Donation request; Courtesy: Julie Salato, Celiac Center of MN

Donation request; Courtesy: Julie Salato, Celiac Center of MN

It is about a week until the new year and if you want to do a little giving to worthy causes, now is the time to pick your cause and still get a tax deduction for 2013.

I was inspired to write this after seeing this photo (pictured right) on the Celiac Center of Minnesota’s Facebook page.  Julie Salato, executive director of the center, said this is the second year in a row a boy has asked that in lieu of his gift at his dad’s company party, he requested a donation be made to the Celiac Center of Minnesota.

What a generous gesture.

There are a lot of non-profit gluten-free or celiac-related organizations where you can make a donation.  First off, if you want to donate locally, you can easily donate to your local support group or perhaps your local celiac medical facility.

Don’t know what’s around you?  A quick Google search will help or check in with your gastroenterologist’s office, they often have a list of resources and support groups.

On a national level there are many organizations that can use your support:

Support & Educational Groups for Gluten Free and Celiac Awareness

National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA):  It is an organization based in Pennsylvania.

NFCA is very active in its immediate area with celiac awareness nights at area professional sporting events.  The organization does a lot of education, including free webinars.  It also has a a GREAT Kitchens program  for restaurants and a GREAT Schools programs for school and college cafeterias.

Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG): This organization is based in Washington state.  GIG certifies restaurants and food products to ensure the companies are following gluten-free protocols.  There are smaller GIG chapters or branches in 34 states.  GIG also puts on educational conferences as well.

Celiac Sprue Association (CSA): This began as the Midwest Celiac Sprue Association in 1978, but in 1985 it officially became the Celiac Sprue Association and a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

You can become a member of the CSA, and/or be a part of a support group chapter of the CSA (128 across the country).  CSA also has its own recognition seal program and holds an annual national conference.

Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF):  was founded in California back in 1990.  It’s goal is to raise awareness both for the general public and for medical practitioners.

CDF has an annual educational conference as well as support group branches across the country.  Just this year CDF launched a searchable directory where people can find a celiac-knowledgeable practitioner.

Celiac Research Facilities

Center for Celiac Research — MassGeneral in Boston. This is the headquarters for Dr. Alessio Fasano’s research and practice.  The Center for Celiac Research founded the Making Tracks for Celiacs Walk/Run fundraiser.

University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center: Founded in 2001, Dr. Stefano Guandalini has been leading a lot of research.

U of Chicago was the host of the 2013 International Celiac Disease Symposium.  It conducts an annual blood screening for celiac but is probably best known for its mailing of a gluten-free gift basket to people who are newly diagnosed.

Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University:  Dr. Peter Green is the face of celiac research that is coming out of this facility.

Benjamin Lebwohl, MD, MS is also a key researcher there and was captivating the audience with his knowledge last September at the International Celiac Disease Symposium.  This is where Jon Stewart’s wife and son were diagnosed with celiac as well.

You can learn much more about all of these organizations by clicking on the appropriate link.  Most of them have a “Donate” button right on the website.

As you round out 2013, please consider donating to the ones listed above, or find another celiac or gluten-free organization that means to most to you.



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