Feeling charitable this season? Here are some Eastside nonprofits and charities worthy of your donation and/or volunteer time. 

The Martinez Foundation

Mission: To improve teacher diversity and retention in Washington

Headquarters: Bellevue

Founded: 2008

“When there are more teachers of color it directly impacts minority students, and what we want to do is provide quality education to all students, especially people of color. Forty-four percent of the students in our schools are of color, and only 8 percent of the teachers are. Having minority teachers will improve the performance of students of color.” — Edgar Martinez, co-founder

 

Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue

Mission: To inspire and enable young people, especially those who need it most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.

Headquarters: Bellevue

Founded: 1952

“Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue serves over 11,000 members and their families, providing a safe, fun place that encourages kids to live healthy lifestyles, give back to their community, and achieve academic success. … By strengthening the community, the club looks to inspire all young people to make life choices that help them realize their full potential.”  — Ryan Scott, vice president

 

Hopelink

Mission: Hopelink promotes self-sufficiency among homeless and low -income families, children, seniors, and people with disabilities living in north and east King County.

Headquarters: Redmond

Founded: 1971

“Hopelink offers an integrated array of programs that enable families in crisis to make progress toward and achieve self-sufficiency, including food banks, housing, energy assistance, adult education, family development, and transportation. We serve 60,000 people every year, through 35 different programs. (Our) goal for 2015 is to expand our services in north and east King County to help more people in need gain stability and self-sufficiency.” — Kris Betker, spokesperson

 

Bellevue LifeSpring

Mission: To foster stability for Bellevue’s children and their families through food, clothing, and education programs.

Headquarters: Bellevue

Founded: 1911 as Overlake Service League; name changed in 2011

“There are 4,000 reported children living in poverty in Bellevue; 150 are reported homeless.  But we know there are many, many more. We know families are living in their cars in church parking lots. We know high school students are homeless and couch surfing from house to house.  People don’t realize that in Bellevue children are desperate and need our help.  These are the children and their families Bellevue LifeSpring serves. … Last year, we provided 82,000 meals and 60,000 snacks to these children. This year we can do more.” — Jennifer Fischer, executive director

 

Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center

Mission: To provide people with disabilities with physical and emotional therapy through horseback riding.

Headquarters: Redmond

Founded: 1976

“Our secret ingredient is the richness of the horses and what they bring to the equation. We have traditional occupation therapy, (are) about to add speech therapy, and have adapted sport riding. … Improvement in the arena translates directly to improved living in everyday life. Whether it is social or physical strength or learning to communicate, there is nothing more empowering.” — Mary Gleason, development director

 

Career Path Services

Mission: Career Path Services provides workforce development services to individuals and employers in Washington.

Headquarters: Renton (South King County office)

Founded: 1971

“We plan to put 2,000 people to work this year. Customers we serve include those on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, veterans,homeless, disadvantaged youth, offenders, and persons with disabilities.” — Cami Hanson, COO

 

Birthday Dreams

Mission: Birthday Dreams is dedicated to bringing the joy of a birthday party to homeless children.

Headquarters: Renton

Founded: 2009

“Many of the families we assist are trying so hard to just survive another day; the children have never celebrated a birthday. These children carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Birthday Dreams ensures that these children get one day to be the center of attention and experience a simple moment of pure joy.” — Laura Coumont, marketing director

 

C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation

Mission: To provide disabled and disadvantaged children the opportunity to enjoy a day of fishing with a volunteer.

Headquarters: Renton

Founded: 1991

 

Vision House

Mission: To provide transitional housing for homeless mothers and homeless men recovering from substance abuse.

Headquarters: Renton

Founded: 1990

 

Hero House

Mission: Hero House assists people with mental illness with reaching their educational, employment, and life-fulfillment goals.

Headquarters: Bellevue

Founded: 2005

 

Youth Eastside Services

Mission: Youth Eastside Services helps children and families coping with challenges such as emotional distress, substance abuse, and violence through intervention, outreach, and counseling.

Headquarters: Bellevue

Founded: 1968

 

CryOut

Mission: CryOut  holds after-school music, dance, visual arts, and education workshops to promote youth expression and educate youths about diversity, sexuality, and spirituality.

Headquarters: Renton

Founded: 2009

 

Heroes for the Homeless

Mission: To provide emergency services to homeless individuals living outdoors without organized shelter.

Headquarters: Woodinville

Founded: 2006

 

Kindering

Mission: Kindering offers therapy, special education, and counseling for children with special needs and their families.

Headquarters: Bellevue

Founded: 1962

 

Communities in Schools of Renton

Mission: To surround students with a community of support and provide both academic and non-academic services to help them stay in school.

Headquarters: Renton

Founded: 1995

 

Renton Community Foundation

Mission: The Renton Community Foundation advocates charitable giving to Renton-area nonprofits.

Headquarters: Renton

Founded: 1999

 

Bridge Disability Ministries

Mission: To provide services that improve mobility and promote inclusion for disabled people.

Headquarters: Bellevue

Founded: 1987

 

Music Works Northwest

Mission: To enrich the quality of life for children though music lessons, music therapy, and performances.

Headquarters: Bellevue

Founded: 1965

 

AtWork

Mission: To empower people with disabilities by assisting with employment and community involvement.

Headquarters: Bellevue

Founded: 1998

 

Way Back Inn

Mission: To provide transitional housing and employment assistance to homeless children and families

Headquarters: Renton

Founded: 1992

 

Allied Arts of Renton

Mission: Allied Arts encourages appreciation of and participation in the arts by hosting community art shows and performances.

Headquarters: Renton

Founded: 1964