Mash-Up Giving Guide 2020: Near And Dear

From our heart to yours.
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This year, in addition to wishing for 100% mask compliance, a smooth transition of government and free vaccines for everybody (IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?!), the thing we want most of all is a better world for ourselves, our families, our communities, and generations to come. And we believe all of our little efforts can help create that world.

That’s why we publish the annual Mash-Up Giving Guide: A list of trusted non-profit organizations working in critical areas, from immigration to the environment. This is our most personal Giving Guide yet — these are the causes that all of us at Mash-Up HQ hold super close to our hearts, and which we want to share with you, our fam. Use the list to donate in someone else’s name (enclose the receipt in a pretty card for a thoughtful gift!), or simply contribute a few dollars on your own. And if money is tight, you can still make a difference. Sign up for newsletters to stay informed, share links on social media, and visit organizations’ websites to learn about volunteer opportunities. Here’s to hope and making progress — as the president we miss most once said, yes we can.

Amy S. Choi

Editorial Director + Co-founder of The Mash-Up Americans

Ktown for All in LA supports the homeless community in Koreatown with aid and advocacy, and distributes 200+ meals and 600+ hygiene kits weekly to the unhousd in the community. Ktown truly is for all!


I also love Bed Stuy Strong, an incredibly organized mutual aid group in my kids’ school neighborhood. It helps me feel closer to my school neighbors, and reinforce the strength that has always lived in small community groups. We’re gonna save each other!


Kara Hart

Senior Producer – The Mash-Up Americans podcast, How It Is podcast

The Transgender District in San Francisco’s Tenderloin is the first legally recognized transgender district in the world. It was founded by 3 Black transgender women with the mission to create generational economic stability within the transgender community. I deeply believe in the work that The Transgender District is doing AND (on a personal note) as a new resident to SF this year, their programming has allowed me to learn from and be in community with my new neighbors.


Jocelyn Gonzales

Sound Designer + Senior Producer –  The Mash-Up Americans podcast, How It Is podcast, My Best Break-Up podcast, Metaphysical Milkshake podcast

One place I donated to this year was Mount Tamalpais College, which until recently was known as the Prison University Project at San Quentin. In September 2020 they became a Candidate for Accreditation and changed their name.


I also like this small project, Send Chinatown Love, to build a digital presence for Chinatown restaurants that don’t have online ordering so they could try to stay afloat during the pandemic.


Rebecca Lehrer

CEO + Co-founder of The Mash-Up Americans

Mujeres de la Tierra is an LA based environmental equity organization that focuses on supporting women and families to be deeply engaged in environmental and social justice issues affecting their communities. Mujeres de la Tierra is developing and supporting a new community of leaders.


Melissa Lo (see below!) and I are on the board of the Women’s Center for Creative Work, which is a perennial favorite for feminism here in LA. WCCW is at the leading edge of how we can build a creative community in the model that works for all of us. As they say in their core values, “WCCW is a place that affirms that art, creativity, and imagination have intellectual, personal, and political value. No art is neutral, it is either transforming or upholding the status quo.” The Women’s Center for Creative Work is a sister organization to The Mash-Up Americans in mission and values.

They’re launching  a fantastic new quarterly magazine called Salima. “Toni Cade Bambara said that the role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible — SALIMA is our enticing offering to the revolution.”


Melissa Lo

Development Producer – The Next Move podcast, To See Each Other podcast

Inclusive Action for the City in LA has been at the forefront of winning rights for street vendors!


Anna Ijiri Oehlkers

Writer + Social Media Whiz – The Mash-Up Americans Creative Studio, Sunstorm podcast, The Mash-Up Americans podcast

Literacy Partners is a NY-based non-profit education program that helps parents build their literacy and language skills to promote life-long learning for the whole family. This year they created a new series of special online events focused on racial and social justice, including last month’s marathon reading of Song of Solomon in tribute to Toni Morrison.


I grew up as a museum kid, so I’m also supporting the museum front-line staff and educators whose work and care make experiential learning possible.


Sara Pellegrini

Senior Producer – The Next Move podcast, To See Each Other podcast, Metaphysical Milkshake podcast

I’ve been following (and trying to work up a decent recipe to make for) Home-y Made Meals. I  love the way they are empowering everyday people to pitch in with feeding our unhoused community members in this very challenging Time of Covid. Volunteer cooks prepare meals in their own homes and volunteer drivers pick up and deliver to distribution centers. People power!


Mary Phillips-Sandy

Development Producer – The Mash-Up Americans Creative Studio, Sunstorm podcast, How It Is podcast, My Best Break-Up podcast

OK, sorry to be this person: The cause nearest and dearest to my heart—always, and Especially Now—is your own neighborhood. There’s nothing wrong with giving to national organizations or contributing to a cause thousands of miles away. But YOU are what YOUR community needs most. What should change in the 5-mile radius from where you’re sitting?

Find the nearest food bank, shelter, mutual aid group, or senior support organization. If you don’t have $$ to spare, which a lot of us don’t, you can still do something: ask for local donations as a holiday present, subscribe to newsletters, attend virtual meetings, talk to your neighbors (from six feet apart!), figure out which elected officials have relevant influence and let them know what’s up. I’m doing what I can for my hometown (in Maine, which ranks 12th in the nation for hunger) and my current home (Uptown Manhattan, which is on its way to becoming a Covid hot zone… again). You do what you can wherever YOU are. As my mom’s mid-90s bumper sticker said, Think Globally, Act Locally. And as Bruce Springsteen said, “We take care of our own.”

Mia Warren

Senior Producer – Sunstorm podcast

I listened to an episode of “All My Relations” podcast recently where the hosts and guests discussed the need to debunk the myth that Native people don’t exist. They also pointed out that we shouldn’t spend all our energy on that, because we should move on to more productive discussions about building Indigenous power.

A way to further these discussions — a starting point, really — is to give to organizations like First Nations Development Institute, whose guiding principle is that “when armed with the appropriate resources, Native peoples hold the capacity and ingenuity to ensure the sustainable, economic, spiritual and cultural well-being of their communities.”

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