Top Charities to Donate To

In a world full of poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, and plenty of other serious problems and social issues, it can often be difficult for ordinary citizens to know how best to help. The numerous charities and humanitarian organizations in existence can be good starting points, of course, but choosing the best cause to support among so many good options can also be a challenging decision. However, for those who are passionate about making a positive difference in the world, there is certainly no shortage of worthwhile organizations or valuable opportunities for contributing to a beneficial cause. Here is some helpful information on a few of the top causes and charities to donate to, and the work they are currently doing in order to impact the world for the better.

One of the top charities to donate to is BuildOn, a nonprofit organization that is making a significant impact in the worlds of education, community service, and urban improvement. Founded over two decades ago, BuildOn recognizes and seeks to combat the severe educational crisis facing America and other countries throughout the world today: the poor or non-existent quality of schools in widespread undeveloped areas and the likelihood of many youth in those areas to fail to achieve a successful education. Through afterschool service programs, community outreach, and provision of overseas aid, this organization has taken a profound and impactful stand against the forces of poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, and harsh inner-city conditions in numerous locations across the globe.

BuildOn’s positive outreach to the world is twofold; the first part of what they do is to provide afterschool service programs in urban or inner-city areas, many of which are plagued by poverty, crime, violence, drugs, and other threats. With over sixty locations in six major populous regions throughout the United States, BuildOn’s staff members help engage urban youth in local service, providing aid for those in need in their local communities. Their afterschool service program is centered around the principle that most urban youth living in poor conditions do not wish to escape from their harsh and unpleasant environments, but rather to improve them and convert them into something better—and BuildOn equips these youth with the tools and opportunities to do just that. These afterschool programs use a unique and effective curriculum to promote literacy, education, and awareness about relevant social issues among their members, who then go on to contribute positively to their communities through activities such as cleaning up the local environment, tutoring younger students, and volunteering at homeless shelters and senior centers. Since the organization’s inception in 1991, its students have collectively completed over one million hours of service through these programs, and almost all of the students involved have not only graduated from high school, but have also gone on to college, significantly reducing the statistics of dropouts and the likelihood of leading lives of crime or poverty in their areas.

The second part of BuildOn’s major outreach is to help develop schools overseas, in some of the most rural and poverty-stricken areas of third-world countries. This outreach focuses on areas and villages where students either cannot attend school at all, or are forced by their environment to do so only occasionally and in inadequate conditions, and involves local community members in the construction of new schools. Before the construction of schools begins, the organization helps local villages to elect gender-equal leadership teams, and commit to sending just as many girls to school as boys, requirements that are especially beneficial in cultures where women are not regarded highly and girls are traditionally expected to remain uneducated. In addition to utilizing local leadership and labor volunteers in the construction of these schools, BuildOn also provides opportunities for the members of its afterschool programs in the U.S. to travel overseas and contribute to the building process, providing many inner-city American youth with unique opportunities to broaden their horizons and temporarily step out of their own familiar, more comfortable culture. Once the schools are complete, they are able to provide much-needed education for numerous students, both male and female—and not just children or youth. In regions where education is not considered a priority, even many adults suffer from illiteracy, and so these schools provide adult literacy programs and classes on other basic skills as well. 85,000 students currently attend these schools in over 600 locations throughout various countries, collectively working toward the greater goals of education, equality, and community growth and improvement.

With an organization as active and widespread as BuildOn, there are numerous ways for concerned and caring people to help make a profound difference and contribute to the work that is being done. Of course, individual donors can always give money to the organization, thus helping to sponsor afterschool programs, building materials for schools, and other costs that go into transforming and improving a region’s educational system. Additionally, individuals or organizations can host fundraisers, organize and support the building of schools, and start local chapters to raise awareness about the educational crisis and the most effective ways to help. The huge need that BuildOn is helping to meet throughout the world, and the compelling statistics of success and improvement, make it one of the top charities to donate to today, the act of which has never been easier or more available to individuals who truly do desire to make a difference.

Other Educational Organizations
In addition to BuildOn, numerous other organizations far and wide seek similar goals, such as providing equal educational opportunities to children of all demographics and regional backgrounds, and intervening to provide brighter futures through education. Some of these include Students for Education Reform, an organization implementing the services of college students to help provide educational equality for underprivileged K-12 students across America, and the small but growing S.Y. Scholars Program, a recently founded organization in central Virginia aimed at working with inner city students to prepare them for college and at raising awareness about the current state of public education in America. Others with comparable interests and aims are College Possible, the Shirley Ann Sullivan Educational Foundation, the Foundation for Students Rising Above, and Crayons to Classrooms, which seeks to provide much-needed supplies for public schools and their students. For students, graduates, parents, educators, or anyone concerned and passionate about education, organizations such as these are great charities to donate to in order to help secure academic success, social stability, and a brighter future for struggling students.

Another prominent and highly effective charity organization is UNICEF, or the United Nations Children’s Fund. For decades, UNICEF has been one of the most active charities to donate to throughout the United States, as well as impactful to parts of Europe and Asia, in helping keep children safe, sanitary, and healthy. Since shortly after World War II, the organization has provided affordable food, clean water, medicine, and healthcare for endangered children in areas and conditions with the greatest need. It also offers child protection where needed, disaster relief for areas affected by hurricanes and earthquakes, and educational supplies and services for undeveloped areas, as well as teaching aids and resources to assist American educators.

In addition to providing money, food, and other resources for impoverished and needy children, UNICEF, like BuildOn, also provides constructive opportunities for American youth to get involved in its humanitarian work. It allows organizations and individuals alike, including teens and youth, to volunteer and help raise funds and awareness. There are plenty of opportunities for individuals or groups interested in helping UNICEF to donate money or contribute time or other resources in order to help the continuing work of sustaining and improving the lives of children worldwide.

Project Healthy Children
Also among the top charities to donate to is Project Healthy Children, an organization whose mission is to provide safe, healthy, and plentiful food for the population, especially children, of needy developing countries. PHC’s primary means of food provision is through food fortification, a process by which, usually in five years or less, the organization assesses the greatest food needs in a given country and assists local industries in supplying the demands of those needs. However, in addition to providing fortification programs on the national scale for developing nations, PHC has also begun doing the same to a lesser degree for smaller or more rural regions that are more remote from processed food industries and thus require more specialized assistance.

Furthermore, PHC’s goals are not focused merely on providing enough food for the population, but on providing the right food: food that is particularly efficient, healthy, and helpful in eliminating specific diseases and keeping people safe. The organization takes into account common causes of illness and death in various regions, such as iodine deficiency, vitamin A deficiency, or diarrheal disease, and aims to provide foods with specific nutrients to combat those afflictions and ensure the healing and wellbeing of afflicted children. The food provided by PHC goes a long way in restoring and maintaining health in affected regions, especially since estimates posit that any money contributed to food fortification is increased exponentially in the monetary value of the food produced. Any donation to PHC, even a small one on an individual level, is effective and useful in bringing essential nutritious provision to countries—and families, and children—that would otherwise be in danger of starvation and disease.

Other Humanitarian Organizations
Obviously, and thankfully, there are countless organizations constantly doing humanitarian work throughout the world and seeking to relieve and provide for the physical needs of a wide variety of suffering or helpless individuals. Therefore, the ones listed here are only a small sampling of what the world truly offers in the way of charities to donate to. Still, other organizations and the work they do are certainly worth looking into, such as the International Rescue Committee, which was founded at Albert Einstein’s suggestion to assist refugees under Hitler, and continues to provide humanitarian relief for a massive amount of people and situations today. Of course, extremely well-known names such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army continue to this day to provide food, aid, shelter, healthcare, and other necessities to millions of people across the globe. Also worth considering is the large selection of faith-based humanitarian efforts and charities to donate to, such as Help the Children, World Help, and Matthew 25: Ministries, which collects used or unwanted items to redistribute to needy communities both in America and abroad. Individuals interested in meeting physical needs and alleviating human suffering should strongly consider these organizations or the many others like them among their top charities to donate to.

To Write Love on Her Arms
Anyone looking for charities to donate to with a slightly different focus, but one that is no less significant, should consider To Write Love on Her Arms. Focusing less on physical needs, but rather on psychological and emotional ones, To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit organization that seeks to offer hope for those struggling with depression, addiction, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts, and help them on the road to recovery. With mental illness of various kinds being a rapidly growing affliction throughout America and the world as a whole, but still one that is relatively unknown and misunderstood by many, benevolent organizations such as TWLOHA are crucial in helping patients, addicts, and their families and loved ones overcome the social stigma about such issues and begin to confront their problems and seek the help they need. TWLOHA aims to meet the needs of struggling and hurting people by connecting them with treatment centers, support groups, and resources to help with the process of recovery. Perhaps more importantly, the organization seeks to encourage those it helps on a profound emotional level to accept love and healing, recognize that their lives are significant, and learn to have hope for the future again.

All donations to TWLOHA go directly into combatting mental illness and the stigma that surrounds it, through sponsoring programs and events, raising public awareness about the issues, and in a number of other ways. In addition to continuing its work through merely monetary donations, TWLOHA also engages the services and help of a variety of people in its mission, especially college students and young adults, who statistically represent one of the highest demographics for those suffering from depression. TWLOHA hosts educational conferences to raise awareness and offers internships for those passionate about contributing to their cause. They even have what they call a Street Team, in which participants can help spread the word in free and simple ways in their local communities and even on the internet. For those who care about mental illness or desire to show support and make a difference in the lives of struggling and suffering individuals, donating money or time to TWLOHA, and simply being aware and conscious of the issues it addresses, are excellent ways to start.

Freedom 4/24
Freedom 4/24 is a non-profit organization concerned with human trafficking, and aimed at raising awareness about and providing help for the slavery, sexual exploitation, and forced prostitution of women and children worldwide. While the problem seems unfamiliar and foreign to many Americans, human trafficking is in reality a growing epidemic of injustice that is not likely to stop unless people are aware of the issues and willing to take a stand against them. Originally focused largely on seeking freedom, justice, and better lives for exploited girls in the sex trade of Bangkok, Freedom 4/24 has now grown into an international effort to end trafficking everywhere, provide help for the victims, and see justice done in these dark corners of the world. This organization partners with others committed to seeking justice and paving the road to freedom, offering financial support and other resources that contribute toward the rescuing of exploited individuals, as well as rehabilitation, aid, and service for rescued victims in need.

Freedom 4/24 accepts one-time donations as well as monthly partnerships in order to fund the costs of basic needs for rescued victims, such as shelter, food, clothing, healthcare, counseling, and educational books to help them reintegrate productively into society; their name is derived from the fact that a gift of merely $24 can in most cases provide these things for one victim. Apart from accepting and utilizing monetary donations, Freedom 4/24 also offers information and resources to help keep the public well-informed about these important issues, and regularly hosts Run 4 Their Lives charity races in which participants and sponsors contribute financially as well as helping to publicize the issues and the organization’s work to address them. Anyone with a passion for bringing about justice, equality, and freedom in the world at large should look into Freedom 4/24 when thinking of charities to donate to and consider giving money and time to their already significant work.

The above information covers just a few of the biggest, most active, or perhaps most worthwhile charities to donate to in the world today. Needs and crises of many different varieties are very real in America and abroad, and organizations such as BuildOn and these others exist for the sole purpose of meeting those needs. Of course, no one person can contribute to every cause or organization, so each individual trying to decide which charities to donate to should consider what issues he or she is personally most passionate about and where his or her time, money, and resources can best be spent. Still, for those seeking to make a difference, the organizations listed above are a great place to start, and with such an abundance of great and worthwhile options, there is no reason why capable individuals everywhere cannot give to a higher cause and continue to improve this world for the better.

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