The Giving Guide 2017

By Megan Willome

It’s always the season for giving, but sometimes we don’t remember to step outside ourselves until we see the #GivingTuesday notifications. Next thing we know, it’s December, and whoops, we missed it again. But it’s not too late. We can begin to give today.

The Wacoan is publishing its fourth annual Giving Guide, a handy way for you to get to know the city’s nonprofits and how you can help. This year we’re hoping to make giving a little easier by providing an actual list. (Check it twice.)

When you get involved with an organization, you learn its story, and then its story becomes part of your own. You tell your friends and family, and soon giving isn’t something to cross off a list once a year but something that’s part of your life year-round.

Many nonprofits have more detailed wish lists on their websites, so go online for more information. If you have questions about items listed here — what kind of dishwasher? — then call the organization and ask. In general, if you have a printer that’s 20 years old and only works occasionally, don’t give it to a nonprofit. It will not bless them to receive unusable office equipment.

Most nonprofits bring in the bulk of their budget during the last few weeks of the year. They are counting on your generosity now, but they will still need you in February. They’ll need you even more in July. So keep this article nearby and use it as a reference guide throughout 2018. Bring it to a nonprofit that tugs at your heart and point to item No. 3 and ask, “Can I still help?” Chances are, even if that particular need has been filled, the kind, hardworking folks at any of these organizations will help you find another way to make their story and yours intertwine.

Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children
Be part of the change
2323 Columbus Avenue, 254/752-9330,

The Advocacy Center’s professional staff provides hope and healing to all survivors of sexual assault and violent crimes, including children, in six Central Texas counties.

1. Refrigerator with ice maker.
2. Dishwasher.
3. Commercial cross-cut shredder to shred sensitive documents for clients.
4. Patio furniture for a fenced-in outside area at the new building to provide a pleasant, private place for staff and police to meet.
5. Contributions to the capital campaign and to the endowment fund at the Waco Foundation to ensure future operations.

American Heart Association
Life is why
10900-B Stone Lake Boulevard, Suite 320, Austin, 78759, 888/433-7220,

American Heart Association works to keep individuals safe from heart disease and stroke through education, support, research and advocacy.

1. Volunteers to help at events, including Heart Walk, Heart Ball and the Go Red for Women Luncheon.
2. Social media ambassadors.
3. Red knitted hats for babies.
4. Donations for a CPR kiosk to teach thousands of people how to do hands-only CPR.
5. Become a You’re the Cure advocate by joining a network of people who advocate for policies that support an America free from heart disease and stroke; register at

Animal Birth Control Clinic
The heart of the solution
3238 Clay Avenue, 254/776-7303,

ABC Clinic provides quality veterinary care, including spaying and neutering services, for any cat and dog in Central Texas.

1. Medium, large and extra-large dog collars for patients who come in without one.
2. Six Wahl Bravura Lithium cordless clippers for clipping surgery patients.
3. Four UMF stainless steel medical instrument stands (UM-SS831) to replace current unsteady stands.
4. OxiClean detergent for cleaning surgery drapes and cozy towels used to cuddle each patient.
5. Sponsorships of $120 to cover spay/neuter surgery and microchipping.

Beall-Russell Lectures in the Humanities
The heart of the solution
Baylor University, College of Arts & Sciences, One Bear Place #97344, 254/710-6036,

Bringing remarkable speakers who explore the power of the humanities
Presented by Baylor University’s College of Arts & Sciences, this lecture series features speakers renowned in the humanities, from author Amy Tan to poet Maya Angelou to historian David McCullough to this year’s guest, Pulitzer Prize-winner Dr. Isabel Wilkerson.

1. Donations to support advertising for the speaker series, both statewide and in Central Texas.
2. Donations toward a student luncheon with the featured speaker, to provide greater one-on-one interaction.
3. Donations to assist with gifts for each year’s speaker.
4. Donations to ensure the ability to continue to recruit top intellectuals in the humanities who have wide appeal to students, faculty and community members.

Bosque Arts Center
Home to all facets of the visual and performing arts
215 South College Hill Drive, Clifton, 76634, 254/675-3724,

Bosque Arts Center, a performing arts venue in Clifton, hosts art shows, concerts, community theater, workshops, culinary events, literary meetings, live auctions and youth day camps.

1. Modular office furniture.
2. 60-inch round white plastic-top folding tables.
3. 60-inch rectangular plastic-top folding tables.
4. Three defibrillators to ensure the safety of guests and participants.
5. Donations to support children’s summer camp scholarships, bringing art and music to youngsters who might not otherwise get to experience the arts.

Brazos Education Foundation
Providing affordable access to higher education
111 South 18th Street, 254/297-7440,

The foundation provides renewable scholarship and textbook funds, emergency money, semiannual trainings and individual mentors to selected Brazos Scholars, over two-thirds of which are first-generation college students.

1. Mentors for current Brazos Scholars as well as interns with communication and social media skills.
2. Donations to fund $500 scholarships for students with a 4.0 GPA.
3. Volunteers, including administrative assistants, helpers for special events, guest speakers and assistants for community outreach and fundraisers.
4. Help to hang graduate photos on the office walls and get scrapbooks up-to-date for the entire Brazos Scholars family.
5. Christmas donations to provide holiday gifts to Brazos Scholars.

Cameron Park Zoo
Escape your natural habitat
1701 North Fourth Street, 254/750-8400,

This 52-acre natural habitat zoo, accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, promotes conservation and cultural enrichment through education and recreation and is a survival center for native and exotic animal species.

1. Donations toward expanding the jaguar exhibit, which will provide an overhead mesh shift corridor into the neighboring bobcat and ocelot habitat to allow for more space and additional enrichment activity for the animals ($200,000).
2. Cameron Park Zoo is active in the African lion and Sumatran tiger Species Survival plans, and donations toward an expansion of the lion and tiger off-exhibit holding yard will accommodate animals that are not in public view, give the animals more exercise space and allow better management of cubs as they mature ($50,000).
3. Donations toward installing fiber-optic lines and Wi-Fi service throughout the zoo to enhance educational opportunities (including digital maps) for guests and school groups, allow for self-guided tours and enable zookeepers and behavioral researchers to upload data on-site ($80,000).
4. Renovate the aviary outside the herpetarium to hold the Grand Cayman blue iguana — the zoo has the opportunity to help save this critically endangered species from extinction — as well as renovate the current Western diamondback rattlesnake den ($15,000).
5. Purchase sound systems and headset microphones to provide themed ambient music and aid in projecting the voices of zookeepers and education specialists when they give talks and presentations to the public — over 300,000 visitors per year ($5,000).

CASA of McLennan County
Every child has a chance — it’s you.
1001 Washington Avenue, 254/304-7982,

Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA volunteers, serve as the eyes and ears for the judge in child welfare cases, researching each situation and making objective recommendations to help children reclaim their lives from abuse and neglect.

1. Gift cards in small increments ($5, $10, $20 max) for advocates to use to meet the needs of children in foster care; gift cards from child-friendly restaurants, like Sonic or McDonald’s, provide a fun outing when advocates visit kids; gift cards for Walmart or Target, where clothes, school supplies, hygiene needs and Christmas gifts can be purchased.
2. Gas cards for advocates who drive long distances to see children placed in foster homes outside of McLennan County.
3. Five small desktop scanners for scanning court and case-related documents into the database system.
4. Five small Wi-Fi-enabled tablets for staff to access web-based database and documents easily and efficiently while providing advocacy in the courtroom or out of the office.
5. Donations of any size help strengthen services to abused and neglected children in McLennan County.

Christian Youth Theater
Where the fun begins!
P.O. Box 1209, Hewitt, 76643, 254/340-0084,

Christian Youth Theater, the largest youth theater in the nation since its founding, is an after-school theater arts training program for students ages 6 to 18; children of all faiths are welcome.

1. Latex indoor paint — multiple colors (especially black!) or white with color mixing kits for painting sets to make theater shows come to life.
2. Lumber — clean, nonwarped 2-by-4-inch, 2-by-6-inch or 1-by-2-by-8-inch and plywood (any thickness) for building sets, one of the most expensive budget items.
3. Serger sewing machine for costume construction.
4. Scholarships for students in theater education classes so young people have a safe, wholesome environment and the skills to make better life choices while nurturing inner creativity.
5. Tax-deductible contributions to the Standing “O” Society, as only about 70 percent of the budget comes from ticket sales and tuition.

Enrich Seniors
Enhancing the lives of seniors
5400 Bosque Boulevard, Suite 215, 254/339-1651,

Enrich Seniors offers a variety of programs that help seniors in the community maintain their independence for as long as possible.

1. Donations of $20 to sponsor a senior for Christmas.
2. Soft throw blankets.
3. Soft throw pillows.
4. H-E-B gift cards.
5. Donation of a desktop printer, approximately $200, for the office.

Friends for Life
Hope for the generations
5000 Lakewood Drive, 254/772-7600,

For almost 28 years, Friends for Life has served the elderly and people with disabilities, offering a continuum of care from independent living and quality-of-life programs to money management, guardianship and adult day care.

1. Gifts cards to H-E-B, Walmart, Walgreens and CVS for clients who live on tiny incomes.
2. Gift cards to restaurants so clients can be treated to a birthday meal.
3. Bingo prizes, gift items and craft supplies for clients.
4. Donations of iPads (new or used), especially for clients on the autism spectrum.
5. Donations of any size to support our work with clients in need.

Fuzzy Friends Rescue
Saving the cats and dogs of Central Texas
6321 Airport Road, 254/754-9444,

This no-kill animal shelter receives more than 800 abandoned and unwanted animals per year and gives shelter, food, vaccinations, heartworm testing and intensive medical care as well as a chance to be adopted into a loving home.

1. A $50 pet intake sponsorship helps offset the cost of the initial vetting, spay/neuter surgeries and microchipping for the many pets coming from city shelters.
2. Donations to the Angel Heart Medical Fund, which ensures pets can receive lifesaving surgery.
3. Iams food for dogs and puppies as well as collars in all sizes and 6-foot leashes (no retractable leashes, please).
4. Liquid laundry detergent for pet laundry.
5. Contributions to the endowment fund at the Waco Foundation to ensure future operations.

Hewitt Public Library
Transforming libraries
200 Patriot Court, 254/666-2442,

The Hewitt Library was awarded the national distinction as a Family Place Library, a network of children’s librarians who believe libraries can help build healthy communities through healthy families.

1. Donations to fund the purchase of book sets, developmental toys and related incentives for participants in the Family Place Library program, which shows parents how to teach the early literacy skills that will help their children to become successful readers.
2. Gift cards for downloading digital songs for Storytime, which introduces children to the magic of books using musical training.
3. Patio furniture for the outdoor Butterfly Garden that increases focus and productivity and provides a sense of well-being for library users and staff.
4. Donations toward a party to reward volunteers for all their hard work connecting people to the world of ideas and information.
5. Purchases of Makey Makey STEM Packs, an invention kit that turns everyday objects into touchpads with internet access so kids can do art, engineering and everything in between.

Humane Society of Central Texas
Finding a friend is easier than you think
2032 Circle Road, 254/754-1454,

The partnership between the Humane Society and the City of Waco Animal Shelter provides adoption, rescue and foster opportunities for homeless animals at the shelter, with a 94.75 percent live exit rate and a goal to achieve no-kill status.

1. Donations toward adoption fees to ensure a pet finds a forever home.
2. Donations toward medical services, which are used to take care of animals in the foster program that need extra help or to save a dog through a surgery that cannot be done at the shelter.
3. Postage stamps.
4. Copy paper.
5. Volunteers to work with the animals — getting them out of the kennels for exercise and play — and to help show them to potential adopters.

Junior League of Waco
Women building better communities
2600 Austin Avenue, 254/753-5574,

For more than 80 years, the Junior League of Waco has promoted volunteerism, developed the potential of women and improved the community through trained volunteers, who currently focus on early childhood education and development for children up to age 3.

1. H-E-B gift cards to feed attendees at community programs.
2. School uniforms — generic khaki pants and solid color polo shirts — for the Rainbow Room, a collaborative project with Child Protective Services.
3. Donations of $100 to become a Friend of the League, giving donors Facebook, website and Deck the Halls recognition as well as a window sticker to proudly display in their business.
4. Barnes & Noble gift cards for children attending Family Story Night, where Junior League members read and act out a children’s book, serve refreshments and give out copies of the chosen book.
5. Contributions to the endowment fund at the Waco Foundation to ensure future operations.

Lutheran Sunset Ministries
Inspired retirement living
413 Sunset Avenue, Clifton 76634, 254/675-8637,

Located in Clifton, Lutheran Sunset Ministries offers retirement living options for every stage of life, including assisted living, long-term care (with rehabilitation and therapy services), memory support, companion services and hospice.

1. Donations to the President’s Club, a flexible giving fund with six levels, primarily used for operations.
2. Donations to the Luckenbach Endowment to fund the campus pastor, who plays a crucial role in reflecting God’s grace and love.
3. Donations to the McDowell Endowment to fund educational stipends and scholarships, promoting lifelong learning and health care education for seniors throughout the community.
4. Memorials to honor a loved one and help Lutheran Sunset Ministries improve the lives of residents through quality daily operations.
5. Donors can include Lutheran Sunset Ministries in their estate planning through Sunset Legacy for Tomorrow.

March of Dimes
A fighting chance for every baby
1105 Wooded Acres Drive, Suite 430, 254/741-1025,

The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant loss by helping moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies.

1. Food, beverage and dessert monthly sponsors for the NICU Family Support program for families with babies in the NICU.
2. Gift cards for NICU Family Support dinners, from restaurants such as Jason’s Deli, Newk’s Eatery, Panera Bread and Potbelly Sandwich Shop.
3. Gift cards for Target, Walmart, Michaels or Hobby Lobby or craft supplies from those retailers.
4. Family teams for the April 14, 2018, March for Babies event at Cameron Park Zoo; teams can register at
5. Photographer/videographer for the zoo event.

Mayborn Museum Complex
Engage. Explore. Enjoy.
1300 South University Parks Drive, 254/710-1110,

The Mayborn engages visitors with hands-on discovery rooms, interactive natural science and cultural history galleries, outdoor exhibits and now, Portal to the Public, a program connecting visitors to scientists doing cutting-edge research at Baylor University.

1. Donations to create the Backyard Ecology Hall, a new discovery room in the Jeanes Discovery Center.
2. Sponsor a college intern pursuing a degree in museum studies for a year for $2,500.
3. Sharpies, markers and glue sticks for the Design Den.
4. New refrigerator for the animal care space in the living collection.
5. Donations toward a new master plan for the classic exhibits within the Natural History wing.

McLennan Community College Foundation
Education changes everything
1400 College Drive, 254/299-8606,

The foundation, with $16 million under management, provides student scholarships; since 1990, it has awarded $4.8 million to over 4,300 students.

1. Donations to the MCC Food Pantry, which nourishes up to 400 individuals each month; as little as $25 makes a difference.
2. Donations for emergency grants; the MCC Foundation awards $17,000 each year in grants for students who encounter life-altering emergencies, and a $250 gift funds one grant.
3. Donations to Hearts in the Arts scholarships, which support MCC theater and visual and performing arts students; donors who give $1,250 also receive four memberships, season tickets to all the 2017-2018 performances and art exhibits on campus as well as identification as sponsors.
4. Naming rights for the Campus Sanctuary Garden, an on-campus natural area for student and community use, begin at the $2,000 level.
5. Endowed scholarships award an MCC student with a scholarship in the donor’s name; a gift of $20,000 will enable the scholarship to continue in perpetuity.

Meals on Wheels Waco
Together, we can deliver
501 West Waco Drive, 254/752-0316,

Meals on Wheels volunteers who prepare and deliver food for the homebound provide more than just a meal — they improve health outcomes and quality of life for Waco’s most vulnerable and high-risk senior populations.

1. Cat and dog food for the Meals on Wheels Loves Pets program that helps keep seniors and their pets together.
2. Donations for the Treasured Tails program that collaborates with ABC Clinic to offer preventive vet services to clients’ pets, including spay and neuter services as well as flea and heartworm treatments.
3. Donations of $20 to purchase space heaters for seniors whose homes lack heat.
4. Adult diapers in sizes medium to extra-large.
5. Washing machine.

Methodist Children’s Home
Offering hope since 1890
1111 Herring Avenue, 800/853-1272,

Founded in Waco more than 125 years ago, Methodist Children’s Home is a nationally accredited child care agency serving children, youth and families in a nurturing, Christian community, both at its campus in Waco and at the MCH Boys Ranch in Axtell.

1. Donations of $25 provide diapers and wipes for children in the MCH Family Outreach program.
2. Donations of $100 cover the cost of clothing for six months for a child ages 0-2.
3. Donations of $225 pay for school uniforms and supplies for a student attending the MCH Charter School on the Waco campus.
4. Donations of $500 sponsor one child in FFA.
5. Gift cards to H-E-B and Walmart for families served through MCH Family Outreach.

Midway ISD Education Foundation
Moving education forward
13885 Woodway Drive, 254/761-5614,

The foundation partners with the community to invest in Midway ISD by raising and distributing funds for programs and projects that enhance the quality of education for students while also supporting teachers.

1. Donations to fund creative and innovative programs within Midway ISD classrooms.
2. Donations to support Midway ISD Special Olympics athletes
3. Donations for the annual Showcase of Stars end-of-year banquet.
4. Gift cards for staff members to use as prize drawings or to recognize achievement along with Amazon gift cards to use in ordering grant items.
5. Points from credit card reward programs to be converted into hotel stays for training events.

NeighborWorks Waco
Building stronger neighborhoods through homeownership
922 Franklin Avenue, 254/752-1647,

NeighborWorks’ services include homebuyer education, home construction, down payment and closing cost assistance, mortgage lending and other programs that build stronger neighborhoods through homeownership.

1. New computers for staff.
2. Donations toward needed building improvements.
3. Tables and chairs with storage racks for the Homeownership Education Center, where NeighborWorks educates over 400 families each year.
4. Contributions to the endowment fund at the Waco Foundation to ensure future operations.
5. NeighborWorks Waco is always in the market for property donations of land or houses.

Talitha Koum Institute
My child, rise up!
1311 Clay Avenue, 254/753-1144,

Talitha Koum Institute hosts brain development programs for trauma-affected children in their Nurture Center at La Vega Primary School and — beginning in January — for foster and adoptive families.

1. Fellowes Laminator Neptune 3 125 rapid 1-minute warm-up laminating machine with pouch starter kit, available at Amazon.
2. Black & Decker LST522 20V MAX lithium 12-inch 2-speed string trimmer/edger for maintaining the property, available at Amazon.
3. Black & Decker LCS1020 20V MAX lithium ion chainsaw with 10-inch cut capacity for cutting tree limbs on the property, available at Amazon.
4. Playground balls of all sizes and Frisbees.
5. Bubble solution and washable tempera paints.

The Salvation Army Waco / Women’s Auxiliary
Doing the most good
1225 North Jack Kultgen Expressway, 254/756-7271,

The Salvation Army has worked in Waco for 126 years, and Women’s Auxiliary is its volunteer and fundraising arm, providing support for all its services.

1. Donations of new or used brass instruments to teach more children to play in the brass band through the free music education program.
2. Donations toward an interior makeover of Sally’s House, the shelter for homeless women and families with children; currently, the house is sometimes forced to turn away those seeking shelter due to lack of space.
3. Donations of exhibit displays, art supplies and materials and financial contributions as well as volunteer instructors to implement heART of the Homeless, an art program that provides healing for homeless children and adults.
4. Groups, families and individuals to volunteer as Red Kettle bell-ringers at various holiday locations.
5. Everyone living with drug or alcohol addiction to find the strength and desire to call for help; the Salvation Army’s adult rehabilitation centers are available at no-cost to those ready to embark on this journey.

Waco Community Development
Building community together
1624 Colcord Avenue, 254/235-7358,

Waco Community Development inspires and cultivates healthy neighborhoods through building new homes, repairing external features on existing homes for the disabled and elderly, and providing free education and counseling to prepare families to become homeowners.

1. Volunteers for reading clubs at Brook Avenue Elementary, J.H. Hines Elementary and West Avenue Elementary schools.
2. Waiting room chairs for the office.
3. Conference room chairs for the office.
4. Donations to repave the parking lot.
5. Donations for a riding lawnmower to mow vacant lots.

Waco ISD Education Foundation
Raising the power of education
501 Franklin Avenue, third floor, 254/755-9517,

The foundation focuses on early childhood development, enhanced programming for advanced students and extended education for staff with an emphasis on student performance.

1. Readers and scorers for the Innovative Grant program.
2. Campus volunteers and mentors to support student academic improvement.
3. Financial contributions, which can be designated for specific campus or district programs, scholarships, or honorariums and memorials.
4. Sponsors and auction donors for the 12th annual H-E-B Celebrity Cookoff.
5. Support for other community organizations that benefit and impact the students and families of Waco ISD.