REAL SIMPLE. REAL LIFE. makeover recipient Rachel Vize has set a goal for herself to give back more. For your consideration, here are a couple of her favorite causes―plus a few other well-run organizations that are making a big difference.

Jim Franco

Rachel’s Picks:

California State University, Long Beach
Contributing to your college alma mater (this one is Rachel’s) is an effective way of paying forward your success by helping students in need afford their own education.

It’s no wonder that this campaign has become the pet cause of high-profile do-gooders like Brad Pitt and Bono: It lobbies governments to distribute money across the globe in an effort to end global poverty, from providing clean drinking water to enrolling impoverished children in elementary schools. You can lend support to One by making a standard donation or purchasing any of the merchandise on its website (think cool wristbands and tees).



Dogs for the Deaf
This organization rescues hounds from shelters―where they may otherwise be euthanized―and trains them to be companions and possible life-savers for deaf people. (The average cost of preparation per dog for this vital service: $25,000.)

Kiva is not a traditional charity but a “micro-lending website”: Donations of $25 and up become small business loans that help entrepreneurs in developing countries. (Say, enabling a seamstress to start her own clothing company.) The loans are paid back over time, usually a period of 6 to 12 months, and can be tracked online.

World Resources Institute
The WRI, an environmental think tank comprised of scientists, scholars, and the like, works to provide solutions and policies that improve people’s lives while protecting the earth. Example: They’ve collaborated with government officials in Mexico City to implement a public transportation system that decreases traffic congestion and harmful emissions.

Tip: You can give to charity without spending a dime―or getting up from your computer―by using the Yahoo-powered search engine The site donates a penny per search to your favorite cause; just 500 people searching four times a day raises about $7,300 a year, says founder J.J. Ramberg.