2013 I Love Memphis Charitable Giving Guide

Posted by Holly Whitfield | December 3rd 2013 4498 0

I can't think of a better day to publish the I Love Memphis 2013 Charitable Giving Guide than #GivingTuesday, so here it is. Take a few minutes to consider donating your time, cash, or skills to one of the organizations listed here. They're all Memphis non-profits that could benefit from your generosity this holiday season (and year round).

This list is by no means complete – there are hundreds of incredible organizations in this city that are worthy of your love. If there are any organizations you work with or support that aren't on the list, please leave them in the comments with some details on what they need so that everyone can see them

Camp Good Times 

What they do: Camp Good Times is a weeklong sleepover summer camp at Shelby Forest for kids and adults with mental disabilities who may not be able to attend a traditional summer camp.

How you can help: Volunteer to be a camp counselor, camp nurse, or make a financial donation by contacting Joey Maurizi at joey.cgt@gmail.com.

Child Advocacy Center

What they do: The Child Advocacy Center provides services to some of Memphis' most vulnerable, the victims of child abuse, that help them recover from abuse and return to normal childhoods. They provide counseling, prevention services and advocates to children and families in need.

How you can help: Make a financial contribution to the CAC, or volunteer to serve as an ambassador, help around the CAC office or work at special events.

Church Health Center

What they do: The Church Health Center provides medical, vision and dental care to Memphians who have jobs, but lack health insurance. They also run the Church Health Center Wellness, a pay-what-you-can fitness and community center.

How you can help: Volunteer to help out at the clinic or Hope and Healing center (or be an on-call volunteer for whatever's needed most). You can also make monetary donations or donate items from the CHC's wishlist. The CHC has a campaign running from now until the end of the month to buy a new dental chair. You can go here to donate.

DeNeuville Learning Center

DeNeuville Learning Center, Memphis, Tenn.

What they do: The DeNeuville Center's mission is to educate women of all backgrounds, both in school subjects (like English, art, reading math and GED classes) and practical skills (like budgeting and parenting).

How you can help: The center can always benefit from monetary donations, but they're also in need of volunteers to babysit, tutor the center's clients in ESL, GED prep and preparing for the U.S. Citizenship test. They also need people to help maintain the building and answer the phones.

Dorothy Day House of Hospitality

What they do: The Dorothy Day House of Hospitality is the only shelter in Memphis that allows families to stay together. They provide food, shelter and clothing to homeless families, then works to get them back on their feet, even after they've returned to permanent housing.

How to help: The house is always in need of donated supplies (here's a full list), monetary donations and volunteers to provide childcare, work on the house, tutor, prepare meals and more.

Dress for Success Memphis

What they do: Imagine finally landing a big job interview, but not being able to afford an outfit that will allow you to dress to impress. Dress for Success provides professional clothing, job mentoring and career services to women in need.

How you can help: Donate a new or gently used (clean) suit or business casual clothing or shoes to their closet. 

Habitat for Hope

What they do: Habitat for Hope provides housing and support for families facing as serious illness of a child. They have housing and facilities in Shelby Forest as well as two furnished apartments in downtown Memphis.

How you can help: Volunteer for administrative, support, or housekeeping duties, donate financially, or donate some items from the wish list. 

Halal Food Pantry at Masjid Al-Mu'minun

What they do: The Halal food pantry at Masjid Al-Mu'minun is the first food pantry in Memphis to provide strictly Halal food to Memphians in need.

How you can help: Contact halalfoodpantrym@aol.com for details on helping out.


What they do: H.O.P.E. is a Mid-South Peace and Justice Center-sponsored organization that advocates for and provides resources people who are currently or have formerly experienced homelessness. 

How you can help: Make a one-time financial contribution or become a member of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center.

Hope House

What they do: The Hope House works with families impacted by HIV/AIDS. They're the only organization in Tennessee that provides preschool and family-centerd care to severely impovershed families affected by HIV/AIDS.

How you can help: Volunteer as a classroom or aftercare helper, make a financial contribution or donate items from the Hope House wish list.

Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County

What they do: The Humane Society provides shelter, medical care and adoptions to injured and abused dogs and cats.

How you can help: Adopt one of the Society's adorable dogs or cats (some of them, who have been there the longest, have free adoption) or volunteer to walk dogs, keep kennels clean, or foster an animal.

Literacy Mid-South

What they do: LMS estimates that there are more than 120,000 Memphians who can't read well enough to apply for a job. They work to improve the literacy rate in Memphis by providing literacy classes to all ages and skill levels, professional development help and one-on-one tutoring.

How you can help: Donate your time to tutor one of LMS's students or work in the office. Or, donate money to help the Council continue its programs.

The MED Foundation

What they do: The MED Foundation raises funds for purchasing state-of-the-art equipment and provides special training for staff of the oldest hospital in Tennessee – the Regional Medical Center at Memphis aka “The MED”.

How you can help: Make a financial donation.

Memphis Center for Independent Living 

What they do: The MCIL is an integrated community that equally welcomes all members, and advocates for and supports people with disabilities so they may live independently.

How you can help: Attend the Memphis Center for Independent Living by attending their silent auction on Dec. 6 or making a donation. Call 901-726-6404 or more information or email mcil@mcil.org.

Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center

What they do: The MGLCC provides a safe, welcoming space for Memphis' gay, lesbian, bi and transgendered community. They provide free HIV testing, support groups, counseling referral, and support to LBTQ youth in need of support and care.

How you can help: The center always needs volunteers to answer phones, be ambassadors or serve on committees. You can also make a financial contribution or donate items from the MGLCC's wish list.

Memphis Oral School for the Deaf

What they do: The MOSD focuses on developing listening and spoken language skills for thousands of children with hearing loss. 

How you can help: Donate, volunteer for fundraisers, or purchase holiday cards from the MOSD's website. 


What they do: Meritan serves all kinds of people. They provide foster care for kids, services for the visually imparired, medical care, professional development programs and in-home care and support for senior citizens and low-income Memphians with medical or developmental needs.

How you can help: You can donate to Meritan in general, or to one of their specific programs. They list volunteer opportunities regularly on Facebook, or sign up to be a Homemaker and run small errands and perform litlle household tasks for people in need. You can also provide gifts to senior citizen for Christmas through Meritan's Silver Bells program.

Mid-South Food Bank

What they do: The Food Bank fights hunger in the Memphis area by providing food, basic necessities and education to those in need.

How you can help: The demand for the Food Bank's services is partiuclarly high right now, and they're desperate for donations of cash and non-perishable food items. Why not organize a food drive (or contribute to one), donate to Feed the Need the next time you're at the grocery store or volunteer to work in the warehouse, stock the store or serve meals at the Food Bank. If you feel like you won't make a difference, know that just one dollar can provide two meals to someone in need.

Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services

What they do: MSNS offers affordable spay and neuter surguries to pet owners in order to reduce pet overpopulation and reduce ethanasia or healthy pets,with a special emphasis on ensuring that low-income and senior citizens have the opportunity to use our services

How you can help: Make a financial donation, or volunteer for clinic assistance or special events.


What they do: MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association) works directly with some of Memphis' most vulnerable senior citizens and families. They provide Meals on Wheels, companionship and handyman services to seniors, provide emergency housing to families in crisis, help find homeless families permanent homes and provide mentoring and college prep help to teens.

How you can help: You can donate cash to MIFA or volunteer as a college mentor, Meals on Wheels deliver-er, senior ombudsman or be a senior companion. You can also help make gift bags, tend their community garden or advocate for the rights of people in nursing homes. Here's a complete list of volunteer opportunities at MIFA.

Overton Park Conservancy 

What they do: The OPC is in charge of 184 acres of public parkland, including the Old Forest State Natural area, Rainbow Lake, Veteran's Plaza, the Greensward, and more.

How you can help: Volunteer your time, become a member, or make a donation.


What they do: Porter-Leath works primarily with children and families. They provide Head Start preschool, parenting classes, foster grandparents, foster care and a shelter for runaway youth.

How you can help: Donate a new, unwrapped toy to the Toy Truck. You can also fulfill a holiday wishlist for a Porter-Leath kid, make a financial contribution, or volunteer.

Project Green Fork

What they do: Project Green Fork contributes to a sustainable Mid-South by helping reduce environtmal impacts, with a focus on strengthening homegrown restaurants. PGR has a certification system for restaurants so diners can choose to support eateries that are committed to Project Green Fork's mission.

How you can help: Choose to dine at Project Green Fork restaurants (list is here), make a donation, contact PGF for volunteer opportunies, and encourage your favorite restaurants to get certified if they aren't already.

Ronald McDonald House Memphis

What they do: The Ronald McDonald House provides a comfortable home away from home to non-local St. Jude patients and their families while they're receiving care at the hospital, free of charge.

How you can help: Donate some items on the house's wish list, take up a pop tab collection or become a House Hero.


What they do: SRVS provides job training, jobs, eductaion, clinics, housing, and a supportive community for Memphians with developmental disabilities. They also provide support to the families of the people they serve.

How you can help: If you're a warm, friendly person who likes to smile a lot (because you will smile a lot), volunteer to work with SRVS. They've got all kinds of hands-on opportunities, most of which come with the instant gratification of knowing that you've made someone's day better.

St. Vincent DePaul Food Mission

What they do: The St. Vincent DePaul soup kitchen is open seven days a week, 365 days a year to provide a warm meal and gathering space for Memphis' homeless and hungry. On a normal day, the mission serves 150 – 225 people.

How you can help: The mission needs volunteers to prepare and serve meals. They also need donations of food, cash and supplies. To volunteer, email danieldjl@aol.com.

Shelby Farms Park Conservancy

Shelby Farms Park buffalo, Memphis, Tenn.

What they do: At 4,500 acres, Shelby Farms is one of the largest public parks in the United States with trails, a Greenline, horseback riding, lakes, playgrounds, disc golf courses and a home for a herd of buffalo.

How you can help: Shelby Farms can always use monetary donations, but the most fun way to do it is through the Adopt a Buffalo program. You can also volunteer for one-time and long-term service projects in the park.

Wolf River Conservancy

What they do: The Wolf River Conservancy protects and enhances the Wolf River corridor watershed as a sustainable natural resource, as well as works to complete the Wolf River Greenway

How you can help: Make a financial donation, volunteer your time, or become a member. 

Youth Villages

What they do: What doesn't Youth Villages do? They provide kids and teens in Memphis with crisis services, foster care and adoption, housing, mentoring, transitional living and in-home services.

How you can help: Youth Villages Memphis still needs more than 100 Holiday Heroes to fulfill holiday wish lists for their young clients. You can also volunteer in a number of positions or make financial contributions.

Like I said, these are only a few of the local organizations that are worthy of your time and contributions this holiday season. If you know of or are involved in others, please leave them in the comments so that everyone can see them. Be sure to mention what the organization does and how people can best help them.

Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

Show Comments


  1. Emily says:

    This is an awesome list of organizations serving our community! Please also consider supporting Neighborhood Christian Centers, Inc. this #GivingTuesday. They are a 35-year-old non-profit in Memphis that serves neighbors in need through basic emergency services including food pantries, clothing closets, and more as well as valuable educational programs including After School and Summer programs, parent training to promote early childhood brain development, marriage counseling, and job skill training. They also provide over 10,000 Christmas Meals Baskets to feed famileis during the Christmas Season! NCC does all of this and so much more at no charge to their clients. To learn more, visit: ncclife.org

  2. Katie says:


    Community Alliance for the Homeless

    What they do: Lead effective community practices to end homelessness in Memphis and Shelby County, TN. Through implementation of an evidence-based, locally tailored strategic plan, they build collaborative partnerships, provide training, and share best practices and information to maximize the community's resources and effectiveness in reducing homelessness.

    How you can help: Make a financial contribution and look here for volunteer opportunities.


  3. Margot says:

    Great list! Please include Project Green Fork too. Thanks!

  4. Chris says:

    Please also consider adding GrowMemphis


    What they do: Partner with neighborhoods in Memphis and Shelby County to promote a sustainable local food system. GrowMemphis provides training, funding, and resources for residents who want to transform vacant lots into thriving community gardens in their neighborhoods. They also work with the Food Advisory Council for Memphis and Shelby County to advocate for policies and practices that enhance food security and the local food economy.


    How you can help: Make a contribution to help GrowMemphis fund new gardens or find out about volunteer opportunties here. 

  5. Nikki Haynes says:


    What they do:  BRIDGES unites and inspires diverse young people to become confident and courageous leaders committed to community transformation.  BRIDGES helps youth and adults find their voice, experience their power and build positive relationships in order to create strong lives and extraordinary communities.

    How you can help:  Make a financial contribution at http://www.bridgesusa.org/give or volunteer.  For volunteer opportunites please contact Nikki Haynes at nhaynes@bridgesusa.org or 901.260.3752.

  6. Santana Singleton says:

    MIFA links do not work above, please replace.



  7. Holly Whitfield says:

    Thanks Santana, I've replaced the links and they should work now.

  8. Kirk Williamson says:

    Memphis Civic Solar

    What they do:

    Memphis Bioworks launched today Memphis Civic Solar, a project for the City of Memphis that will install 1.5 Megawatts of solar energy spread across 30 different municipal buildings (50 kilowatts each) in neighborhoods throughout Memphis.  When completed, Civic Solar will be one of the largest municipal solar projects in the nation, positioning Memphis as a national leader in sustainability and creating positive and measurable environmental, economic and social benefits for the citizens of Memphis.

    Here is the link to the fundraising campaign: https://ioby.org/project/memphis-civic-solar

    (edited for length)

  9. Jana Wilson says:

    Memphis Botanic Garden serves 40,000 school-aged children (not to mention adults!) each year through organized education programs, outreach, and nature activities, as well as offering a natural refuge right in the heart of the city. See what's growing at the Garden (hint: it's not just plants!!) http://memphisbotanicgarden.com/ViewMail.aspx?p=8F2ID2876208D4D68ehI&mmid=533IFB34713e3DDGI7c

  10. Ace says:

    Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR)

    What they do: PPGMR provides access to birth control, related medical services, education and advocacy to ensure all women, men and teens in the Mid-South have the tools to plan their families and lives.

    How you can help: Volunteer, Speak Out, and/or Donate via this link: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/memphis/get-involved-locally-1573.htm

  11. Rachel says:

    Friends For Life

    What they do: Friends For Life is one of the oldest and most comprehensive HIV/AIDS service organizations in the southern United States. The mission of Friends For Life Corporation is to help people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS live well. Their comprehensive, client-centered approach includes free HIV testing, prevention services, education, housing, food pantry, pharmacy, peer mentoring and support services, transportation and emergency financial assistance and advocacy. 

    How you can help: Check out the website for volunteer and donation info and follow them on Facebook to stay up to date on agency news and issues affecting the HIV/AIDS community.

  12. andria lisle says:

    Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

    What we do: The Brooks is your art museum, a place where you can experience the transformative power of art. As one of the largest and most innovative art museums in the American South, the Brooks is recognized nationally for the museum’s innovative educational programs, continual community outreach, and world-class art collection.  Thanks to ninety-six years of community engagement in Memphis, the Brooks takes an enthusiastic leadership role in building an aspirational future for our city.

    How you can help: Become a member, volunteer, attend programs, or donate to the Brooks at http://www.brooksmuseum.org/.

  13. Creative Aging

    What they do: Creative Aging improves quality of life for Mid-South elders by providing them with access to experiences in the arts where they live and gather.

    How you can help: You can donate to Creative Aging and/or volunteer by serving as an Entertainment Host or helping at our annual events (Game Day in the spring, Senior Variety Show in the summer, and Artist Showcase & Silent Auction in the fall).  You can stay in touch by receiving newsletters 3 times a year, e-blasts, and being our Friend on Facebook.  Call 272-3434 or visit http://www.CreativeAgingMidsouth.org.


  14. Ken says:

    The Levitt Shell has become a jewel of Memphis, but we can not do it without community support.

    The Levitt Shell presents 50 free concerts every year, with performances by nationally and internationally touring musicians from all over the world. Using free concerts as a catalyst for bringing Memphians together, the Levitt Shell is building a stronger community through music, finding common ground for a diverse audience. The Shell’s rich musical heritage, prime location, thoughtfully renovated facility, and multi-cultural musical programming make it the ideal setting to bring the Memphis community together.

  15. Susan Rubio says:

    Wonderful list.  Consider also HopeWorks, Inc. and Agape Child and Family Services, two additional organizations worthy of your charitable gift consideration.  I'm proud to be a 901ian . . . Memphis is a city full of generous hearts!

  16. The International Association for Sight Impaired Artists

    What They Do: Encourages individuals who are blind or visually impaired to get involved in the visual, literary and performing arts. The organization works to develop exhibition spae for artists to show off their talent in various locations. IASIA is the first organization of its kind created in Memphis, TN with plans to help blind and visually impaired artists beome self-sufficent throught the sale of their art in various retail markets. The organization also sets up grants to support other organization develop art prorrams for their blind and visually impaired clients.

    How You an Help: The International Assoiation for Sight Impaired  Artists is seeking donated offie space to establish headquarters either in the Midtown or Downtown area. The organization also seeks much needed office equipemnts , suh as desktop computers, fax machine, copier and identification card printer. IASIA is also a 501c3 organization and accepts financial support. All contributions are tax deductible.

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