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Is CARE USA really Helping Ukrainians? Find Out Here.

   Mar 09, 2022

CharityWatch is becoming increasingly concerned that some charities are getting in on the fundraising opportunity created by the conflict in Ukraine without a clear idea of how they will spend the donations they receive on relief efforts. This is a problem for two primary reasons:

1) Donors who respond to solicitations for donations to provide aid in a humanitarian crisis most often want their donations to be used to ease suffering now, not for some unknown purpose at some future date.

2) Charities that are unclear about how they can help, or that have no experience providing aid in Ukraine or in conflict zones in general, may be siphoning resources away from organizations that are actively providing boots-on-the-ground humanitarian assistance to suffering people right now. 

CharityWatch reached out to several Top-Rated organizations soliciting donations for Ukrainian relief efforts with hard-hitting questions about the amount of donations they have collected so far and how they are using them. We reached out to CARE USA. The charity responded on Friday, March 4th, 2022. This is what we found: 

Q: How much has CARE USA raised so far?

A. "As of March 4, 2022, we are at $12.3 [Million]."

Q. Does CARE USA have a dollar target for the amount of donations it plans to raise to provide aid related to the conflict in Ukraine? If so, will it stop fundraising for this conflict once it has reached this target?

A. "Our current target is $20 [Million]. As the need grows and we expand our services in the region, working through partners and CARE staff, we anticipate increasing the target. We'll fundraise as long as there is humanitarian assistance needed in the region."

Q. What aid is your organization already actively providing in the region related to this conflict? 

A. "CARE USA plans to reach 4 million people (focus on women and girls) affected by the war in Ukraine. The most acute, critical needs identified by CARE's partner organization, "People in Need" (PIN) first responder teams in...Ukraine as well as on border crossing points are multi-sectoral, ranging from food, water, hygiene items, key non-food items such as [mattresses], sleeping bags and blankets, psychosocial support and protection, and sanitation facilities at the overcrowded border crossing areas. Priority response at the moment is to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance in Ukraine, in areas affected by military escalation where millions of people are at risk of loss of life, injury and without access to basic services such as food, water, sanitation and healthcare. This include[s] both areas where our partner organization "People in Need" has been operational in the past years in eastern Ukraine, and western Ukraine which face[s] [a] large IDP [internally displaced people] influx. The priority is thus the operational scale-up and reprogramming of planned activities in newly impacted areas to life-saving activities in response to the escalation. Multipurpose cash (MPC) will be used as a preferred rapid response modality during the first phase of the response wherever operationally feasible. In cases, where cash-based assistance is not feasible or relevant, CARE's partner PIN will provide in-kind assistance. Furthermore, many areas such as Dnepropetrovska oblast and areas along the LoC have been facing disruption in basic service provision[s] and PIN will continue providing multi-sectoral assistance, namely WASH [water, sanitation, and hygiene], food, and psycho-social support. Since the start of the military offensive, PIN teams have been also supporting [PIN's] existing partners among local NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and also new community-based organizations and small response groups in Ukraine and in neighboring countries in order to boost their capacity and quality of emergency response, and this will be continued. All programmes will comprise specific considerations for age, diversity and vulnerability, especially for the provision of basic assistance, and will comply with COVID-19 measures during the delivery of assistance."

Q. Does CARE USA have plans to expand upon the humanitarian aid it is already providing?

A. "PIN's capacity and [long-term] presence in Ukraine will allow a flexible and needs-based response in the following areas:"

1) Multi-Purpose Cash & Food Security: Multipurpose cash assistance will be the most relevant/preferred modality (wherever operationally feasible). PIN has vast experience with providing multipurpose cash transfers to the most vulnerable households in eastern Ukraine. The modality of the MPCA [ multipurpose case assistance] will be decided based on the actual needs of affected population[s] and market situation[s] in the target areas...PIN will also provide ready-to-eat rations and emergency food baskets in areas where markets are disrupted, and nutrition response, if required. 

2) Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH): WASH interventions have been one of the core pillars of PIN's assistance in  Ukraine. PIN will support individuals households and social institutions such as health care facilities with emergency water provision, emergency repairs of water supply system and sanitation facilities, and solid waste management in critical areas. Distribution of hygiene items, including baby and dignity items, for IDPs/refugees has been ongoing and will further continue. Since most people remain dependent on larger water systems, repairs might also be implemented (in coordination with local water suppliers) as soon as access is granted in order to provide safe water to the highest possible number of people in need. Provision of WASH services for displaced population in collective centers...is also expected to be [a] central component of the WASH response. Support to the sheltering institutions might include repair/reestablishment of water supply and sanitation systems if existing, and provision of emergency services if non-existent, as well as focus on hygiene promotion (especially in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic). 

3) Protection: PIN will provide Psychological First Aid and psychosocial support (PSS) to individuals affected by the conflict escalation. PIN has been operating a 24/7 hotline service, where support is provided by specialized psychologists free of charge. PIN could provide training and coaching on innovative PSS methodologies for local practitioners. PIN will also look into establishment of safe spaces for women and girls in communities affected, collective centers and other places of reception of IDPs/refugees.

4)  Shelter & Non-Food Items: The freezing winter temperatures mean emergency shelter assistance and core emergency NFIs [non-food items] are a priority. PIN's shelter and winterization interventions will range from addressing the IDPs/refugees immediate needs by providing NFIs (sleeping bags, blankets, mattresses, etc.) and shelter materials or temporary shelter options for individual households and collective centers such as winterized tents for areas which [have] received large influx[es] of IDPs. Rent of new premises represents a major burden on many of the newly displaced families, thus financial support (in terms of dedicated cash-for-rent grants) will be also considered for the most vulnerable of the displaced families.

5)  Financial Support to Local Responders: Humanitarian response within Ukraine relies largely on capacities and resources of local responders -- local NGOs, community-based organization[s] and local institutions. PIN teams have been financially supporting [PIN's] existing partners and also new community-based organizations and small response groups. PIN will continue supporting existing partners, but will also identify and assess new local responders as well as local institutions in Ukraine and potentially in neighboring countries in order to boost their capacity and quality of emergency response. Accelerated vetting procedure[s] will be done for new entities to ensure transparency and sound management of the transferred funds."

"Depending on the further development of the war in...Ukraine and its impact on the neighboring countries, CARE and its partner organization are constantly monitoring and evaluating the expansion of the current response. This also depends on humanitarian corridors and access for aid workers and aid item deliveries (trucks, trains, etc.)..."

Q. If at some future date CARE USA has completed its operations related to providing aid in this conflict and still has funds left over that people donated specifically for this purpose, what is your organization's policy or plans for how such funds will be used?

A. "Donations will be used towards the purposes for which [they] were raised --efforts in the region to support Ukraine."

Q. Can you provide any information about how much money CARE USA has spent so far providing aid related to this conflict?

A. "So far [as of CARE USA's response to CharityWatch on March 4, 2022] $1 million has been transferred by CARE USA to our partners, exclusive of the funds raised by our European offices."

Why Is CARE USA Top-Rated by CharityWatch?

CharityWatch analyzed the consolidated audited financial statements and IRS tax Form 990 for CARE USA. As part of this process, we segregated the cash donations and expenses the charity received and spent from the non-cash (in-kind) donations of goods and services (such as commodities) it received and distributed so that we can give donors a clearer picture of how efficiently it used its cash donations. To compute the fundraising efficiency with which the charity raised public donations, we excluded any grants or other revenue it received from federal, state, or local governments in the U.S. 

Rating: A

Program %: 90%

Cost to Raise Each $100 of Cash Support: $13

CharityWatch has been rating CARE USA for more than a decade and it has consistently received ratings from CharityWatch that fall into the A-range on our "A+ to F" rating scale. CharityWatch will schedule an update of our rating of CARE USA based on its fiscal 2021 consolidated audited financial statements and IRS Form 990 once complete information becomes available. 

Transparency: CARE USA meets CharityWatch's benchmarks for Transparency. It posts a copy of its most current audited financial statements on its website, and has responded to our questions about its financial reporting (if any) necessary for CharityWatch to complete a meaningful analysis. 

Governance: CharityWatch reviewed the IRS Form 990 for CARE USA to see if it reports having certain policies in place (Conflict of Interest, Whistleblower, Document Retention) and a sufficiently independent board of directors. We also reviewed the consolidated audited financial statements of CARE USA to determine if any governance issues were identified by the charity's auditors that were required to be reported under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). CARE USA meets CharityWatch's governance benchmarks.

      See CharityWatch's complete profile of CARE USA

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