Non-Profits DO make a difference

Non-profits make a huge difference in our communities. This post is for those of you who may feel a dispirited “How can I make a difference?” when anticipating the Spring holiday season and what it means.


The Village Learning Place (VLP) is an independent community center and library reclaimed from a decommissioned Baltimore City public library. I helped write its first software programming to maintain its donor records. When someone in my family discovered several dozen packs of cards stuffed into a table he’d just inherited from his grandfather, those cards went to the Senior Tea, a free lecture and social event held monthly at the VLP. It was serendipity – the cards came a week after the VLP sent out a community-wide request and my family did not want them! VLP hosts ten different learning experiences, not counting serving as a library and community garden.

Second Chance Inc. is AWESOME, my kind of candy shop. It is a 501(c)3 which specializes in the (green) deconstruction of buildings, with a particular emphasis on historic structures whenever possible. And it draws its workforce from people having difficulty finding employment. I once helped conduct a PR campaign for them.


Bide-a-Wee is a 114-year-old animal shelter that I got TWO of my cats from 20 years ago!!! I’m THRILLED to see that it is still going strong.

City Opera Thrift Store has supported the NYC Opera for over 35 years. I used to shop here, and once spent an unforgettable evening in the City Opera’s cafeteria during a performance of Turandot (but that’s another story). Granted, opera isn’t to everyone’s taste, but the Arts need support!


is a hospice for children with HIV/AIDS. I used to work here.


Philly AIDS Thrift I used to shop here.

San Francisco

Community activists took years to get this in place: the Cypress Freeway Replacement Project was a neighborhood beautification enterprise launched off the devastation of the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. I helped a tiny bit at a fundraising and informational party once.


NAPO Seattle Area Chapter I served on the Board of my local chapter of my professional society, the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals for three years.  You might not think of a professional society as a charity, but I can promise it takes MANY volunteer hours to keep all sorts of agencies going!


Why did I highlight agencies from everywhere I’ve lived? It’s the point of all this – there is something, somewhere, everywhere, for everyone – shop, throw a “get-to-know-this-issue” party, donate, give some time to something you care about.

About Lauren Williams

Lauren Williams, Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Virtual Professional Organizer®

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