Top 49 Favorite Charities: It's Time to Vote!

Top 49 Favorite Charities: It's Time to Vote!


It's time for the second phase of our Favorite Charities contest, created in partnership with fellow San Francisco native Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Thanks to over 6,000 of your nominations (!!!), San Francisco has named its top 49 non-profits. It's now time to vote!

Seven of these will be taking home cash - the top six will be taking home $2,000 grants from PG&E. But, one who garners the most votes will have their holidays brightened with a total of $10,000. 

So vote for your favorite in each of the seven categories below. The winner of each category will go on to compete for top billing and the $10,000.

Voting for the Top 49 will continue through 5 p.m. on November 12.

Voting for the Top 7 begins on November 13.

After you read below about how these awesome charities are helping San Francisco, you can vote at the bottom of the page. And without further adieu:


Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco

Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco is a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International that partners with hardworking families, community volunteers and donors, to build affordable ownership homes in Marin, San Francisco and on the Peninsula. Through the Habitat for Humanity program, families working in service, manufacturing, retail and other sectors are able to live near their jobs in decent, safe, permanent homes.

Community Housing Partnership

Founded in 1990, Community Housing Partnership is the only San Francisco nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to providing permanent, supportive housing to formerly homeless individuals and families. These supportive residences address the needs of seniors, families with young children, youth at risk of homelessness, and adults with physical or cognitive disorders, and provide an essential and comprehensive network of services including job training and placement opportunities, family and youth programs, substance abuse treatment and community organizing.

Family House

Founded in 1981, Family House is an organization providing temporary housing to families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital. Qualifying families live more than 50 miles from UCSF, and many live at or below the low-income status as determined by UCSF.

Raphael House

Since 1971, Raphael House has been at the forefront of providing homeless and low-income families in the San Francisco Bay Area the personalized and family-centered solutions they need to build brighter futures. Raphael House is a 100% privately funded and community-supported organization. Their success rate is unmatched: more than 85% of all Raphael House families go on to achieve long-term stable housing and financial independence.

Children of Shelters

Children of Shelters connect some of the 4,000 children living in or being supported by family transitional shelters to the enrichment and educational opportunities they need to better their chances at ending a life of poverty. As advocates of the children, they are committed to addressing both their basic and more in-depth needs. From cultural activities, to educational support such as in-shelter tutoring and tuition assistance, our children benefit from growing self-confidence, leadership development and improved education to help them on their way.

Compass Family Services

Compass Family Services helps homeless families and families at imminent risk for homelessness to achieve housing stability, family well-being, and self-sufficiency. The agency's seven programs provide services to more than 3,000 parents and children each year, 50% of whom are under age 18.  

Homeless Youth Alliance

HYA exists to meet homeless youth where they are, and to help them build healthier lives. They believe that reducing harm is possible through the provision of accessible, non-judgmental drop-in and outreach sessions, one-on-one counseling, and medical and mental health care, as well as creative and educational workshops, needle exchange, and accurate up-to-date referrals and information. HYA strives to empower homeless youth to protect themselves, educate each other, reduce harm within the community, and transition off the streets.


W.O.M.A.N., Inc.

Women Organized to Make Abuse Nonexistent, Inc. (WOMAN, Inc.) has operated since 1978 as a community-based, multi-service agency, serving survivors of domestic violence in San Francisco and the larger Bay Area. In addition to our 24 hour crisis line, they provide culturally sensitive support to survivors in domestic violence situations.

Asian Women's Shelter

The mission of Asian Women's Shelter (AWS) is to eliminate domestic violence by promoting the social, economic and political self-determination of women. AWS is committed to every person's right to live in a violence-free home, and has a specific focus towards addressing the cultural and language needs of immigrant, refugee, and U.S.-born Asian women and their children. This perspective is reflected in the organization's broad strategy, which integrates culturally competent and language-accessible shelter services, educational programs, and community-based advocacy.


Motivated by a belief in the dignity and worth of each person as a child of God, Good Shepherd Gracenter San Francisco is committed to helping young women who seek recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Through a program based on 12 Step spirituality and holistic treatment, they help each woman transform and grow toward independence by nurturing an appreciation of her true self and strengthening bonds with her God and community.

The 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. Our effort is made possible through invaluable volunteer, donor and community support. Since 2002, The Princess Project has served over 20,000 teens through the dedication of more than 2,000 volunteers

Women's Initiative for Self-Employment

Since 1988, Women's Initiative has been assisting high-potential low-income women who dream of business ownership. Through an intensive 20 session program — in English or Spanish — women are enabled to start, or expand their business.

The Riley Center

The St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco’s Riley Center offers safe and confidential comprehensive services to survivors of domestic violence, along with their children, from the point of crisis to a woman’s achievement of self-sufficiency.

Oasis for Girls

Founded in 1999, the mission of Oasis For Girls is to partner with girls and young women of color from under-resourced communities in San Francisco to help them cultivate the skills, knowledge, and confidence to discover their dreams and build strong futures.


United Way of the Bay Area

United Way is a Bay Area nonprofit whose mission is to be the catalyst that enables people to strengthen our communities by investing in one another. One in five Bay Area residents lives in poverty. Our goal is to cut that number in half by 2020 by harnessing creativity, expertise, and philanthropy.

SF Smiles

SF Smiles provides furniture, household items, clothing, baby gear, and other basic necessities at no cost to individuals and families in need by collecting usable used goods from the community.  SF Smiles collaborates with over 30 programs serving people with disabilities, homeless and low-income individuals, and victims of domestic violence who are in need of basic living essentials.

New Leaders Council

New Leaders Council (NLC) trains and supports the next generation of progressive entrepreneurs and civic leaders: those who are leading industries, setting trends, and building institutions that support robust civic and political life in a global America.

Leap...Imagination in Learning

Leap's residency programs place professional teaching artists into Bay Area elementary and middle schools to enhance the classroom curriculum through creative projects. Dynamic educators who are professional painters, sculptors, performers, musicians, dancers and architects represent Leap in these schools.

San Francisco Zoological Society

The San Francisco Zoological Society was established in 1954 as a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the support of the San Francisco Zoo. The Zoological Society's long range plan sets forth four major goals for the Zoo: development of the New Zoo, fostering the Zoo's role in animal conservation and research, improvement of the Zoo's capacity for educating the public about wildlife conservation, and enhancement of the Zoo as a recreational facility.

San Francisco City Guides

City Guides volunteers are serious about sharing the fun of discovering San Francisco and its neighborhoods. Their purpose is to preserve and perpetuate the history and folklore of San Francisco and to celebrate its rich history of cultural diversity. And in the spirit of our primary sponsor, the San Francisco Public Library, they provide this service free of charge.


Horizons Young Professionals for Equality is an opportunity for young, Bay Area professionals to develop into their role as future LGBT leaders and become more involved with philanthropy and giving back. Founded in 2011, HYPE empowers and unites emerging professional leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area through acts of charitable giving to LGBT organizations and through the development of strong community relationships.  



Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center

Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center is a nonprofit small business development organization dedicated to helping women and men who traditionally lack access to resources and information to achieve financial self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship. They provide training, support services, resources, and networks for business owners at every stage of business development.


Toolworks is devoted to helping all people with disabilities connect with the opportunities in their community. They provide social services to over 500 individuals with disabilities every year. They offer employment services, vocational training, and the full range of support that allows individuals with disabilities to live independently.

Creativity Explored

Creativity Explored advances the value and diversity of artistic expression. They provide artists with developmental disabilities the means to create, exhibit, and sell their art in our studios and gallery, and around the world.

San Francisco LGBT Community Center

The mission of the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Community Center is to connect our diverse community to opportunities, resources and each other to achieve our vision of a stronger, healthier, and more equitable world for LGBT people and our allies. The Center’s strategies inspire and strengthen our community by fostering greater opportunities for people to thrive, organizing for our future, celebrating our history and culture, and building resources to create a legacy for future generations.

Swords to Plowshares

War causes wounds and suffering that last beyond the battlefield. Swords to Plowshares’ mission is to heal the wounds, to restore dignity, hope, and self-sufficiency to all veterans in need, and to prevent and end homelessness and poverty among veterans. Our vision is for all veterans to have access to the care and services they need to rebuild their lives.

La Cocina

The mission of La Cocina is to cultivate low income food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance and access to market opportunities. We focus primarily on women from communities of color and immigrant communities. Their vision is that entrepreneurs gain financial security by doing what they love to do, creating an innovative, vibrant and inclusive economic landscape.


BAYCAT educates, empowers and employs underserved youth and young adults to produce digital media that tells their unique stories and engages them to positively transform themselves, their communities and the world.


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.

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.

Harvest From the Heart

Harvest from the Heart brings people together as a community to cook, assemble food, package and deliver it to people around San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Blind Babies Foundation

When an infant or preschooler is identified as blind or visually impaired, Blind Babies Foundation provides family-centered services to support the child's optimal development and access to the world.

Circulo de Vita Cancer Support and Research Center

Círculo de Vida's mission is to walk alongside Latinos living with cancer and their families as they find their way through the fear, confusion, and uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis. We aim to reduce the devastating effects of a cancer diagnosis by helping Latinos identify coping skills that will support their ability to meet the challenge of a frightening disease.

Access Institute

The Access Institute delivers affordable psychological services —serving as a mental health safety net for those without adequate insurance or the means to afford high-quality, longer-term treatment. Their programs meet the community’s need for comprehensive psychological care, while providing rigorous training to clinicians seeking licensure in a mental health discipline. 

Hearing and Speech Center of San Francisco

The Hearing and Speech Center of San Francisco provides life-long professional services to support all people with hearing or communication challenges in achieving their goals.



Larkin Street Youth Service

The mission of Larkin Street Youth Services is to create a continuum of services that inspires youth to move beyond the street. They provide a peer-based substance abuse treatment program, provide safe temporary housing for kids who before slept on the streets, and in 1997, they opened the nation’s first comprehensive housing program for HIV+ youth, named Assisted Care.

Students Rising Above

The SRA Community is dedicated to impacting the future through the cultivation of extraordinary youth. Students Rising Above invests in low-income, first generation college students who have demonstrated a deep commitment to education and strength of character in overcoming tremendous odds of poverty, homelessness, and neglect. They help each student to realize his or her potential by guiding and supporting them through college graduation, and into the workforce.

Raising a Reader

Raising A Reader wants to close the achievement gap before it appears by engaging limited-income families in daily book-sharing with their young children, thereby fostering healthy brain development, family-child bonding, and the early literacy skills essential for school success.

The Cooking Project

The Cooking Project is a non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to teaching kids and young adults fundamental cooking skills. Our community of chefs, writers, home cooks, farmers and growers teach how to connect with food through a variety of programs on everything from unusual ingredients to how to cook simple, tasty dishes at home.

Minds Matter SF

Minds Matter SF (MMSF) is an academic mentoring organization that provides each student with intensive, dedicated support in key areas, including standardized test prep, summer programs, civic engagement, and "college knowledge," in an effort to transform the lives of motivated high school students from low-income families by turning a college education from a dream into a reality. 

JCYC Educational Services

JCYC cultivates and enriches the lives of children and youth from diverse, multi-cultural communities throughout San Francisco and beyond. They provide a comprehensive continuum of care from preschool to college and empower young people to realize their full potential to ensure that they have the resources and support necessary to grow into healthy, responsible adults.

College Track

College Track empowers students from underserved communities to reach their dream of a college degree. They ensure that each student is college ready and provide support that many students do not have in their homes or at their schools.


Loup Garou Rescue

Loup Garou Rescue is dedicated to the rescue and re-homing of black and dark colored companion animals from shelters where they are disproportionately euthanized for their color. They pull dark colored and black companion animals from local shelters, place them into foster homes and actively search out permanent adoptive homes for them.

The Janet Pomeroy Center

The Janet Pomeroy Center provides recreational, vocational and educational opportunities for people with disabilities through programs and services that encourage self-expression, promote personal achievement, and lead to greater independence. Currently the Center provides programs for adults, children, teens, and seniors each week with support from dedicated and skilled staff.

Northern California Family Dog Rescue

Family Dog Rescue was started in January of 2010 by a group of dedicated animal rescuers with years of experience in a variety of animal welfare organizations. They are dedicated to the proper care and socialization of our rescued animals and to making a great connection between dogs and humans.

Canine Companions for Independence

Canine Companions for Independence enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.

Support for Families of Children with Disabilities

The purpose of Support for Families is to ensure that families of children with any kind of disability or special health care need have the knowledge and support to make informed choices that enhance their children's development and well being. Through fostering partnership among families, professionals and the community our children can flourish. 

Saving Grace Rescue

Saving Grace is a non-profit rescue facility owned and operated by Amber Holly.  Saving Grace focuses on kittens under 8 weeks old and felines with special needs. It has helped find forever homes for over 3,000 cats and kittens. 

MickaCoo Pigeon and Dove Rescue

MickaCoo is a network of volunteers working together to save the lives of domestic, unreleasable pigeons and doves that would otherwise be killed in shelters for lack of adopters. Volunteers respond to calls from shelters, vets, and good samaritans to provide avian vet care for ill or injured birds, long-term foster care, and to develop adopters and place them into qualified forever homes.


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