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How to Give Back and Donate to a Cause in 2021

how to give back

With the new year here, I’ve been thinking a lot about 2020, a year everyone is eager to leave behind.

There’s no doubt last year brought up feelings of uncertainty, scarcity, fear, anger and angst for almost everyone.

A worldwide pandemic forced us to evaluate our personal priorities, scale back on social gatherings and make tough choices, like choosing to do what is necessary (instead of what we want) for the greater good of others and our own well-being. Social and racial inequalities demanded our attention, pushing the cycle of silence to be stopped and for equality for all to be acknowledged and upheld, irregardless of race.

Meanwhile, mother nature continued to respond to worldwide environmental stressors, wreaking havoc on Earth with hurricanes, floods and fires, destroying valuable wildlife, habitats and resources.

Many people are eager to forget last year ever happened and move into 2021, but the reality is that we don’t know what the new year brings.

What matters is that we are doing our part to make a difference and be better. With our intention set to making a difference, start 2021 right and give back. How to give back? One of the best ways to give back in 2021 is to donate to a cause.

Help the Wildlife and Planet Earth

The Australian Bushfires of 2020 killed or displaced an estimated 3 billion animals.  Three BILLION! This figure includes an estimated 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds, and 51 million frogs, a report commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) found. This ranks as one of top wildlife disasters in current history. A little more than a year later, animals are still recovering and several organizations are facilitating the survival of precious endangered species.

So how can you donate to a cause that helps support this disaster recovery?

Sponsor a koala

The koalas were significantly impacted by the bushfires and are at risk for extinction if trends don’t change. It is estimated that only 5% of the koala population is left. If you want to start 2021 right and give back, donate to a cause like the WWF Australia Bushfire Emergency Fund or sponsor a koala that you can call you own for a year. When sponsoring a koala, you can scroll through several biographies and choose the koala you like best.  Koalas have very distinct personalities and you will see that as you scroll through the list of adoptable koalas. From babies to grown adults, there is definitely a koala ready to be adopted.

Protect animals

Over-foresting, hunting and poaching is endangering wildlife too. The World Animal Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the great animals that make this planet so unique. All donations to The World Animal Foundation go to environmental causes and and animal protection, rescue and sanctuaries.

Through The World Animal Foundation, you can adopt several different types of animals, including both wild and farm animals, marsupials, birds and mammals. You can also help save the Earth by donating to protecting endangered ecosystems like plant life and forests.

Adopt an owl

Organizations like The Owls Trust and Hungry Owl Project allow you to donate to a cause and adopt an owl.  The mission of Hungry Owl Project, is to educate the public on owls’ hunting instincts and encourage people to not use rodent poison so that owls can do their job and provide population control over rodents. Hungry Owl Project monitors owl populations and provides nesting boxes for owls.

Meanwhile, The Owls Trust is aimed at saving owls from extinction.  They provide education to schools and universities on owls and their significance to the ecosystem. When you adopt an owl from The Owls Trust, you get an adoption packet and a profile on your owl. Proceeds to these organizations help protect owls, many of whom are endangered.

Support a manatee

The Adopt a Manatee program in Florida is another great way to give back and protect endangered wildlife. Every year manatees are harmed in boating accidents and/or trapped in fishing lines and dangerous debris.  This organization rescues manatees, sometimes traveling hundreds of miles, to bring them to the sanctuary for healing.

Looking at the registrar of adoptable manatees, I was surprised to see some of these manatees were born in the 1970s and still roaming this glorious planet, while others live at the sanctuary full time if their injuries would prevent them from safely being released into the wild again. When you donate to a cause like adopt a manatee, you get adoption papers and a biography on your new manatee buddy.

Consider other causes

If there is an animal or ecosystem you really love, a quick Google search for “how to give back” or “donate to a cause” will likely lead you to an organization dedicated to protecting it.

We’ve had enough negativity in 2020.  Start 2021 right and give back by sponsoring an endangered animal or ecosystem.

Give Back to Philadelphia

If you want to give back locally, there are plenty of ways to support your local community. From charity organizations to parks and recreation, choose an organization that speaks to you and make a difference.

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation create community spaces in Philadelphia and give people positive experiences with mother nature right here in our backyard. Green space is precious in big cities so get involved in park cleanups and beautification efforts, advocate for park improvements and get involved with fundraising for green spaces, which all benefit our beautiful city. Along the way you might even meet new friends and develop valuable networks just for giving nature a little love. Locally there are more than 100 groups dedicated to creating community spaces in nature and cleaning up our beautiful parks.

Love Thy Hood

If you live in Philadelphia, PA you know that trash, debris and litter is a major problem in our city.  Love Thy Hood is a Philly-based organization that educates communities on the value of keeping our streets clean. At Love Thy Hood, request an orange can and find a place to secure it in your neighborhood.

You can manage taking care of the can yourself, or you can talk with your neighbors to see if anyone is interested in teaming up to keep your community clean. Start 2021 right and give back by empowering your community to be litter free.


If you live in Philly, you know Philabundance is a phenomenal resource that provides over a million pounds of food to family and individuals locally.  During COVID-19 they could use your help more than ever. With Philabundance you can donate food or money, host a fundraiser, host a food drive and/or be an advocate for their cause.  So many people have either lost their jobs or are unable to work due to COVID-19 or it’s impact.  Make a difference and start 2021 right and give back to this excellent organization.

Black Lives Matter Movement

Black and brown people deserve to have the same rights, equity, equality and opportunity as all others. At Cope Better Therapy we are here to hold space for you and provide a safe place to process your pain, bring your fears and discuss your feelings. We support a world where everyone is equal irregardless of race, class or culture. Considering making a difference to one of the following organizations if social activism, equality and social justice are your passion.

Philadelphia Bail Fund

Philadelphia Bail Fund helps people who cannot afford cash bail.  Black and brown people are incarcerated at rates higher than any other demographic and when people are jailed and unable to make bail, lives are interrupted.

An inability to pay bills, cover housing expenses and care for children due to jail time, can threaten one’s livelihood and create trauma.  The Philadelphia Bail Fund supports people who cannot on their own afford to post bail. Please consider making a donation today.

Donate to BLM

Donate to the Black Lives Matter Movement and end racism. Here you can find your local chapter and connect with others who care about ending racism and white supremacy. Dedicate your time to making a difference or dedicate your dollars to supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement and help make 2021 a better place for our black and brown friends.

American Civil Liberties Union

Support the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU, by making a donation.  The ACLU provides legal support to people of color whose civil rights have been violated. Issues can range from freedom of speech to voter right infringement or anything else related to the civil rights of black and brown people.

The killing of George Floyd activated grass roots organizations and organizations across the country to stop being silent about the unfair killings of people of color at the hands of police brutality. Supporting the ACLU is just one way to support the Black Lives Matter Movement and donate to a cause that matters.

Why Donate to a Cause?

Science shows us that giving back has many positive benefits.  Maybe you are coping with anxiety. Maybe you’re feeling depressed. Giving back not only helps others, but when we give our reward system in our brain lights up.  These are the same centers that light up when we have sex or eat something we enjoy.  Research also shows us that giving back is connected to our overall satisfaction in our life. The more we give back, the more satisfied we feel and those who spent more time helping others, live longer and more enriching lives.

YOU can make a difference

There are many other ways to start 2021 right and give back.

Whether you want to make a difference locally or nationally, there are many ways to show your support and contribute to the greater good. Any of the organizations listed above would truly benefit from your intention to give back and donate to a cause you love.

If you are financially strapped and unable to make a donation at this time, think of creative ways to support your community and people around you.  Order take out to support the restaurant industry that is really struggling right now due to the Covid-19 pandemic, run an errand for a neighbor, choose to pick up the next piece of litter you see (instead of just walking around it).

Money isn’t the only way to show you care.  Be kind to others (and yourself) and together we will see each other through these unprecedented times.

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Lori provides counseling to adults and couples in a comfortable environment in Rittenhouse Square. Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MbSR), she helps individuals live fuller lives.


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