nonprofits in Chicago: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago

Photo courtesy of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago.

If you’re looking for ways to volunteer or places in need of donated items, consider supporting one of these nonprofits in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs. Have an organization you’d like to see highlighted in an upcoming article? Email [email protected] with the subject line “Volunteer/Donate Opportunity.”

Become a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago 


Big Brother Big Sister is a mentoring organization in Chicago that matches adults with children ages 7 to 14. The program is designed to keep at-risk youth in school and out of trouble. BBBS mentors kids from disadvantaged, single parent, or foster care homes. One hundred percent of little brothers and sisters have gone on to graduate from high school. Volunteer today and form a meaningful bond with a child in need of a strong adult figure in his or her life.

Teach low-income adults and children how to read at the Howard Area Community Center

Rogers Park

HACC is a social service agency that provides education, employment, and medical care to people in need in the Rogers Park area. HACC strives to empower low-income adults and children to take control of their lives and become active members of their communities. Volunteer opportunities at HACC include working in the food pantry, tutoring adults and children in reading, or volunteering in the Youth Center.

Donate used children’s items or your time to Cradles to Crayons


According to Cradles to Crayons, more than 200,000 children in Chicago live in poverty. Cradles to Crayons strives to improve the quality of life for these children by providing essential everyday items, such as school supplies or warm clothes that are donated and packaged by volunteers. Volunteers can get involved by dropping off lightly used items at many locations throughout Chicago, or by volunteering in the giving factory. Another way to give to Cradles to Crayons is to donate to Northwestern University’s Dance Marathon. Every year for the past 43 years, students at Northwestern dance for 30 hours to raise money for a local cause. This year, the students will dance in support of Cradles to Crayons. Donate or become a corporate sponsor and help one of the largest student-run philanthropies in the nation raise money for disadvantaged children.

Volunteer with homeless women at Sarah’s Circle


According to Sarah’s Circle, there are about 2,800 homeless women on any given night in Chicago. Sarah’s Circle helps these women secure stable housing by providing them with the support and social services necessary for them to rebuild their lives. The center provides interim and permanent housing, counseling, and medical support to help women exit homelessness or an unsafe environment. Volunteers can work in a number of capacities at Sarah’s Circle, including administrative work or by participating in Walk: A Mile in Her Shoes.

Adopt or Foster a pet from the Community Animal Rescue Effort


A post shared by C.A.R.E. (@carenorthshore) on

C.A.R.E. is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit animal foster home serving the North Shore community. C.A.R.E. helps relocate unwanted stray or abandoned pets into new lifelong homes. Because it relies solely on volunteers, there is always a way to get involved. Volunteers can help in the pet education program, donate time or food, or foster a pet.

Help the day-to-day functioning of Misericordia

Edgewater/Rogers Park

Misericordia is a community care center for people with developmental challenges, who could not receive such a high level of care at home. Misericordia helps facilitate work for its residents as well as a healthy living environment suited for their particular needs. There are many ways to get involved with this organization, from volunteering in the bakery, to helping out in the laundry room, or working in the social club.

Volunteer at South Suburban PADS’ Emergency Overnight Shelter

Chicago Heights

The mission of South Suburban PADS is to “prevent and end homelessness.” In its 27 years, the organization has served more than 15,000 adults and children and provided more than 500,000 shelter nights. SSPADS is in need of third shift (2:45-7 a.m.) volunteers for the fourth week of the month. To learn more, call Stephanie Kidd at 708-332-7700 ext.121 or email [email protected]


More from Make It Better: 

Macon Bianucci

Macon Bianucci is a student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She is an intern at Make It Better for her final quarter at Northwestern, and she enjoys writing about social justice issues and politics. Macon is a longtime supporter of The Foundation For Tomorrow, a NGO in Tanzania that provides education and support for orphaned and vulnerable children.