CharityWatch REPORT
Issued August 2018

CharityWatch Articles & Donor Alerts

CharityWatch conducts research and publishes articles on charities. Current and archived articles we have written about this charity are posted here, as are select articles we have published with topics related to this charity or its cause. Visit our Articles page to view CharityWatch's entire library of posted articles.

CharityWatch Articles

Don’t Be Fooled By Name Rip-off Charity Scams

How much harm could there really be in confusing the names of two charities? Confusing a poorly-run charity for a well-run charity is one thing, but imagine how disheartening it would be if the entire amount of what you thought was a legitimate charitable donation essentially ended up being stolen because of name confusion. Two recent phony charity scams give CharityWatch the opportunity to remind donors how easy it can be to fall victim to charity name confusion, and to reinforce the importance of checking the legitimacy of a charity before giving. The scams basically relied on ripping-off the names of two large, nationally-recognized charities.

Red Cross Accused of Favoring Public Relations Over People

An investigation by ProPublica and NPR into the relief efforts provided by the American Red Cross during the aftermaths of Hurricane Isaac and Superstorm Sandy in 2012 has uncovered that the Red Cross "botched key elements of its mission after Sandy and Isaac, leaving behind a trail of unmet needs and acrimony," according to the October 29, 2014 story.

Don't Be Misled by Deceptive Charity Efficiency Claims

As a donor, which of the two claims below would be more likely to persuade you to make a charitable contribution?

Know Your Options When Giving to the Red Cross

In the wake of any humanitarian disaster that hits the U.S., the American Red Cross (Red Cross) usually takes the lead in providing immediate and long-term disaster relief services. The Red Cross, though, has not been immune from criticism related to how it solicits and allocates the spending of donations in direct response to major disasters. Thanks to an October 23, 2013 agreement with New York's Attorney General, however, donors now will see new language describing the giving options available on the donation page of the Red Cross' website.

Never Again! Red Cross Needs Policy of Cooperation in Major Disasters

Other Americans and I were outraged over the American Red Cross' early refusal to participate in a shared computerized database of the victims of the September 11 disaster. It took many weeks of pressure from the New York Attorney General, AIP and others before the Red Cross finally agreed to share its information on specific victims with other charities in a centralized database.

Know Your Red Crosses: Is the International Committee of the Red Cross Disservicing America?

Many people think of the Red Cross as only one entity. There are actually three major types of Red Cross organizations included in the Red Cross Movement: the national Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The Movement's mission is to "prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found, to protect life and health, and ensure respect for the human being, in particular in times of armed conflict and other emergencies, to work for the prevention of disease and the promotion of health and social welfare...."

Daniel Borochoff's Testimony before the Subcommittee on Oversight of the House Committee on Ways and Means Hearing on Response by Charitable Organizations to the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Americans have responded quickly and generously with over $2.5 billion of charitable aid for victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The American Institute of Philanthropy is pleased to report that the American Red Cross has improved its fundraising performance in the aftermath of the recent hurricanes. Though it needs to be clearer about its financial position, it has taken to heart many important lessons from 9/11.

Congressional Testimony on the Charities' Response to the September 11 Terrorist Attack For Subcommittee on Oversight of the Committee on Ways and Means

Americans have been far too hazy when it comes to making charitable giving decisions and following-up on how charities are using their contributions. Charities are making it difficult for donors in their fundraising appeals when they are not specific about their intended use of contributions. What often happens is that the charity heavily raises money for the one or two aspects of its work that people are most inclined to support and neglects to fully inform donors about the other planned uses of funds.

Charitable Giving Via Your Cell Phone: Is the Convenience Worth It?

Text messages, brief digital notes sent to and from mobile phones, have gotten a lot of attention this year as a fast and easy new way to donate money to charities. Given the growing popularity of giving via text, it is worthwhile to consider how text donations work and to think about potential pitfalls before getting swept up in the trend.

Red Cross Uses Donations To Pay Fines

On April 8, the American Red Cross (Red Cross) appointed its seventh CEO in seven years, according to the Washington Post. Gail J. McGovern, formerly a Harvard Business School professor and executive of AT&T and Fidelity Investments, faces several challenges as new CEO to one of America's largest charities as it continues to reform.

Are Charity Boards Asleep at the Wheel? Nonprofit Governance Problems

Confidence in nonprofit organizations is at the lowest level in two decades and one-third of Americans who are 57 or older have less confidence in nonprofit organizations over the last 2 years, according to a September 2002 survey by Epsilon, a major fundraising company.

Red Cross Reputation Bloodied Again

American Red Cross, which controls nearly one half of our nation's blood supply, was fined almost $9.6 million by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2012 for "significant violations" observed at 16 Red Cross blood services facilities during inspections in 2010. The Red Cross has been fined more than a dozen times since 2003 for violations of blood safety standards.

In the News


Senator: Red Cross Misled Congress, Refused To 'Level With the People' on Haiti Money

Red Cross CEO Dodges Congressional Questions About Cuts Around the Country

Some Nonprofits Misuse Contracts to Hide Activities, Say Experts

Why the American Red Cross is not telling the full story when it says its Disaster Relief Fund is depleted. Listen to CharityWatch president discuss this issue on NPR. (Requires Real Player or Windows Media Player.)

Hot Topics & Donor Alerts

California Wildfires

Updated on November 14, 2018

Three major wildfires in California have displaced hundreds of thousands of people and have destroyed thousands of homes and buildings. The Camp Fire in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada foothills has become the state’s most destructive wildfire on record, as well as the state’s deadliest wildfire since the 1933 Griffith Park wildfire. The town of Paradise was virtually obliterated with nearly 7,000 structures ravaged. Statewide, at least 50 people have died, and over 200 people may still be missing.

Hurricane Michael Relief

Updated on October 12, 2018

Hurricane Michael will go down in history as the third strongest hurricane to hit the United States. Michael made landfall on October 10th with winds of 155 mph. High winds, rains and flash floods ravaged several states, as far north as Virginia. The violent storm devastated the Southeast, causing death and destruction from Florida to Virginia. Some coastal Florida cities were destroyed beyond recognition.

Typhoon Mangkhut Relief

Typhoon Mangkhut is the world’s strongest storm so far in 2018, at one point measuring 550 miles wide. The powerful super typhoon brought heavy rains, strong winds, storm surges, and landslides, leaving a trail of destruction across Southeast Asia. Mangkhut pummeled Hong Kong and caused more than 2.45 million people to be evacuated in China’s Guangdong province. The hardest hit was the Philippines where the storm destroyed homes, flooded large areas of the countryside, and devastated the rice fields of farmers.

Hurricane Florence Relief

Updated on September 18, 2018

Hurricane Florence, one of the strongest storms to hit the Eastern Seaboard in decades, made landfall in North Carolina in the early hours of September 14th as a Category 1 storm. Florence caused catastrophic and historic flooding in some parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Some areas were hit with over 30 inches of rainfall. As of September 18th, 32 storm-related deaths were reported, and about 500,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and South Carolina. Tens of thousands of homes were damaged.


Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami Relief

Twin disasters rocked the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on September 28th. A 7.5-magnitude earthquake set off the massive tsunami that slammed into the beaches of Palu and Donggala. As of Monday night, the death toll reached over 1,200 people and is expected to continue to climb as rescuers dig through rubble and reach inaccessible areas.

California Wildfires

Raging twin wildfires, together known as the Mendocino Complex Fire, erupted in Northern California on July 27th, 2018. The Mendocino Complex has become the state’s largest wildfire in history. The twin blazes have burnt 75 homes and have forced the evacuation of thousands of people.

Puerto Rico Relief – Hurricane Maria Aftermath

Hurricane Maria directly hit the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico in September of 2017 as an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm. It was the first and strongest Category 4 or higher to hit the island in nearly 80 years. The official government death toll in Puerto Rico is listed at 64, but a recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that more than 4,600 “excess deaths” occurred in the aftermath of the storm. Even today, the effects of Maria are still being felt. The damage from the hurricane will likely plague the island and its residents for years to come.

California Wildfires

Updated on December 11, 2017

The devastating wildfires raging in Southern California have forced evacuations of more than 90,000 people and have shut down major highways. As multiple fires sweep across Ventura and Los Angeles counties, where states of emergency have been declared by the California Governor, hundreds of buildings and homes have burned.


Hurricane Maria Relief

Updated on September 25, 2017

On the heels of Hurricane Irma's path of destruction through the eastern Caribbean, these same islands faced a new threat: Hurricane Maria. Maria made landfall as a Category 5 storm on the island of Dominica where 27 deaths have been confirmed. The hurricane then continued on to directly hit the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico as a Category 4. The full extent of the devastation in Puerto Rico is still being assessed, but most buildings are damaged or destroyed, and millions are without power or communications.

Mexico Earthquake Relief

Updated on September 20, 2017

Less than two weeks after a devastating 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico’s southern Pacific coast, a second earthquake ripped through central Mexico on September 19th, collapsing buildings and killing over 300 people nationwide. The 7.1 magnitude quake was felt most strongly in and around the country’s capital of Mexico City.

The earlier 8.1 magnitude earthquake, the most powerful to hit Mexico in 85 years, has left at least 96 people dead. Thousands of homes in Chiapas and Oaxaca were damaged or completely destroyed. Relief efforts are underway for the 2.5 million people affected by the first quake.

Hurricane Irma Relief

Updated on September 11, 2017

Hurricane Irma will go down in history as the most potent Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever recorded. It left at least 26 people dead and thousands homeless across the Caribbean. The U.S. Virgin Islands suffered catastrophic damage. As a Category 4 storm, Irma also made landfall in the Florida Keys. It dumped rain across the entirety of Florida causing massive destruction and leaving millions without power.

CharityWatch on Disaster Relief Giving

Watch CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, talking on CBC Business News about the American Red Cross and how donors can give responsibly to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey Relief

Updated on September 8, 2017

Hurricane Harvey is the state of Texas's worst storm in more than 50 years. The death toll related to the storm is relatively low at 70 people. However, Harvey and its record-setting rains caused severe damage in many parts of Texas and Louisiana. The recovery and rebuilding efforts in Harvey's aftermath are expected to take years.

Hurricane Matthew Relief

CharityWatch announces a list of highly efficient and accountable charities involved in efforts to provide emergency relief and humanitarian assistance to Hurricane Matthew victims.

Hurricane Matthew is the most powerful hurricane in the Atlantic in more than a decade. It has left hundreds dead in Haiti where thousands still live in camps six years after the devastating earthquake that killed over 300,000 and left over 1.5 million homeless and four years after it was hit by Hurricane Sandy. The full extent of Matthew's possible destruction in the United States is not yet known.

Dark Cloud Over Red Cross Blood Services Has Finally Been Lifted

After about 22 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has lifted its Consent Decree pertaining to the safety of the blood services operations of the American Red Cross, the nation’s largest supplier of blood products. A consent decree, in general, is a legal arrangement in which the government agrees to drop charges against an accused party who, without admitting guilt, agrees to refrain from certain activities. 

Yemen: Humanitarian Relief

Yemen has been added to the United Nations list of severe humanitarian emergencies, with twenty one million citizens in need of urgent help. Approximately 13 million Yemeni people are hungry and 15 million have no access to health care. An ongoing bombing campaign by Saudi Arabia began in March 2015. The armed conflict has claimed an estimated 3,000 lives, and is the biggest obstacle for relief groups attempting to reach the Yemeni people most in need of aid.

CharityWatch announces a list of highly efficient charities involved in efforts to provide emergency relief and humanitarian assistance to the people of Yemen.

Nepal Earthquake Relief Efforts

Following the devastating earthquakes that hit Nepal in late April and early May 2015, relief efforts to provide food and shelter are likely to be needed for the three months following the earthquakes. Up to two million survivors will need basic relief, such as tents, tarpaulin sheets, toilets, dry food, and safe drinking water.

The earthquake has killed thousands of people in Nepal and dozens in neighboring India, Tibetan China, and Bangladesh. Thousands more have been injured and are displaced in the aftermath of the earthquake. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in Asia, so relief efforts and reconstruction will be largely dependent on aid from international governments and nonprofits.

Ebola Virus Epidemic: Best Way for Donors to Help

As of mid-September 2014, more than 4,784 people have been sickened and at least 2,400 have died. Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have been hardest hit, with cases in Nigeria as well. The current epidemic is spreading more widely than previous Ebola outbreaks, with inadequate access to health care in the countries affected making it particularly difficult to bring the epidemic under control.

While the United States and other world governments have made large pledges for treatment and prevention of the virus, the groups that are working to contain the virus are urgently in need of critical monetary assistance.

Famine Relief Efforts in South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia

Famine was declared in two areas of South Sudan in February 2017. This is the first famine to be declared in the world in over 6 years. Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia are also at risk for famine. A famine is declared by the United Nations when extreme criteria are met. These criteria include: at least 20% of households face extreme food shortages; acute malnutrition rates exceed 33%; and a death rate that is more than two persons per every 100,000 each day. Tens of millions of people are in need of food, but unfortunately are at the mercy of overwhelmed aid systems, continuing wars and widespread conflict.

In Yemen, over 7 million people need emergency food aid. Northeastern Nigeria faces severe acute malnutrition as at least 5 million people face the risk of famine. Somalia is currently in its second year of drought causing crops to fail. In South Sudan, the country's government and the United Nations have warned that over 100,000 people are facing starvation with an additional one million more at risk for famine. Currently, more than 40% of South Sudan's population (4.9 million people) has been described as severly food insecure, according to IPC, an international multi-agency initiative. Funding for aid is urgently needed in all of these countries.

Uganda Emergency Relief

CharityWatch announces its top-rated list of charities offering aid to the estimated 1.6 million displaced Ugandans.

Pakistani Flood Relief

CharityWatch announces its top-rated list of charities involved in Pakistan flood relief efforts.

Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Relief

CharityWatch, a leading charity watchdog that issues letter grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit groups, announces its top-rated list of charities currently involved - or mobilized to provide assistance if it is required - in the earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Japan and possibly elsewhere in the Pacific.

Iraq Crisis Support

CharityWatch announces its top-rated list of charities offering aid to the millions of people facing displacement, water shortages, power outages, and health epidemics.

Indonesia Natural Disaster Relief

CharityWatch announces its top-rated list of charities currently offering services to the victims of the recent earthquake, tsunami, and volcanic eruptions that struck in Indonesia.

Supporting Victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

CharityWatch announces its top-rated charities which continue offering services to the victims of the 2005 Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Southeast U.S.

Supporting Fellow Americans during the Economic Crisis

CharityWatch announces a list of highly efficient charities currently offering services to the increased number of Americans suffering from hunger, mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse, homelessness, old age, or others who are in need of human services during this time of economic crisis.

Haiti Earthquake Relief Efforts

CharityWatch announces its top-rated list of charities involved in continuing Haitian relief efforts following the 2010 earthquake and the ongoing cholera epidemic.

Chilean Earthquake Relief Efforts

CharityWatch announces its top-rated list of charities currently involved, or preparing to become involved, in Chilean earthquake relief efforts.

Superstorm Sandy Relief Efforts

CharityWatch announces its top-rated list of charities involved in efforts to provide relief to victims of Superstorm Sandy, domestically and/or in the Caribbean.

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