Kelly Slater is just one high profile surfer who has helped the Mauli Oli Foundation. Photo by  Mauli Oli Foundation

Kelly Slater is just one high-profile surfer who has helped the Mauli Oli Foundation. Photo: Courtesy of Mauli Oli Foundation

With the United Nations designating Sept. 5 as International Charity Day, it's a good time to look at the causes that you are most passionate about to see how you can make a difference. For surfers, there is a variety of nonprofit organizations that provide valuable resources in the fight against illness, environmental damage and mental-health issues.

From small donations to volunteering, you can make a positive impact through the following platforms.

Mauli Oli Foundation

Time in the water for Surf Experience Days helps bring hope to ill children. Photo: Courtesy of MOF

Time in the water for Surf Experience Days helps bring hope to ill children. Photo: Courtesy of MOF

Their mission: The Mauli Ola Foundation (MOF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing hope and confidence to individuals living with genetic diseases. Harnessing the healing powers of the ocean, and founded with the support of the great watermen of Hawaii, like Eddie Rothman, Kala Alexander and Tom Stone, the foundation uses surfing and ocean-based activities as natural therapies.
Current projects: The Surf Experience days, featuring some of the best surfers in the world, have changed thousands of lives of people living with cystic fibrosis. A Battle of the Breasts online competition, annual golf-day tournament and regular hospital visits all make a huge difference.
How to help: You can become a member, volunteer or donate.

Surfrider Foundation

Their mission: The oldest and most international of surf-based environmental conservation groups, Surfrider is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.
Current projects: There are currently 100 different campaigns in four core areas: beach access, clean water, coastal preservation and ocean protection. Today one of the main focuses is addressing marine pollution, especially that from single-use plastic, expanded polystyrene foam and cigarette butts.
How to help: Simply become a member and your fees will support the campaigns and provide information on how to become involved in your local chapter.

Surfers Against Sewage

A SAS campaign with surfboards representing threatened waves. Photo by SAS

A SAS campaign with surfboards representing threatened waves. Photo: Courtesy of SAS

Their mission: Formed in 1990, SAS is an environmental charity protecting the U.K.'s oceans, waves and beaches for all to enjoy safely and sustainably, through community action, campaigning, volunteering, conservation, education and scientific research.
Current projects: SAS runs a grid of benchmark coordinated campaigns across ocean litter, water quality, threatened waves, climate change and educational resources.
How to help: You can donate, fundraise, take part in the raffles, engage in corporate support or even leave money in your will.

Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation

Their mission: The Foundation's aim is to promote and encourage awareness about the risks of cancer and to provide assistance to victims of cancer battling the disease. Dean Randazzo, New Jersey's most successful professional surfer, started the foundation in 2001 after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma the year before.
Current projects: A range of events such as Freeze for a Cause, Golf for a Cause and Paddle for a Cause all raise money for assistance to cancer sufferers. Randazzo, after a 10-year fight, is now cancer free, but the foundation has granted more than $500,000 to people with cancer and organizations dedicated to providing cancer treatment.
How to help: Click on the website to take part in the many events run by the foundation or to donate.

Surf Aid

Their mission: Surf Aid is humanitarian organization whose aim is to improve the health, well being and self-reliance of people living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing. It was started by Dr. Dave Jenkins, who, after a surf trip to the Mentawais, discovered the high mortality rates, especially in children, from preventable diseases like malaria and decided to do something about it.
Current projects: Surf Aid's disease-prevention programs are achieved through better sanitation, mosquito-net distribution, education and health clinics that are administered in the Mentawais, Nias, Sumbawa and Sumba.
How you can help: Donations are key here, with every dollar having the potential to save a life. And if you've ever been to the areas where they operate, field trips to see their work can be arranged.

Surfing for Life

Young groms at Stu Silvani Shell Beach Surf School share the stoke & show their support for the Surfing For Life…

Posted by Surfing For Life Foundation: Surfers Unite For Cancer Education & Awareness on Monday, June 30, 2014

Their mission: Surfing for Life aims to bring the surfing community together to raise awareness and to inspire, educate and empower those touched by cancer. The founder, Tom Brown, was inspired to start the charity after being treated for stage IV colon cancer back in 2011.
Current projects: The sale of Surfing for Life wristbands, 100 percent of the proceeds from which go toward cancer charities that share the philosophy of taking control of your life and being proactive against cancer.
How you can help: Simple: Buy a wristband either through the website, Amazon or one of the 220 shop distributors worldwide.



Wildcoast has protected the marine waters around Anacapa Island. Photos: Dana Roeber Murray

Their mission: To protect some of the most beautiful and biologically significant coastal areas in California and Latin America. Over the last 15 years, Wildcoast has helped conserve more than 3.2 million acres of globally significant bays, beaches, lagoons, coral reefs and islands
Current projects: There are a myriad of wildlife projects covering sea turtles, Californian condors and sharks, plus conservation efforts on the U.S.-Mexico border, Todos Santos, the South San Diego Bay and the Otay River.
How to help: "We depend on donors, volunteers, interns and the community at large to support our conservation efforts," says the organization. "Please help ensure the ocean and its amazing wildlife will still be there for generations to come."

Sustainable Surf

Sustainable Surf's Stringer Society is " … committed to ensuring the success of Sustainable Surf's unique potential to create positive impacts for our oceans, and in our communities." Photo: Courtesy of Sustainable Surf

Sustainable Surf’s Stringer Society is ” … committed to ensuring the success of Sustainable Surf's unique potential to create positive impacts for our oceans, and in our communities.” Photo: Courtesy of Sustainable Surf

Their mission: Sustainable Surf aims to be the catalyst that transforms surf culture into a powerful force for protecting the ocean playground. They believe the surf industry and community can move to a global model of sustainability in action.
Current projects: The focus is on developing the rise and availability of dramatically more-sustainable surfboards and operating a unique recycling program that helps turn waste Styrofoam packaging into new recycled-content surfboard cores. They also use surf contests as a platform for education.
What you can do: Surfing consumers can influence the industry significantly by making environmentally friendly choices when purchasing products.

Surfers Healing

A child with autism is all joy at a Surfers Healing summer camp. Photo by Surfers Healing

A child with autism is all joy at a Surfers Healing summer camp. Photo: Courtesy of Surfers Healing

Their mission: To enrich the lives of people living with autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing. Surfers Healing was started by Israel and Danielle Paskowitz when they found surfing had a profound impact on their son Isaiah, who lives with autism.
Current projects: Surfers Healing runs a series of incredibly popular summer camps on the East and West coasts each year, as well as overseas. In 2014 they had more than 4,500 participants, with the weightlessness and rhythms of the ocean offering a therapeutic experience to the camp kids.
How you can help: Volunteers are the most sought-after commodity, while donations will help keep the camps free for families.

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