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Late Season Tornado Disaster

   Dec 13, 2021

CharityWatch announces a list of highly efficient and accountable charities involved in efforts to provide emergency assistance and aid for the late-season tornado outbreak disaster.

ATTENTION: The charities listed in this alert were Top-Rated by CharityWatch at the time of its publication. CharityWatch updates our ratings throughout the year. To see if a particular charity is currently Top-Rated, please click on its name, below.

On the evening of December 10th – morning of December 11th, several deadly late-season tornadoes caused devastating destruction and fatalities across portions of the Southern United States and Ohio Valley. The twisters cut a path across five states, beginning in Arkansas and moving through Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, and Kentucky. One tornado sustained an incredibly long path of about 200 miles.

Kentucky was the hardest hit, with four tornadoes touching down. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced on Monday, December 13th that at least 64 people have been killed in the state, but that number is expected to grow. He called the outbreak “the worst tornado event” in Kentucky’s history and said that it will be weeks before the final death toll is known. The small town of Mayfield, Kentucky was decimated by the extreme line of storms. The mayor of Mayfield is warning citizens that the town could be without heat, water, and electricity for a “long time” as authorities survey the damage. Over 28,000 homes in Kentucky were without power in the aftermath. In the other affected states, there were at least 14 fatalities, according to reports.

The list below includes CharityWatch Top-Rated charities that report providing direct aid or other support to help provide relief and assistance for victims of the late-season tornado outbreak disaster.

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.


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.

See CharityWatch's 10 Tips for Giving in a Crisis for additional advice about donating to help victims while avoiding frauds and scams


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 December’s late-season tornado outbreak disaster 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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