Photo by Alexis Oltmer.
Photo by Alexis Oltmer.

Call to Action: 50+ Local Organizations That Need Your Activism

by / Nov. 15, 2016 3pm EST

The result of this harrowing election has left many speechless, outraged, heartbroken, and disappointed. At first some of us may have acted out in rage, unable to process the outcome. After unfriending or blocking every person on Facebook who challenged you on your stances regarding the election, you hopefully took a step back. Gaining some composure, you began to realize there are better ways of handling the situation, ways to fight for equality and human rights for all people in your own community. 

If you think about it, it seems silly. This should have been a priority long before the election, but more than ever, with people feeling threatened due to the change in the country’s leadership, now is a critical time to show you care about others who may be different than you and to help create safe spaces. 

Members of the LGBTQ community, minorities, refugees, immigrants, people with disabilities, and women may not completely feel comfortable about their place in the country for the next four years. They have been slowly broken down by the racist, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, and sexist implications of the president-elect and a handful of his followers. Even though a large majority of our nation has recognized this as a significant loss and may feel hopeless and beaten down, now we must all face what’s in store for us and not back down. We must remember what is good about our nation, and that’s the diversity of all different cultures and walks of life. We must remember that every life has value. Most of all, we must not give up fighting for the disenfranchised.

Here’s a list of organizations devoted to helping those who have often been marginalized in our society. We’ve compiled this list because we want to urge those wondering how they can help in their own community. We are stronger together. —VANESSA OSWALD

American Civil Liberties Union
The ACLU has been defending human rights and liberties since 1920. The state branch is the NYCLU, founded in 1951, which has a regional Western New York office, too:

Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League ( fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry in the US and abroad through information, education, legislation, and advocacy.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America ( provides environments that teach children the skills needed to build positive lives, attitudes, and behaviors.

Buffalo City Mission
Buffalo City Mission ( is dedicated to providing emergency shelter and nourishing meals to thousands of homeless men, women, and children. Their Men’s Center and new shelter for women and children, Cornerstone Manor, both provide recovery programs to help homeless men, women and children rebuild their lives. 

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper
A nonprofit whose actions protect drinking water, connect people to waterways, and build a thriving water-based economy:

The Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance 
The Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance ( is a local advocacy group that values the arts and cultural communities in the Buffalo/Niagara region. All the organizations included in this alliance have the common goal of promoting the integral role that arts and culture play in the quality of life and economic development of the Western New York region

Center for Reproductive Rights
For more than 20 years, the Center for Reproductive Rights ( has used the law to advance reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right. Providing women with safe, legal and confidential abortion and birth control services in a compassionate and supportive setting. 

Clean Air Coalition of WNY
CACWNY ( assists in developing grassroots leaders to organize their communities to run and win environmental justice and public health campaigns in Western New York.

Climate Science Legal Defense Fund
The Climate Science Defense Fund ( was founded to help climate scientists protect themselves and their work from industry-funded legal attacks.

Coalition for Economic Justice
​CEJ ( aims to unite our member labor, faith, and community organizations and activist with allies and resources to win campaigns that promote economic justice for all through building strong, diverse, sustainable communities.

Compass House
Compass House ( provides runaway, homeless and street youth with safe shelter, and services in an environment that supports dignity, respect, and self-reliance.

Council on American-Islamic Relations
CAIR’s ( mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Crisis Services of Buffalo
Crisis Services ( is dedicated promoting the health, safety, and well-being of the community through prevention, education, immediate intervention, and access to community wide resources 24/7.

DOPE Collective 
DOPE Collective ( is a Buffalo-based D.I.Y. millennial peer group organization that aims to build a stronger alternative music and art community for People of Color (POC), women, LGBQTAI, and disabled individuals of all ages. By creating safe and uplifting environments for overlooked members of the local community, the group’s mission is to promote social change. 

Erie County Commission on the Status of Women
The Erie County Commission of the Status of Women connects women with the resources they need to reach their full potential and recommends measures to coordinate, consolidate, or expand the resourches and services available to women in Erie County.

Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project
The Volunteer Lawyers Project, or VLP ( is a nonprofit that provides free civil legal services to low-income individuals and small nonprofit groups in Erie County. 

Evergreen Health Services
Evergreen ( is a nonprofit organization that fosters healthy communities by providing medical, supportive, and behavioral services throughout Western New York.

Gay & Lesbian Youth Services Western New York Inc.
GLYS ( is an organization committed to providing a safe and positive environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (GLBTQ) youth through peer interaction and educational experiences.

Girls on the Run
Girls on the Run (Buffalo chapter: seeks to inspire girls to be healthy and confident using experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance
The Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance ( is a local advocacy group that values the arts and cultural communities in the Buffalo/Niagara region. All the organizations included in this alliance have the common goal of promoting the integral role that arts and culture play in the quality of life and economic development of the Western New York region. 

Haven House
Haven House ( provides safe housing and supportive services for victims of domestic violence in Buffalo and Erie County.

Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York, Inc.
The Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York ( is a nonprofit organization exists to help foster and inspire awareness, understanding, and appreciation of past, present, and future contributions of the Hispanic Community in Western New York.

Human Rights Campaign
Human Rights Campaign ( envisions an America where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are ensured equality at home, at work and in every community.

International Institute of Buffalo
The International Institute of Buffalo seeks to strengthen Western New York by assisting refugees and immigrants to become independent, informed and contributing members of the community, and by promoting and supporting cultural competence, multiculturalism and global connectedness throughout the region.

International Refugee Assistance Project
IRAP ( helps families and individuals in emergency situations navigate the rules and processes of refugee resettlement so they can be safe from danger and persecution.

Jericho Road Community Health Center and the Priscilla Project
The Jericho Road Community Health Center ( has programs geared toward serving the under-served and marginalized. One of these program is The Priscilla Project, which is dedicated to serving low income, pregnant refugee women who may be at-risk of experiencing birth complications. 

Journey’s End Refugee Services, Inc.
A Christian community-based organization providing refugees with the resources and support they need to strive in Western New York:

Literacy New York Buffalo Niagara
LNYBN ( is the region’s sole provider of free, one-on-one adult literacy services serving Erie and Niagara Counties. 

Massachusetts Avenue Project
The Massachusetts Avenue Project’s mission is to nurture the growth of a diverse and equitable local food system and promote local economic opportunities, access to affordable, nutritious food and social change education for all. The Project hosts the Growing Green Program, which is a youth

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund ( is a national nonprofit civil rights organization serving to protect the rights of Latinos in the United States.

National Abortion Federation
The NAF ( is the professional association of abortion providers working to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care to promote health and justice for women.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
The mission of the NAACP ( is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence 
The vision of NCADV ( is to create a culture where domestic violence is not tolerated; and where society empowers victims and survivors, and holds abusers accountable.

National Immigration Law Center
The National Immigration Law Center ( is one of the leading organizations in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants.

National Organization for Women
NOW (New York State chapter: is a national feminist activist organization that seeks change through lobbying, advocacy, education, and protest.

Native American Rights Fund
NARF is the oldest and largest nonprofit law firm dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide.

Natural Resources Defense Council
NRDC ( is an environmental action group, combining the power of more than two million members and online activists with the courtroom clout and expertise of more than 350 lawyers, scientists, and other professionals.

Neighborhood Legal Services
Neighborhood Legal Services ( is a nonprofit Buffalo agency that provides free legal services to low-income and/or persons with disabilities.

No Labels Clothing Cooperative 
No Labels Clothing Cooperative ( is committed to creating a LGBTQ-focused, universally designed, People of Color-friendly, feminist clothing retail thrift store, which doubles as a safe space for everyone to work together in solidarity and create sustainable jobs in our community. 

Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood (regional chapter: is a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive health care, education, and advocacy to all genders.

Pride Center of WNY
The mission of the Pride Center is to work with the community to make Western New York a safe, healthy, and satisfying place for LGBTQ people to live, work, and establish their families.

ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the national public interest.

Public Accountability Initiative 
The Public Accountability Initiative are a nonprofit, public interest research organization investigating power and corruption at the heights of business

PUSH Buffalo
People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH Buffalo) is a local membership-based community organization fighting to make affordable housing a reality on Buffalo’s West Side.

The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project provides lifesaving and life-affirming services to LGBTQ+ youth.

Ujima Company, Inc.
For 38 years, Ujima ( has presented activist theater that focuses on the African-American experience.)

Urban Justice Center’s Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project
The Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project ( represents refugee families crossing the border to seek safety in the United States.

Westminster Economic Development Initiative and West Side Bazaar
WEDI is a nonprofit organization focused on improving the lives of residents on the West Side by supporting entrepreneurs and small business development, training and education. The West Side Bazaar is a one-of-its-kind market, which has enabled many immigrant, refugee, and low-income individuals to sell their products as vendors helping them to build and maintain their small businesses. 

Women’s Business Center
The Women’s Business Center’s ( mission is to empower entrepreneurs to succeed through education, connections and community. 

WNY Peace Center 
The Western New York Peace Center (, founded in 1967, is among the oldest and most active extant organizations of its kind in the country. Visit the web page to learn about its many task forces and volunteer opportunities.YWCA
The YWCA ( is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. 

More organizations to be posted. If you have an organization to add to this list, mention it in the comments and/or email us: