Leading Diabetes Charities & Organizations

Learn how you can give back, advocate, and get involved

Living with diabetes can be overwhelming at times. So, in efforts to protect your mental and physical health, it's important to find an outlet that makes you feel good. A great way to do this is to take charge of your diagnosis and find a way to give back to diabetes by getting involved. When you are surrounded with people who care and are working towards the same cause, you'll not only increase your power by learning more about the disease, you'll also gain courage to face your fears.

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As a bonus, you are likely to gain a sense of camaraderie along the way that will empower you. Knowing what types of community gatherings, events, races, and fundraisers are geared towards diabetes can be quite rewarding. In addition, learning how to support diabetes, whether financially, as a contributor to education or research, or by volunteering can also be extremely helpful in coping with the disease. Whether you have been recently diagnosed, have had diabetes for a long time, or simply love someone who does, you can find ways to give back and provide support on a larger level. 

American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is a non-profit charity that advocates and educates on all aspects of diabetes. Throughout the year, the ADA holds hundreds of events across the United States.

Whether you participate or volunteer at one of these events you can get involved and help raise money and awareness for treating and potentially curing diabetes. Some of the events include fun runs, walks, and cycling tours. For example, each year the ADA hosts Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes and Tour de Cure. These events directly support research, education. and advocacy for people living with type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

In addition, the ADA has a plethora of ways to accept financial donations. Simply donate once or monthly. It's that simple. If you'd like, you can even create an honorary or memorial donation in the name of a beloved family member or friend. 

The ADA also provides many other conventional and unconventional ways to help: from donating a car, to participating in promotions, to hosting your own fundraiser. Do a little search—you are destined to find a method that works for you.

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is the leading global organization funding innovative research to cure, prevent, and treat type 1 diabetes and its complications. If you want to make a difference and support a loved one, a friend, or yourself, you can simply donate to their cause.

If you'd like to be more active in raising awareness and contributing to research, you can join in on some of their exciting community-based fundraisers and events. These events include a variety of activities, such as yoga in the park, walks, galas, jumping for a cure (jump rope), races, mini-golf, and more. Simply plug in your zip code on their website and find an event near you.

You can also lend your knowledge and time to those in need by helping through a variety of channels—whether it be working an event, volunteering at a JDRF chapter, or reaching out to other families with type 1 diabetes. The JDRF also offers support groups for those affected by type 1 diabetes. You can find a chapter in your area and get more information regarding teen talks, support groups, and much more. 

There are other unique ways to support the JDRF, too. This includes purchasing products from affiliate companies that donate proceeds to JDRF, gifting a vehicle (80 percent of net proceeds from you vehicle donation go to JDRF), or even donating stock to the JDRF.

The Betes Organization

The Betes Organization was developed to help people with diabetes address the mental and emotional health components of their condition using theater and puppetry. By focusing on issues of diabetes that are often silenced, the organization helps people identify the possibility to care for themselves.

Artists help to inspire people by using theater to stimulate creativity, which, in effect, allows the organization to reach larger groups of people while still offering individual attention. For example, when dramatic material is in line with an entire audience's needs, it can also assist the individual with diabetes him/herself to identify and acknowledge their experience. This can help them find meaning in their illness through community. 

There is a real human side to this organization's goals. Programs are developed based on patient, family, and provider scenarios, which influence the creation of the theatrical presentations. And, once the audience is fully engaged, participants can even alter the course of the performances with welcomed suggestions. 

The show is 45 minutes followed by two 75 minute workshops with facilitators to engage in intimate conversation. It's an interesting and fun way to talk about stressful topics. And it's a great way to connect with people and learn from one another. 

We Are Diabetes

We Are Diabetes is an organization that offers a unique type of support—a one-on-one mentorship and resources to anyone with type 1 diabetes who also has an eating disorder. They also offer educational programs to clinics, treatment centers, and medical professionals on the seriousness of this issue. Whether you are feeling alone or suffering from another condition, such as an eating disorder or depression, you or someone you love can receive help.

The founder and creator of the organization, Asha Brown, is someone who personally dealt with diabulimina, a condition in which people with diabetes manipulate their insulin (typically by skipping it) in efforts to control their weight. Asha, herself, struggled with the condition from her sophomore year in high school until she got married.

Diabulimia can be life-threatening, as people with type 1 diabetes need to receive man-made insulin to keep their blood sugar controlled. Skipping insulin injections can result in chronically elevated blood sugars which can lead to a slew of complications, including neuropathy, retinopathy, and gastroparesis, to name a few. Insulin omission can also lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, which can be life-threatening if not treated, too.

You can support We Are Diabetes by donating directly to them via credit card. Or you can indirectly help the organization by shopping at Amazon. If you shop via AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate a small portion of every purchase you make to We Are Diabetes. 

In addition, We Are Diabetes is an official Myabetic Affiliate Member. Myabetic gives diabetes a makeover, offering freshly colored diabetes cases and t-shirts with catchy slogans. When you purchase your Myabetic gear through We Are Diabetes' customized link, We Are Diabetes receives a small percentage of each purchase.

Diabetes Research Institute Foundation

The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRI) was created to cure diabetes. The mission and vision of the organization is to develop a biological cure by restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood sugar levels without imposing other risks. 

Researchers use funding to test, create, and evaluate new technologies and potential therapies. The goal is to expedite the process as quickly as possible. Due to their highly advanced lab, as well as their ability to perform all three phases of research, they advance therapies from lab to patient at a much quicker rate.

You can get involved with the DRI in a variety of ways. Simply donate to the cause once, regularly, make a tribute gift, or ask your employer to help raise money for finding a cure. You can also volunteer and become a Diabetes Diplomat and raise money through fundraisers at your school, neighborhood, or on-line. The great thing is that you don't have to have diabetes to get involved. 

The DRI offers unique t-shirts associated with their fundraising campaigns and organizes fundraising dinners, bikerides, golf outings, and other events across the country.

A Word From Verywell

If you have diabetes yourself or know and love someone who does, participating in a charity can provide you with an opportunity to give back, get involved, and make a impact. Helping others is inspiring and empowering.

In addition, making a difference in the lives of those affected with this disease can help you cope and give you a real sense of community. Whether you donate some funds or your time, a little help goes a long way. 

1 Source
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. NEDA. Diabulimia.

By Barbie Cervoni MS, RD, CDCES, CDN
Barbie Cervoni MS, RD, CDCES, CDN, is a New York-based registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist.