the People!

7. Right2Vote

The Right2Vote Campaign is a game-changer by engaging incarcerated individuals into the political processes that they’ve been barred from since the erection of our current criminal justice system. Right2Vote focuses on dismantling this wall of oppression by attempting to restore the absolutely necessary privilege of citizenship within a democracy, regardless of one’s past offenses. This project aims to restore prisoners’ Right2Vote with an understanding that our criminal justice system can never operate as a rehabilitative or corrective environment without the influence of those who are most affected, the inmates.

Ways you can get involved: 


8. Warm Cookies of the Revolution

Warm Cookies of the Revolution is the first Civic Health Club, but plans are underway to make sure it’s not the only!  They would welcome and appreciate your support as Warm Cookies of the Revolution begins to pilot the Civic Health Club model with residents and artists of other communities.  


9. US Department of Arts and Culture

The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) is a people-powered department  — a grassroots action network inciting creativity to shape a culture of empathy, equity, and belonging. USDAC is  made up of artists, organizers, educators, community leaders, and allies — 23,000 and growing! — joining together for shared learning and action. Rooted in the power of culture as a source of resilience, resistance, and renewal, the USDAC builds creative people-power to respond to the social and ecological crises of our times. In 2020 they’ll be deepening our cultural organizing around Indigenous rights, climate justice, voter engagement and more. 

Ways you can get involved: 

  • Check out www.usdac.us to learn more about current projects and access dozens of free resources to support creative organizing.
  • Sign up on their mailing list and you’ll be in the loop for all kinds of opportunities to get involved in the year ahead: www.usdac.us/enlist.
  • If you’re inspired by their work, consider making a donation: www.usdac.us/donate.



Author | Aleia Lebowitz, Digital Media Manager