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San Francisco's Favorite Charities: Vote on the Top 49!

After a few thousand emails passionately nominating an astounding array of San Francisco's hard-working charities, we've arrived at the Top 49 finalists. From those that support abandoned animals to creators of homeless outreach programs and help for at-risk youth, we've got top-notch contenders this year. It's time to rally the troops like never before and start voting, because that $10,000 grand prize (and $2,000 each to the six runners-up) furnished by the philanthropic-minded folks at PG&E looms large as a major way for the winners to take their work to new levels. Voting closes on November 15th. For the complete timeline, click here.

1. 42ND STREET MOON
42nd Street Moon celebrates and preserves the art and spirit of the American Musical Theatre. Through their productions, educational programs, and community outreach, they are committed to increasing the awareness and appreciation of the rich heritage and cultural perspective of the musical theatre and its vast influence on the world stage.

2. A HOME WITHIN
A Home Within matches current and former foster kids with licensed volunteer therapists who provide weekly pro-bono therapy. It is the only national organization focused exclusively on meeting the emotional needs of foster youth.

3. AIM HIGH
Aim High provides no-cost, academic and cultural enrichment summer programs to low-income youth in the San Francisco Bay Area. Celebrating it's 25th anniversary, Aim High served 1,200 middle school students at 13 locations in 2011 with an engaging and challenging five-week summer program. Students participate in Aim High for three consecutive summers and then become Aim High graduates. Additionally, Aim High employs over 300 teachers and interns per summer, providing high-quality summer work for talented teachers.

4. BAYKIDS
Working in partnership with local hospitals, BayKids teaches digital filmmaking skills to hospitalized children. Through their programs, children discover their own unique voice and experience the healing power of self-expression.

5. BEATS FOR BOOBS
Beats for Boobs team aims to increase awareness about prevention and raise funds to support people battling breast cancer. By empowering their agents — the artists, educators and activists in their community — Beats for Boobs™ will honor its eighth year of uniting thousands of people in a collaborative celebration of art, fashion, food and music.

6. BOYS & GIRLS CLUB SF
Boys & Girls Club SF aims to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens through providing positive role models and fun and effective programs that promote respect and responsibility.

7. BOYS HOPE GIRLS HOPE
By providing at-risk children with arms-around care, safe homes and environments, a first-class education, opportunities to learn more about themselves and the world, and academic, financial, and spiritual support through college, Boys Hope Girls Hope empowers children to realize the potential that is within them.

8. BRUSHFIRE PAINTING WORKSHOP
Brush Fire Painting uses the power of the arts to heal hearts and transform lives. They teach Process Oriented Painting to unleash the therapeutic qualities of the creative process. They believe creativity is a basic human need and strive to bring art to the lives of marginalized youth throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

9. BUILD SF
The Architectural Foundation of San Francisco created the Build San Francisco Institute, a half day high school program for students interested in design, construction, engineering and architecture. It combines a rigorous academic program with mentorships in the partner firms, so that students not only gain new knowledge, but also have the immediate experience of applying that knowledge in a real world setting.

10. CENTRAL CITY HOSPITALITY HOUSE
Central City Hospitality House has served the homeless community in San Francisco's Tenderloin district since 1967. Its unique combination of peer-led programs and advocacy efforts, have enhanced the economic, mental, physical, and social health of the homeless community. Programs include: the Tenderloin Self-Help Center, Sixth Street Self-Help Center, the Community Arts Program, the Community Building Program, and the Shelter Program.

11. CITY OF DREAMS
City of Dreams has created a unique program designed to help young people living in low income neighborhoods learn to create the life they want by discovering who they are.

12. CREATIVITY EXPLORED
A nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit, and sell art. Creativity Explored provides workspace and materials in ongoing studio sessions facilitated by a team of professional artists who support and assist studio artists.

13. DRESS FOR SUCCESS SF
The mission of Dress for Success is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

14. EARN
EARN is a nonprofit that gives low-income working families the power to create prosperity for generations. As the nation's leading microsavings provider, EARN gives families the tools to build wealth and achieve life-changing goals such as saving for college, buying a first home, or starting a small business.

15. FIRST GRADUATE
This college access program helps students finish high school and become the first in their families to graduate from college. Starting the summer after 6th grade, the organization makes 10-year commitments to each student, providing year-round academic instruction, community, college scholarships and support.

16. HEARING & SPEECH CENTER OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
The Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California works to help people with hearing or communication challenges of all income levels by offering clinical, educational and social service programs people of all ages, including a school, afterschool programs, senior outreach, support groups, audiology and speech pathology. They help thousands of people annually find the tools, resources and skills to be independent, safe and empowered in their lives.

17. HISPANICS IN PHILANTHROPY
HIP's mission is to strengthen Latino communities by increasing resources for the Latino and Latin American civil sector; by increasing Latino participation and leadership throughout the field of philanthropy; and to foster policy change to enhance equity and inclusiveness.

18. KEEN
Keen San Francisco provides free recreational opportunities to children and young adults with disabilities.

19. LA CASA DE LAS MADRES
La Casa de las Madres responds to calls for help from domestic violence victims, of all ages, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They give survivors the tools to transform their lives and seek to prevent future violence by educating the community and by redefining public perceptions about domestic violence.

20. LYON-MARTIN HEALTH SERVICES
Lyon-Martin Health Services is a small comprehensive community clinic whose mission is to provide excellent healthcare in a safe and compassionate environment with sensitivity to sexual and gender identity. While open to everyone regardless of ability to pay, they specialize in services to lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender people. They are home to nearly 2,500 low-income patients who do not have access to respectful, compassionate health and behavioral health care elsewhere providing over 10,000 annual visits.

21. MAYOR'S YOUTH EMPLOYMENT & EDUCATION PROGRAM (FISCALLY SPONSORED BY THE JAPANESE COMMUNITY YOUTH COUNCIL)
MYEEP is a program that helps youth get a job, keep that job, save money, stay in school, learn life skills, make lifelong friends, meet supportive mentors, survive their teenage years, think about their future and be successful when they graduate. It supports youth development through work experience.

22. MEALS ON WHEELS SF
This agency's mission of delivering nutritious balanced meals to homebound seniors in San Francisco has remained the same since its founding in 1970. For 40 years, MOWSF has set the standard for alleviating the financial and emotional costs of premature and/or inappropriate institutionalization of seniors.

23. MERITUS COLLEGE FUND
Meritus College Fund invests in socio-economically disadvantaged, yet high-potential, San Francisco public high school students by providing four-year scholarships and individualized support to help them realize their potential through a college degree.

24. MINDS MATTER
Minds Matter San Francisco is a nationally recognized not-for-profit serving high-achieving, low-income students in cities across the United States. Their mission is to transform the lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families by broadening their dreams and preparing them for college success.

25. MUTTVILLE SENIOR DOG RESCUE
Muttville is dedicated to improving the lives of senior dogs. Volunteers rescue senior dogs and find them new homes or give them hospice. On a global level, Muttville provides information about caring for older dogs and support for people who do. Ultimately, Muttville will have its own facility to house dogs that are not yet placed, or that are unlikely to be placed.

26. NEW DOOR VENTURES
New Door Ventures helps at-risk young people in need prepare for work and life. They work with youth holistically, acknowledging and embracing the complexity of their lives. They teach the power of employment, education and life-skills, and believe that a deeply supportive community creates personal transformation and a healthy, successful transition to a sustainable adult life.

27. OPPORTUNITY FUND
Opportunity Fund is a not-for-profit social enterprise helping thousands of California families build financial stability. They combine microloans for small businesses, IDA microsavings accounts, and community real estate financing. Since making their first loan in 1995, the team has deployed over $200 million into our communities.

28. OUT OF SITE YOUTH ARTS CENTER
Out of Site provides free after school and summer programming in visual and performing arts to public high school students in San Francisco. Students come to Out of Site for a chance to experiment in the arts and a place to be themselves; they find artistic training, new mediums for self-expression and a diverse and supportive community.

29. PETS ARE WONDERFUL SUPPORT
PAWS is a volunteer-based organization that provides for the comprehensive needs of companion animals for low-income persons with disabling HIV/AIDS and other disabling illnesses, as well as senior citizens, thereby educating the larger community on the benefits of the human-animal bond and advocating for the rights of disabled individuals to keep service animals.

30. PERFORMING ARTS WORKSHOP
Performing Arts Workshop is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping young people (including economically and educationally disadvantaged students, English Learners, Special Education students, and juvenile offenders) develop critical thinking, creative expression, and basic learning skills through the arts.

31. PRINCESS PROJECT
The Princess Project promotes self-confidence and individual beauty by providing free prom dresses and accessories to high school girls who cannot otherwise afford them.

32. PROJECT OPEN HAND
Project Open Hand meets community nutrition needs through programs for people living with HIV/AIDS, the homebound critically ill, and seniors. They provide meals and groceries for people with symptomatic HIV/AIDS or breast cancer, meals for homebound/critically ill people under the age of 60 and congregate lunches for people over 60 years of age, regardless of their race, color, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disability or ability to pay.

33. QUIET LIGHTNING
Quiet Lightning produces a monthly submission-based reading series open to the public that features the accepted submissions both in show and in a published book. The shows and publications are meant to at once stregthen and promote the voices of the community and ultimately, to expand the community.

34. RAPHAEL HOUSE
Raphael House, conceived as the first shelter for children and families experiencing homelessness in Northern California, provides an environment of loving support where families are able to move toward brighter and more hopeful futures through after school care tutoring and activities and residential services. The mission of Raphael House is to help at-risk children and their parents achieve stable housing and financial independence, while strengthening family bonds and personal dignity.

35. ROCKET DOG RESCUE
Rocket Dog Rescue saves dogs from death at over-crowded shelters and find them loving, happy homes. Now into their tenth year, RDR has saved the lives of over 6,000 animals.

36. SAVING GRACE RESCUE
Saving Grace Rescue has helped find forever homes for over 3000 cats and kittens. Run by Amber Holly, the program focuses on helping kittens under 8 weeks old and felines with special needs.

37. SF ASIAN WOMEN'S SHELTER
Asian Women's Shelter brings new hope to survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. We provide comprehensive services, including a 24-hour crisis line, shelter program, case management and access to health and legal services. At AWS survivors and their children begin to heal and rebuild their lives.

38. SF FOOD BANK
The SF Food Bank collects millions of pounds of food for delivery to over 400 local nonprofit organizations, serving over 225,000 people a year.

39. SF GENERAL HOSPITAL FOUNDATION
San Francisco General Hospital Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising private funds to support patient care and comfort at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (SFGH). Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has raised more than $50 million, helping to directly impact nearly 100,000 patients each year.

40. SF SMILES
SFSmiles assists other nonprofit organizations by bolstering donations, recruiting volunteers or raising funds and awareness, which provides a support system for local charities, helping to supplement the ongoing and fluctuating needs of their clients and communities.

41. SF SPCA
The SF SPCA saves and protects animals, provides care and treatment, advocates animal welfare and works to enhance the human-animal bond. They accept animals who would otherwise be euthanized. Their live-release rate was 97% in 2009.

42. SHANTI PROJECT
Shanti enhances the quality of life, health and well-being of people living with life-threatening illnesses by providing emotional and practical support to our city's most vulnerable individuals.

43. TAPROOT COMMUNITY
Taproot's mission is to lead, mobilize and engage professionals in pro bono service that drives social change. Through service grant programs, advisory services and advocacy, Taproot provides millions of dollars in services annually aimed at best enabling organizations to address local social issues.

44. TEACH FOR AMERICA
Although 15 million American children face the extra challenges of poverty, an increasing body of evidence shows they can achieve at the highest levels. Teach For America strives to provide an excellent education for kids in low-income communities.

45. TEACH WITH AFRICA
Teach With Africa works to empower students and teachers by bringing educators to Africa – and African educators to the U.S. – in a reciprocal exchange of teaching and learning so that the children we serve can have access to quality education. TWA supports academic, educational training and community development programs to empower children and give them a voice in breaking down the barriers to education.

46. TIPPING POINT
Tipping Point finds the best Bay Area organizations serving low-income families and provides them with the money and support they need to fully realize their potential so they can help their clients do the same. Since 2005, Tipping Point Community has raised more than $25 million to educate, employ, house and support nearly 150,000 Bay Area people in need.

47. UNDER ONE ROOF
Under One Roof is the only non-profit retail store of its kind in the entire world, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for San Francisco Bay Area men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS. The organization inspires and unites community volunteers, donors, staff, sponsors and merchant supporters to help generate unrestricted funds for non-profit agencies that provide HIV/AIDS education and support services, including promoting positive, healthy lifestyles.

48. UPWARDLY GLOBAL
Upwardly Global connects skilled immigrants with employers and provides both with the resources to succeed together. They are practical visionaries, inspired to deliver on the promise of America, since their commitment to integration of skilled immigrants is a pledge to the future of the United States.

49. WELL DONE
Well Done partners with communities to support sustainable clean water solutions, while engaging project supporters in ways that creates heightened awareness and lasting change. They aim to raise public awareness of the global water crisis, while effectively providing clean water for communities in need.