Giving back: 15 first responder charities and organizations

Support first responders injured in the line of duty, new recruit education, families of fallen firefighters and others charities


It's the season for giving. And where better to share the love than with first responder charities?

When making a donation, be aware that there are scams. A good tip for donating is to never give over the phone and, when in doubt, give locally.

Here's a list of 15 first responder-specific charities. If we missed one, let us know in the comment section below.

A good tip for donating is to never give over the phone and, when in doubt, give locally.
A good tip for donating is to never give over the phone and, when in doubt, give locally. (Photo/Pixabay)

1. National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

You can give as little as $5 to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to help support families coping with the loss of a fallen firefighter. Instead of #GivingTuesday, the NFFF uses #FireHeroTuesday for the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Their fundraising goal for this year is $30,000. Donate here.

2. First Responders Children's Foundation

The foundation works with families across the country, including police, fire, Forest Service, Border Patrol, EMS and all other forms of first responders. They help provide college scholarships to children whose first responders' parents have either died in the line of duty or have become permanently disabled due to their line of work. Donate here.

3. Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation

The foundation, named after firefighter Stephen Siller, who died on 9/11, helps ease the financial burden of fallen responders' families by paying off their mortgages or creating trust accounts. All donations go directly to fund this initiative. Donate here.

4. Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation

Through donations, the foundation helps provide much-needed equipment and resources to first responders and public safety organizations. In 2019, they were able to give 1,193 sets of bunker gear, 51 thermal imaging cameras, 469 AEDs, 72 extrication tools, 30 all-terrain vehicles and 616 ballistic vests. Donate here.

5. The Leary Firefighters Foundation

The foundation helps provide funding and resources to fire departments in order to obtain equipment, technology and training. Donate here.

6. National EMS Memorial Foundation

The purpose of the foundation is to establish a permanent EMS memorial in D.C. to honor, recognize and remember the commitment, service and sacrifice of EMS personnel who have died in the line of duty. Donate here.

7. NAEMT Foundation

The foundation's mission is to better the future of EMS by supporting outreach programs, providing information about EMS careers to young adults, funding EMS-related scholarships and supporting evidence-based EMS research. Donate here.

8. Firefighters and EMS Foundation

The foundation helps provide fire and EMS personnel with free medical and legal support services, a member line of duty death benefit, scholarship programs and it funds safety-related initiatives. Donate here.

9. Responder Rescue

Responder Rescue helps provide both emotional and financial assistance to any first responders who have been injured, become ill or suffered a traumatic event. Donate here.

10. National Volunteer Fire Council

A donation to the NVFC will help support legislative efforts, innovative programs, tools and resources to our nation's volunteer fire and EMS departments. Donate here.

11. Code Green Campaign

The Code Green Campaign is a first responder-oriented mental health advocacy and education organization. Donate here

12. Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors

The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors is a nonprofit organization that was founded by Alan Breslau, who suffered extensive burns after a commercial plane crash in 1963. The organization is dedicated to empowering individuals that have been affected by a burn injury. Donate here.

13. National Disaster Search Dog Foundation

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Santa Paula, California, was founded in 1996. The foundation's mission is to help strengthen disaster response in the U.S. by rescuing and recruiting dogs in order to partner them with firefighters to help find disaster victims. Donate here.

14. The Gary Sinise Foundation

The actor perhaps most famous for his role as “Lt. Dan” in Forrest Gump has been doing great work supporting members of our military for years, but did you know his foundation also supports first responders? Its First Responders Outreach program provides equipment and training to police, fire and EMS agencies. Donate here.

15. Operation Gratitude

This organization sends care packages to military personnel, veterans and first responders as a thank you for their service. Donate here.

This article was originally posted Nov. 28. 2017. It has been updated with new information.

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