Want to fight for social justice? Here are some local groups that could use a hand. You've heard of Habitat for Humanity and the Sierra Club. Nationally known non-profit and advocacy groups like those are alive and well in the Triangle, and they could use your help. But here are a few groups unique to this area that are also doing good work on worthy causes.
Democracy North Carolina
"One person, one vote" is the motto of this non-partisan, nonprofit group based in Carrboro. Staff and volunteers research the impact of money in politics and work for campaign finance reform and voter access through grassroots organizing.
This statewide nonprofit is an advocate for the Latino community in the state capital. They work on legislative policy, voting rights, health, public safety and cultural programs, and they host the annual El Foro Latino in March.
Eno River Association
For many local environmentalists, the Eno River is the heart of the Triangle. This association takes care of the many parklands around it and works to preserve as much of the watershed as possible. Volunteers help build and maintain trails, lead hikes, provide environmental education or plan the annual Eno River Festival, held every Fourth of July weekend in Durham.
Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina
People in 34 of North Carolina's 100 counties depend on this nonprofit for food. Half of those people are children. Their biggest food drive is during the holiday season, but they need volunteers year-round at their locations, which include Raleigh and Durham.
Local chapters of NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood are part of an alliance of pro-choice efforts in the Triangle. Also part of that alliance is Ipas, an international women's health organization with its national office in Chapel Hill. Ipas connects issues of birth control, family planning, abortion rights and advocacy through education and by providing medical supplies.
North Carolina Housing Coalition
Safe, decent affordable housing is the goal of this network of housing providers and community and business leaders. Lobbying the General Assembly is a big part of their work, along with channeling resources and keeping the public aware.
North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute
Keeping children safe and healthy requires lobbying state and local officials to protect children from abuse, to prevent delinquency and to improve health and safety. After working on these issues, you'll never hear the political cliche of "family values" in the same way.
North Carolina Justice & Community Development Center
Keeping an eye on the state budget and advocating for the working poor, this organization fights to provide the resources minorities and other impoverished communities across the state need for economic security. A wide spectrum of projects involves litigation, research, policy, legal assistance and grassroots community building to tackle issues of health access, living income, education and consumer assistance.
North Carolina Waste Awareness & Reduction Network (NC WARN)
This nonprofit uses scientific research and political advocacy to reduce the dangers of nuclear power and other pollution generated by electricity production. No other local group takes on the big energy companies so aggressively or so consistently.
South Eastern Efforts Developing Sustainable Spaces (SEEDS)
Get your gardening fix by volunteering to plant and maintain urban gardens and green spaces at parks and schools in Durham. Educational programs offer inner-city teens a chance to grow and sell food at local farmers' markets.
Student Action with Farmworkers
Duke University faculty launched this program more than a decade ago to connect college students with migrant workers in Eastern North Carolina. Today, Duke's Center for Documentary Studies and UNC offer a service-learning class and summer internship program for students to learn about the issues (health, safety, education, immigration) these workers and their children face.