Oil Spill Disaster
What to Consider Before Donating to Help
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion
of April 20, 2010 has resulted in millions of gallons of oil flowing
into the Gulf of Mexico, the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
Coastal ecosystems and the fish, birds and people that depend
on these formerly pristine areas for their livelihoods have been
seriously harmed. Before rushing in to make a contribution, please
consider the following:
This is a man-made rather than a natural
disaster and those companies responsible for it are likely to
be legally obligated to pay for the cleanup and economic damage
caused to the people and animals harmed. British Petroleum (BP)
says it "will pay all necessary and appropriate clean-up costs"
and "is committed to pay legitimate and objectively verifiable
claims for other loss and damage caused by the spill."
The U.S. Coast Guard, National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and other government
agencies are taking an active role in dealing with this crisis.
The latest information about the government's response efforts
is available at www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.
By far most of the costs of this disaster
will be covered by the businesses responsible for it and the government.
Before contributing to a charitable organization make sure that
it is fulfilling a need that is not already being met by business
or the government.
CharityWatch announces its top-rated
list of charities which are providing assistance or advocacy related
to the recent Gulf oil spill crisis.
Center for Biological Diversity (A)
Defense Fund (A-)
Friends of the Earth
Defense Council (A-)
for the Future (A)
CharityWatch, a leading charity watchdog
that issues letter grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit groups,
identifies the above listed charities, which are providing help
in this crisis and receive an "A" or "B" grade based on the portion
of their budget going to program services and their fundraising
efficiency. Contact the organizations above for information of
specific activities now underway. Note: Links will open in
a new window.
Top-rated charities perform favorably
in relation to CharityWatch benchmarks:
1) A charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program
2) Charities should spend no more than $25 to raise $100.
Donors may also wish to support local
efforts to provide health and human services to victims of this
crisis such as United Ways or Catholic Charities. Note: CharityWatch
focuses its ratings on national charities.
As with any charitable contribution,
Americans wanting to help with the Gulf oil spill should send
contributions to only those charities with an established track
record of helping people in this region.
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