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Amazon Rainforest Wildfires

   Aug 27, 2019

CharityWatch announces a list of highly efficient and accountable charities involved in efforts to provide emergency assistance for the Amazon rainforest.

The Amazon rainforest has been on fire for nearly a month, prompting Brazil to declare a state of emergency in the region. The number of fires in Brazil this year is the highest on record since 2013. While wildfires are an annual occurrence during the dry season, this year’s fires are much more intense than in prior years. Experts reportedly believe that the vast majority of the fires can be attributed to humans using fire to clear the land for logging and farming and to an increase in deforestation. The raging fires threaten the protected lands of the indigenous people of Brazil’s rainforest.

The Amazon rainforest generates more than 20% of the world’s oxygen and is home to 10% of the world’s known biodiversity. The Amazon, known as the “lungs of the planet,” plays a major role in regulating the planet’s climate. The entire world would dramatically change if the rainforest were to disappear. The lasting effects of these fires will go far beyond Brazil and the rest of South America.  

The charities listed below perform favorably in relation to CharityWatch benchmarks:
1) A charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program services.
2) A charity should spend no more than $25 to raise $100.

DONORS BEWARE
As with any charitable contribution, Americans wanting to help with disaster relief efforts should only give to legitimate charities with an established track record of helping people in need.

  • Be on guard for a surge of solicitations related to any highly publicized crisis. There will be fraudulent charity solicitations, some involving websites and email links attempting to steal your credit card information for identity theft or insert malware on your computer.
  • Do not respond to, or click on any attachments, links or pictures included in, emails or text messages received from unknown senders.
  • Social media will include many fake victims. Do not donate to unknown individuals purporting to need aid that post on Facebook, GoFundMe, etc. These may be fraudsters, and even if they are legitimate victims, they may receive an unfairly large amount of aid.
  • Scammers may try to use copy-cat names similar to those of well-known charities. Avoid name confusion by independently verifying that the charity is legitimate before you donate. Reputable charities will not pressure you to give immediately.
  • Beware of individuals or others claiming to be third party intermediaries for charities or those in need. It is best to give directly only to the charities that you are confident are legitimate and recognized for providing disaster or humanitarian relief.
SEND A CHECK, NOT GOODS

The best way to help is by sending a check or donating securely by credit card. Such cash donations enable charities to buy the most needed types of food, medicine, clothing, shelter materials, and other supplies. By buying relief products locally or regionally, charities can reduce shipping costs and more rapidly deliver assistance. Before sending any goods, first contact the charity to find out if they are appropriate and if it will be cost effective to distribute them. For example, after a tsunami in the Pacific, boxes of donated winter coats, scarves and fuzzy hats, completely useless items in tsunami-stricken nations with tropical climates, were sent.

CharityWatch identifies the following Top-Rated charities, which are providing assistance for the Amazon rainforest and receive an “A” or “B+” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency. Top-Rated charities also must meet CharityWatch's Governance and Transparency benchmarks. Contact the organizations below for information on specific assistance operations now underway.

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