Don’t know where to make donations? Here are America’s 50 worst charities.
When it comes to making donations, many of us have felt some angst in deciding where our money can do the most good. We often hear stories of ‘charities’ that are less than… charitable. In a recent report by Adrienne Hill on NPR’s Marketplace, Americans give more to charities, per capita, than any other developed country. In 2011, we gave $200 billion dollars.
Tampa Bay Times compiled a list of the Top 50 worst charities. Many names of the worst charities are very similar to legitimate charities. For instance, the number one worst charity, Kids Wish Network, sounds much too similar to, Make A Wish Foundation – a legitimate respected organization, where donations go to helping very sick children see one of their dreams come true. With the Kids Wish Network, only 2.5% of the $127.8 million they raised, went to direct cash aid. So where did the other millions go? $109 million of it went to paying solicitors to raise the money.
According to Kendall Taggart, of The Center For Investigating Reporting, many charities exist pretty much to pad the pockets and salaries of their founders. Often the value of goods that are shipped overseas cannot be verified. And then there are charitable goods shipped domestically that are outright insults to the recipients. One cancer victim in Knoxville, Tennessee, reached out to Cancer Fund of American to help with medical costs. He received a package containing paper cups, napkins and plates, along with children’s toys, you know, things that help a cancer patient pay for medical costs. The patient’s wife was so disgusted, she threw the entire package away.
Thankfully, there are a few reputable organizations online that can help us search charities to differentiate the good from the unscrupulous.
Here are the 50 of the worst charities. They are ranked starting with the worst and by how much they raise, how much goes to pay the fund-raising solicitors, and how much goes to the actual charity. The title link above the list, will bring you to a page with an interactive chart and more information on charities in general.
- Kids Wish Network
- Cancer Fund of America
- Children’s Wish Foundation International
- American Breast Cancer Foundation
- Firefighters Charitable Foundation
- Breast Cancer Relief Foundation
- International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO
- National Veterans Service Fund
- American Association of State Troopers
- Children’s Cancer Fund of America
- Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation
- Youth Development Fund
- Committee For Missing Children
- Association for Firefighters and Paramedics
- Project Cure (Bradenton, FL)
- National Caregiving Foundation
- Operation Lookout National Center for Missing Youth
- United States Deputy Sheriffs’ Association
- Vietnow National Headquarters
- Police Protective Fund
- National Cancer Coalition
- Woman To Woman Breast Cancer Foundation
- American Foundation For Disabled Children
- The Veterans Fund
- Heart Support of America
- Veterans Assistance Foundation
- Children’s Charity Fund
- Wishing Well Foundation USA
- Defeat Diabetes Found
- Disabled Police Officers of America Inc
- National Police Defense Foundation
- American Association of the Deaf & Blind
- Reserve Police Officers Association
- Optimal Medical Foundation
- Disabled Police and Sheriffs Foundation
- Disabled Police Officers Counseling Center
- Children’s Leukemia Research Association
- United Breast Cancer Foundation
- Shiloh International Ministries
- Circle of Friends For American Veterans
- Find the Children
- Survivors and Victims Empowered
- Firefighters Assistance Fund
- Caring for Our Children Foundation
- National Narcotic Officers Associations Coalition
- American Foundation for Children With AIDS
- Our American Veterans
- Roger Wyburn-Mason & Jack M Blount Foundation For Eradication of Rheumatoid Disease
- Firefighters Burn Fund
- Hope Cancer Fund
One of the most disturbing aspects of this list, is that the names of most of these pseudo charities are designed to pull the heartstrings of donors who think their money is going to help very sick children, women with breast cancer, veterans… when very little, if any is actually going to those in need. Makes me want to scream out their names at the top of the highest mountain.
I’ll have to settle with posting them here, as the best way to deal with this problem, is to become informed, and ask charities questions like, “How much of my donation is actually going to this cause?.” I’m grateful to all those who have taken the time to compile this information, which helps many of us to discern where, and where not, to place our donations.
Here are some reputable charity online navigators:
For full story and audio: MarketPlace
Sources: Tampa Bay Times, Kendall Taggart/Center For Investigative Reporting, Adrienne Hill/NPR, Photo NPR