The season of giving is upon us which means everyone is more charitable! So what charity will you support this holiday season? There are plenty of noble causes worth supporting but the five highlighted below were chosen because they are local to Chicago and their work is improving the city. They are driving tourism, innovation and working to ensure Chicago remains a beautiful, buzzing hub - for locals as much as visitors. They might not pull at your heartstrings but it doesn't make their cause worth supporting (through time or money) any less. Here they are in no particular order:
- Foodseum: Chicago's first food museum that connects, educates and inspires through food. Top chefs like Paul Virant are already on board and two pop-up exhibits in 2015 will hold you over until the permanent space opens in 2017. You can help get the project off the ground by participating in their Kickstarter, which will launch Nov. 24.
- Future Founders Foundation: The organization empowers low-income youth across the city, in grades 2nd through 12th, through free entrepreneurship programs. They recently expanded to offer their services to 18-30 year olds. Volunteers are always needed for their daily sessions. And you can see the new program at work on Monday, November 17 where participants will pitch their business ideas for the chance to win $10,000 to bring that idea to life. Judges include nationally renowned entrepreneurs like Julie Smolyansky and Emerson Spartz.
- Friends of the Park: This park advocacy group is dedicated to preserving, protecting, and improving Chicago’s parks and forest preserves for everyone in the city. You can catch them all over the city planting trees and asking questions about development.
- Beef4Hunger: Cheating on this one a bit because it's more along the lines of the traditional holiday charities but still worth supporting. B4H is the only organization that exclusively procures, distributes and donates fresh, quality beef to those in need. They recently partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to expand their reach. The organization is 100% volunteer driven which means all donations go directly to the cause. What's interesting about the organization is the people behind it - a group of top ranking business executives.
- United Foundation for Arts and Technology: Who doesn't love art? The UFAT is a not for profit art gallery in Pilsen providing the creative community an outlet to express their imagination. Their mission is to promote expression through a media and arts education.