Monday, January 05, 2009


In the spirit of the new year, I've been re-evaluating my charitable donations. In an effort to put my money where my mouth is: i.e. the importance of food, clean water, education and economic opportunities for those living in a type of poverty that we in America can barely imagine.

I've been looking at these charities this morning:

(All have been located via Charity Navigator, which rates the efficacy of how the charity uses its donations.)

Water for People. This charity helps develop local, sustainable water sources, sanitation and health/hygiene education. They got a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator and 84.3% of funds go directly to projects.

Women for Women International. "...supports women in war-torn regions with financial and emotional aid, job-skills training, rights education and small business assistance so they can rebuild their lives." They have a 3 star rating and 71.5% goes to projects.

Techno Serve. "...helps entrepreneurial men and women in poor rural areas of the developing world to build businesses that create income, opportunity and economic growth for their families, their communities and their countries." Their rating is 4 star and 82.7% goes to projects.

World Neighbors . "..focuses on training and educating communities to find lasting solutions to the challenges they face – hunger, poverty and disease – rather than giving them food, money or constructing buildings. Communities tell World Neighbors what their needs are, and World Neighbors, in turn, works with them to acquire the knowledge, skills and organization to solve their problems." 4 star and 74.4%

Living Water International. " a leading implementer of participatory, community-based water solutions in developing nations. In its 16-year history, LWI has completed nearly 6,500 community water projects in 25 countries, which provide safe, clean water to 9.5 million people every day." 4 star rating and 83.2%. (Note this is a Christian charity which may or may not make it more appealing to some. I do tend to balk at charities that link getting help with accepting the faith of the helpers.)

Root Capital. "...By supporting grassroots businesses that value environmental stewardship, Root Capital is strengthening sustainable livelihoods and transforming rural economies in poor, environmentally vulnerable places." 4 stars and 75.8%

Room to Read. "...partner with local communities throughout the developing world to provide quality educational opportunities by establishing libraries, creating local language children's literature, constructing schools, providing education to girls and establishing computer labs. We seek to intervene early in the lives of children in the belief that education empowers people to improve socioeconomic conditions for their families, communities, countries and future generations. Through the opportunities that only education can provide, we strive to break the cycle of poverty, one child at a time." 4 stars and 86.4%.

Trickle Up. "...offers grants, not loans, to entrepreneurs because we are committed to working with the extreme poor — people living on less than $1 a day who are unable to obtain a microloan. We focus our support on women. The majority report that, once they have launched their businesses, they are able to provide better nutrition, health care and education for their families. We also focus on providing support to people with disabilities."
4 stars and 84.7%.

I once had a conversation with a staunchly conservative Christian in which she complained that I didn't like her solutions and she didn't like my solutions.

What I wish I had said: It doesn't matter, we all just need to do our little bit. Your solutions will help some, mine will help others and between us, maybe we can help all who are in need.

The boyz say: Is there a charity that provides human grade tuna to neglected kittens?


Joan said...

How about Water Missions International? We are going to try to raise enough funds to buy a filtration system for a hospital in Kenya. I am going to a meeting about it tomorrow. They are based right here in Charleston.

JanetLee said...

Another good one!

Anonymous said...

Heifer International or Compassion International....a couple more

Anonymous said...

"Founded in 1970, Oxfam America works on the scene, helping people gain the hope, skills, and direction to create a new future. the goal is to enable poor people to exercise their right to manage their own lives: making a living, natural resources, peace and security, equality for women, indigenous and minority rights, and global trade." 79% into programs; however, the CEO has a rather high salary. Joan's recommendation is a good one, working with a local group.

Sundra at WOW! said...

Thanks for the call-out, JanetLee! World Neighbors has been quietly working with extremely poor rural communities for over 50 years to help them learn how to improve their own lives - respectfully listening and supporting poor people in making sustainable changes to improve food availability, access safe water and basic health care, earn some income. All things we take for granted. We're a small organization, but proud of the significant and lasting impact we make. The Work of Women (WOW!) is one way to get involved and learn more about our work. WOW! is made up of people who care about these issues, and through education, advocacy and donations support World Neighbors work to end poverty, hunger and disease. Check us out!