Charity Spotlight

In this time of tightening budgets, many people are looking to save money, not spend it– and only on the things that are truly necessary. It should be no surprise that charities and other non-profit organizations are feeling the financial crisis as well. Ironically, these are the times when they need support the most. More people need help, and there is less money to help them with.

That being said, I’d like to Introduce Global Impact, a not-for-profit organization that is exempt as a charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It does not charge membership dues or service fees, which means that when it distributes 88 percent of the money it raises to its members and other charities, that is saying something. The money is all donation. Only 5.3 percent of every dollar Global Impact spends is for administration and fundraising, which is substantially under the norms established by the federal government.

I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to think my money was actually going to help people, not going to office supplies and advertisements. That’s why I like to read that Global Impact is committed to minimizing its administrative and fundraising costs.

Global Impact raises funds for more than 50 of the most respected U.S.-based international relief and development charities. Each member charity is recertified yearly to ensure it is upholding Global Impact membership criteria. Some of my favorite charities are:

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Heifer International – Helps poor families worldwide become self-sufficient by providing food- and income-producing animals, community development, training and environmentally-sound farming. Here I found an article talking about Think Globally; Eat Locally, like I did in an earlier post of mine. Their philosophy follows the saying, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” Stop-gap charities often don’t have a lasting impact, whereas Heifer International wants to make a difference in the long haul.

Women for Women International – They provide direct aid, rights awareness and leadership education, vocational skills training and income generation support to women survivors of war, conflict and civil strife. We women here in America and other lucky places, don’t realize that on a daily basis, women around the world are suffering through famine, war, assult, deaths of loved ones from disease that haven’t existed in the US for a very long time. We are fortunate, no matter the economic crisis. No matter how bad it is here, its a million times worse somewhere else. And FYI, this is a charity that Brad Pit and Angelina Jolie support as well.

William J. Clinton Foundation – Strengthening people’s capacity to meet the challenges of global interdependence through health security; economic empowerment; leadership development/citizen service; climate change; and racial, ethnic, and religious reconciliation (Yes, that would be our former President Bill Clinton’s charity. Don’t dismiss them though. The progress they have made with their Pediatric Aids Program has been astounding.)

Oxfam America – The organization is dedicated to creating lasting solutions to global poverty, hunger and social injustice. I had seen this name before, but hadn’t the foggiest idea as to what they did. I’m particularly impressed by their Stop Rape as a Weapon of War initiative. Though, that’s not nearly all of what they do. The muster supplies and assistance during times of emergencies, such as The Cholera Crisis in Zimbabwe, US Gulf Coast Hurricane Recovery, and the current Crisis in Gaza. They help people learn to make a living, manage natural resources, gain equality and rights for women and minorities, and so much more.It should be said that the majority of the charity work I’ve featured involved giving internationally.

There is a reason for this:

According to Giving USA, international giving is the fastest growing sector of giving. As the world becomes more connected, Americans are choosing to respond individually to the critical need for help.
-Nearly 1 billion people worldwide are unable to read a book or sign their name.
-At least 1.4 million children die every year because they lack access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.
-Every night, 800 million people—300 million of the children—go to bed hungry.

-The U.S. Government’s humanitarian foreign aid amounts to less than 1 percent of the federal budget—only a fraction of what people think is spent. It is your support that allows Global Impact member charities to help the poorest people on Earth.

If you’re still on the fence about donating period, or donating internationally, take a minute to put yourself in the shoes of a woman living in Gaza, or Darfur, or the Congo right now. What would you be doing at this very moment? Cradling your dying child in your arms? Drinking disease ridden water because maybe it will kill you, or maybe it will just make you very sick– but drinking nothing will kill you a lot faster? Or maybe you are huddling in the treeline near your house because you can hear the soldiers coming, and your emotional and physical wounds are still so fresh that the thought of another torture and rape session makes you just want to die right now.

Remember, helping one is better than helping none.

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