10 Ways You Can Give to Cara

Cara Staff

If you believe in Cara’s mission, here’s how you can support us. Donate to Cara, a nonprofit where your contribution directly helps those who are unemployed as they jump start new lives and careers.

Here’s how you can support Cara’s mission and help those who are unemployed launch their careers 

Whether you’re an individual or a business eager to support our mission, there are many ways for you to contribute. Since Cara doesn’t ask participants to pay any program fees and we provide most of our sourcing services to employment partners free of charge, donations help us cover operating costs. They also allow our staff to focus on the work we do without turning anyone away due to lack of finances. Through the generosity of our individual and institutional donors, Cara has been able to provide life-transforming services and do our part to mitigate generational poverty since 1991. And when every dollar invested in Cara generates $5.97 over five years in social return on investment, you know however you choose to give, you’re giving to a good cause. Here are nine ways you can contribute to Cara and help people who are unemployed turn their lives around.

1. One-time monetary donation

While we don’t believe that money makes the world go ‘round, it sure does help keep a nonprofit on its feet. And, more importantly, it gives more people the opportunity to transform their lives. When you donate to Cara, your investment directly benefits individuals impacted by poverty and homelessness on their path to finding a quality job.

You can make donations by check, by phone, or directly on our website. Here’s a breakdown of how your gift—no matter how big or small—will make a tangible impact: $28 buys a one-week CTA pass for essential workers—like those from Cleanslate by Cara; $100 helps keep Cara campuses clean and safe to ensure a smooth transition back to on-site programming; $1,500 covers the full cost of our personal and professional training services for one person. And by donating $6,000, you’ll give the gift of transforming someone’s life. 

To make a contribution, donate here

2. Recurring donation

Making a recurring donation enables our team to better allocate resources throughout the year to best meet our participants’ needs. That’s why we have the Sustaining Member Program, through which you can become a Monthly Motivator. Our Monthly Motivators have committed to supporting Cara’s work on a recurring basis. Monthly Motivators also get special access to behind-the-scenes news at Cara as well as a dedicated staff member who reaches out regularly to share updates. Just $10 per month provides Cara participants with an interview-ready suit and transportation to and from our facility while they train to become job ready. Plus, donations to Cara are 100% tax-deductible. Sign up to join our Sustaining Member Program here

3. Multiply your donation

Every dollar raised makes a difference in the life of a motivated job seeker. A great way to double or even triple your gift to Cara is by finding out if your employer will match your donation. If you don’t know whether or not your company has a matching gift program, check out this list of companies we’ve worked with before. You can also contact human resources to find out if this is one way your employer practices corporate social responsibility.

4. Gifts of Stock

Another great way to directly benefit Cara participants is to give the gift of stock. Given the economic advantages of investing in the stock market over traditional savings accounts, many of our supporters find this to be a unique and beneficial way to make their annual charitable donation. You can also get great tax benefits from it. The next time you’re taking a look at your portfolio, think about how you can give a helping hand to a motivated individual. To donate stock, reach out to Jessica Harris at (312) 798-3325

5. Join The Thomas & Mary Owens Legacy Society

Sometimes, it’s the things we leave behind that promise to make the most impact. Some Cara supporters choose to make a truly meaningful contribution by leaving behind a legacy gift. Such gifts allow donors to make a significant impact on Cara’s future without making a present financial commitment. We accept traditional bequests, IRA designations, and other forms of estate gifts. However you want to do it, we’ll make sure your donation goes a long way. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our Individual Giving Manager, Gabriel Pachter, to learn more about planned giving opportunities and The Thomas M. & Mary Owens Legacy Society.

6. Donate professional clothing

We want our participants to look and feel the part. If you have professional clothing that you don’t use anymore but that’s still in great condition, we’re always looking for donations. Clean, quality outfits help our participants attend interviews confidently, make great first impressions, and land that job. Trust us, our participants tell us time and time again how different they feel—and how differently they’re viewed—thanks to professional wear. 

As Corneshia puts it, “The first time I put on a suit,  I looked in the mirror and saw a boss looking back at me. I walked out the door with my head held high and the world looked so new.” 

Talk about a boost of confidence! To donate men’s or women’s professional clothing, find out when we’ll be holding our next clothing donation drop-off day.

7. Shop the Cara Wish List

Made up of things that will genuinely help our participants be more successful, our Amazon Wish List contains essential items from folders to keep resumes sleek to hangers to keep clothes wrinkle-free to disinfectant wipes to ensure Cara grads can stay safe on the job. This is a great way to give back in the form of a physical present. Every item on our list promises to help a Cara participant find a permanent job. Click here to give your gift.

There’s another way you can scratch your online shopping itch while helping Cara—use AmazonSmile. Follow this link and a portion of your purchase will support our motivated job seekers—at no extra cost to you.

8. ShopRaise

Another way you can support Cara through online purchases is by downloading ShopRaise. This app has over 1,000 retailers, including stores such as The Home Depot, Kohl’s, and Walmart, where you can shop and a percentage of each purchase will go directly to helping Cara’s motivated job seekers. Download the app on desktop and mobile using Cara’s link to set up your free account.

9. Volunteer for Cara

Looking for more ways to contribute to Cara’s mission? We also have volunteer opportunities. To learn more, contact us by calling (312) 798-3300 or emailing info@carachicago.org and we’ll figure out the best way you can help our participants. 

10. Give to our Emergency Fund

One way you can directly help the unemployed is by donating to our Emergency Fund. When the pandemic first hit, we launched a rapid-response emergency fund to subsidize rent, groceries, utility payments, transit, and other personal costs for Cara participants who needed it—supporting participants and alumni who’ve been out of work as a result of the pandemic. This rapid response campaign allowed participants to stay on the pathway out of poverty and continue transforming their lives and communities. In a few short weeks, we raised more than $135,000 and have received 187 applications for support. While these have been granted thanks to the incredible generosity of our donors, we anticipate a new wave of applications as the weather gets colder and the pandemic continues into the winter. 

Make a gift to our Emergency Fund now to benefit essential workers and help those who are unemployed because of COVID-19.