5 Helpful Organizations Serving Low-Income Californians

California is one of the largest states in the US and home to millions of residents, some of whom need a little more help from society than others. This list, in no particular order, highlights some organizations providing opportunities and support to poor people living in the Golden State.

Kicking off our list at #1 is Para Los Ninos. Founded in the Skid Row neighborhood of Downtown Los Angeles, this organization aims to foster pathways to success for low-income children, young adults, and families each year through education and community building.

PLN's mental health services offer therapy to children, which includes trauma-specific supports. The program works collaboratively with the organization's early education sites, charter schools, and other programs in its students and community services initiative, supporting caregivers and teachers as well as children.

At #2, we present the College Futures Foundation, an organization that works in partnership with other nonprofits and leaders across California to create more seamless, student-centered pathways to higher education, especially for those who are traditionally underrepresented at universities.

"We expect families to set budgets, save money, and plan for the future. Yet California doesn’t have a realistic, long-term finance plan for higher education, and our lowest-income families bear the consequences. Ensuring success for students facing the most formidable barriers will help all of us thrive."

The Foundation maintains a multi-year investment to help community colleges implement Guided Pathways, a tool that aids institutions in identifying students who need extra assistance. From there, it guides students to clarify and achieve their educational goals by providing counseling services and improving course scheduling and sequencing.

For #3, we have United Ways of California, a network of organizations of the same name that fight to ensure that every family in the state has the tools and resources they need to lead successful lives. It aims to advance opportunities for low-income people by focusing on three priority areas: health, education, and income.

The group works to achieve its mission through education and advocacy. As a nonpartisan state organization, it sees its role as bringing diverse groupings of stakeholders, such as businesses, nonprofits, philanthropy, and government, together, along with local chapters, to address common social problems.

Coming in at #4, we have the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank; its mission is to end hunger for Bay Area residents. One of its initiatives provides home-delivered groceries to support better health and promote independent living for low-income seniors and adults with disabilities.

The organization also assists eligible Californians in accessing their food stamps benefits. With other community partners, it helps residents enroll in the program through education, outreach, client advocacy, and application assistance. In addition, the Food Bank provides weekly groceries to low-income college students.

Rounding out our list at #5 is Cal EITC 4 Me, a statewide campaign dedicated to raising awareness about the benefits of the California Earned Income Tax Credit, a program designed to assist low-income people by giving them a tax refund or reducing the amount they owe when filing.

The organization runs a multi-channel, multicultural outreach campaign to build awareness of this tax credit. It provides a range of printable materials to help people understand how to claim it, with the goal of getting working families the maximum refund amount during tax season.