Thanksgiving is next Thursday, but before Miamians give thanks at the dinner table, they've got a chance to give money to local nonprofits and charity organizations. The Miami Foundation's Give Miami Day returns this Thursday, November 15, and it's the best opportunity for locals to support the organizations doing hands-on work to improve daily life in our city.
Nonprofits benefiting causes having to do with animals, affordable housing, education, and beyond are participating this year. In addition to accepting individual contributions, the Miami Foundation is awarding prizes to incentivize gift-giving during the 24-hour donation period. For example, the foundation will donate $1,000 to the organization that receives the most unique gifts during midnight to 1 a.m. on Thursday and $1,000 to the organization that receives the 31,821st gift, in celebration of surpassing last year’s 31,820 total donations.
Last year, more than 20,000 people raised just over $10 million for 700 local nonprofits. So get your wallets ready to support the organizations doing the hard work within our community. Here's our roundup of the best arts and cultural organizations you can support on
1. The Black Archives History & Research Foundation of South Florida. Harlem has the Apollo Theater, but Miami has the Lyric Theater. Some of the greatest singers of all time sang at the historic Overtown theater back when it was a part of the district known as Little Broadway during the early 20th century. Today, the theater belongs to the Black Archives, History and Research Foundation of South Florida. The foundation continues to build its legacy with programs such as Lyric Live, an Apollo-style talent competition which recently concluded its fifth year in existence. Beyond the preservation of the theater and its ethos, the foundation houses an archival collection of manuscripts, photographs, and other artifacts relating to African-American history in South Florida. The archives are accessible to students, teachers, researchers, scholars, media, and the public. Donate to the Black Archives History & Research Foundation of South Florida here.
2. PageSlayers. It's not enough to teach children how to read and write. In order for students to be engaged, they need to know that their voices matter. And in order to do that, they need to see themselves reflected in the pages of the books they read. PageSlayers goes a step beyond that. The organization provides fourth and fifth graders in Opa-
3. ProjectArt. The value of libraries as community institutions isn't given much thought until they're gone. With information at the palm of most people's fingertips and the answers to questions a few keystrokes away, a trip to the library feels like an unnecessary inconvenience to many of today's students. But libraries are more than rooms filled with information: They are cultural hubs and invaluable community meeting spaces. ProjectArt is reminding folks about the value of libraries through residencies where contemporary visual artists teach free art classes to underserved student populations. ProjectArt hosts programs in Miami, New York, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and after-school classes are available through the duration of the school year. Donate to ProjectArt here.
4. Viernes Culturales. South Florida is home to countless monthly art walks in various neighborhoods, but have you ever taken a stroll down Calle Ocho during Viernes Culturales? The already vibrant neighborhood lights up every last Friday of the month for Cultural Fridays,
5. Fantasy Theatre Factory. They've been around since 1978, but when it comes to matters of imagination, the folks over at Fantasy Theatre Factory never grew up — and that's a very good thing. The organization puts on plays for children in Miami, often partnering with schools to put on performances for students. Its artist-in-education partnership programs feature workshops for children and training for teachers. While performances often take place at the Sandrell Rivers Theater in Little Haiti, the Fantasy Theater also makes itself available to schools in traveling productions. Donate to Fantasy Theater Factory here.
6. AIRIE. When you think of art exhibits, do you think of stuffy galleries filled with condescending, snobby types? A Sunday in Everglades National Park with AIRIE, or Artists in Residence in Everglades, will make you reconsider. AIRIE aims to get the local community out into the Everglades to engage with resident artists creating through the mediums or painting, sculpting, performance art, and beyond. Upcoming projects include a curator tour of AIRIE fellow and sculptor Robert Chambers'
7. Coral Gables Art Cinema. There's no other way to say it: this arthouse theater in the heart of Coral Gables is a treasure. Just this year, they've shown a 70 mm, 50th-anniversary screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey and hosted the International Children's Festival as well as a two-week long Pedro Almodóvar film retrospective. Coupling these special treats with their discounted After Hours series means you'll watch films at this theater that you might not otherwise see anywhere else in Miami. Donate to Coral Gables Art Cinema here.
8. Locust Projects. As if making it as an artist weren't difficult enough, the profit motive of galleries makes it even more difficult for creators to keep their heads above water as they navigate the art world. Founded in Wynwood in 1998, Locust Projects recently celebrated 20 years of providing local artists an alternative space to flourish and display their work without the pressures of more traditional commercial spaces. You can help the organization kick off their third decade with a bang. Donate to Locust Projects here.
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9. Baba Yaga Arts Wagon. Nothing brings a community together quite like the arts. But plays, concerts, and performances are not necessarily accessible to everyone equally. The Baba Yaga Arts Wagon wants to change that by bringing performances to the people. The wagon, inspired by old-timey, traveling medicine shows, puts Miami's troubadour actors and musicians on the road for performances that are usually free of charge. Follow the Wagon's travels on Instagram. Donate to Baba Yaga Arts Wagon here.
10. The Barnacle Society. Tucked away just off Main Highway in Coconut Grove, the Barnacle offers a glimpse back in time to the Miami of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Located on the water, the historic building was once the home of Commodore Ralph Monroe. It's one of the oldest houses in Miami-Dade County, but it belongs to its surrounding community now. Events at the Barnacle include Moonlight Concerts with local musicians, Starlight Movie Classic screenings, and Yoga by the Sea. Next time you're in the mood to barhop in the Grove, head to the Barnacle for some much needed zen and relaxation instead. Donate to the Barnacle Society here.