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The team from Charity Navigator, the nation's largest independent charity evaluator and leading donor advocate, shares their thoughts on emerging nonprofit-sector issues and offers tips to better inform your intelligent giving decisions.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Sweet Moment: How Students Unexpectedly Donated $2k via Charity Navigator


I know I speak for the entire Charity Navigator Team when I say we love hearing from our users and donors! We appreciate the time they take to write, call, or email us to tell us about how they use our ratings and tools make confident giving decisions, or how they used our resources to find their new favorite charity.

We get a similar rush of joy and excitement when we hear from charities who find creative ways to share their ratings, celebrate their inclusion in a Hot Topic or Top 10 list, or offer stories of donors who found them using Charity Navigator.

Recently, our friends at ReadWorks shared a few of their “Charity Navigator moments” with us. We were so inspired by one of their stories that we asked to share it with our readers. We believe it speaks to the power of Charity Navigator to connect donors with effective organizations working on the issues that matter most to them, as well as to the world-changing potential of those new donor-charity relationships.

We hope it will inspire you too!



Located in Brooklyn, ReadWorks, a 4-star charity, is a small nonprofit committed to solving America’s reading comprehension crisis and student achievement gap. The organization uses cognitive science research to create impactful content, teacher guidance, and integrated tools to help teachers reach their students more effectively and improve overall student success. To achieve their mission, they offer all of their content and curriculums online, for free.

With a small (but mighty) staff of 12, members of the ReadWorks team know the inner-workings of their organization very, very well. Their work overlaps and intertwines within one another to achieve their mission and ensure success. That’s why they were shocked to receive an unexpected gift of $2,000 last October.

The donation was made on behalf of a group of students at the University of Texas, Austin after they won first place and the Crowd Favorite award in the Texas Charity Pitch competition. The competition, hosted by the University Securities Investment Team, challenges students to think about philanthropy and the importance of giving back. Each team selects an organization and pitches their unique mission and purpose to a panel of judges to win a contribution to their chosen charity.

Saagar Pateder, a business student at UT Austin, first participated in the competition during his freshman year. After taking home third place, he was challenged to return and try again for first. He and his team used Charity Navigator to quickly identify an organization that was using its dollars wisely to have a far-reaching impact. Believing that literacy and educational opportunity are essential for success but too often unequally distributed, Saagar and his team sought an efficient organization with an innovative solution to this problem.

When asked how they selected ReadWorks, Saagar answered that they found the organization using Charity Navigator. They were impressed and compelled by the charity’s excellent financial score which points to their responsible use of donor funds and other resources. And, they knew this would be a great point to pitch to the competition’s judges, especially if they could point to the organization’s efficient use of funds and innovative programs as a way to reach a maximum amount of children and families. 

As part of their pitch, the team argued that ReadWorks understands the nuances of this issue, has identified a unique, technology-based solution to reach many more people, that their work is having a measurable impact, and that donors can feel confident supporting this organization, knowing that their funds will be used well. The team’s presentation caught the attention of the judges and the crowd, and they were awarded first place and Crowd Favorite.

This story continued last month when ReadWorks received another donation of $2,000 from an unknown donor. The gift was from Saagar. He decided to donate some of the money he earned from his summer internship to the organization because he believes in their mission and trusts that the funds would be used responsibly. He said he feels confident supporting the organization knowing his donation will be used to have a greater, multiplicative impact. He also mentioned that Charity Navigator has helped him identify similar organizations to support.

At Charity Navigator, we work hard to create the tools and resources donors need to find the right charities to support and feel confident knowing their gifts will play a part in changing the world. That’s why we were excited and inspired by this story. We hope it inspires you too! You want to change the world. We have what you need to do it.

As the summer winds down and families across the country prepare to go back to school, we thought there was no better time to tell this story. ReadWorks is just one of many organizations providing the resources students and teachers need to be successful. If this a cause you’re passionate about, consider a gift to ReadWorks or one of these great organizations:

National Math and Science Initiative
☆☆☆ + Impact
Providing the ideas, inspiration, and resources to close the gap

The National Math and Science Initiative works to expand access to challenging coursework and improve student achievement through proven programs consistently produce measurable and lasting results. They partner with schools and districts across the country to provide extraordinary training and support for teachers and to give students the resources they need to develop and demonstrate knowledge and skills that will propel them through their lives.

Kahn Academy
☆☆☆☆ + Impact
You learn anything. For free. For everyone. Forever.

Kahn Academy is a personalized learning resource for all ages. They offer practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in an outside of the classroom. They tackle subjects like math, science, computer programming, history, art history, and economics. And, the partner with other organizations like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content.

Action for Healthy Kids
☆☆☆☆
Fostering sound nutrition and good physical activity in children, youth, and schools

Action for Healthy Kids fights childhood obesity, undernourishment, and physical inactivity by helping schools become healthier places so kids can live healthier lives. They partner with a legion of dedicated volunteers -- teachers, students, moms, dads, school wellness experts, and more -- from within the ranks of their 120,000+ network to create healthful school changes. Action for Healthy Kids firmly believes everyone has a part to play in ending America’s childhood obesity epidemic.

DonorsChoose.org
☆☆☆☆ + Impact
An online charity connecting you to classrooms in need

DonorsChoose.org makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom projects requests, and donors can give any amount to the project that inspires them. Since it was founded in 2000, DonorsChoose.org has united 3.2 million donors to support 1.2 million projects that have reached nearly 29 million students across the United States. To ensure integrity, we’re the organization oversees every step of every project They vet all requests, purchase the requested items, and ship materials directly to verified schools.

Kids in Need Foundation
☆☆☆☆ + Impact
School supplies. Changing lives.

For the 16 million kids who come from families struggling with extreme poverty, getting school supplies can make all the difference in the world to their future success. The Kids in Need Foundation works to ensure every child is prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom by providing free school supplies nationally to student most in need. Over the last 23 years, the Foundation has distributed more than $900 million in supplies to kids who would otherwise go without.

Or, use Charity Navigator’s Advanced Search Tool or Discover feature to find even more highly-rated organizations work on this issue and countless others.

Written by Ashley Post, Communications Manager at Charity Navigator.

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