Volunteering or donating to a local nonprofit is a great way to make an impact in your community. Here are some organizations that would appreciate your help. For a more complete list of local nonprofits, visit midlandsgives.org.
American Red Cross
redcross.org/local/south-carolina. Their Bull Street headquarters offers basic first aid and CPR training, as well as being the place where you can donate blood.
The Animal Mission
animalmission.org. Run by volunteers, the Animal Mission is working towards making the Columbia area a no-kill community through spay/neuter awareness while also enhancing the conditions of local animal shelters.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia
bbbsgc.org. The oldest and largest youth mentoring organization in the United States, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves children ages 6 through 18.
Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands
bgcmidland.org. The Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands helps kids boost their desire to learn and keeps them away from risky behaviors. Offering before- and after-school programs, the youth mentoring organization is one of the oldest in the area.
Carolina Wildlife Center
carolinawildlife.org. Did your dog injure a squirrel and you’re too afraid to put it out of its misery? You can take the squirrel to these folks and they’ll try to nurse it back to health. Also offering education, outreach, and rescue advice.
Central Carolina Community Foundation
yourfoundation.org. The Central Carolina Community Foundation is a stalwart local voice for philanthropy. They award grants in an 11-county area covering everything from health, education and human services to arts and culture. Organizes the annual Midlands Gives online philanthropy initiative.
Central South Carolina Habitat for Humanity
habitatcsc.org. Founded in 1985, the Central South Carolina branch of Habitat for Humanity has built hundreds of homes for Midlands families, providing them with stability, security and a sense of dignity.
cityyear.org/columbia. City Year works to help youth in high-poverty communities remain engaged and enrolled in school. Using near-peer-age mentors, this service hopes to alleviate the near quarter of high school students in Columbia that drop out.
Cola Town Bike Collective
colatownbikes.com. Their mission is to educate and empower the community about cycling. Provides space for community members to learn about repair and maintenance and promotes safe and happy cycling for all.
Columbia Film Society
nickelodeon.org. Most locals know this one as “The Nick,” because CFS supports both the Nickelodeon Theatre and Indie Grits Labs.
Columbia Jewish Federation
jewishcolumbia.org. Serving the Jewish community in Columbia through grantmaking, programs, and engagement. Includes Jewish Family Service, helping Jewish households in need in a variety of ways.
Columbia Museum of Art
columbiamuseum.org. Support the museum through donations or volunteer hours and also join affinity groups to direct your efforts. Groups include the Columbia Design League, The Contemporaries, and Friends of African American Arts and Culture.
Columbia Opportunity Resource (COR)
ourcor.org. Helping young professionals get involved with the community and board service as well as community events and leadership programs is what COR is all about.
Columbia Urban League
columbiaurbanleague.org. Utilizing education and civic engagement the Columbia Urban League empowers African-Americans and other underserved communities while also working for racial justice.
Columbia World Affairs Council
columbiaworldaffairs.org. Forging connections between Columbia and other countries is the mission of the Columbia World Affairs Council. Every year the Council gives out the Global Vision Award, which recognizes an individual that connects Columbia to the rest of the world in a meaningful way.
Common Cause South Carolina
commoncause.org/states/south-carolina. No one is more vocal about calling politicians out about corruption and other misdeeds. Now is a particular time that such a voice is needed.
congareeriverkeeper.org. The Congaree Riverkeeper is the Aquaman of Columbia-area rivers. A tireless organization fighting for the sanctity of the waterways.
Conservation Voters of South Carolina
cvsc.org. If South Carolina’s elected officials know anything about conservation and environmental issues it’s because of the work of Conservation Voters of South Carolina.
Eau Claire Cooperative Health Center
ecchc.org. Provides free and reduced cost medical, dental and behavioral health care at clinics around the Midlands, with special programs including Healthcare for the Homeless and HIV/AIDS care.
engenuitysc.com. Promotes innovation, entrepreneurship and a knowledge economy through the Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report and the Midlands Mayor Forum as well as other initiatives. EngenuitySC also works with schools to promote STEM education.
Family Connections of South Carolina
familyconnectionsc.org. Connects families with special needs children or kids with disabilities to resources, support and education.
Federation of Families of South Carolina
fedfamsc.org. Serve the families of children with emotional, behavioral or psychiatric disorders.
Free Medical Clinic
freemedicalclinic.org. Provides free health care and medication to people in the community who cannot afford it or access it otherwise.
Friends of Congaree Swamp
friendsofcongaree.org. The Congaree National Park is the only national park in the state. Preserved in the park is the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest living in the United States. Friends of Congaree Swamp are dedicated to upholding this natural treasure.
Funeral Consumers Alliance of South Carolina
scfunerals.org. This organization provides people with information on their rights and options during trying times — when a family member or loved one has died. They also conduct price surveys of funeral costs around Columbia.
Gills Creek Watershed Association
gillscreekwatershed.org. Gills Creek is a crucial waterway that’s often driven over and walked by in Columbia. In the coming years a greenway will be constructed along the creek, making the job of this group all the more important.
Girls Rock Columbia
girlsrockcolumbia.org. Young girls come together in a camp and are handed instruments, and told “you rock,” empowering them to rock in all aspects of life.
Harriet Hancock LGBT Center
harriethancockcenter.org. Resource hub for LGBTQ residents offers support to youth, the elderly, transgender people and more, with a lending library, safe community space and other programs.
Harvest Hope Food Bank
harvesthope.org. Harvest Hope relies on donations and is always looking for volunteers to help reduce costs and fulfill its mission. That end result of that mission provides food assistance to about 38,000 people every week in 20 counties.
hiddenwounds.org. By offering counseling for alcohol and other substance dependency, anxiety, anger management and more, they help combat veterans and their families who might be having problems adjusting to civilian life.
historiccolumbia.org. If you drive through the Robert Mills District of Columbia you can catch a glimpse of what the town looked like in the 19th century. Historic Columbia promotes and protects those historic properties while providing house museum tours and raising awareness of Columbia’s past.
Homeless No More
homelessnomoresc.org. This is an umbrella organization including several shelters. They provide emergency services, transitional housing, affordable housing, and help to families and individuals in crisis.
humanesc.org. Investigates animal cruelty and promotes responsible pet ownership while also offering low-cost spay and neuter services.
Keep the Midlands Beautiful
keepthemidlandsbeautiful.com. Like the flowers in some medians around the Midlands? Keep the Midlands Beautiful put them there, in some cases. They also organize and promote recycling and cleanup as well as other beautification efforts.
League of Women Voters of South Carolina
lwvsc.org. Nonpartisan group promotes active participation in government and works to increase understanding of major public policy issues. They’ve been a voice for information concerning how the abandonment of SCE&G’s nuclear reactors affects ratepayers.
Lighthouse for Life
lighthouseforlife.org. Working to educate people on the realities of human trafficking and how to respond if they encounter the crime. They also provide shelter and services to victims so they can start a new life.
Lutheran Services Carolinas
lscarolinas.net. Religious-affiliated charity focuses on refugee resettlement and foster care support, among other ministries.
Mental Illness Recovery Center, Inc.
mirci.org. Provides medical, psychiatric and rehabilitative treatment to individuals recovering from severe mental illness or emotional disorders.
onecolumbiasc.com. Works to bring art to the community, with projects ranging from public art to a city-wide book club.
paals.org. You should refrain from petting, but we all admire service dogs that help people live more independent, enriching lives. PAALS trains those pooches to work with children with autism, soldiers with PTSD and people with mobility issues.
Palmetto Conservation Foundation
palmettoconservation.org. The most visible project of Palmetto Conservation is the cross-state Palmetto Trail. They also work to conserve the state’s natural resources, preserve historic landmarks and promote outdoor recreation with trails and greenways.
Palmetto Cycling Coalition
pccsc.net. Works for bicycling safety and better access for those who prefer two wheels and pedals across the state.
Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter
palmettoplaceshelter.org. For neglected and abused children as well as teenagers who find themselves without housing, Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter provides a home as well as a broad range of other services.
Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation
palmettotrust.org. Works to preserve and protect the architectural heritage of South Carolina.
pawmettolifeline.org. Dedicated to solving pet overpopulation and creating a no-kill community in the Midlands.
petsinc.org. Promotes spaying and neutering while operating a no-kill shelter and adoption facility.
Planned Parenthood of Columbia
plannedparenthood.com. Providing much needed health and screening services for women. Also provides sex education and information.
Progress South Carolina
progress-sc.org. Dedicated to promoting progressive causes through grassroots and online organizing and networking with leaders. They’re organizing the Palmetto State Progressive Summit to bring together leaders and voters from across the state who are passionate about promoting equal opportunities for all people.
Protection & Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc.
pandasc.org. Protects and advances the rights of people with disabilities.
Richland County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
rccasa.org. The county-funded agency provides children with representation as they enter into the family court system, assuring that the kid doesn’t have to go it alone. Anyone can volunteer to get trained as a CASA.
Richland County First Steps
rcfirststeps.org. By working with government agencies, nonprofits, businesses and families, Richland County First Steps improves school readiness for children.
riveralliance.org. Ever walk on the Three Rivers Greenway? Are you excited about the upcoming Saluda Riverwalk? Thank the River Alliance, as they were the masterminds behind those projects while they keep on advocating for investment and sound management of the Midlands’ rivers.
salvationarmycarolinas.org/Columbia. Evangelical social services organization offering services for those in extreme poverty.
scequality.org. Dedicated to lobbying for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.
SC Progressive Network
scpronet.com. Coalition of groups and individuals working for human, civil and workers’ rights, reproductive freedom, environmental protection and government reform. In the wake of the abandoned nuclear reactors by SCE&G and Santee Cooper they’ve advocated for consumer protection.
Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands
stsm.org. Provides crisis intervention and support services to survivors of sexual assault and abuse in Richland, Lexington, Newberry, and Sumter counties. Also advocates for victims and educates about sexual trauma issues as well as victims of sex trafficking.
sistercare.com. Provides services to women and children impacted by domestic abuse. Provides community education, counseling and shelter, and advocates on behalf of victims in court.
Sisters of Charity SC
sistersofcharitysc.com. Christian-based group dedicated to reducing poverty in South Carolina. They also work to improve the well-being of immigrant families in the state.
South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center
scjustice.org. A voice for the voiceless that lobbies on public policy affecting low-income Americans, children and immigrants.
South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
teenpregnancysc.org. South Carolina’s teen birth rate dropped 9 percent from 2015 to 2016. This organization works for research-based approaches to reducing teen pregnancy.
South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
sccadvasa.org. Works to end domestic and sexual violence through political advocacy, collaboration and education.
South Carolina Legal Services
southcarolinalegalservices.org. For eligible low-income residents, they offer practical legal advice and provide free legal services in civil cases.
South Carolina Pride
scpride.org. Celebrating the LGBTQ community, South Carolina Pride organizes the downtown Famously Hot SC Pride Festival, one of the largest in the Southeast.
South Carolina Wildlife Federation
scwf.org. Works to conserve and restore South Carolina’s wildlife and wildlife habitats.
sustainablemidlands.org. Promotes healthy, green, livable communities in the Midlands.
St. Lawrence Place
stlawrenceplace.org. The only long-term transitional shelter in Columbia that allows families to stay together. A village of 30 single-family homes that offers shelter and skills training for families looking to get back on their feet.
Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network
scwren.org. Promotes the rights of South Carolina’s women, girls and their families through issues like equal pay, workplace pregnancy accommodations and evidence-based health education.
Toys for Tots
toysfortots.org. Collects new, unwrapped toys and distributes them as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children.
transitionssc.org. With a tiered program of increasing responsibility, this privately funded facility helps homeless people move into permanent housing.
United Way of the Midlands
uway.org. Works on critical needs in the areas of education, financial stability, and health they provide programs to address adult literacy, dropout prevention, health care access and senior independence as well as much more. They also coordinate homelessness services for the city of Columbia. On top of that United Way of the Midlands organizes the Women in Philanthropy and Young Leaders Society initiatives, which get people involved with addressing the needs of their communities.
The Women’s Shelter
womenshelter.org. When women find themselves in crisis, the Women’s Shelter is there for them, providing the necessary resources to help them build stronger, more enriching lives for the future.