Charities List: Find out where your help is most needed

Giving is giving, whether it’s a few dollars or a trust fund. But in charity, not all organizations are made equal. “Intelligent giving,” as evaluation website Charity Navigator puts it, is about choosing recipients that make the best use of your money. The site, put up in 2001, offers a charities list for a wide range of categories, and rates them according to financial performance, accountability, and overall effectiveness. Here’s a list of some of its top charities from last year:

MAP International: This Georgia-based group provides community and health development services in over 115 countries, and works with hundreds of smaller organizations to promote its cause. They provide free medicine, push for cleaner water supply, and focus on eliminating disease by fighting its root cause.

Globus Relief: What sets this charity apart is that aims to cooperate rather than compete with its peers. Globus Relief works with other charities to better distribute healthcare resources and make financial resources reach more people. It currently runs over 12,000 projects in over 100 countries, and has given out more than $200 million in health products.

Direct Relief International: California’s biggest humanitarian non-profit, Direct Relief provides healthcare assistance to poverty- and disaster-stricken communities in the U.S. and abroad. Since its opening in 1948, the group has donated $1.6 billion in material resources and consistently led the pack in responding to health emergencies.

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta: The goal of this group is simple: to help other non-profits and charities flourish. It encourages philanthropy among individuals and businesses, allowing them to use their skills and knowledge to help the community. They also help promote organizational training to make sure local charities are properly run.

Forgotten Harvest: Waste and hunger are the two main issues for this 21-year-old organization. They address them by taking surplus food from groceries, restaurants, and other establishments and giving them away to soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters, where they would otherwise just go to waste. The group “rescues” more than 19 million pounds of Health Department-approved food every year.

American Endowment Foundation: This group helps potential donors find the best ways to use their money. They offer advice on how people contribute, whether in money or assets, and help them decide which charities to support. Although their service is geared towards corporate donors, individuals can pick up a thing or two on giving to charity and getting the most out of their money.

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