By Caitlin Cesa + Matthew Hacke

Since 2012, our annual guide has been showcasing the nonprofits in the Pittsburgh region who are making an impact in our local communities each and every day. This holiday season, take the time to learn about and give back to these organizations and the programs and people they support.

Animal Friends

Photograph from Animal Friends

THE MISSION: To reduce the number of unwanted animals through aggressive spay/neuter programs; provide for the well-being of companion animals in need; offer affordable wellness services and resources to pets and owners in need; promote the animal-human bond through outreach, education, and therapeutic programming; and act as an advocate on behalf of animals in crisis and as an enforcer of their rights and protection

WHAT IT’S DOING: During Animal Friends’ annual year-end rescue, staff and volunteers travel to partner shelters and animal control facilities in the region to transfer adoptable pets to Animal Friends where they are given another chance to find homes. Sponsors are also available for the pets that are brought to Animal Friends through the rescue.

WHO IT’S SUPPORTING: Funds raised and efforts made through Animal Friends benefit the homeless pets of our region.

DO YOUR PART: Visit or call 412.847.7000 to make a contribution to the cause.

+ Animal Friends was awarded a four-star rating by Charity Navigator for making the best, most responsible use of the donations it receives!

Animal Friends, 562 Camp Horne Road, Ohio Twp. 412.847.7000.

Brothers Brother Foundation

Photograph from Brother’s Brother Foundation

THE MISSION: To promote international health and education through the efficient and effective distribution and provision of donated medical, educational, agricultural, and other resources

WHAT IT’S DOING: “Connecting people’s resources with people’s needs” is more than a tagline at Brother’s Brother Foundation (BBF), it’s at the base level of everything it does. The foundation provides essentials, such as medical supplies and other humanitarian items, to people around the world who are affected by domestic disasters.

WHO IT’S SUPPORTING: Through its charitable network, BBF ensures that an individual’s goodwill and generosity is channeled as efficiently as possible, whether the goods are shipped from their warehouse by truck, or delivered by the caring hands of one of the hundreds of medical mission teams that BBF supports every year.

DO YOUR PART: Monetary donations fund the shipment of supplies, equipment, and medicines received from corporate manufacturers or medical systems. BBF works with partners both domestic and international to ensure the most efficient and effective measures are taken to make the most of each donated dollar.

+There is always a need for volunteers to sort the generous donations of medical supplies from numerous medical systems in the Pittsburgh area.

Brother’s Brother Foundation, 1200 Galveston Ave., North Side. 412.321.3160.

Epilepsy Foundation Western/Central PA

Photograph from Epilepsy Foundation Western/Central PA

THE MISSION: To stop seizures, find a cure, and overcome challenges created by epilepsy

WHAT IT’S DOING: The Epilepsy Foundation Western/Central PA will be hosting the 24th Annual Mardi Gras Gala on February 13 at the Westin Convention Center. The event mirrors the Mardi Gras Festival in New Orleans with its upbeat activities and celebrations.

WHO IT’S SUPPORTING: Funds raised provide programs and supportive services to children, families, and adults in Western and Central Pennsylvania who are affected by epilepsy.

DO YOUR PART: Make a monetary donation at or by texting 1in26 to 41444.

+Join the Volunteer Network, and donate your time at conferences, special events, and social events!

Epilepsy Foundation Western/Central PA, 1501 Reedsdale St., Suite 3002, North Shore. 412.322.5880.

Fern Hollow Nature Center

Photograph from Stacey Widenhofer

THE MISSION: To provide a place where individuals, groups, and families can come to enjoy the outdoors

WHAT IT’S DOING: Fern Hollow Nature Center is the gateway to the area park system. It’s a place where people can understand the environment through educational programs for adults and children, and through the appreciative use of the area.  Programs are both organized and spontaneous.

WHO IT’S SUPPORTING: Every year, over 8,000 people participate in the programs that Fern Hollow offers. Funds raised during its Year End Campaign go to the purchase of equipment and supplies needed for its environmental programming with local schools and the Natural Outdoor Classroom — the first certified Nature Play area in PA!

DO YOUR PART: By making a monetary donation, you can help the nonprofit offer free and discounted programs; develop new programming; and maintain its native tree walk, native gardens, grounds, and outdoor classroom.

+The center relies on volunteers to help with all programming, ground work, maintenance, and general office work. If interested, email

Fern Hollow Nature Center, 1901 Glen Mitchell Road, P.O. Box 8, Sewickley. 412.741.6136.

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

Photograph from Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

THE MISSION: To feed people in need and mobilize the community to eliminate hunger

WHAT IT’S DOING: Running through Thanksgiving, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank will be working with Giant Eagle to support its neighbors in need through Fall Food Share. Shoppers can make monetary or shelf-stable food donations through participating Giant Eagle locations. At the same time, the KDKA-TV Turkey Fund encourages the community to make monetary donations to help ensure all of our neighbors have a turkey for their Thanksgiving meal.

WHO IT’S SUPPORTING: Community members facing hunger benefit from both initiatives.

DO YOUR PART: This holiday season, donate or volunteer through one of the organization’s holiday activities. For more information, visit

+ Opening November 18 and running through Christmas Eve, the Food Bank will operate Santa’s House as a part of Holiday Market in Market Square. In exchange for a $5 donation to the Food Bank, visitors receive a photo with Santa.

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, 1 N. Linden St., Duquesne. 412.460.3663.

Humane Animal Rescue

Photograph from Humane Animal Rescue

THE MISSION: To provide temporary shelter, food, medical attention, and comfort to all abandoned, neglected, and injured animals brought to Human Animal Rescue by members of the community, and to educate the public about the humane care of animals

WHAT IT’S DOING: Humane Animal Rescue has partnered with the Pittsburgh Penguins to create its annual charity pet calendar, Penguins & Paws. The calendar features photographs of Penguins players with their own pets, as well as adorable, adoptable animals from Humane Animal Rescue.

WHO IT’S SUPPORTING: Proceeds from calendar sales will go toward providing for animals in need.

DO YOUR PART: Help Humane Animal Rescue reach its goal of $100,000 by purchasing Penguins & Paws 2018 calendars at or through Penguins gear stores.

+ Become a volunteer and join the group of over 500 individuals who rescue thousands of animals per year!

Humane Animal Rescue, 6926 Hamilton Ave., Homewood West. 412.345.7300.

Laughlin Children’s Center

Photograph from Arianna Holder

THE MISSION: To help children from Allegheny, Beaver, and Butler Counties build a bridge to successful learning and emotional well-being.

WHAT IT’S DOING: Laughlin Children’s Center (LCC) offers a wide variety of programs and services for children ages 2-15, including speech and occupational therapy, child and family counseling, one-on-one tutoring in traditional subjects and dyslexia, and the nationally accredited Village Preschool.

WHO IT’S SUPPORTING: Funds raised go to the Center’s Financial Aid Program, which assists families experiencing difficult economic circumstances to obtain the services their children need at reduced rates. LCC believes that all children should have an equal chance to succeed in school and in life.

DO YOUR PART: Help LCC meet its fundraising goal of $90,000 by donating at

+Ensure that children of all economic circumstances have an equal opportunity to succeed by making a donation to Laughlin Children’s Center today. Visit and click on Donate in the upper right corner.

Laughlin Children’s Center, 424 Frederick Ave., Sewickley. 412.741.4087.

Light of Life Rescue Mission

Photograph from Michael Ray

THE MISSION: To provide a home for the homeless and food for the hungry, and build disciples for the Kingdom of God among the poor, addicted, abused, and needy

WHAT IT’S DOING: Light of Life Rescue Mission collects warm men’s coats and adult men’s gloves for those in need during the winter months. Clothing distribution tents will also be set up outside the Mission during the Thanksgiving Banquet and Christmas Banquet, which provide entertainment, church services, and holiday meals through extended hours. Light of Life is also participating in the ALIVE Outreach Event, hosted by the Northside Homeless Alliance.

WHO IT’S SUPPORTING: Men, women, and children who are in need of winter accessories, a meal, or help from the organization’s long-term recovery programs can benefit from the nonprofit. Light of Light Rescue Mission also partners with local churches and nonprofits to support their members’ needs.

DO YOUR PART: Volunteer your time, make a monetary donation, or become a business sponsor to help Light of Life Rescue Mission continue helping those in need.

+To arrange a drop-off of winter accessories, contact Brenna Gallagher at or 412.258.6128.

Light of Life Rescue Mission, 10 E. North Ave., North Side. 412.258.6100.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh

Photograph from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh

THE MISSION: To provide a home away from home for families with seriously ill children receiving medical treatment, and to help children and their families lead happier, healthier, and more productive lives

WHAT IT’S DOING: The Red Shoe Ball will be held NOVEMBER 4 at Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown. The annual fundraiser celebrates the organization’s champions.

WHO IT’S SUPPORTING: The 1,600 families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House each year in the Pittsburgh area benefit from the nonprofit’s efforts.

DO YOUR PART: There are many ways to support the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh, including becoming a sponsor at one of its events, donating items for raffles and auctions, or attending upcoming events.

+Check out the upcoming fundraising events at

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh, 451 44th St., Bloomfield. 412.362.3400.

The Salvation Army, Western PA Division

Photograph from The Salvation Army

THE MISSION: To preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

WHAT IT’S DOING: Beginning on November 23 and continuing until December 24, the Salvation Army will be carrying out the Red Kettle Campaign. Volunteers stand outside businesses, playing or singing Christmas carols or ringing bells to inspire passersby to place monetary donations inside the iconic red kettles.

WHO IT’S SUPPORTING: Funds raised benefit programs that provide food, shelter, rehabilitation, disaster relief, and much more to individuals and families in crisis.

DO YOUR PART: Make a monetary donation at at any participating red kettle stand in your neighborhood.

+Attend the Annual Allegheny County Doing The Most Good Dinner at Heinz Field on November 15 to help the Salvation Army reach its fundraising goal of $80,000 for Salvation Army Comprehensive Social Services. For tickets, visit

The Salvation Army, Western PA Division, 700 N. Bell Ave., P.O. Box 742, Carnegie. 412.446.1500.

Touchstone Center for Crafts

Photograph from Touchstone Center for Crafts

THE MISSION: To advance excellence in the arts and crafts by educating and encouraging individuals to develop technical skills, good design, and innovative expression

WHAT IT’S DOING: Dedicated to achieving national prominence and local relevance, Touchstone recruits some of the best artists in the country to teach high-quality craft workshops that attract a geographically diverse audience. It also provides educational and outreach programming that serves a wide variety of the underserved populations in Fayette County and other parts of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

WHO IT’S SUPPORTING: For 45 years, Touchstone has provided the setting and support that has enabled both aspiring and experienced artists to explore their mediums.

DO YOUR PART: Support Touchstone by becoming a member, taking a class, purchasing a gift certificate, volunteering your time and/or resources, and contributing to its scholarship program. A gift of any amount can have a lasting impact on a creative mind.

+More information about Touchstone’s 2018 season will be available at beginning NOVEMBER 27!

Touchstone Center for Crafts, 1049 Wharton Furnace Road, Farmington. 724.329.1370.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Photograph from Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

THE MISSION: To protect and restore exceptional places, and to provide Western Pennsylvania with clean waters and healthy forests, wildlife, gardens, and natural areas for the benefit of present and future generations

WHAT IT’S DOING: The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy works throughout the year to protect and care for natural areas, restore waterways, and bring nature to communities across the region.

WHO IT’S SUPPORTING: The Conservancy’s efforts impact every generation in every community in Western Pennsylvania. These efforts protect our region’s most exceptional places so that they can be enjoyed by all, free of charge.

DO YOUR PART: Make a monetary donation or become a volunteer at

+Western Pennsylvania Conservancy also preserves Frank Llyod Wright’s Fallingwater, a symbol of people living in harmony with nature.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, 800 Waterfront Drive, on Pittsburgh’s Washington’s Landing. 412.288.2777.

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