- Go to Charity Navigator’s site now and give online by clicking on the ‘Donate Now’ button located on your favorite charity’s ratings page. An added benefit of giving through our site is that you’ll be able to access your 2008 giving history when you are ready to complete your tax return.
- And if our evaluations have helped guide your charitable decisions this year, we hope you’ll consider a donation to Charity Navigator. We are a 501 (c)(3) public charity and donations to us are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
- Slightly less than half of the organizations evaluated by Charity Navigator have accumulated at least a year's worth of working capital to fall back on during economic downturns.
- During December 2007, nearly ten thousand donors accessed Charity Navigator's ratings and subsequently gave more than $1.6 million online through the site. More than 2,200 charities were on the receiving end of all this generosity.
- Of the more than 5,000 charities evaluated by Charity Navigator, the vast majority spend at least 75% of their budgets on the programs and services that they exist to provide, 10% or less on fundraising fees and 15% or less on administrative costs.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Here’s the current distribution of star ratings among the 5,300+ charities on our site:
31% have 4-stars
36% have 3-stars
23% have 2-stars
9% have 1-star
1% have 0-stars
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Recently, I came across an episode of Jon and Kate Plus Eight in which the Gosselin family visited the 4-star St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I’m not sure who funded this - Kmart, where the family shopped for gifts for the kids in the hospital, Despereaux, the story that Kate read to the children, or some other sponsor – but I am sure it was a boon to St. Jude.
From the beautiful murals on the walls, to the parent’s testimonials, to the children’s smiles, to the dedicated staff, the public got to see how the hospital helps children and their families. This one show probably did more to expand this charity’s brand and generate contributions than conventional types of marketing and fundraising approaches (such as special events and direct mail appeals) could ever do. As such, I doubt this will be the last we’ll be seeing of charity product placement.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
We’ve been watching closely as the changing economy has forced arts organizations to file for bankruptcy and food pantries have seen unprecedented demands for their services. The news from NPR is yet another face of the financial crisis – demonstrating that many organizations are now unable to provide the same services they did in fairer economic weather. Our ratings show that NPR’s primary revenue dropped from $162 million in 2004 to $133 million in 2006, but they have consistently earned three stars in our efficiency category. Even charities that are operating efficiently aren’t immune to the pressures of the current economy, and while they may not disappear completely, some of their programs might. As our President notes, it is an important time to give what you can. You can be sure your charity, and the many lives that it impacts, will be thankful for every penny.
You can check to see if your favorite small charity has filed its Form 990-N by visiting the IRS website. But don’t expect to learn much about the charity’s operations from this report as it only provides very basic information about the charity (such as name, address and website).
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Buy A Good Card Now!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
We’ve heard consistent reports of how current economic conditions are negatively impacting many charities. In the news this week is the Baltimore Opera Company, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection according to National Public Radio. The company has cancelled the remainder of the 2008-2009 season and is not refunding money to ticket holders. This recent news confirms our evaluation of the Baltimore Opera as financially unstable. Their current overall rating is two stars, with only one star in the organizational capacity category. In the past they have earned only one star overall. This indicates they have insufficient cash reserves and have shown minimal growth in recent years. If you are interested in supporting the arts or your local performing arts organization, visit us to locate a program in your area, or choose a highly-rated arts organization here.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Especially in these times of economic uncertainty, it is important that donors support organizations that will do the most with their money. If you’re an arts lover, consider supporting a highly rated museum.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
- National Wild Turkey Federation
- Island Harvest
- Feeding America
- Harvest Hope Food Bank
- Forgotten Harvest
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
"It's more difficult to give money away intelligently than it is to earn it in the first place."
Born November 25, 1835
He didn’t have access to Charity Navigator to help him give intelligently, but you do. Today, we seek your support so that we can continue to help donors make smart giving decisions in 2009 and for years to come.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
You can see a list of 10 Celebrity-Related Charities on Charity Navigator’s website, and see for yourself how varied the results can be where charity and celebrity collide.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
My presentation focused on how charity raters use financial information. The goal was not to transform the participants into Charity Navigator analysts, but rather to help them understand how donors – individuals, foundations and corporations – view their fiscal health. After the class, many of the participants indicated that they planned to return to their office to take another look at their finances from the viewpoint of a funder.
One of those was Luis Ramirez, the founder and president of the brand new charity Global CDH. He started the charity this past year after his daughter – beautiful Isabela – was born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. I admire his energy and his vision! Along with his full-time job and the responsibilities that come with being a new dad of a child with serious health issues, he’s made a major commitment to helping other families cope the diagnosis of CDH. While his charity is both too new and too small to meet our criteria for evaluation, Luis has his eye on the goal of someday becoming a financially efficient, 4-star charity.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
During the course of the discussion, here’s what some of them had to say:
- “Just as the economy is forcing a shake-out in the for-profit sector, I believe this climate will push many charities to become lean and efficient. Competition for donors, dollars, and public awareness will lead to more mergers and partnerships -- and that's healthy for all of us.”- Cynthia Allen Smith, chief development officer, Central Florida YMCA
- "I'd like to encourage individuals to be selective and focused in making their charitable giving decisions... When donors make the choice to write larger checks to a smaller number of organizations, it allows them to be more connected with the organizations they support, and also allows nonprofit organizations to operate more efficiently and effectively." - Amy Robinson, vice president of development at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver
- “I always encourage supporting a charity through ‘philanthropic shopping.’ I think this is an admirable and important way to support nonprofit organizations while spreading their mission.” - Kimber Leblicq, director of membership and development, Seattle Audubon Society
Monday, November 17, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
The Dugans are some of the Hudson Valley’s greatest philanthropists with a long record of exceptional generosity. They have given millions of dollars not just to us, but to historical societies, colleges, and scholarship organizations.
The board and staff of Charity Navigator applaud their significant philanthropic accomplishments and we thank them for having the vision to create a service to help benevolent citizens make informed giving decisions.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
As we embark on the season of giving, Charity Navigator would like to thank all of our donors--past, present and those yet to join us--for your tangible support of the work we do to help the giving public make wise and informed decisions about which charities are deserving of their hard-earned philanthropic dollars. As one donor puts it, "Your site has been a real boon to us when planning contributions...Thank you for the work you do." Comments like this really underscore our mission, why we are here, and truly invigorate us all. We here at Charity Navigator extend our best wishes to you for the holiday season. Once again, thanks for giving--it means a great deal to us and to all of the deserving charities your generosity supports.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
This is just further evidence that donors should give to financially healthy organizations, because those that aren’t healthy might not be around for long. If you’re an opera lover, consider donating to one of these highly-rated opera companies, and help preserve the future of this art form.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Bloggers Unite has teamed up with Refugees United to address the global problem of refugees becoming separated from their families.
Charity Navigator is happy to participate and raise awareness about this cause. We encourage donors to learn more about and support highly-rated charities working to help refugees.
Friday, November 7, 2008
- On the political front, there is of course much talk about the impact that Barack Obama's victory and the new, more Democratic congress will have on taxes and other issues that impact the nonprofit sector. For instance, see these articles in The NonProfit Times, The Philanthropy News Digest and The Chronicle of Philanthropy. And we note with pleasure that in their article on giving and taxes, The Houston Business Journal quoted Charity Navigator's 2008 Metro Market Survey.
- In these uncertain economic times, there is mixed news for charities. USA Today reports that food pantries are facing decreasing donations and increasing demand. The Washington Post reports that grants from corporate foundations are likely to remain flat over the next year, despite a sharp increase in requests. On the other hand, we hear from the Philanthropy News Digest that donor advised funds are helping to get some donors to maintain their level of giving through the hard times. And we still do hear of very large donations, such as this gift to the University of Chicago, as reported in the New York Times.
- As the holiday season hastens upon us, you might want to review Charity Navigator's Holiday Giving Guide. Delaware Online did, in their reporting of this story of a bikers holiday toy drive.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
To help you ensure that your holiday donations best reach their intended good causes, we've published a Holiday Giving Guide. It includes a list of giving tips, a video of our president & CEO explaining those tips, and a roundtable discussion with charity leaders. To help you navigate the thousands of charities on our site, we also offer a listing of top and bottom scoring charities for each of the 34 causes of charities that we rate. We’ve even included a holiday giving factoid section that you might find interesting.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Charities focused on voting/ election issues:
Common Cause Education Fund
League of Conservation Voters Education Fund
League of Women Voters Education Fund
National Voting Rights Institute
Project Vote Smart
Ford's Theatre Society
John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation
The Carter Center
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Thomas Jefferson Foundation
William J. Clinton Foundation
Now go vote McCain-Palin or Obama-Biden!
Monday, November 3, 2008
Presidential Candidate John McCain – Senator from Arizona
VP Candidate Sarah Palin – Governor of Alaska
Presidential Candidate Barack Obama – Senator from Illinois
VP Candidate Joe Biden – Senator from Delaware
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Today we published 450 updated ratings, 33 new charity evaluations, more new top 10 lists, articles and hot topics.
Friday, October 31, 2008
- United Stats Fund for UNICEF
- Erie Community Foundation
- The Midnight Mission
- Graywolf Press
- Alley Cat Rescue
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
If you are an arts lover, we urge you to consider making a contribution to one of these museums, or browse a list of highly rated museums on our site. Remember, a contribution now can help ensure that these important institutions will be around in the future.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
In case you missed it, here are some of the headlines making news this week:
- The economy’s impact on charities continues to make less-than-positive headlines. In the face of decreased contributions, museums are cutting their budgets, food banks and organizations that supply holiday gifts are fearful of running out of supplies, Washington D.C. area charities are looking for emergency grants, and international aid groups fear that the world’s poorest will suffer further.
- Charities are getting more creative with their fundraising efforts, including Framingham State College, which recently took a new approach to younger donors, filling an appeal letter with “blah”. And a fundraising expert recommends that charities expand their definition of donations, and work to secure planned gifts as well as gifts of stock and cash.
- On a more positive note, some charities are faring well despite economic concerns. A homeless shelter in Miami is moving ahead with a major construction project, the University of Miami’s Wellness Center recently received a large donation to expand its building, and the Mellon Foundation recently announced nearly $10 million in awards to playwriting organizations and theaters.
- New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has asked charities that he supports to back his plan to ease term limits, allowing him to run for a third term. Bloomberg has always maintained that he separates his philanthropy from his job, causing raised eyebrows and putting charities in an uncomfortable position. Looking forward, charities are encouraging the next president to take steps that will promote giving and strengthen the nonprofit work force by expanding giving incentives and providing funding to offer incentives to nonprofit employees. And, looking back on the first half of 2008, approximately $13 million was given to charities in honor of more than 200 members of the House and Senate.
- Finally, the Avon Foundation is partnering with the U.S. Department of State to fight breast cancer globally, as announced during the 2008 Breast Cancer Global Congress last week.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Now, we hear that she’ll be donating her new wardrobe to charity after the campaign. With some Goodwills reporting a lack of inventory to meet the increased demand for their merchandise, Palin’s donation is good news for one lucky charity.
As United Ways across the country tighten the focus of their philanthropic efforts, charities dependent upon United Way funding are being left out in the cold. In Philadelphia, nine such charities have launched an ad campaign to help generate enough donations to replace the revenues they used to receive from the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Charity Navigator does not provide direct services or financial assistance to individuals, families and charities. However, we recognize that most people, at one time or another, need help. If you are in need, feel free to use our website, www.charitynavigator.org, to locate a charity providing the services you require. We list each charity’s direct contact information on their ratings page. Alternatively, you can use the Foundation Center's database to identify funding sources.
Friday, October 17, 2008
- Three former executives at a Texas charity accused of fraud.
- As the average net worth of those 65 years or older has increased in the past two decades, these Americans are now trying to determine how best to donate their money.
- Arts organizations must adjust as their patrons are feeling the squeeze of the current economic conditions.
- "Point-Click Philanthropy" interest blossoms.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
In his opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa discusses the use of college endowments in the wake of increasing costs for higher education. College endowments have enjoyed high growths and college tuitions have steadily increased. Harvard University's endowment grew 19.8% from 2006 to 2007, to $34.6 billion; Yale University's endowment by 25%, to $22.5 billion; and Stanford University’s endowment by 21.9% to $17.2 billion. At the same time, tuition has increased by double digits every five years over the last two decades, according to the College Board.
Senator Grassley asked experts “why colleges can't draw on their bulging endowments to increase student aid or forgo tuition increases?” Some explanation as to why colleges shouldn’t use their endowments were: budget cuts by the state are making public institution fund operations on their own; donors decide how donation should be used; and it costs more than the tuition to educate a student so colleges are subsidizing higher education.
So just how are college endowments being used and how does this effect you? It all comes down to taxes. Universities are exempt from paying federal income tax on their operating income, they don’t have to pay tax on their endowment investment income, and donations to the colleges are tax deductable. These tax incentives were put into place so that universities would be able to fulfill their charitable purpose of educating students. Senator Grassley suggests that congress should place a tax on university endowments if it exceeds a certain amount but wants to see colleges initiate self-correction on college affordability.
In an effort to keep higher education affordable, should congress consider imposing a tax on high university endowments?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Charity Navigator is happy to do our part to raise awareness by encouraging donors to learn more about and support highly-rated charities tackling this complex issue.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Just how big is it? In 2007, Federal employees gave over $270 million. And since its launch in 1961, the CFC has generated nearly $6 billion in contributions.
Unfortunately, our analysis shows that some of the charities on the receiving end of all this generosity are not the most efficient.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
- Tumbling markets in the
and around the world have been dominating headlines as the effects reach individuals of every age, occupation, and income level. Charities are feeling the results of the economic crunch as well. New York City nonprofits are reporting decreased revenue after losing corporate sponsors due to the financial crisis, creating what one article called “A perfect storm.” These partnerships, sometimes called strategic philanthropy because of the advantages for both charities and corporations, have become popular recently, according to a Financial Times article. U.S. charities are reporting similar troubles, according to Rocky Mountain News. Colorado ’s wealthiest families are also reducing their contributions according to an article in Forbes Magazine. America
’s philanthropic environment evolves, charities are looking for new ways to reach more donors and renew support. A recent America today article, titled “The new face of giving,” reported young donors are becoming increasingly involved in charity campaigns, especially with evolving donation technologies, such as mobile giving. Read the article to see more about these and other giving trends. USA
- As we all are gearing up for the holiday giving season,
today has published a good article on “Donating do’s and don’ts.” USA
- Finally, there is good news for several charities who received large donations recently to boost revenue during tough times. PetSmart pledged $13.8 million to build seven new spay/neuter clinics in
, and the San Diego Symphony, after a $120 million gift from the Jacobs family, is prepared to open this season revitalized, to sold-out concerts and rapid growth. See the San Diego Symphony’s recent growth and success reflected in their four star Charity Navigator rating here. Los Angeles
If you feel compelled to help the Red Cross reach their goal, you can review our rating of the organization and donate directly via our website by clicking here.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
- Deadly student-teacher love triangle, husband charged with shooting high school student (Associated Press, March 19, 2007)
- Jealousy tied to murder-suicide of steroids dealer, bodybuilding ex-girlfriend (Dallas Morning News, July 13, 2008)
- Wife killed “over cyber affair” (BBC News, December 3, 2007)
These examples represent the most extreme episodes, with complicated back stories or odd plot twists. While the media often features cases with attention-grabbing titles like the ones listed above, there are hundreds of thousands of incidents that never make the headlines. Bizarre, complicated breaking-news cases often overshadow the more common non-fatal abuse cases that happen every day. As a result public perception of domestic violence can be skewed when viewers see only the stories that earn coverage. The good news is there are many organizations that focus on educating and informing communities and individuals about all types and degrees of violence. By learning why and how intimate attacks occur, we can work towards reducing, and ultimately preventing, domestic violence.
During the month of October, which is nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, take time to look past dramatic headlines. Use the Charity Navigator website to find a shelter or outreach program in your area, or watch the short video below. Think of neighbors, friends, and family members that may be affected, and use this month to support, protect, and educate yourself and others about domestic violence.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
After three months of writing weekly commentary on issues in the charitable sector on this blog site, effective today I am moving to a new blog site called Ken's Commentary. For an explanation of why I am making this move, see my first entry on the new blog site (click here). I hope that you will visit there often to read the weekly entries. This Charity Navigator blog site will continue as well and remain focused on news from the field.
All the Best,
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
In case you missed it, here are some of the headlines making news this week:
- The economic turmoil is affecting charitable giving, endowment values, and the social services available to meet the increasing demand.
- In addition, fundraising events are being revamped, and donations in response to recent hurricanes have not met the needed demand for relief services.
- However, there is some good news for parents with children that are constantly attached to their electronic gadgets: playing video games may increase civic engagement.
- The IRS is asking for additional financial details from colleges.
- Lastly, Paul Newman’s Foundation will continue his legacy.