The VSSL crew is proud to utilize our voices and our role in the community to stand with the BIPOC community and stand up for the injustices so many in San Diego and beyond face. As part of our team’s initiative to support these important causes, we’ve spent time to educate ourselves and each other on how we can better serve our communities and the needs that may place others at a disadvantage. One choice that we made early on during our shift to remote working was to select one employee each week to make a donation of an allocated amount of money from VSSL to the organization of our choice. Over the past five months, we’ve been able to contribute to organizations who are standing up for equality, against injustice and fighting for unity on a local and national level. All of these organizations work tirelessly to serve their communities and pave a way to a better future for all, so we wanted to take an opportunity to share these companies with you and bring them some much deserved recognition for what they do.
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Who are they? The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. is America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans. LDF also defends the gains and protections won over the past 80 years of civil rights struggle and works to improve the quality and diversity of judicial and executive appointments.
Why did we donate? Several of our crew members made the choice early on to contribute to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In the height of the protests during early summer, any additional funding we could offer to help those wrongfully arrested seek proper legal counsel was a must.
How can you help? You can donate to the NAACP LDF by visiting their donation page.
MARYAH/ San Diego LGBT Community Center
Who are they? The Metro Area Real Estate Professionals for Young Adult Housing has been working since 2004 with San Diego LGBT Community Center on various projects and fundraisers to combat youth homelessness and provide Emergency Housing.
Why did we donate? “In high school, I had a good friend kicked out because of his sexual orientation. I’ve seen him succeed in life largely because of his support system outside of his family. MARYAH is one of those systems designed to step up with love, housing and resources for youths when they have nowhere else to turn.” – Cat Leewaye
How can you help? You can donate to MARYAH/ San Diego LBGT Community Center by visiting this page.
San Diego Foundation
Who are they? The San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve the quality of life in our region.
How can you help? You can make a donation to the San Diego Foundation by visiting their Donation page.
The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)
Who are they? The Equal Justice Initiative is a private non-profit organization committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
Why did we donate? “The organization that I wanted to support was the Equal Justice Initiative. The founder, Bryan Stevenson has such a beautiful life-long story of caring for those in need. EJI seeks to advocate for the poor and marginalized that have experienced deep injustices and treatment. I’m stoked that the crew at VSSL could help support such a rad cause!” – Adam Jones
How can you help? You can make a donation to the EJI by visiting their website.
I Love a Clean San Diego
Who are they? I Love A Clean San Diego leads and inspires our community to actively conserve and enhance the environment through example, outreach, and local involvement.
Why did we donate? “I love the outdoors and appreciate nature by sailing, biking and hiking. The trash in our city and waterways is a tragedy and I Love a Clean San Diego is doing great work to tackle the problem.” – Gene Ratliffe
How can you help? You can make a donation to I Love a Clean San Diego using this link. Or participate in one of their socially distant beach clean ups! We recently did and picked up 18 pounds of trash along the San Diego beaches.
Feeding San Diego
Who are they? Feeding San Diego is on a mission to connect every person facing hunger with nutritious meals by maximizing food rescue. Established in 2007, Feeding San Diego is the leading hunger-relief and food rescue organization in San Diego County and is part of the national organization, Feeding America.
How can you help? There are many ways to help Feeding San Diego. Visit their Get Involved page to find an option that works for you.
Who are they? Mission 22 is dedicated to healing America’s veterans when they need it most — right now. We offer treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury, substance abuse and all of the issues veterans are facing today.
How can you help? Mission 22 has a number ways to get involved with their organization. Visit their Give page to learn more.
Know Your Rights Camp
Who are they? The mission of Know Your Rights Camp is to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders.
Why did we donate? “I wanted to donate to the Know Your Rights Camp because the systemic racism in this country is intolerable and if Colin Kaepernick couldn’t peacefully protest that in the form of kneeling during the national anthem, then something is horribly wrong. His organization is helping liberate and care for BIPOC communities, which is extremely important– especially right now during the pandemic because COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting black and brown people.” – Kath Matheson
How can you help? Visit the Know Your Rights Camp website and click the button in the top right to make a donation.
Randy Jones Foundation
Who are they? The Randy Jones Foundation is a non-profit organization based in San Diego, CA that seeks to provide new opportunities and resources for military families, kids and local communities through education, housing, and outdoor activities. Since San Diego has a large military population, there are a number of children who miss out on programs because one or both parents have been deployed, stationed abroad, or have given their lives serving our country.
How can you help? The Randy Jones Foundation has a number of programs that accept donations. Click the donate button on the top right of their homepage to view all options.
RISE Urban Leadership Institute of San Diego
Who are they? RISE’s mission is to elevate and advance urban leadership through dialogue-based civic engagement, dynamic nonprofit partnerships, and direct training and support to increase the capacity of urban residents to effect meaningful community change.
Why did we donate? “Growing up, I was exposed to a number of opportunities where I had the chance to speak my mind and share my thoughts in a way that had value; something that wasn’t always given to young minority women like myself. RISE works to provide that platform to young POC/minority leaders in our own community and give them the chance to make a difference locally and beyond.” – Kayla Covert
San Diego Food Bank
Who are they? The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and our North County Food Bank chapter provide nutritious food to people in need, advocate for the hungry, and educate the public about hunger-related issues.
How can you help? Visit this link to learn more about the San Diego Food Bank and to pledge a monthly or yearly donation.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Who are they? The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation’s guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
Why did we donate? “I’ve supported ACLU for a long time because they have been fighting for civil liberties in the courts for more than 100 years. They always fight for those who may not have the money or means to fight for themselves.” – Kath Matheson
How can you help? You can make a donation to the ACLU by visiting the Donate page on their website.
We feel fortunate to be in a position to make weekly contributions to the different agencies and organizations in San Diego and beyond that have committed themselves to making life better for all. We highly recommend checking out each of these organizations and if you are able, making a contribution to one or more that have missions that resonate with you.