Do you know what makes a charity one of the top 100? Those who made the list are highly-rated by trusted organizations, and are large enough to make a big impact either at home or abroad. They also are organizations which are committed to providing donors with assurances that their donations are going where they are needed most.
List of Charities
All of the charities on the following list met several criteria. First, they must have low overhead expenses, ensuring that most of the money donated goes to its mission rather than its operation. They are also financially transparent, making them trustworthy causes to give your money to.
All of these organizations have four-star ratings from Charity Navigator, and are considered top-rated by other groups such as Christian Science Monitor, American Institute of Philanthropy and Consumer Digest or have won awards. In addition, these all stand out in scope of mission, seeking to reach a large group of people as determined by their budget or location.
#1 - Action Against Hunger
Action Against Hunger tackles the problem of world hunger by providing sustainable and long term solutions to hunger and malnourishment as well as meeting immediate needs among the world's poor. A top-rated charity by Great Nonprofits, AAH volunteers work alongside impoverished communities where they make a tangible difference. Last year, they saved 175,000 children from starvation.
#2 - American Heart Association
The American Heart Association exists to help fight and prevent cardiovascular disease. Certified by the National Health Council as an excellent charity, the organization accomplishes this goal primarily through educating the public on preventing heart disease. They also are the largest provider of CPR education training, and have funded research that has led to innovations such as cholesterol-inhibiting drugs, the first artificial heart valve, and heart transplant capabilities.
#3 - American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee supports global hunger relief and causes close to the interests of the Jewish people in more than 70 countries worldwide. In addition to providing for the world's poorest Jews in a variety of countries, the organization also seeks to promote Jewish culture and Jewish leaders. In 2007, the group won the prestigious Israel Prize, the Israeli equivalent to the Nobel Prize, for its work around the world.
#4 - American Kidney Fund
The American Kidney Fund exists to provide support and give charitable assistance to patients who are on dialysis. The organization not only gives financial assistance to patients, but it also furthers its mission by providing educational health materials, supporting research on kidney disease, advocating on behalf of patients, and funding free kidney health screenings. A Forbes Magazine gold-star charity, the organization also was recognized by Wellsphere for its contributions toward health and healthy living.
# 5 - American Refugee Committee International
The American Refugee Committee International, a Consumer Digest top charity, exists to help refugees survive an immediate crisis and rebuild their lives. ARC is notable, in particular, because in addition to offering disaster response to refugees, they offer a number of innovative and unique programs to refugees. Among these, there are the gender-based violence prevention and response program, reproductive health care programs, and the micro-enterprise program which seeks to help refugees start micro-businesses.
#6 - Animal Welfare Institute
The Animal Welfare Institute seeks to protect animals from cruel treatment. The goal of the organization is to promote animal welfare overall, but a significant portion of their work goes toward ending factory farms where animals are inhumanely slaughtered and treated cruelly, and passing legislation to protect animal rights. Other areas of focus include improving conditions for animals used in research, ending the use of steel jaw traps, and preserving species that are close to extinction. The organization spends a whopping 94.5% on program expenses, and less than 1% of their total budget on fundraising.
#7 - Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago seeks to promote the experience of art through the museum and its various programs. Notably, the museum was voted best museum by the Traveler's Choice awards on TripAdvisor. One of Christian Science Monitor's top-rated charities, the museum houses more than 300,000 works of art.
#8 Arthritis National Research Foundation
The Arthritis National Research Foundation serves to fund research to help find a cure for arthritis. They offer grants to various scientists to help promote the study of arthritis and how to stop it. They are listed second on Charity Navigator's Top Ten Charities Worth Watching and have been part of numerous breakthroughs in arthritis research.
#9 - BELL
BELL, which stands for Building Educational Leaders for Life, seeks to improve the lives of urban children in underserved neighborhoods through the promotion of education. BELL accomplishes this by partnering with local schools to deliver after-school and summer programs. Due to their unique and targeted programming, BELL has won numerous awards, including the Excellence in Summer Learning Award, and the Be the Change Award, and has served over 100,000 nationwide.
#10 - Be the Match
Be the Match is a nonprofit operated by the National Marrow Donor Program. It is dedicated to connecting bone marrow and cord blood donors with potential matches. Its programs include education for patients and families, helping people get registered in the National Marrow Donor Program, and raising funds to help transplant patients. While Be the Match has been quietly working for the last 25 years, they recently got national attention when Cameron Lyle, a 21-year old college athlete cut his career short to donate bone marrow and was featured on Good Morning America. Be the Match is a silver-level GuideStar participant.
#11 - Boys and Girls Clubs of America
Boys and Girls Clubs of America is a well-known organization that branches out nationally to support and enable America's youth to reach their full potential. They do this through local chapters of clubs that offer a variety of programs including after school tutoring, classes or anything else that suits the local community. Through the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, there are more than 1,000 independently run clubs that have served more than four million youth in 2012 alone.
# 12 - Boys Town
The Boys Town organization strives to rebuild families who have been torn apart by abuse and domestic violence. Their motto, that every child has the potential to succeed, helps drive programs that encourage to reunite kids with parents, give kids social and academic skills to succeed, and provide for children in need of safe homes. It should be noted that despite the name, the organization helps boys and girls. The organization was started in 1917 and today serves more than 30,000 children and their families.
#13 - Breast Cancer Research Foundation
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation seeks to find a cure for breast cancer by providing funding for research. Among the foundation's accomplishments are the breakthrough drug Herceptin, and finding the genetic link for breast cancer. Equally impressive, this is a charity that has held a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator for more than a decade. (Note you will have to complete a free registration to see the charity's history.)
#14 - Carnegie Institution for Science
The Carnegie Institution for Science exists to support research in the life, earth and space sciences. The organization is world-renowned for science research have helped spur some of the most important scientific discoveries in the last century. Notable accomplishments include Edwin Hubble and his discovery that the universe is ever-expanding and Charles Richter who created an earthquake measurement scale. Charity Navigator has given the Carnegie Institute four starts for twelve consecutive years. (To see the history, you will have to complete a free registration.)
#15 - The Carter Center
The Carter Center, which bears the name of former President Jimmy Carter, is an organization dedicated to promoting peace and relieving suffering. Rated as one of the NonProfit Times Top 100 charities, they have been involved in causes all of the world, from eradicating Guinea worm disease to helping establish and oversee democratic elections in 37 countries.
#16 - Catholic Charities USA
Catholic Charities USA is the umbrella agency for many Catholic Charities organizations both nationally and internationally. The core goals are to advocate for social justice and help those in need. In addition to being the charitable arm of the Catholic church, it's noted by the National Leadership Roundtable as a 'Best Practices' winner.
#17 - Catholic Medical Mission Board
The Catholic Medical Mission Board focuses on making health care available to all. Programs that help achieve this goal include a focus on providing health care services in areas where there is limited access to such services, and education on child nutrition, HIV and other health-related issues. This Catholic organization works in 123 different countries, helpings millions every year.
#18 - Christian Blind Mission International
Christian Blind Mission International is a faith-based organization that seeks to improve the lives of those with disabilities by providing appropriate care, economic empowerment and development to communities in impoverished areas and reducing the diseases that may cause impairments. While a large part of their focus is on visual impairment, they also work with those who have cerebral palsy, mental illness, and hearing impairments. This top-rated charity supports over 714 projects in 73 countries, reaching some 30 million people per year.
#19 - Chronic Disease Fund
The Chronic Disease Fund offers support to patients who suffer from cancer (and other chronic diseases) get life-saving medication by helping qualified patients pay for the medication they need. The patients must have some type of insurance, and the fund is designed to bridge the gap between what the insurance covers and what the medication costs. Although the Chronic Disease Fund is relatively new, it created a new standard for patient co-pay assistance, making it more feasible for patients to get approved quickly. In addition, it is on Forbes largest charities list, which is quite the accomplishment given that its a newcomer.
CityYear has a unique approach to tackling the challenge of keeping kids in school. Basing their mission on research showing that potential high school drop outs can be identified as early as elementary school, the organization uses corps of enthusiastic volunteers to reach out to 3rd to 9th graders. The corps go into underserved schools and support teachers by helping with one on one tutoring, behavior management, making phone calls to chronically absent student homes, and otherwise encouraging students to do their best. The 4-star rated organization is named by the volunteerism required - to give the city (and these students) one year of your time.
#21 - Conservation Fund
The Conservation Fund is responsible for protecting special places all across America. They use a variety of means to accomplish this, from acquiring land that is to be protected, to empowering rural communities to be both economically fiscal and environmentally responsible. This charity has saved over seven million acres of land.
#22 - CRISTA Ministries
CRISTA Ministries is a faith-based, umbrella organization that envelopes several different ministries focused on education, international relief & development, senior living, and media. Considered one of the best ways to help relief efforts in East Africa by the American Institute of Philanthropy, the organization has seven different ministries under its umbrella.
#23 - Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Foundation, also known as The Jimmy Fund, supports patient care and cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Farber was the first doctor to use drugs to treat cancer, and achieved the first documented case of remission of lymphatic leukemia remission. The tradition of research continues, and the hospital is known for offering cutting-edge treatments, particularly in childhood cancers.
#24 - Direct Relief International
Direct Relief International seeks to break the cycle of poverty and poor health by providing medical services to people in need. They focus on four key areas: maternal health, disease prevention, emergency responses and strengthening health care systems overall. They focus their programs all over the United States as well as internationally. One of the more unique programs of this award-winning charity is the 100 Day Campaign which seeks to promote and educate on safe births (a birth where a trained medical person is attending).
#25 - Do Something
With the tagline that 'apathy sucks,' Do Something spearheads national campaigns that young people ages 13 to 25 get involved in. People can create campaigns (with awarded grant money) or sign in and join another campaign to 'do something.' While the organization is a bit unconventional in terms of charities, they do get positive results. For example, they led a petition to urge Kickstarter not to fund a book that promoted sexual assault - and won. If you are under 25, you can get involved by joining a campaign. Their youth-friendly platform reaches millions to motivate and encourage the under-25 set to become activists for causes important to them.
#26 - Donors Choose
Donors Choose supports education directly in the classroom by allowing teachers to sign up and request funding for a specific project. Projects can range from a classroom set of books to a MacBookPro. In return, donors choose a project that they are most interested in supporting. You donate the money to Donors Choose, and when the teacher's funding goal is reached, the organization then purchases the supplies for the teacher and ships it to her. The teacher is then required to post pictures of the project online, so everyone can see how the money was used. The concept is unique among charities, and consequently become one of Oprah's Favorite Things in 2010.
#27 - Earthworks
Earthworks is an environmental conservation organization that works with local communities and grassroots organizations to help change policies to protect the environment. Earthworks seeks to involve the public, as well as corporate and government decision makers, to protect the earth from the harmful effects of extraction. The organization encourages you to communicate with the government on environmental issues. Among their accomplishments, they inspired one million people to write to the government to try to stop fracking.
#28 - Easter Seals
Easter Seals is an organization that helps people with all types of disabilities by providing services for the disabled and support to their families. They do this through a variety of programs that serve all ages in a variety of settings. From therapy to camp programs, Easter Seals does it all when it comes to serving the disabled population and their families. Easter Seals was the first organization to bring to light help and hope for children with disabilities.
#29 - Thrive Networks
Thrive Networks seeks sustainable solutions to development problems, serving impoverished areas in Asia and Africa. Their programs cover a variety of needs including clean water, dental and neonatal care, and heart surgery and are largely focused on children. The charity has earned the 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for six consecutive years, (complete free registration to see history) while meeting the needs of millions of children and families.
#30 - Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) works to find a cure to pediatric AIDS as well as prevent the incidence of AIDS in pediatric patients. They do this through advocacy, research, and treatment programs, focusing especially on programs that work with pregnant, HIV-positive mothers. They're outreach is global, but they are currently focused on projects in Africa and the Middle East. One major accomplishment of the EGPAF is that through their programs, health care workers in Africa have been trained to ask mothers who come in for care if their children have been tested for HIV. As a result, 99% of the children coming in to receive care get tested.
#31 - Environmental Defense Fund
The Environmental Defense Fund has an arm that reaches far and wide to protect the earth's environment and promote sustainability. They pride themselves on working through a breadth of partnerships in order to achieve their goals: creating policies that can win bipartisan support, engaging companies to help create ecologically sound policies, and using economic strategies to help create incentives for companies to implement good environmental practices. One example of their innovative approach is their unique and ground-breaking partnership with McDonald's that allowed them to help the fast-food giant reduce their solid waste by 30%.
#32 - Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is a museum of human perception, science and art, located in San Francisco, CA. The goal of the organization is to challenge people to explore and discover using more than 330,000 square feet of space. The museum has won numerous awards, including Trip Advisor's Certificate of Excellence.
#33 - Family Care International
Family Care International works with women and girls to make childbirth and pregnancy safer in the developing world. They also seek to ensure universal access to reproductive health care and information. By working with grassroots organizations, NGOs, and government agencies, they are able to advocate for maternal health, and have created The Skilled Care Initiative which helps provide skilled medical care to pregnant women in developing countries. In 2013, the organization won the MacArthur Award for creative and effective institutions.
#34 - Feeding America
Feeding America is a parent organization to more than 200 food banks nation-wide. Feeding America collects funds to support other food banks to provide meals for the one in six families who go hungry. Through its member food banks, Feeding America feeds more than 37 million hungry Americans every year
#35 - FIRST
FIRST stands for, 'For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology.' The mission of the organization is to inspire leaders in science and engineering by sponsoring a variety of mentor-based programs. Many people have heard of FIRST because they facilitate robotics building and competitions. The charity has held a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator since 2004 (complete free registration to see history) and gave away more than 16 million dollars in scholarships in 2013.
#36 - First Book
First Book seeks to end illiteracy by providing books for needy children. Thus far, they have given out more than one million new books to schools and families who need them. They report that more than 70% of the children who participate in a First Book program increase their reading at home, and most teachers find that First Book participation increases kids desire to learn at school.
#37 - Fisher House Foundation
The Fisher House provides a special place to stay for military families so that those families can be close to a loved one who is in the hospital. They have 62 houses which can serve 812 families per day, and are located near a military or VA hospital. The organization is one of only three of the American Institute of Philanthropy's A+-rated charities for the military.
#38 - Food and Water Watch
Food and Water Watch is a public policy organization that attempts to work with policy makers to create legislation that promotes food and water that is safe for consumption and sustainable. They focus on a variety or programs including helping to stop fracking, working toward banning chemicals in meatfeed, and providing educational materials to the public. One example of their various successes is a campaign that successfully convinced Starbucks to stop using milk from cows that were fed growth hormones.
#39 - GEMS
GEMS, which stands for Girls Education and Mentoring Services, is a unique organization that works to stop commercial and sexual exploitation of girls in the United States. It works through various local organizations across the United States either by empowering young girls coming out of trafficking, or by direct intervention to help girls come out of trafficking and move on with their lives. They have a lengthy list of awards to their credit, and is one of the largest organizations to work with sexually exploited girls.
# 40 - Globus Relief
Globus Relief seeks to improve health care internationally by improving the way that supplies are delivered. They partner with government and other health care agencies in developing countries, and rescue surplus supplies so that they can be used in health care clinics around the world. One of Charity Watch's Top 10 Top Notch Charities, Globus Relief works in more than 100 countries throughout the world.
#41 - Guttmacher Institute
The Guttmacher Institute is working to improve reproductive and sexual health care through research, education and policy analysis. It primarily produces a lot of resources for health care professionals, policy makers and women on the topics of reproduction, sexual health, abortion and contraception. The Institute received an A rating from Charity Watch.
#42 - Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity has literally built a reputation for being a solid charity by providing housing for low-income and needy families. They do this by either building or repairing homes using donated supplies and labor. They are a unique Christian ministry in that they volunteer with and give homes to people from any background. To date, the organization has built more than 600,000 and helped some three million people all over the world.
#43 - Heart to Heart International
Heart to Heart International seeks to provide quality healthcare to everyone in the world, believing firmly that all people deserve to have access to health services. They are unique among medical charities in that they partner with pharmaceutical companies and medical supply companies to donate medicines and medical supplies to the communities in which they work. In addition, their overarching mission is to move impoverished communities from crisis management to sustainable solutions with regards to health care.
#44 - Helen Keller International
Helen Keller International, which works in some 22 countries, strives to prevent blindness and eradicate malnutrition throughout the world. They do this through education and social programs, partnerships with governments and other health agencies in impoverished communities throughout the world, and striving towards sustainable solutions to these problems. In addition to being a top-rated charity by Consumer Digest, they also won the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award for their innovative work in combating eyesight problems.
#45 - Helping Hand for Relief and Development
Helping Hand for Relief and Development, a Muslim-run charity, has a variety of programs all over the world aimed at aiding the world's poorest. Through their programs they seek to provide immediate responses to disaster victims, as well as provide sustainable solutions to the world's poorest community. The bulk of their income goes directly toward supporting their programs, with less than five percent of the income going towards administrative costs.
#46 - Injured Marine Semper Fi Foundation
The Semper Fi Foundation seeks to provide immediate financial relief to injured service members, often directing resources within 72 hours of a request. The funds can be used for anything from meeting hospital obligations to providing money toward rehabilitative and adaptive equipment during recovery. The organization helps any service member with needs that may or may not be related to combat injuries.
#47 - International Children's Fund
The International Children's Fund is a Christian-based organization designed to meet the needs of impoverished children throughout Africa and Wisconsin. They predominantly look to work with local churches and ministries, and provide assistance and support to help move communities to self-sufficiency. Because of their work with local grassroots organizations, they are able to use 98 percent of their incoming funds directly for programs as opposed to administrative overhead.
#48 - International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee works with refugees to provide immediate assistance in times of crisis, as well as long term assistance to help refugees rebuild their lives. The organization works in over 40 different countries and 22 cities across the United States, and are somewhat unique in their goal to provide not only immediate assistance to refugee populations but also long term support as refugee groups rebuild their lives.
#49 - The Jackson Laboratory
The Jackson Laboratory is unique in its quest to research genomic cures to current health issues such as cancers and other diseases. The organization collaborates on research with a variety of other organizations and helps propel genomics forward on a global scale. Research from the laboratory has been connected to 26 Nobel Prizes, and scientists from the Jackson Lab have made numerous discoveries that may help provide a cure for cancer and Lou Gherig's disease, among other diseases.
#50 - Jobs for the Future
Jobs for the Future seeks to help provide career pathways for young people who need help with career advancement. They work in over 100 communities across the United States. Their programs provide intervention for at-risk students and help with getting students on a pathway to college through student success centers.
#51 - K.I.D.S.
K.I.D.S., which stands for Kids In Distressed Situations, works to provide needy children with new clothes, toys, shoes and books, and also has a priority to respond to natural disasters with immediate relief assistance. The organization is unique in that it works with already existing organizations, so that they are sure that supplies are part of a holistic approach to addressing poverty. It is one of Forbes' Top 10 most efficient charities.
#52 - Life in Abundance International
Life in Abundance International is a faith-based, African-found organization that works with local churches to provide community development in the world's poorest of nations. Their goal is to come alongside local ministries to help identify community needs, and then walk alongside the leadership of the local church to provide for those needs in a long lasting and sustainable way. They work in over 30 communities throughout Africa and the Caribbean.
#53 - Keep America Beautiful
Keep America Beautiful started when a group of civic leaders and corporate leaders got together to try to fight pollution. The organization focuses on keep public spaces beautiful by promoting a variety of campaigns such as, 'Graffiti Hurts,' or the 'Great American Cleanup.'
#54 - Matthew 25 Ministries
Matthew 25 Ministries is a faith-based initiative that provides food, clean water and clothing to the poor, as well as shelter to the homeless and humanitarian aid to prisoners. They do this by receiving overstock, slightly damaged, or obsolete materials from partnership agencies. They process the materials in a warehouse and then ship goods all over the world and throughout the United States. According to their website, 99 percent of all cash and in-kind donations goes toward their programs.
#55 - MAP International
MAP International is a Christian health organization that provides medicines to over 100 countries throughout the world. One of the more unique aspects of their model is the Global Health Fund, which seeks to improve health in a holistic and sustainable way by helping communities learn to improve their own health. They developed a 50-40-10 model, which means 50% of their efforts are focused on promoting the community's well-being, 40% of effort is focused on preventing disease and dealing with disaster and 10% is focused on providing medical treatment.
#56 - Medical Teams International
Medical Teams International works in over 70 countries throughout the world providing for various medical needs. Programs are far ranging and include everything from immediate disaster assistance to medical training to providing for ongoing medical needs. Also, in an effort to educate the masses on what life is like for millions of children affected by disaster and war, they have two Real. Life. exhibits. The exhibits are multi-sensory, and give youth a realistic view of what life is like for the world's poorest children. The exhibits seek to inspire youth to take action.
#57 - Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the United States and one of the ten largest art museums in the world. Its mission focuses on not only housing a significant art collection, but also promoting the appreciate of, and education in the arts. The museum is home to a plethora of programs and classes, and has a second grounds at The Cloisters.
#58 - Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
Michael J. Fox, who was made famous by his starring role on Family Ties, started the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research in 1999 after he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson's disease in 1991. The organization focuses on researching Parkinson's disease and finding a cure. It has become a trusted resource in Parkinson's research, and since its inception, the organization has funded over $375 million in grants to focus on things like a vaccine for Parkinson's, finding new treatments, figuring out the role of genes, and other research efforts.
#59 - Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation supports research on multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer. The program is unique among medical research foundations in that it is set up with a business model, rather than an academic research or even nonprofit model. Their unique model has earned founder Kathi Giusti a spot on Time's List of Most Influential People for 2011, and has provided numerous results including 45 clinical trials on new drugs, help in getting six new drugs FDA-approved for the treatment of multiple myeloma (which has doubled the life-expectancy of some patients), and much more.
#60 - National 4-H Council
The National 4-H Council is the youth development branch of the United States Cooperative Extension System. Through mentorship programs, the organization seeks to help youth grow in responsibility, character and learn beneficial skills. Involvement in 4-H has been shown to improve scholastic achievement, increase students' participation in physical activities, and increase student volunteerism.
#61 - National Alliance to End Homelessness
As the name implies, the National Alliance to End Homelessness, seeks to address the root causes of homelessness in four focus areas: families, veterans youth and chronic homelessness. They do this through revising policies, and seeking to educate other organizations and groups on the best practices that will help provide both immediate relief for those who are homeless, and long term relief. Their 'housing first' approach to solving homelessness has led to a significant decrease in homelessness in various communities.
#62 - The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (NCPTUP) hopes to prevent unplanned pregnancy and teen pregnancy largely through educational campaigns. They work with a variety of community groups to help promote responsible behavior among both women and men through educational materials, working with community leaders to support policies, reaching out directly to young people, among other things. Since its beginning, teen pregnancy rates have declined by 40 percent.
#63 - National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children takes a multi-faceted approach to finding missing children by providing immediate assistance to families, working with law enforcement, disseminating photos, and providing safety education. The Center helps solve 97% of the cases that it gets involved in,
#64 - National Council on Aging
As the voice for America's senior citizens, the National Council on Aging brings together a variety of groups - from businesses, to community organizations to government agencies - to implement policies and practices that improve the lives of the aging. They generally focus on health care issues, economic security, and public policy while offering education and information to the aging population. The CEO of the National Council on Aging is considered one of the top nonprofit CEOs, and the organization boasts many results for the seniors it serves.
#65 - National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation provides grants to help preserve and protect wildlife. They have numerous projects including $100 million dollars going towards Hurricane Sandy relief efforts to hep rebuild the shoreline, and another million dollars going to protect Long Island Sound. They are focused especially on protecting specific species, however, their work spans across the United States.
#66 - National Organization for Rare Disorders
Living with a rare disorder is especially difficult because the funding for research and the availability to services is very limited. The National Organization for Rare Disorders exists to help bring together the voluntary health organizations that serve people with rare disorders. They are sort of a clearinghouse of information and patient advocacy and support, providing an array of services and support to both patients and their families as well as health workers, and researchers. Their first successful campaign resulted in Congress passing the Orphan Drug Act, a federally funded incentive for companies to develop drugs for rare disorders.
#67 - National Partnership for Women and Families
The National Partnership for Women and Families strives to influence policies and legislation that will benefit women and families. The organization is known for being instrumental in getting key legislation passed, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act in 1993.
#68 - National Urban League
The National Urban League seeks to empower those who are underserved in America through providing support, educational opportunities and economic empowerment. They do this through a variety of programs in urban centers that focus on housing, jobs, education and health care, and have an overarching goal of bridging the gap in these services for minority communities. The National Urban League serves over 300 communities in 35 states, reaching more than two million people.
#69 - Oceana
Oceana is the largest international organization that is devoted solely to protecting the world's oceans. Since their beginning in 2001, they have successfully spearheaded a variety of campaigns to improve ocean quality and protect marine habitat such as stopping ocean trawling in certain habitat areas and helping ensure that the EU bans shark finning.
#70 - Operation Homefront
Recognizing the life of sacrifice that American military families lead, Operation Homefront is an organization dedicated to supporting these unique families through a variety of projects and programs. They offer financial assistance to military families who are struggling, they offer assistance to both recovering injured veterans and their caregivers, and they offer recognition and celebration to military families. One unique aspect of Operation Homefront is that you as an individual have the opportunity not only to give to the broader cause, but to choose a specific need and donate directly to that family.
#71 - ORBIS International
ORBIS International is dedicated to saving sight in developing countries. Working all over the world, ORBIS uses medical training, a flying eye hospital, and a variety of other programs to give sight to the blind and help prevent diseases that are associated with blindness. In places where there is little opportunity for someone with disabilities, ORBIS is restoring hope with their many success stories.
#72 - Orphan Grain Train
A Christian organization, the Orphan Grain Train gathers supplies and redistributes to those who are in need both in the United States and internationally. From providing supplies, to offering assistance in disaster areas, the Orphan Grain Train has been operating since 1992. In that time, they have grown into an international operation reaching people all across the world. However, despite their size and multi-million dollar budget, they add a personal touch by encouraging the donation of handmade items such as pillowcase dresses, sleeping mats, or quilts.
#73 - Partners in Health
Partners in Health joins sister organizations throughout the world to ensure that the world's poor have access to quality healthcare with the best medical treatments available. 93% of donations go toward serving the patients themselves, and it has been a Charity Navigator 4-star rated charity for more than a decade (complete free registration to see history).
#74 - Planned Parenthood
While many have heard of Planned Parenthood, many do not realize that it is a charity dedicated to providing for women's health, and advocating for women's fertility rights. They achieve their mission through providing low-cost healthcare for women, increasing access and information to family planning methods, and funding research on birth control. With nearly 750 affiliated health centers across the United States, Planned Parenthood has been instrumental in advocating for women's health rights. To achieve their goals, Planned Parenthood established the Guttmacher Institute, to help put funding into researching sexual health.
#75 - Project C.U.R.E.
As the largest provider of donated medical supplies in the world, Project C.U.R.E. has reached the underserved in over 130 countries over the course of its history. Through a variety of unique programs, including Philanthrotravel and C.U.R.E. coffee, the organization successfully redistributes medical equipment throughout the world. The goal is that no one has to be turned away from a clinic because there aren't enough supplies or equipment.
# 76 - Project HOPE
Also a medical needs organization, Project HOPE works all over the world to help provide sustainable healthcare. They focus on disease prevention, education of both communities and medical personnel, as well as a variety of other areas that will further their goal of sustainability in health care in the communities in which they serve. While the organization started in a garage, it quickly grew to include a Naval hospital ship. While the hospital ship has since been retired, the organization enjoys a unique relationship with the US Navy today.
#77 - Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance is a conservation organization dedicated to protecting the rainforest by making sure that it is profitable for businesses and communities to do so. A large part of their mission is to help businesses improve standards so that they are practicing sustainable farming and harvesting, and meet rainforest-friendly practices. Once the businesses meet these standards, they can get Rainforest Alliance Certified, and then consumers can buy the certified products knowing that they are helping save the rainforest. Today, major companies such as Scholastic, McDonald's, and Kraft, to name a few, all use Rainforest Alliance Certified products.
#78 - Rare
Rare, which merged with the Nature Conservancy, works to train local conservation organizations to eliminate environmentally destructive practices. They have a unique method in that they focus on helping communities take pride in their local habitat. According to an article in the New York Times, Rare successfully harnesses social marketing in their 'Pride Campaigns' and it has been replicated all over the world more than 200 times. In addition, Rare trains local conservationists, called Rare Fellows, who take on a global problem in a local area. At the end of their two year fellowship, they will have earned a Master's degree in communication for conservationists.
#79 - Robin Hood Foundation
The Robin Hood Foundation helps fight poverty in New York City by funding the most effective programs in the city. The Robin Hood Foundation is unique in that the board of the foundation pays all administrative costs, so anything that donors give goes directly toward programs throughout the city that fight poverty. However, the results are impressive: 92% of homeless people who enter Robin Hood funded housing don't return to shelters, and for someone in poverty, entering one of the organization's programs increases the chances of passing the GED by 75%.
#80 - Ronald McDonald House Charities
Ronald McDonald House Charities are best known for the Ronald McDonald house - houses where families with critically ill children can stay in order to be near their child for treatments. However, they also have family rooms in some hospitals that are near to an intensive care unit or the pediatric ward, mobile care units to bring care to children who otherwise wouldn't have access, and the organization provides scholarships. The organization has been honored many times, including being named by the American Hospital Association as an exceptional partner.
#81 - Room to Read
According to Room to Read, if every child were educated, 172 million people would be lifted out of poverty. Thus explains the mission of this organization, to alleviate poverty through education. The organization has a variety of programs focused on literacy, education for girls, book publishing and generally improving school libraries and instruction. In order to ensure that their programs are effective, Room to Read has outside groups review their results, which are impressive. For example, after introducing funding and training to several hundred libraries, they found that after time, 93% of the libraries were still functioning successfully on their own.
#82 - Rotary Foundation
The Rotary Foundation is the charitable arm of the Rotary clubs. As such, they use the Rotary to accomplish a variety of goals - everything from promoting world peace to eliminating polio. Through support from the foundation, local Rotary clubs have managed to immunize more than two billion children against polio, among other accomplishments.
#83 - Sabin Vaccine Institute
The Sabin Vaccine Institute is a unique organization because it focuses solely on promoting and providing immunizations to underprivileged people in tropical areas. By focusing on neglected tropical diseases, developing vaccines that would otherwise not be developed because there's not a commercial market for them, and promoting vaccination through advocacy and education, the organization has managed to reduce the global incidence of typhoid fever and other diseases, promote the creation and distribution of the first dengue fever vaccines and help implement vaccine legislation and finance in 15 different countries.
#84 - Samaritan's Purse
Samaritan's Purse is a faith-based organization that seeks to provide tangible help to people around the world who need it. Their most well-know project is called Operation Christmas Child. Participants in Operation Christmas Child fill a shoebox with small gifts for children in other countries. As of 2013, Samaritan's Purse has given more than 100 million children in more than 130 countries shoebox gifts.
#85 - Save the Children
Save the Children seeks to ensure that the basic needs of every child in the world are met. It's one of Charity Navigator's top charities, and due to their vast resources, they are able to effectively influence change on a global scale. According to their impact report, 11,000 women and children get milk through their milk voucher program, a total of 22 states are better prepared in case of disaster, and they treated over a million cases of malaria - just to name a few of their accomplishments.
#86 - Sea Research Foundation
The Sea Research Foundation's main goal is to help protect ocean habitats through education. To accomplish this goal, they run three major projects: The Mystic Aquarium, Ocean Exploration Center, and Jason Learning. Research is conducted all over the world. For example, the Foundation supported the hand-rearing of 300 stranded baby penguins, rescued and rehabilitated nine seals, and partnered with Singapore's Marine Park to extend their outreach.
#87 - Shelterbox USA
Shelterbox USA works to help people who are displaced by natural disaster by delivering boxes of aid. Each Shelterbox contains a tent and various supplies that survivors might need. (Supplies can range from water purification units to hats and gloves, but always include things that are relevant and useful for the area in which the disaster has occurred.) The organization works all over the world, including the United States.
#88 - Sierra Club Foundation
The Sierra Club Foundation strives to fund programs and influence policy that will ultimately preserve the earth's environment. Among their accomplishments, they saved some 20,000 acres of prairie lands in Wyoming from oil and gas development and partnered with communities for environmental justice.
#89 - Smithsonian Institute
The Smithsonian Institute is well-known throughout the world. It consists of nine research facilities, the National Zoological Park, and 19 museums and galleries, and it houses 139 million artifacts and objects. It is administered by the United States Government, and its primary goal is to share knowledge. It focuses on four challenges including understanding a biodiverse earth and how to sustain it, promoting the valuing of diverse cultures, and understanding the American experience. The goal is to move forward through understanding and learning.
#90 - Susan G. Komen for the Cure
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure has made tremendous strides in educating the public about breast cancer. The organization seeks to fund research, provide support for patients, improve outcomes for breast cancer, and generally raise awareness to help prevent breast cancer or catch it early. Critical achievements include helping to reduce the incidence of breast cancer by 33 percent by encouraging mammograms, playing key roles in legislation that increase funding for breast cancer research, and increasing the survival rate if you are diagnosed with breast cancer.
#91 - Teach for America
Teach for America is an organization that seeks to bridge the achievement gap in education. The organization takes qualified individuals and provides training and support to help these committed individuals get certified to teach. In exchange, the teachers agree to teach for two years in low-performing, underserved schools. 2012 marked a year of growth as the organization saw some 10,500 teachers in classrooms all across the United States.
#92 - UNCF
The UNCF seeks to promote education among minority students. Every year the UNCF awards some 10,000 scholarships to financially needy minority students. In addition, they also support their mission and goals by providing financial support to 37 historically black colleges, and advocacy for college readiness and education.
#93 - United States Fund for UNICEF
UNICEF's work is far reaching and worldwide as they seek to improve the lives of children through a variety of programs including disaster relief, and other longer term programs. Through their work, they have managed to help reduce childhood mortality by 17,000 kids daily since 1990. It is one of the largest charities helping children today.
#94 - United Way Worldwide
United Way Worldwide is the umbrella organization that supports approximately 1,800 local United Ways in an effort to support their communities through various programs. The programs of the United Way are far reaching but span three major goals: to improve education and help young people reach their potential, to improve health, and to promote financial stability. Given how big the United Way net spreads, they set impressive goals like reducing the the drop out rate by half over a ten year period which started in 2008.
#95 - The V Foundation
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was originally founded by college basketball coach Jimmy Valvano and ESPN. The foundation supports research for cancer in a unique way by sponsoring young scientists and doctors early in their careers as well as works to speed the process of getting a drug from the lab to the patient. The foundation gives 100% of cash donations to fund cancer research and has awarded over 100 million dollars in grants.
# 96 - Vitamin Angels
Through its programs, Vitamin Angels seeks to reduce infant mortality by provided vital nutrients to mothers and children in need. The program works both domestically and internationally, and has reached more than 26 million mothers and children with vitamins.
#97 - Women's Learning Partnership
The Women's Learning Partnership seeks to help women all over the world through working with local grassroots organizations to strengthen civil society as well as learn how to advocate for women. They partner with local civil society organizations all over the world, particularly in areas where women have less rights. They focus a large part of their advocacy on training local leaders of the grassroots organizations that they work with, and have developed a curriculum on women's rights, which is available in 20 different languages.
#98 - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute is the largest nonprofit, private organization dedicated to studying and researching the ocean. While Woods Hole has made many important and notable discoveries, perhaps the most well known discovery is that of the Titanic in 1985.
#99 - YMCA
There are few people who haven't heard of the YMCA. This community outreach organization does everything from after-school clubs to senior education. Started in 1844, the organization remains today as a pillar in the community for promoting healthy living. In 2010, Michelle Obama chose the YMCA as the venue for her 'Let's Move' campaign.
#100 - Young Life
Young Life is a mentoring based organization that seeks to provide mentors for youth. Their goal is to meet kids where they are, and build a presence in the lives of the young people that they work with so that they can exert a positive influence.
Choose Wisely, Donate Generously
All of these organizations depend on the contributions of donors in order to make their work and programs happen. Before you give, you may want to ask questions about what kind of results the program you're donating to is getting. Most importantly, donate money to a cause you're passionate about and you can feel good about being generous.