The give guide

In these tough times, it’s more important than ever to support charitable organizations doing important community work. Yes, the big organizations, the bedrock of local charities, are essential and deserve our continued help. But a smaller organization mi


Marine Animal Response Society
c/o Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer Street, 1-866-567-6277
“We primarily respond to live and dead cetacean strandings, anything that’s coming ashore---whales and dolphins,” explains Andrew Reid, coordinator of MARS. “We’ll try to assess the animal, see if it’s healthy, or whether it’s diseased or malnourished. If it’s healthy, we’ll try to properly refloat it, get it back in the water. Dead animals, we try to document as fully as possible, whether it’s a ship strike, that sort of thing.” Reid says MARS deals with about 20 whale beachings a year and a total of about 100 calls involving other animals.

How to give: Reid says that for insurance reasons the group can’t take volunteers, but they do need people to call about beachings, or to give money, at 1-866-567-6277. --TB

Hope for Wildlife
5909 Highway 207, Site 14 Box 1, Seaforth, 407-WILD,
When a Nova Scotia couple picked up a tiny stray bobcat thinking they’d found a kitten, a nasty bite made them realize it was in fact a wild animal. Luckily, animal lovers at Hope for Wildlife cared for the bobcat for two years, then released it into the wild. The Seaforth-based rehabilitation centre for wild animals receives animals from all across the province and answered over 10,000 calls about injured ones last year, explains the organization’s coordinator Allison Dube. Donations would help the organization build a larger rehabilitation unit, accommodating animals such as birds of prey, foxes and flying squirrels.

How to give: Donations made through would contribute towards building a larger rehabilitation unit for housing injured wild animals, such as those mentioned above. --LH

St. Margaret’s Bay Stewardship Association
Box 3081, Tantallon,
The SMBSA aims at managing changes within both the community and the St. Margaret’s Bay environment. With volunteer programs in place to maintain the Bay’s look and feel, the association focuses on a broad range of environmental issues like water quality and light pollution. It also assures that all ongoing developments in the region remain environmentally friendly. Public forums are held on a regular basis to ensure people are satisfied with their living arrangements within the area. Last year, the public’s generosity allowed the group to restore a historic cottage to its 1800s glory by funding their efforts to keep Micou’s Island publicly accessible.

How to give: The St. Margaret’s Bay Stewardship Association accepts donations through its website,, or by mail. --MC

Friends of the Historic Public Gardens
5665 Spring Garden Road,
The Public Gardens are maintained by the city, but it’s left to the public to come up with the bulk of the money for a much- needed fix: The bandstand is receiving a face-lift. The red-top gazebo has been retaining water over the past few years, subsequently rotting the structure. It is now being restored to its 19th-century design. Soon, the roof will be replaced by copper and the trim will receive a fresh coat of paint. An estimated $200,000 is still needed.

Though part of the funds were already raised through profits made from The Halifax Public Gardens, published by the Friends of the Historic Public Gardens, much more money is needed to finish the project.

How to give: To help make the project happen and get some more kids up on the bandstand for prom pictures, visit or purchase a copy of The Halifax Public Gardens from Bookmark on Spring Garden Road. --MC


Engineers without Borders
“We work in both Canada and four African countries—­Zambia, Malawi, Ghana and Burkina Faso,” says Jennifer Nowoselski, the junior fellow with the program, which is run out of Dalhousie’s graduate school. EWB works with various government agencies in these countries to help ensure better sanitation and water supplies. “It’s not so much digging for drills, as it is digging for data,” Nowoselski explains. “Instead of digging bore holes, we’re monitoring how many bore holes there are in areas, and which ones are working or need to be maintained, and then setting up training groups so people in the local area know how to maintain the wells properly.”

How to give: The students travel to Africa for four months at a time, on their own dime, with help from whatever they can get from Haligonians. To donate, email Nowoselski at --TB

Elizabeth Fry Foundation
1 Tulip Street, Dartmouth 454-5041,
Donations to the Elizabeth Fry Society help women in trouble with the law get a fresh start. “Women who come to us often tell us they have nowhere else to turn,” says Elizabeth Fry’s executive director Jeanette Milley. “They have often lost connections with family and are living with barriers that include poverty, addictions, mental health issues, involvement in the criminal justice system and homelessness.” Elizabeth Fry fights these barriers, putting donated funds to good causes such as Our Thyme Cafe (98 Portland Street). The cafe provides employment and workplace experience to women at risk of becoming homeless or getting in conflicts with the law.

How to give: Donate through, or by snail mail to 1 Tulip Street, Dartmouth, B3A 2S3. --TB

Alice Housing
P.O. Box 333, Dartmouth, B2Y 3Y5, 466-8459
Alice Housing provides safe homes around the HRM for women and children who have suffered through domestic violence. It also spearheads Healing the Bruises, a program aimed at child witnesses of domestic abuse. With only 11 percent of its operating budget stemming from governmental grants, Alice Housing strives to find generous people to help fund its second-stage homes. The program currently cares for 16 families through individual counselling and a two-year transition program where women and their children move from safe housing to independent living. The organization also provides families in crisis with affordable rent.

How to give: Alice Housing will welcome any monetary sum and gift cards for families in need. Donate via or call 466-8459.--MC

Supporting Housing for Young Mothers
4 Mount Hope Avenue, Dartmouth, 465-2213,
Based out of Dartmouth, the Supporting Housing for Young Mothers gives homes to women aged 16 to 24 and their children. From child development programs to life-skills education, staff at the SHYM instruct women on how to live independently and care for their children. Semi-furnished one-bedroom apartments are available for women in their last trimester of pregnancy and two-bedroom units are open for mothers and children on social assistance.

How to give: SHYM will be glad to take your gently used small furnishings, your no-longer-needed children’s toys, everyday items—from grocery coupons to cleaning products—and of course, cash. Donate through, or call 465-2213 to donate larger items. --MC

North End Parent Resource Centre
5475 Uniacke Street, 492-0133,
The North End Parent Resource Centre is the front-line organization for people in Uniacke Square and surrounding areas—the first place for families in need to seek resources and to connect with other community organizations. “We do a little bit of everything,” explains director Joan Mendes. “We have parenting classes, cooking classes, nutrition, we have lunches for children, they can come in and do laundry.” Mendes says the organization serves about 20 families directly, with several hundred people making use of various services and classes. And word in the neighbourhood is that the North End Parent Resource Centre has made real differences in peoples’ lives.

How to give: Mendes says the organization relies on various government grants for major programs, but has a big need for small donations for unfunded services. “We had one man giving $20 a month, but he’s passed away,” she says. Call Mendes at 492-0133 to make arrangements. --TB


Go North Festival
Through Eyelevel Gallery 2063 Gottingen Street, 425-6412
The Go North Festival, which was organized by Eyelevel Gallery on Gottingen Street, was an unqualified success for four years running, bringing thousands of people to the north end to view art in storefronts, schools, galleries and artists’ homes. Problem was, explains Eyelevel director Michael McCormack, because it is a free event, it was overwhelming Eyelevel resources. So, Go North is “taking a power nap,” he says. “We’ve got four binders of Go North material here in the gallery, and if anyone wants to come in and figure it out, they’re more than welcome.”

How to give: What Go North needs is a sugar daddy, either someone with lots of cash, or someone who knows how to access government grants or private money. Start with a conversation with McCormack, 425-6412. --TB

Veith Street Gallery Studio Association
3115 Veith Street, 446-6010,
Local artists with disabilities face many challenges, such as the stigma attached to being disabled and an increased likelihood of living in poverty. Donations to the Veith Street Gallery Studio Association help provide Creative Spirit East, a collective of artists with disabilities, with the resources to create and publicly display their art. “The people we’re working with, a lot of them are challenged in a number of ways, but through their artwork and their creativity they are not challenged,” says Gerard Macneil, the association’s curator.

How to give: For volunteer opportunities go to; donations of money and non-toxic art supplies and frames can be made to the Veith Street Gallery, 3115 Veith Street. --LH

Live Art Dance
5183 Sackville Street, 420-0003,
Interested in seeing more dance performances in our city? Then donate to Live Art’s Diane Moore scholarship fund. The organization supports the development of dance in Nova Scotia, giving $500 to a local visionary each year. “Dancers are completely underfunded in our society and it’s just really difficult for them to come by the funds necessary to create new work,” laments Live Art’s Gay Hauser. This year’s scholarship went to Lisa Phinney Langley, who is collapsing artistic boundaries, integrating dance with film. Langley and filmmaker Rohan Fernando brought Langley’s piece “Beside Myself Gasping” to Alderney Landing last month.

How to give: Contact Gay Hauser at --LH

Performing Arts Lodge
What will all Halifax’s performing artists without pension plans do when they’re seniors, or fall on hard times? PAL Halifax hopes to build a Performing Arts Lodge, providing artists with affordable housing and the support they need when they’re older. The lodge would include a performance space and serve as cultural hub. Jeremy Webb, co-chair of PAL Halifax’s board, says they’re in preliminary talks with a developer and may soon have a building. Vancouver and Toronto already have Performing Arts Lodges to serve as models for Halifax.

How to give: Buying a $20 membership through the PAL Halifax website,, will help the organization organize its efforts; larger donations can also be made. --LH


Nova Scotia Sea School
2057 Gottingen Street, 423-7284,
Adventures are at the top of the priority list for the Nova Scotia Sea School. From sending kids out on a 30-foot wooden boat for five days to camping in the woods in the cooler months, the charity group creates great life experiences for youth aged 14 to 18. Within the safe waters of Mahone Bay kids can learn to navigate a motorless boat with sails and paddles. If you happen to have a wooden boat in your backyard, the Nova Scotia Sea School would love to assess it, and perhaps make it an addition to their wild adventures or auction it off for you.

How to give: Over 50 percent of the funds required to run the program come from individual bursaries and donations. Donate through or call 423-7284 to send some credit-card love. --MC

Halifax Sexual Health Centre Youth Committee
6009 Quinpool Road, 455-9656,
Over a quarter of Nova Scotians aged 15 to 24 who were single or had different partners, have sex without condoms (Statistics Canada, 2005). Stats like this make the work the Halifax Sexual Health Centre’s youth committee does all the more crucial. “Peer education is extremely important as many youth prefer to learn about sex and sexuality from other youth,” explains Angus Campbell, the centre’s executive director. The youth committee hands out condoms and lube and educates their peers about healthy sexual practices.

How to give: Donations via the Halifax Sexual Health Centre website,, help to fund the youth committee’s peer outreach programs. --LH

The Youth Project
2281 Brunswick Street, 429-5429,
Donations to The Youth Project help create community networks for LGBT youth and combat the homophobia that causes them to consider suicide. “We want Nova Scotia schools to be safe and welcoming place for LGBT youth,” says executive director Leighann Wichman.

Twenty percent of the organization’s budget comes from donations and helps provide programs and services, such as supportive counselling, workshops and summer camps for LGBT youth, as well as outreach in schools. Supporting rural LGBT youth is essential, as they often feel alone and isolated. “We do our best to reach youth right across the province, but funding is limited,” says Wichman.

How to give: Donate as little as $10 via The Youth Project’s website. --LH

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