The Activist’s Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

I have always loved Valentine’s Day. An entire day dedicated to love? Sign me up. As a young girl I would beg my mother to take me to the drugstore the week before Valentine’s Day so I could buy cards and chocolates for my friends.

But now, as we find ourselves in a chaotic, unsettling time, sharing loving feelings is not enough. A box of chocolates is sweet, but it isn’t going to provide an education for millions of at-risk girls. A bouquet of roses isn’t going to make much of a difference if a woman loses the reproductive rights to her own body. And a card won’t do much to help marginalized groups from discrimination or our DREAMERS from being deported.

We must channel our love into action – speak up, extend a helping hand, make contributions to organizations that protect marginalized communities and stand shoulder to shoulder with others to protect our civil liberties.

And since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, by all means, mail the card, send the flowers and light the candles. It’s a wonderful thing to celebrate love. But also consider a donation to one or more of these organizations and campaigns making a difference in the lives of women, girls and vulnerable communities.

It might be the most powerful gift you give this Valentine’s Day.

Girl Rising
Girl Rising is a global campaign for girl’s education and empowerment. Their mission is to change the way the world values girls and to ensure girls everywhere can be full and equal participants in society. In 2013, they released the film Girl Rising, which showcased girls from around the world affected by the power of education – or lack thereof. Translated into 30 languages, the film became the heart of a global campaign and now, a nonprofit organization. Today, through mass media campaigns and community-led partnerships, they use storytelling to inspire girls to create a different future for themselves and bring people together in a shared mission to create transformational change in the way girls are valued. Girl Rising works to get girls into schools because they know it’s the best way to end global poverty.

Girls Inc.
In partnership with schools and at Girls Inc. centers, the organization focuses on the development of the whole girl and inspiring her to be strong, smart and bold. She learns to value herself, take risks, and discover and develop her inherent strengths. The combination of long-lasting mentoring relationships, a pro-girl environment, and research-based programming equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers, and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. Informed by girls and their families, the organization also advocates for legislation and policies to increase opportunities and rights for all girls.

She Should Run
She Should Run provides an approachable starting place and network for women leaders considering a future run for office and for those who support them. Their mission is to expand the talent pool of women running for office in the United States by providing community, resources, and growth opportunities for aspiring political leaders.  They believe that women of all political leanings, ethnicities, and backgrounds should have an equal opportunity to lead in elected office and that our democracy will benefit from the varied perspectives and experiences that women bring to leadership. Women are underrepresented at all levels in the 500,000+ elected offices across the U.S. She Should Run is committed to getting at least 250,000 women to run by 2030. Because when more women run, more women lead. #250Kby2030

TIMES UP Legal Defense Fund
TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund  will subsidize legal support for individuals who have experienced sexual harassment or related retaliation in the workplace. The Fund is housed at and administered by the National Women’s Law Center, an established, national women’s rights legal organization. A network of lawyers and public relations professionals across the country will work to provide assistance to those who have experienced harassment or retaliation.  Access to prompt and comprehensive legal and communications help will mean empowerment for these individuals and long-term growth for our culture and communities as a whole.  The National Women’s Law Center  will connect individuals who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace or related retaliation with attorneys who can provide legal assistance including a free initial consultation.

Women for Women International
In countries affected by conflict and war, Women for Women International supports the most marginalized women to earn and save money, improve health and well-being, influence decisions in their home and community, and connect to networks for support. Since 1993, they have helped more than 462,000 marginalized women in eight countries, offering support, tools, and access to life-changing skills to move from crisis and poverty to stability and economic self-sufficiency for herself, her family and community.

Malala Fund
Founded in 2013, Malala Fund champions every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education. Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani student and education activist who began speaking out for girls’ education at the age of 11. After surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban at 15, she co-founded Malala Fund with her father Ziauddin. Malala Fund works in regions where the most girls miss out on secondary education. Their priority countries are Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and countries housing Syrian refugees, including Lebanon and Jordan. Malala is the youngest ever Nobel Laureate.

Girls Not Brides
Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of more than 800 civil society organizations from over 95 countries committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfill their potential. Members are based throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. They share the conviction that every girl has the right to lead the life that she chooses and that, by ending child marriage, we can achieve a safer, healthier and more prosperous future for all. Girls Not Brides members bring child marriage to global attention, build an understanding of what it will take to end child marriage and call for the laws, policies and programs that will make a difference in the lives of millions of girls.

Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood is one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, and the nation’s largest provider of sex education. For the last 100 years and counting, Planned Parenthood aims to provide trusted community health care, inform and educate the community, lead the reproductive health and rights movement, and advance global health. They believe in the individual fundamental right of people throughout the world to manage their reproductive health, regardless of income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence.

National Organization for Women
The National Organization for Women is dedicated to its multi-issue and multi-strategy approach to women’s rights, and is the largest organization of feminist grassroots activists in the United States. NOW has hundreds of chapters and hundreds of thousands of members and activists in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since 1966, NOW’s purpose is to take action through intersectional grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.

V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery. Through V-Day campaigns, local volunteers and college students produce annual benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues and A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities. Each year, thousands of V-Day benefit events take place produced by volunteer activists in the U.S. and around the world, educating millions of people about the reality of violence against women and girls.


  1. What a great take on making Valentine’s more meaningful! Thank you for the information on these organizations.

  2. Julia Getsy says

    Intersting article. Recently I came across the article which gave the idea of gifting virtual assistant services for women on valentine’s day. I think this is a better idea. Being a busy mom of 2 children I often feel that I need some time for myself. This gift will definitely interest moms and women like me.

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