Donating to Individuals, Families, Classrooms

Donate to specific individuals, families or classrooms

Many small donations add up and change lives. As a result of recent events, there are plenty of people in need and many opportunities to help them financially. But if even a small donation is a stretch right now, the need won’t go away with the coronavirus—it’s always there—so you can help when the time is right. The following organizations provide opportunities to help meet the needs of specific families, kids and entrepreneurs.

Donors Choose

When teacher Charles Best was photocopying Little House on the Prairie so everyone in his class could have a copy, he realized how useful it would be to have a way to connect donors with teachers and classrooms lacking resources. So he created Donors Choose, an online site that lists teacher requests for their classrooms and has fulfilled more than 2.5 million requests. Donors can read through requests and choose the school, class and project they want to help fund with donations as small as $1.

4 Paws for Ability

This nonprofit provides life-changing service dogs to children in need. Because training service dogs is so expensive, families are required to contribute $17,000 toward the cost of training a dog for their child, which is only a small portion of the total cost. By donating, you can help specific families reach this goal. Note: you have to press the gray “continue reading” under each person’s description (it’s hard to see).


While working at a nonprofit in East Africa to help entrepreneurs, Jessica Jackley and Matt Flannery saw that the biggest entrepreneurial challenge was startup funding even though the required funding was often minimal. So they built a platform to fund developing-world entrepreneurs and in April 2005 funded seven loans for a total of $3,500. When all the loans were repaid, they realized they had a sustainable business. Kiva allows anyone to fund a developing-world entrepreneur. Ninety-seven percent of loans are repaid, and investors are free to reinvest. Sustainable businesses are the result, leading to jobs and self-sufficiency—especially important to the 81 percent of borrowers who are women. To date, Kiva has provided $1.6 billion in loans. Your contribution can be as low as $25.


In 2014, a group of college students founded this platform to provide resources to children. Companies sign up with Daymaker, and their employees can purchase holiday gifts and back-to-school supplies from specific children’s wish lists. The lists are compiled by Daymaker’s nonprofit partners. Daymaker is a for-profit entity.


After Pam Koner read a newspaper article about the extreme poverty in Pembroke, Illinois, she contacted an outreach worker there with the simple idea of linking families who had “more” with families who had less. She was given the names of seventeen of the neediest Pembroke families, and she persuaded sixteen friends and neighbors to join her in sending monthly boxes of food (along with letters) to one family each. From there, Family-to-Family has grown into a national nonprofit.

Through Family-to-Family, you can sponsor a family in need with a monthly box of groceries. You can sponsor refugee families, Holocaust survivors, veterans and working poor families. Partner nonprofits find the families in need, and Family-to-Family matches them with donors. These programs request monthly donations from $11 to $55. In almost all the programs, you’re able to connect with the family via letters.

Family-to-Family also enables you to send a book a month to a low-income elementary school classroom to supplement its library. Family-to-Family fills an important gap in communities where there’s barely enough money to cover food, let alone books.

One Simple Wish

Danielle Gletow started One Simple Wish after she and her husband became foster parents and realized that many children in foster care didn’t have access to things other kids might take for granted, like birthday and holiday gifts, sneakers and school supplies. Donors can browse and fulfill wishes for these items. Wishes are compiled by social workers and other professionals who work with the children. One Simple Wish reaches more than thirty thousand children each year. You can fulfill a wish through the website or contribute toward a wish with a donation as low as $1 through the Facebook page.

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