Chicago: The right city to do the right thing

Volunteering is an act of kindness, is a way for you to spend your time, energy and money with someone who has different needs. It has an enormous impact on the health and well-being of communities worldwide. In Chicago you can find a wide range of non-profit organizations in permanent need of staff or resources to create high impact in their communities.

In Chicago 25.3% of residents volunteer at least 25 hours per year, delivering critical services—from serving as volunteer firefighters or participating in search and rescue, to delivering meals to homebound seniors or homeless youth, to manning the phone lines at domestic violence and sexual assault centers.

Whether you’re new to Chicago and want to learn about the city’s charities, trying to change up your routine with some local charity work, or just want to volunteer or intern at a neighborhood nonprofit, you can find the right place based on other’s opinions and experiences. It is very important for you to engage with your community in order to know what its needs are and where to volunteer.

Here’s a list of volunteers’ and interns’ favorite Chicago charities. Every non-profit on this list got a high mark review from at least 10 volunteers who helped there:

#1: Chicago Cares

Founded in 1991, Chicago Cares is the city’s leading nonprofit service organization. It has mobilized 500,000 volunteers to meet Chicago’s most difficult needs.

It addresses diverse issue areas—from hunger to education to job readiness—through volunteerism, it has revolutionized the way people take ownership of our city and the way problems are solved. During the past 25 years it has created tens of thousands of programs that foster civic engagement by educating and empowering volunteers to be agents of change.

Read more at:

#2: South Suburban Pads (SSPADS)

It is a nonprofit organization created in 1990 as a response to the growing numbers of individuals and families becoming homeless in the “southland” region (Chicago’s south suburbs). As a leading provider of emergency shelter services, transitional and permanent housing, SSPADS serves individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness, formerly homeless, or at-risk of homelessness.

During the past 25 years, SSPADS has served over 15,000 men, women and children; and has provided over 422,780 shelter nights.

Read more at:

#3: Kendall County Food Pantry (KCFP)

It is a non-profit organization established nearly thirty years ago in response to many growing needs in Kendall County, IL. KCFP takes care of the charitable collection and distribution of food, clothing and related necessities to those in need, in crisis and/or in emergency situations. Including, but not limited to, the collection of donated funds for the acquisition of food, clothing and different types of personal objects while an individual and/or family is in need. KCFP allows individuals and/or families to receive donated assistance while recovering self-sustainable status.

Read more at:

#4: Career Transition Center of Chicago (CTC)

CTC is a volunteer-driven, non-profit organization providing professional, emotional and spiritual support to those seeking a job, looking for meaningful work, and to enhance the employability of incumbent workers. Its purpose is to provide support to underemployed and unemployed professionals and recent college graduates who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford exhaustive job placement services. The Career Transitions Center was founded in 1997 and has served over 8,500 job seekers since then.

Read more at:

#5: West Suburban Humane Society (WSHS)


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Image courtesy of Tony Alter at

The WSHS is a volunteer-based, animal welfare organization founded in 1972 as a lost-and-found referral service. Now days it operates as a premier animal shelter for the purpose of finding safe, permanent and compatible homes to adopt domestic dogs and cats.

So far it has reunited over 33,000 pets with their owners, by providing free pet identification tags and microchip pet identification implants for every animal that is adopted from the shelter.

Read more at:

#6: Chicago Freedom School (CFS)

Founded in 2007, CFS provides training and education opportunities for youth and adult allies to develop leadership skills through the lens of civic action and through the study of the history of social movements and their leaders. Its mission is to create new generations of critical and independent thinking young people who use their unique experiences and power to create a fair world.

Read more at:

#7: Woman Made Gallery (WMG)

WMG is a non-profit organization founded in 1992. Its main goal is to cultivate, promote and support the work of female-identified artists by providing exhibition opportunities, professional development, and public programs that invite discussion about what feminism means today. Since its foundation, more than 7,500 women artists have exhibited their work. The organization welcomes the participation of people of all gender expressions and orientations as artists and program participants, members and supporters.

Read more at:


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