Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and there's no better time than now to embrace the season of giving. But, with so many different places to donate your time and/or money, how do you know who is the most deserving benefactor of your generosity?
Charity Navigator, the nation's largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities, has rounded up its most recent list of Top-Notch Charities. These charities all received Charity Navigator's highest 4-star rating in financial indicators as well as accountability and transparency. In other words, these 10 charities are able to be fiscally responsible while following best practices to minimize the chance of unethical activities.
So, which charities should you consider donating to this holiday season? Click through to find out.
10. Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee
Since 1986, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee has worked to end hunger in Northeast Tennessee. Last year, this Second Harvest Food Bank received and distributed more than 10.3 million pounds of food.
Based on data from Charity Navigator, the firm has achieved the highest rating for fiscal responsibility and excellence for 10 consecutive years. For fiscal 2014, of the $16.99 million raised, 96.50% went directly towards delivering its services and only 2.20% towards administrative expenses.
9. Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania, a member of Feeding America, serves 11 counties in the area. One in four individuals in Northwest Pennsylvania receive food from Second Harvest each year.
For fiscal 2014, the charity pulled in $19.54 million in revenue, 97.30% of which went directly toward providing food to members of the community.
8. Central Pennsylvania Food Bank
The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank has helped to make a difference in the lives of hungry families in the area for over 30 years. The Bank distributes nearly 33 million meals each year to more than 800 soup kitchens, shelters, and food pantries throughout central Pennsylvania.
Based on data from Charity Navigator, the charity has achieved the highest rating for fiscal responsibility and excellence for four consecutive years. For fiscal 2014, of the $50.66 million raised, 97.50% went directly towards fighting hunger.
7. Central Illinois Foodbank
For over 30 years, the Central Illinois Foodbank collects donated food and grocery items and disperses it among the charitable agencies in the area that serve people in need. Over 8.5 million pounds of food are distributed by the Foodbank each year to over 150 food pantries, soup kitchens, residential programs and after-school programs.
Of the $19.36 million raised in fiscal 2014, 97.60% was channeled toward delivering its services and 1.30% towards administrative expenses.
6. Weld Food Bank
Weld Food Bank works to end hunger by providing food to hungry families in Colorado and educates the community about hunger and poverty. In 2011, the charity raised funds to build a commercial kitchen to further help the community.
Of the $17.77 million raised in fiscal 2014, 98.30% was distributed to programs and services.
5. MAP International
MAP International provides medicines, prevents disease and promotes health in some of the world's poorest communities. The charity also provides immediate humanitarian assistance and relief aid to people who are without access to shelter or basic services after disasters.
According to data sourced by Charity Navigator, this organization has achieved the highest ranking for five consecutive years. In fiscal 2014, of the $320.10 million raised, 99.00% was directed to the continuing success of the charity's programs and services.
4. Step Up For Students
Step Up for Students helps administer two legislatively authorized scholarships for schoolchildren in Florida whose educational options are limited by household income or special needs. Today the program serves more than 77,000 students in over 1,500 private schools throughout the state.
Of the $333.29 million raised in fiscal 2014, 99.00% was directed to the charity's programs and services.
3. Direct Relief
Founded in 1948, Direct Relief works to organize and provide essential medical resources to people who are affected by poverty or emergency situations. The charity's main focuses are on maternal and child health, disease prevention and treatment and emergency preparedness and response.
The charity has achieved Charity Navigator's highest ranking for six consecutive years. Of the $449.95 million raised in fiscal 2014, the foundation redistributed 99.20% to the continuing success of its services.
2. Books For Africa
Books for Africa, which was founded in 1988, collects, sorts, ships and distributes books to students of all ages in Africa. A $0.50 donation can send a book to a student in Africa and, over the past 12 months, the charity has sent 2.4 million books, 665 computers and 200 e-readers containing 1.6 million digital books to 21 African countries.
Of the $33.53 million raised in fiscal 2014, 99.30% was channeled toward delivering its services and 0.20% toward administrative expenses.
1. Midwest Food Bank
Midwest Food Bank works to alleviate hunger and poverty by gathering and distributing food donations to over 900 nonprofit local organizations and disaster sites. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the charity partnered with The Salvation Army to help make an even bigger impact on the affected communities.
Based on data from Charity Navigator, the firm has achieved the highest rating for fiscal responsibility and excellence for six consecutive years. For fiscal 2014, of the $63.221 million raised, 99.30% went directly toward delivering its services and only 0.50% toward administrative expenses.