Where To Donate In 2020 If You Don't Know How To Begin

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2020 might symbolize the start of a new decade, but that doesn't necessarily mean a clean slate. From the acceleration of climate change to the spread of the #MeToo Movement, a handful of key issues that began before 2020 will likely define the year to come. So, if you're already thinking about where to donate in 2020, taking the past into consideration is a must.

Of course, one of the biggest events for Americans in 2020 will be the next presidential election — but "who will be the next president?" isn't the only question on people's minds. Maybe you're wondering whether any gun control legislation will be passed in Congress, or whether Missouri will become the first state without a single abortion provider. If these issues concern you, then it might be time to support the organizations looking to solve them.

As the new decade unfolds, you can find comfort and inspiration by learning more about all of the groups of people around the world who are working to make it a better, safer, and more equitable place. Then, if you feel so inclined, you can help them.

Here are some of the issues that will continue to define 2020, as well as the organizations working to fix them:

Australia Wildfires

Months after they began in October 2019, the Australia wildfires continued raging, and have burned well over 16 million acres, The New York Times reports. The publication notes that the magnitude of scorched land from these fires is about eight times as big as the land burned in the 2018 California wildfires, for reference.

Though some of the fires were largely contained in January 2020, they weren't entirely put out. What's more, the country is now facing the overwhelming task of responding to the after-effects of the fire. This includes dealing with the potential health effects of the poor air quality across the country and making plans to prepare for the next dry season.

Here are some organizations working to stop the Australia wildfire that you can donate to:

Climate Change

According to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2019 was the second-hottest year on record. Gavin Schmidt, a NASA director, released a statement on this assessment, which read in part, “We crossed over into more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit warming territory in 2015 and we are unlikely to go back."

Schmidt continued, "This shows that what’s happening is persistent, not a fluke due to some weather phenomenon: we know that the long-term trends are being driven by the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."

There are a number of statistics that really put the climate crisis into perspective. According to a United Nations report from May 2019, for instance, 1 million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction, more than at any other point in human history. Understanding exactly what it means for the global temperature to rise, even by 1 degree Celsius, is another key component. This NASA breakdown on why rising global temperatures matter helps break down why scientists are so concerned.

Ultimately, over 90 scientists from 40 countries who comprise the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change declared that climate change is the single greatest threat to human health. Since then, the threat has only become more real. Here are some organizations you can donate to if you agree:

Abortion Accessibility

By the time 2019 came to a close, six states were down to one abortion provider: North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Missouri. The future of Missouri's last clinic will be decided in a court ruling this year.

The battle over abortion rights has continued to rise over the last decade. In March 2020, a new abortion restrictions case called June Medical Services v. Gee will be brought before the Supreme Court. The case has the power to overturn Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, a legal case considered the most significant reproductive rights ruling since Roe v. Wade.

If you're concerned about the increasingly high barriers to safe and legal abortion access for millions of people across the country, one thing you can do immediately is support the organizations that are working to break down those barriers and keep abortions safe and accessible, regardless of geographic location. Here are some organizations that could use your help:

Voter Suppression In The 2020 Presidential Election

Though the 2018 midterms generated 10% higher voter turnout than the 2014 midterms, according to the Center for American Progress, there were still a number of voter suppression problems that prevented people from casting their ballots. To be clear, voter suppression includes both intentional and unintentional efforts to keep people from voting. These could be technical issues, like online registration glitches, as well as malevolent or discriminatory tactics, like telling certain communities incorrect information about how to vote on Election Day.

There were a number of examples of voter suppression that kept people from voting in the 2018 midterms. For example, a North Dakota law (upheld by the Supreme Court the month before the midterms) requiring voters to have an ID with a current street address prevented tens of thousands of people from casting their vote, per the Center for American Progress. Similarly, a Georgia law, which required people to register at least 29 days before an election, prevented approximately 87,000 people from voting in the midterms.

These same measures could continue to suppress voters in the 2020 presidential election, too. Here are some voting rights organizations you can donate to:

Legal Support For Survivors Of Sexual Assault

More than two years after Harvey Weinstein was publicly accused of sexual misconduct, his New York trial began in early 2020. Since the first allegations went live, over 100 women have accused him of sexual misconduct, per CNN. Weinstein has denied the allegations against him.

The allegations against Weinstein served as a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement, and over time, the dialogue around topics related to sexual assault has expanded. This includes support for the #MeToo movement and increased legislative efforts to hold perpetrators criminally accountable for their actions. Still, it's important to remember that the work is far from over, and that there are many meaningful and necessary ways to support sexual assault survivors, particularly those who don't have the means to legally defend themselves.

Here are some organizations working to support survivors of sexual assault:

Gun Control Legislation

At the end of 2019, Congress allotted $25 million for gun research in 2020, marking the first time that federal tax dollars were pledged toward the study of gun violence since 1996, per The Trace.

According to Gun Violence Archive, a gun violence research group, there were more mass shootings in 2019 than there were days in the year. The group defined a mass shooting as any incident in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter; the group recorded 417 mass shootings over the course of the year.

Here are some organizations working to end gun violence in America right now:

As the year goes on, keep in mind that there are other ways to support these organizations beyond donating. You can look into volunteering for a group that particularly resonates with you or try following their social media accounts so that you stay up to date with the latest news on that given issue.