Charity Matters: A Local Mom of Three is Bringing Light to Nonprofits

The First Article in Our New Moms on a Mission Series

By Faith Mellinger, Publisher & Family Fun Finder for Pasadena Macaroni Kid July 22, 2020

“If you want to feel better about anything in your life, do something for somebody else.”

-Heidi Johson, Founder Charity Matters

While doing some internet research recently I came across Charity Matters. As I was searching the site I found amazing stories about work being done all around the world - a tribute to non-profit heroes. I was intrigued, I wanted to know more! So, I reached out to the Founder, Heidi Johnson to get more information about Charity Matters and how it came to be. 

After her parents were involved in a tragic car accident, one that left her dad in a coma and took her mom’s life, Heidi found herself in a position to give purpose to her grief, while also giving back to other families in crisis. 

It all started with a hospital tour, Father John and a single mom (whose son coincidentally was finally leaving Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) on Thanksgiving Day - the same day she was able to see her own father released the year before). After seeing the need to help an understaffed, underfunded spiritual support system for families receiving care at CHLA, through a series of events, and with the help of 10 friends, they established the Children’s Hospital Spiritual Care Guild at CHLA. 

The Spiritual Care Guild was established in 2003 to raise funds to provide interfaith spiritual care services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to the over 350,000 families that come to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles every year. While the doctors and nurses heal the physical bodies of the children in the hospital, the chaplains and staff of the Spiritual Care Department comfort the minds, warm hearts, and nourish souls of the patients, their families and the health care professionals in times of fear and uncertainty. (Information taken from

This work connected Heidi to many nonprofits and she began to wonder how she could “help the helpers.” According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations are registered in the U.S. With all these organizations out there, Heidi began to wonder about their nonprofit founders - and what led them to be a change. “Bad things happen all the time, but people don’t always do good from them,” said Heidi during our interview. So she started Charity Matters as a way to give a voice to all those people doing good - to shine a light on their stories and highlight their work. 

Since 2011, she has had the pleasure of sharing hundreds of amazing and inspiring stories. She has also passed on a passion for philanthropy to her three sons. Heidi always impressed on her kids that “every human has to give back.” Even from a young age they have followed in her footsteps by volunteering for Urban Compass Reading Partners, Junior Ambassadors for CHLA, and Once Upon a Room.

Having three boys myself, I asked her for some advice on what she might suggest other parents can do to help instill this message in their kids. A great way to start is something they did as a family, pick a cause every holiday. Let the kids be involved in choosing the organization and also being a part of the action. One of the favorites from Heidi’s child-rearing days was when they did the Adopt-A-Soldier program. The boys wrote letters every week and sent a care package every month. She also recommended utilizing the resources of an organization she found during her work with Charity Matters, and is now on the Board of, Project Giving Kids. A great organization that helps families match a mission with their children’s ages, locations and interests.  We just signed up for their summer series and I can’t wait to get a project started. 

Charity Matters started out as a place to tell the stories of Heidi's everyday non-profit heroes and to give a voice to those without one.  It quickly became clear that this evolving platform has become much more than a filter for goodness. Charity Matters has evolved into a place of inspiration, encouragement, excitement and activity. (Taken from

During a time when our world is full of turmoil and there is so much uncertainty Heidi's final words from our conversation really stuck with me. "We are all here to serve each other," she said. "If everyone can learn and do that the world will be a better place.” 

If you are looking for inspiration check out Heidi's site, The stories of compassion, empathy and hope will remind you that amongst all the chaos there is still a whole lot of good in this world.