Pittsburgh nonprofits

How can you help? Pittsburgh non-profits share their holiday wish lists.

Photo above by Hannah Busing used by permission via Unsplash.

When December comes, many people wonder how they might do just a bit more good before the year ends. So we asked our friends at a range of Pittsburgh nonprofits: How can the community help you do the impactful work you do?

They’ve shared some of their “wish list” items to let the community know exactly what they need.

A+ Schools was instrumental in organizing the Navigation Ambassadors to help PPS students get to school this year.

1. A+ Schools
Wish list: Book donations for students Pre-K -12th and $10 gift cards for A+ Schools‘ Family Care Cohort student and caregiver participants, $10 gift cards for A+ Schools’ TeenBloc interns. Donate to directly support transportation costs for upcoming Perry Traditional Academy field trips.

As an advocate for improving public education in Pittsburgh, A+ Schools offers training, workshops, and community discussions for parents. Free childcare at these events helps eliminate the babysitting barrier. The organization’s wish items will keep kids busy as their parents learn at these sessions. Items can be donated at A+ Schools, Uptown, during office hours.

pittsburgh nonprofits

Wish list: ARYSE is raising money through Give Big Pittsburgh, with a goal to reach $10,000 by Dec. 31 .

ARYSE, Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education, supports immigrant and refugee youth in Allegheny County in becoming engaged, confident and celebrated members of the community. Founded in 2013, ARYSE hosts a variety of out-of-school time programs, including their flagship program, PRYSE Academy, which serves more than 100 youths in middle and high school.

3. Beverly’s Birthdays
Wish list: Participate in Beverly’s Birthdays Hope for the Holidays campaign and help the organization collect 1,000 toys through their virtual toy drive. Top needs include toddler toys, art and science kits, diverse dolls and action figures.

Beverly’s Birthdays provides birthday cheer and critical baby care items to children experiencing homelessness and to families in need. The nonprofit organization enriches the lives of the children it serves by making sure they are remembered on their special day. Check out their virtual toy drive to donate or drop off items in person at 9799 Laurel Ave., North Huntingdon, during business hours or in the drop-off box. If you have questions, e-mail getinvolved@beverlysbirthdays.org.

pittsburgh nonprofits
The “fashion truck” that Beverly’s Birthdays has created brings joy to many Pittsburgh kids.

4. Books for Change
Wish list: This year’s theme is Justice from the Beginning, so the organization is seeking picture books that frame social justice concepts in ways that resonate with children. You can buy as many books as you’d like by visiting Books for Change’s exclusive partner, City of Asylum Bookstore, or buy directly from their Amazon wish list.

Books for Change started after the tragedy at Tree of Life synagogue. In response, the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development led an effort that culminated with 3,000 books that help children embrace diversity and process fear being donated to children in Squirrel Hill and throughout the Pittsburgh region.

5. The Bradley Center
Wish list: Headphones, earbuds, LEGOs, Matchbox cars, MP3 players, footballs, basketballs, puzzles, coloring books, toys, soft socks, pajamas, DVD movies, gift cards from stores such as Target, Walmart and Five Below.

The Bradley Center is committed to improving the lives of kids affected by trauma, mental illness and behavioral health challenges.

pittsburgh nonprofits
Photo courtesy of The Education Partnership.

6. The Education Partnership
Wish list: Notebooks, folders, copy paper, erasers, scissors, dry erase markers, tape, crayons, glue, pencils.

The Education Partnership provides school supplies for students and their teachers in under-resourced schools in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Every year, thousands of teachers in the region are eligible to receive hundreds of dollars’ worth of school supplies for use in their classrooms, all at no cost to them or their schools. Make a donation on The Education Partnership’s website or shop the Amazon wish list.

pittsburgh nonprofits
Photo courtesy of Foster Love Project.

7. Foster Love Project
Wish list: gift cards to Target and Walmart, car seats and booster seats, youth clothes size XS-XL and toys such as Legos and kinetic sand.

Foster Love Project seeks to demonstrate love in action through providing goods, services and support to kids and families impacted by foster care.

8. Jeremiah’s Place
Wish list: Giant Eagle and Target gift cards, new clothes for ages 0-5, canned and non-perishable food, cleaning supplies, snacks, arts and craft supplies, children’s costumes. Additional wish lists can be found through Amazon Smiles and Target.

Jeremiah’s Place is the only crisis nursery in the region, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and nearly 365 days a year.

pittsburgh nonprofits
Photo courtesy of Jeremiah’s Place.

9. Open Field
Wish list: New shin guards and soccer socks for middle and high school student-athletes from the refugee community.

Open Field’s mission is to improve the lives and futures of youth through sport. Items on their wishlist support kids from ages 8-18 in low-resources neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Kids participate in learning life skills and mentoring through educational soccer programming. In January, Open Field is registering three teams of refugee youth in the city’s indoor soccer league and they need this essential equipment. Two high school boys teams and one high school and middle school girls team will represent their neighborhood and play in organized soccer leagues for the first time.

pittsburgh nonprofits
Photo courtesy of Open Field.

10. The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute
Wish list: Chess sets and pieces, digital chess clocks, notation pads and chess books at any level.

Since The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute began in 2014, the chess school has partnered with 50 organizations to expand game knowledge with Pittsburgh kids. By playing chess, kids develop the skills of forward-thinking, relationship-building and the habit of considering multiple outcomes.

11. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh and Morgantown, Inc.
Wish list: Gift cards for grocery stores, tickets for athletic, theater and family events; G-rated DVD movies, new toy and gift items; pantry staples, such as cereal, popcorn, juice boxes and single-serving snacks.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Pittsburgh and Morgantown, Inc. provides a way for families to stay close to their children receiving medical care, and is committed to helping the families lead happier, healthier and more productive lives. Check the organization’s Amazon wish list for one-stop donation shopping or call ahead to drop off items.

wish list
Kids pitch in to help at a South Hills Interfaith Movement food pantry.

12. South Hills Interfaith Movement
Wish list: Personal care items, such as shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, toothbrushes, soap, diapers in sizes 3-6, baby food and non-perishable food, particularly dried beans and lentils, pasta sauce in jars, cereal and oatmeal, low-sodium soup, canned proteins such as tuna, chicken and salmon. (Please know: SHIM is not currently accepting clothing donations for capacity reasons.)

South Hills Interfaith Movement is celebrating more than 50 years of neighbors helping neighbors by providing food, clothing and services to people in need in Pittsburgh’s southern suburban neighborhoods. Food pantries at three sites serve people residing in Baldwin-Whitehall, Bethel Park, South Park, Keystone Oaks, Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair school districts.

13. St. Margaret Foundation
Wish list: Social workers at the three UPMC St. Margaret Family Health Centers in Lawrenceville, Bloomfield/Garfield and New Kensington are seeing a tremendous need among the families they serve, including lack of access to healthy food and some who are facing eviction. The physicians and social workers at the Family Health Centers have identified patients and families whose physical and emotional hardship is being made worse by food insecurity and housing insecurity. Financial donations of any amount can help with basic things like paying electric bills or buying food. Along with making a donation to the Foundation, you can also help via Amazon Smile.

The mission of the St. Margaret Foundation is very simple: If someone is sick, navigating that illness is difficult enough without having to worry about finding a ride to chemotherapy or treatment, or paying for the expensive medicine and medical devices, or even paying for basic things like rent, utilities and food. The foundation seeks to lift patients up with the hope, healing and meaningful support they badly need as they experience illness. Learn more here about the Family Health Centers Fund.

14. Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank
Wish list: Size 4, 5, and 6 diapers, 3t/4t and 4t/5t pull-up diapers, tampons

The Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank collects and redistributes basic hygiene items to families across three counties; Allegheny, Westmoreland and Fayette. By partnering with non-profit agencies, human service and faith-based institutions, childcare providers and universities, the Diaper Bank aims to end diaper poverty and period poverty by ensuring these essentials are readily available throughout the community. Visit their Choose to Help Campaign page to donate funds to the 12,000 families served through the Diaper Bank.

15. Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh
Wish list: Gift cards for VISA, Target, Walmart, journals and notebooks, new hairbrushes and combs, Diaper Genie refill bags, bath towels, full-size toiletries, new pajamas, robes, slippers, underwear for women and kids, baby pacifiers, bibs, bottles and wipes.

Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh provides survivors of intimate partner violence and their children with basic needs while seeking a place of safety. Also requested are smartphones and cell phones (no chargers or accessories) – donations of these items will result in a monetary donation to Women’s Center & Shelter through Shelter Alliance.

16. YWCA Greater Pittsburgh 
Wish list: Hats, gloves and scarves for youths of all ages and grocery store gift cards, books that feature girls in STEM.

The YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, with a service record of 150 years, provides safe affordable housing to homeless and low-income families, child care and pre-K education, along with community health and wellness programs. Items can be dropped off during business hours Mondays through Fridays at the Downtown or Homewood YWCA locations.


Looking for more ways to get involved with Pittsburgh nonprofits? Check out our guide to great places where families can volunteer and learn about how volunteering at your child’s school can make a difference in their education.