Hurricane Irma Relief

Posted on September 07, 2017

Updated on September 11, 2017

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

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 of St. John and St. Thomas suffered catastrophic damage. The full extent of the destruction in the Caribbean is widespread and continues to be assessed.

Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane on Sunday, September 10th. At least four deaths were reported in Florida in the wake of the storm. It dumped rain across the entirety of Florida causing massive destruction and leaving millions without power. The storm surge in Jacksonville exceeded a record set by Hurricane Dora in 1964. Parts of downtown Miami were flooded. Many of the islands of the Florida Keys were completely inaccessible in the storm's aftermath.

The Related 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.

Contact your favorite charities to find out if they provide the specific types of aid that you would like to fund, e.g., emergency shelters, food and water, health care, psychological trauma counseling, etc.

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.

People need to be on guard concerning the 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.

Social media will include many fake victims. Do not donate to unknown individuals that purport to need aid that post on Facebook, GoFundMe, Generosity by Indiegogo, YouCaring, etc. These may be fraudsters, and even if they are legitimate victims, they may receive an unfairly large amount of aid. (For more related to crowdfunding sites, see CharityWatch's article: Crowdfunding Popularity Continues to Soar Despite Risks to Donors.)

The best way to help is by sending a check. 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 to these nations.

CharityWatch identifies the following Top-Rated charities, which are providing relief to Hurricane Irma victims 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 relief operations now underway.

Related Charities

All Hands and Hearts - Smart ResponseA+
American Jewish Joint Distribution CommitteeA
American Red CrossB+
Best Friends Animal SocietyB+
Catholic Relief ServicesA+
Church World ServiceA-
Direct Relief & Direct Relief FoundationA
Episcopal Relief & DevelopmentA
Feeding AmericaB+
International Medical CorpsA
Lutheran World ReliefA
MAP InternationalB+
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.A-
Mercy CorpsA
Operation USAA-
Partners In HealthA+
Samaritan's PurseA-
Save the ChildrenA-
Team RubiconA-
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)A+
United States Fund for UNICEFA
World VisionA-

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