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13 Amazing Ways To Spend Your Money This Black Friday

November 25, 2016

This year's Black Friday is expected to be the biggest one yet, with financial forecasts predicting 137.4 million Americans shelling out upward of $3 billion in stores.

But today, we're all about hitting the snooze button, avoiding the lines, and imparting our money with some meaning. Here are a few nonprofits that mbg editors feel good about donating to. Some are local to NYC, others are more global, but they're all taking major strides to make the world a better place for everybody. Here's a bit about each one, should you want to show your support today too. Those leggings can wait until Christmas:

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The American Civil Liberties Union speaks out for those whose voices are too often silenced, and their litigation programs focus on immigrants, minorities, the LGBT community, and people with disabilities. The ACLU's staff of 200 attorneys fights for civil rights across all 50 states, and the group has participated in more Supreme Court cases than any other private organization over its 90-year tenure.

2. The Bowery Mission

A well-known New York shelter, the Bowery Mission aims to alleviate poverty by offering resources to homeless men, women, and children. Last year alone, they provided 406,000 meals, 44,700 bags of groceries, 91,500 nights of shelter, and 44,100 articles of clothing, 6,200 showers, 276 crisis intervention referrals, and 607 doctors' appointments to those in need.

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3. Environmental Working Group

Donations to the EWG go toward ensuring safer drinking water, cleaner food, and personal care products with fewer chemicals of concern. Their reports, online databases, mobile apps, and communications campaigns set out to demystify what's really in our food, cleaning supplies, and home products so consumers can make more informed decisions.

4. Farm Sanctuary

"A donation to Farm Sanctuary helps support our efforts to end farm animal abuse through legal actions, public awareness, humane education projects, and direct rescue and shelter of farm animals. A contribution of $20 or more entitles you to a Farm Sanctuary Membership for one year," says Farm Sanctuary media team member Meredith Turner-Smith.

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5. Gods Love We Deliver

This NY-based nonprofit delivers free, healthy meals to people who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves. The meals are tailored to each client's medical requirements, too.

6. Greenpeace

"Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organization. We won't take money from corporations or governments so that we can speak out wherever we see environmental injustice. Donations make it possible for us to engage millions of people in tackling climate change and help the world transition to clean, safe renewable energy from the wind and sun. Donations mean we can push for healthy, thriving oceans by challenging destructive seafood companies, and help us protect the world's last remaining rain forests from being razed to the ground," says Kat Clark, a Greenpeace communications representative.

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7. The Hunger Project

"Donations to The Hunger Project will be utilized to strengthen the capacity and leadership of women, men and youth across villages in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America. They are stepping forward as leaders, overcoming challenges and making progress in women's empowerment, water and sanitation, education, health, food security, income, land productivity and climate resilience," says Hunger Project fundraising director Supriya Banavalikar.

8. Moms Clean Air Force

"Donations to Moms Clean Air Force support our education and advocacy efforts, including the state-level work of our chapters in 20 states. We help moms meet with lawmakers at every level of government to build support for common sense solutions to pollution, connecting the dots between climate change and children's health. We build grass roots support for standards that limit climate pollution from carbon, methane, and ozone. Our work fosters a national conversation about climate change that moves beyond partisanship, to focus on families and communities," explains the organization's public health policy director, Molly Rauch.

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9. The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault

This organization dreams of a city free of sexual assault, and their resources go toward educating community members, representing assault survivors, and improving city laws and systems through advocacy work.

10. NRDC

NRDC, an environmental nonprofit that works toward meaningful policy change, has historically done a ton of work pushing for reform in Washington. Following the presidential election, they're looking to expand their reach on a more local level. "We have never had all of our eggs solely in the federal policy basket—and the ominous signals coming out of DC point to even more work needed at the city and state level. Just last week, we announced partnerships with cities around the country to make fundamental climate and clean energy progress—and we are confident we can still make progress whomever is in the White House or running Congress," says deputy media director Kate Kiely.

11. PEN America

PEN America fights to uphold the freedom of expression by making sure everyone—from prisoners to young children—has the resources necessary to put their thoughts and feelings on paper.

12. Union of Concerned Scientists

"Donations made to UCS will help us monitor and defend against attacks on science-based health and safety protections and will assure that science and scientists are respected and have a place at the table when decisions that affect our public health, safety, economy, education, and children's future are made," explains UCS's media team manager, Lisa Nurnberger.

13. World Wildlife Fund

WWF's Online Gift Center gives you the chance to symbolically adopt an animal. With over 100 species to choose from, your donation will go directly to work on the ground helping the endangered wildlife of your choice.

Emma Loewe
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director

Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.

Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.