American's 100 Best Charities

Release Date: 
November 30, 2002
Publication name: 
Worth Magazine

The Worth 100
To Give Well, Give Wisely
By Reshma Memon Yaqub

As more Americans are bearish about giving, charity is ever more needed. Get the biggest bang for your buck.

We live in a nation of tremendous luxury, yet every three hours, a child is killed by gunfire. Twelve million American kids live in poverty. A third of the women in the United States have been sexually assaulted. Around the world, 37 million people are refugees or have been displaced from their homes.

The facts are alarming. The good news is that we have the power to change them-with our words, with our actions, and, perhaps most important, with our money. That's why Worth, for the second year in a row, set out to identify those charities that are doing the best job, dollar for dollar, of mitigating these problems.

These have not been easy times for charities, however. According to Giving USA 2002, an annual report by the AAFRC Trust for Philanthropy, Americans gave $212 billion to charity in 2001, virtually unchanged from the nearly $211 billion they gave in 2000-but a decline of 2.3 percent in inflation-adjusted terms. More than three-quarters of this money, or $160.7 billion, was donated by individuals, and of that, nearly half came from those with a net worth of $1 million or more.

Essentially, the wealthiest Americans are the ones holding philanthropy together, but that support is getting shakier. A 2002 study by Phoenix Companies found that 69 percent of people with a net worth of at least $1 million feel obligated to give, down from 79 percent in 2001. Clearly, the combination of a two-year-old bear market and a slow economic recovery has made people insecure about their wealth. Corporations are feeling less charitable too: In 2001, they gave 14.5 percent less than in 2000. Donor confidence has also been eroded by scandals involving accountability at some charities.

Change is under way. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service, which audits just 1 percent of tax-exempt groups, has made a commitment to be more stringent. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a watchdog group in Arlington, Virginia, recently raised its standards, requiring charities to make budgets available to the public and spend 65 percent of revenue on programs (up from 60 percent). Charities are becoming more transparent about how they use donations, while donors are increasingly restricting gifts to certain programs.

We have made some important modifications to this year's list of the top 100 charities. Last year, we excluded religious organizations because they are not required to make their financial information public. This time, we made exceptions for four crucial faith-based groups, including the Salvation Army and Volunteers of America. We continue to require that charities be national or international in scope, be nonpolitical, and have a track record of at least three years. About half the groups on this list are new. The environment, health, and relief categories have been pared down; the education category reflects a new priority on K-12 public education. Human services is our only expanded category, reflecting an increasing reliance on these basic services. We've also added the arts, but because their impact is typically regional, we focused on five major cultural centers-New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Exclusion from our list is not an indictment. Many more good charities out there are doing good work and deserve your support. But we are confident that the charities on this list will spend your money wisely and will do their best to change some of the grim facts of today's world that we all face.
How We Chose
The United States has more than 800,000 public charities, all trying in their own way to make a difference. We set out to find the 100 nonprofits that have had the biggest impact and see how those groups spend the money you invest in them.

Choosing among charities is never easy. We interviewed hundreds of philanthropy experts to come up with a preliminary list of some 200 nonprofits. We then asked those groups to provide detailed information on their programs and copies of their last three tax returns. All nonreligious charities with more than $25,000 in revenue are required to file IRS Form 990. In the case of charities whose 990s represented only their national headquarters, we agreed to use audited financial data for the entire organization.

For each charity, we took a three-year average of the percentage of its total revenue that is allocated to programs, administration, fundraising, and reserves for the future, and represented those percentages as dollar amounts per $100 donated. The annual revenue figure listed here is from the most recent year.

Some of the figures, however, can be deceiving. New organizations that are still establishing a donor base, nonprofits that serve less glamorous causes, and groups that get much of their revenue from government grants or that charge for services typically have lower fundraising costs. Groups that appear to be saving at an excessive rate may be forced to do so: Gifts can be restricted by donors, making that money unavailable for spending (sometimes permanently, as with gifts to an endowment).

Industry watchdogs recommend that charities spend at least 50 percent of revenue or 65 percent of expenses on programs and no more than 35 percent on fundraising. While seven nonprofits on our list spent less than half their revenue on programs, five of those had reserves that were at least 50 percent restricted; MoMA's were 45 percent restricted. The conservation groups' ratios are skewed because they are forced to report land acquisitions as a capital cost rather than a program expense. Each of our charities spends at least 65 percent of expenses on programs.

You can always find out more about any charity that interests you. Upon request, a nonprofit must send you its annual report and its three most recent 990s. The 990s for several hundred thousand charities are available at In addition, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance (703-276-0100) and the American Institute of Philanthropy (773-529-2300) publish free guides listing charities that meet their standards. Visit for links to these and other organizations that can assist with your philanthropy.
How They Spend Your Money
For each $100 that's donated, here's what the charity directs to programs (example above), fundraising (FNDR), administration (ADMIN), and future reserves (RES). *DENOTES FIGURES FOR HEADQUARTERS ONLY.
The Environment
An old Cree Indian prophecy warns, "Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last river has been poisoned, the last fish caught-only then will you find that money cannot be eaten." Too far off to affect us? Maybe not. In the North Atlantic, Americans catch only half as much food fish such as cod, flounder, hake, and haddock as 50 years ago, for triple the effort, according to the Ocean Conservancy. Three percent of U.S. giving, or $6.4 billion, went to environmental groups in 2001, up 1 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars from the previous year.

Conservation Fund
FNDR $1 ADMIN $3 RES $37
Conservation Fund works with companies, government agencies, and landowners to create solutions that make economic and environmental sense. In a poor North Carolina county, for example, it is helping residents to develop sustainable forestry and create an ecotourism industry. In Grayslake, Illinois, it worked with a developer to create a residential community that protects the landscape; because the homes are clustered, more than half the development's 678 acres remain open and protected. CF brings together leaders from conservation groups and businesses to discuss ways to work with one another, and it holds training sessions to build the leadership capacity of environmental organizations.

Conservation International
FNDR $3 ADMIN $5 RES $47
Conservation International uses scientific and economic data to convince governments to set aside and protect biologically important lands. CI sometimes offers economic incentives as well and typically provides the money and technical support that governments need to enforce new protections. This year, with CI's support, Cambodia agreed to preserve a million acres that hold most of the country's large mammals and half its birds, reptiles, and amphibians. CI also helps communities develop sources of income that are environmentally friendly and advises companies on how to reduce their ecological footprints and still remain profitable. In 2001, it helped Starbucks devise new coffee-purchasing guidelines whereby suppliers who meet environmental standards are rewarded. The high reserve is due to restricted gifts.

FNDR $15 ADMIN $7 RES $19
Earthjustice does its most important work in the courts. Recent victories: In 2001, it convinced the Supreme Court to reject industry challenges to higher air-quality standards for soot and smog. This year, because of an Earthjustice suit, a federal court ordered the Federal Aviation Authority to reduce noise pollution over the Grand Canyon. Pending cases seek to reduce asthma-inducing pollution in California's Central Valley, enforce the Clean Water Act in dozens of states, and preserve a program to eliminate most road building and logging in roadless areas of the national forests.

Natural Resources Defense Council
FNDR $9 ADMIN $6 RES $21
Even by environmentalist standards, this is a relentless group of lawyers and scientists. It was the NRDC that finally got a judge to force the Bush administration to turn over controversial documents revealing which energy executives had been invited to help shape national energy policy (the administration has yet to comply). And it was the NRDC that thwarted plans to build an international airport between Everglades and Biscayne National Parks. Farther from home, NRDC's BioGems campaign recently helped save Guatemala's Maya Biosphere Reserve from oil exploration by a Houston company and helped protect Costa Rica's Talamanca coastal region from industrial development.

The Nature Conservancy
FNDR $6 ADMIN $6 RES $46
The Nature Conservancy identifies areas of land and water where plant and animal species need to be protected. It then buys and/or manages the areas-a total of 94 million acres in 29 countries. In 2001, the Nature Conservancy developed conservation plans with the governments of China and Micronesia. Note: The IRS requires the organization to report land-acquisition and land-management costs as capital allocations, not as program expenses, which appears to dilute the amount that TNC spends on programs.

The Ocean Conservancy
FNDR $16 ADMIN $12 RES $-8
The Ocean Conservancy is working to apply to the oceans the same conservation ethic that has protected special areas of our land. In 2001, it helped the Tortugas secure the status of America's first Ocean Wilderness area. This year, through its annual International Coastal Cleanup program, 800,000 volunteers removed 12.5 million pounds of trash from the world's coastlines.

World Resources Institute
FNDR $4 ADMIN $13 RES $12
If you like your environmental groups less confrontational and more cooperative, World Resources Institute might be for you. WRI builds partnerships with governments, companies, environmental groups, and schools. It's working with the governments of Mexico City and Shanghai to reduce gridlock and air pollution and is helping corporations such as IBM and General Motors to increase their use of green power sources.

World Wildlife Fund
FNDR $10 ADMIN $4 RES $14
Out in the field, WWF conducts scientific research and tracks illegal trade in endangered species. At the policy level, it advises governments and international organizations on environmental policies and treaties. It works with corporations and communities to change harmful practices. It recently helped the Chinese government identify scientific substitutes for body parts of endangered species long used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Relief and Development
Lines on a map don't mean as much as they used to. These organizations are on the ground-often at their own peril-providing emergency assistance to victims of disaster and war and implementing changes to allow poor communities to help themselves. The advocacy groups here push policy makers to step in when needed. Just a fraction of 1 percent of the U.S. government's budget goes to foreign aid; 2 percent of U.S. charity dollars went to international affairs in 2001, for a total of $4.1 billion, a 10 percent increase from 2000, adjusted for inflation.

American Refugee Committee
Thirty-six million people are displaced annually by war and civil strife. ARC provides them with both health services and what it calls transition services-small business loans, legal assistance, counseling, and other support necessary to rebuild their lives. In Guinea, ARC's efforts include preventing sexual violence against women in refugee camps and teaching women literacy through classes on reproductive health. In Sierra Leone, it provided vocational training for combatants from the recently ended civil war.

Ashoka: Innovators for the Public
FNDR $4 ADMIN $3 RES $50
Ashoka seeks social entrepreneurs whose work makes a difference in health, education, the environment, human rights, economic development, and civic participation. The entrepreneurs become Ashoka fellows and receive three-year stipends (hence the large reserve) and technical assistance designed to make them even more effective. A total of 1,200 fellows now operate in 44 countries. Projects include an emergency hotline for street children in India, the first community program for HIV prevention in Nigeria, and a program to teach computer skills to kids in Brazilian slums.

Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere provides the world's poorest people with lifesaving and dignity-restoring services, from emergency relief (food, water, and shelter) and long-term educational and economic initiatives. In Niger, CARE teaches women to build businesses through community savings groups. In Peru, it has helped citizens lobby for legislation guaranteeing basic education for girls. CARE is massive, with a budget that would suffice for some small countries, and it has a big impact. Through its efforts, 18.6 million people in 31 countries gained access to clean water and sanitation last year, and 2.6 million people in 42 countries were trained in agriculture and natural-resource management.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières*
FNDR $10 ADMIN $2 RES $6
A Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 confirmed what aid workers have seen in the worst places on earth: Doctors Without Borders fearlessly delivers emergency and long-term medical care in regions devastated by natural or man-made disasters. The organization's critical initiatives include focusing the world's attention on humanitarian violations and providing mental health care alongside physical care. It also demands medicines for diseases prevalent only in developing countries. (Drug companies sometimes halt production of such drugs when it's not profitable, or make drugs too expensive for developing countries.)

International Center for Research on Women
FNDR $1 ADMIN $22 RES $18
Among marginalized populations, women are typically marginalized even further. ICRW works to improve the lives of poor women and to advance equality around the world. Its currency, however, is not material comfort, à la CARE, but information. Its data and analyses are regularly used by decision makers to create and adjust programs. ICRW is heavily committed to working with governments and international organizations to help them develop better policies to deal with problems that affect women. In West Africa, for example, ICRW is helping the U.S. Agency for International Development to establish cross-border trade by women. In India, it is educating the public and the government about domestic violence.

International Medical Corps
IMC brings medical expertise to dangerous and remote regions torn apart by conflict or natural disaster, and helps build or rebuild local health care infrastructures. In addition to providing emergency medical care, it establishes training facilities for health workers and prepares them to meet the needs of local people. In East Timor, which had fewer than 20 doctors to treat a population of 900,000 after the country was all but destroyed in the process of achieving independence from Indonesia in 1999, IMC educated hundreds of health care workers. In Sierra Leone, IMC trained local surgeons to fix the scars of children who had been kidnapped, forced to serve as soldiers, and branded by warring factions. Much of the organization's work focuses on women and children, who constitute 80 percent of displaced survivors of war.

International Rescue Committee
The venerable IRC provides humanitarian relief (from water to schooling), resettlement help, and advocacy for refugees and internally displaced people. Some of these refugees are fleeing persecution; others are caught in the crossfire of war. The IRC helps reunite children separated from their parents during conflicts, particularly children who were forced to become soldiers. It helps up to 10,000 people find refuge in the United States annually (though it reports that because of policy changes in the wake of 9/11, the total number of refugees admitted this year may be at a 25-year low). The committee works in 30 countries.

Mercy Corps
FNDR $2.75 ADMIN $4 RES $.25
Mercy Corps works on relief and development projects with local organizations in more than 30 countries. It helps communities solve problems that can lead to conflicts such as those involving access to water, markets, and education. In 2001, Mercy Corps gave 6,000 loans totaling $10 million to small businesses in Bosnia. In Indonesia, it gave hundreds of grants to community relief associations.

Oxfam America
FNDR $15 ADMIN $3 RES $17
Oxfam supports community organizations that are working to combat poverty, hunger, and social injustice and to create sustainable change. One example: In Zimbabwe, where by some estimates half the population is at risk of starvation, Oxfam is operating a massive food-aid program in partnership with the Association of Women's Clubs. (When women have control over food distribution, Oxfam says, one result is the elimination of the sexual abuse and child exploitation that sometimes accompany such power.) With its size and reputation, Oxfam is also known for its effectiveness in speaking to (which is to say, pressuring) governments about making humanitarian assistance a priority.

FNDR $5 ADMIN $12 RES $3
Pact works in Africa, Asia, and Latin America in a field it calls capacity building-that is, helping community organizations improve their delivery of services. In Mongolia, with Pact's assistance, local media were better able to report the economic news that Gobi Desert herders need to set their cashmere prices. In Nepal, working through a literacy program with local groups, it has helped 120,000 women to create their own village banks without outside capital. In Indonesia, it has helped 29 groups hold town meetings where citizens have resolved hundreds of local disputes involving taxes, transportation, land use, and water and fishing rights. Note: Pact's fundraising costs are folded into its administrative costs; hence the low number in the first category and the high number in the second.

Refugees International
Refugees International's advocacy teams travel to areas of emerging humanitarian crisis to assess the survival needs (food, shelter, supplies, and protection) of victims and then campaign for appropriate government solutions-and for the world's attention. This year, RI advocated for expanded peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan; last year, RI pushed for the United States' $320 million humanitarian aid package to Afghanistan (where RI had been sending assessment missions long before 9/11). RI's 2001 report that a lack of sanitary materials in Tanzanian refugee camps was keeping girls from attending school led the United Nations to commit to providing those essentials. In 2000, RI's early recognition of the needs of displaced Eritreans led to a quick response from the United States and averted a major humanitarian disaster.

Save the Children
FNDR $11 ADMIN $5 RES $3
Save the Children's overseas programs in 40 countries include food aid (it sees the greatest need now in southern Africa), education (helping to rebuild schools and increasing girls' access to education in Afghanistan), health care (its recent State of the World's Newborns report describes low-cost ways to improve newborn survival rates), and economic-development programs. Save the Children focuses on mothers in particular, because when mothers thrive, so do children. Save the Children can teach other nonprofits a thing or two about marketing: The organization consolidates funds from its famous child-sponsorship efforts to benefit entire communities. All this effort is not dedicated strictly to people in the far reaches: In the United States, Save the Children provides more than 125,000 children with after-school programs.

The U.S. Committee for Refugees
FNDR $3 ADMIN $3 RES $-2
Called the conscience of the refugee world, the USCR, a program of Immigration and Refugee Services of America, visits crisis areas to document the conditions of uprooted people. Its reports and its advocacy are significant catalysts for policy action. Its annual World Refugee Survey provides critical statistics about refugees and displaced people. The USCR is currently drawing attention to West Africa, where humanitarian programs are severely strained, and is urging the United States to restore its refugee resettlement program to pre-9/11 levels.
Diseases can be cured, and they can be prevented. Medical science has developed the tools to treat or cure many of the sicknesses that used to carry a death sentence-tuberculosis, polio, malaria, and many types of cancer-but many more still haunt us. Most of these organizations fund research, educate the public, and lobby legislators in hopes of moving information about our current ailments from the medical books to the history books. Americans gave 8.7 percent of their gifts to health last year, or $18.4 billion, a 5 percent inflation-adjusted drop.

Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association
FNDR $14 ADMIN $7 RES $8
Our country is poised for an Alzheimer's epidemic. More than 4 million Americans have the disease, and the number could exceed 14 million by 2050. The Alzheimer's Association funded more than $16 million of research this year. The association advocates for increased federal funding of research and represents the interests of Alzheimer's families. Its recent victories include getting Congress to prohibit Medicare from denying coverage for medical services based on a diagnosis of Alzheimer's and expanding Medicaid's definition of homebound beneficiaries to include those who are in adult day care. Last year, ADRDA's Safe Return program located more than 1,000 patients who had wandered away from home.

American Cancer Society
FNDR $18 ADMIN $6 RES $13
The American Cancer Society, perhaps the most visible health-related charity in the country, never stops pushing. In 2001, it spent $130 million on research, successfully pushed for passage and implementation of 127 new laws at the state level (including laws mandating coverage for colorectal screenings), worked in a coalition to increase tobacco excise taxes in 18 states, and answered 1.3 million calls to a 24-hour information center. The ACS is widely respected as both a collaborator and a leader among the legions of voluntary health organizations.

American Diabetes Association
FNDR $17 ADMIN $5 RES $4
More than 17 million Americans have diabetes (6.2 percent of the population), and more than 16 million have pre-diabetes. The ADA funds research, advocates for the rights of people with diabetes, and educates patients and health care workers. Partly because of the association's efforts, the National Institutes of Health has more than doubled its funding for diabetes in the past five years, to $770 million annually. The association is trying to convince pharmaceutical companies to buy access to a computerized patient-simulation program that can be used to test drugs. New outreach programs target African American, Native American, and Latino communities, all disproportionately affected by diabetes.

American Foundation for AIDS Research
FNDR $17 ADMIN $6 RES $12
Since 1985, amfAR has funded AIDS research. Its grantees have made major breakthroughs, including synthesizing the precursor to T-20 (also known as Fuzeon), a drug likely to win FDA approval soon. Current research projects include identifying new treatment options for patients who have developed a resistance to existing drugs and developing vaccines and microbicides. Asia is expected to be the next epicenter of AIDS, and amfAR is pushing for improvements in the health care infrastructure there and in medical providers' knowledge about AIDS. The new amfAR Global Link report, the first international compendium of HIV/AIDS clinical trials, is available online.

American Heart Association
FNDR $18 ADMIN $7 RES $3
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the United States. Nearly 62 million Americans are afflicted, and the goal of the American Heart Association is to reduce that by 25 percent by 2010. AHA funds research and advocates for legislation and funding to promote heart health. It develops courses to train the public and health professionals in administering CPR and in using automated external defibrillators, which can restart a heart.

The Arc
FNDR $6 ADMIN $10 RES $-7
The Arc advocates for the 7 million Americans with mental retardation and related developmental disabilities. It helps them gain access to services to which they are entitled (including appropriate public education) and educates the public about preventing the causes of retardation during pregnancy and early childhood.

Arthritis Foundation
FNDR $12 ADMIN $7 RES $1
One in six Americans, including kids, has arthritis, making it the country's leading cause of disability. The Arthritis Foundation funded $28.5 million in research last year. It has begun to push for legislation to create arthritis public health programs in every state (five have programs so far), and it advocates for improved prescription coverage. In 2001, the Arthritis Foundation established a research alliance of pediatric rheumatologists to improve the lives of children suffering from arthritis and a grant program to promote early detection of osteoarthritis, the most common form of the disease.

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
FNDR $2 ADMIN $7 RES $38
Americans smoke 420 billion cigarettes a year, causing 87 percent of lung cancer cases and most cases of emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids aims to deter smokers by pushing for increased taxes on cigarettes. This year, 20 states and Puerto Rico imposed higher cigarette taxes. The organization is pushing for legislation to give the FDA authority over tobacco products and over the marketing of tobacco to kids. It's also steering states to use appropriately the $246 billion awarded to them by the tobacco industry in 1998 to fund prevention programs.

March of Dimes
FNDR $17 ADMIN $8 RES $1
The March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation is all about healthy babies. Last year, it funded $26.5 million for research into birth defects and also provided its usual potent mix of community services, education, and advocacy. Next month, the March of Dimes will debut a $75 million Prematurity Prevention campaign, with the goal of reducing premature births by 15 percent in five years. It has begun a program to help states expand their newborn screening programs. Through a pilot program, it also helps parents with babies in neonatal intensive care.

National Mental Health Association*
It's been a stressful year. The NMHA is dedicated to helping us cope. The association educates Americans about mental wellness and advocates for the 54 million people in this country who have mental disorders, including depression. It works with schools and communities to prevent violence, and it advocates for legislation to break down insurance barriers to mental-health care. Coalitions that are trained by NMHA rallied this year to reduce proposed funding cuts for mental-health services: In Missouri, $92 million in cuts were restored; in Illinois, $12 million.

National Organization for Rare Disorders
FNDR $5 ADMIN $7 RES $23
A particular kind of stress comes with having what is known as an orphan disease-one that affects fewer than 200,000 Americans. It's harder to find a doctor who is familiar with your condition, a drug company that finds your problem worth its research efforts, and other families that share your predicament. NORD is the advocate for patients with any of the more than 6,000 orphan diseases, which collectively affect 25 million of us. It acts as a network for single-disease groups, connects and informs families, educates physicians, and leans on legislators to provide funding and resources. The pending Rare Diseases Act of 2002 would provide a government office dedicated to rare diseases. The Rare Diseases Orphan Product Development Act of 2002, also pending, would provide $25 million a year for clinical trials of new drugs and medical tools.

Ronald McDonald House Charities*
Since 1974, members of the 18 million families with sick children being treated away from home have found refuge in the 218 Ronald McDonald houses in 21 countries. RMHC also operates mobile medical units that give poor kids basic medical and dental care and that link them to health and insurance programs in their states. In two years, 12,000 kids in 11 communities have been helped. The bulk of RMHC's spending, however, is in the form of grants to groups that directly improve the health of children. All administrative and some fundraising expenses for these various efforts are covered by McDonald's.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
FNDR $12 ADMIN $9 RES $19
St. Jude is a first-rate hospital with a leading research facility attached. Or vice versa. Either way, the strict emphasis is on children with serious illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, and sickle cell. The hospital, located in Memphis, treats 4,300 kids a year, and everything, including costs for families during their visits to Memphis, is paid for by the charity's funding arm, the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities.
Human Services
Recession takes a double toll on human service groups: It increases the number of unemployed people who must turn to them, and it causes state governments to trim their budgets. These 29 groups help those in need by providing food, shelter, a living wage, or safety from abusive situations. They also help children to lead more productive lives by providing them with mentors or offering constructive activities. About 10 percent of U.S. donations last year went to human services ($20.7 billion, a 12 percent increase in inflation-adjusted dollars).

America's Second Harvest*
Second Harvest provides emergency food to 23.3 million people every year through 216 rescue organizations and food banks.

American Red Cross
The Red Cross's new leadership, renewed efforts at accountability, and continued impact on human service outweigh the turmoil that kept it off last year's list.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America*
These mentors help kids hone their study habits, develop confidence, and improve relations with adults. BBBSA serves 220,000 kids; its goal is 1 million by 2010.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America
FNDR $4 ADMIN $12 RES $9
After school, 15 million kids are on their own; juvenile crime doubles, and victimization of kids increases. These 3,000 clubs serving 3.3 million kids are critical.

Catholic Charities
Every year, Catholic Charities' 180 independent local agencies help 7 million people of all faiths.

Child Welfare League of America
FNDR $2 ADMIN $3 RES $-1
CWLA provides adoption and foster care services for abused and neglected children.

Children's Defense Fund
FNDR $5 ADMIN $11 RES $20
CDF speaks for kids who can't speak for themselves: those who are poor, have no health insurance, or are victims of violence.

Family Violence Prevention Fund
FNDR $1 ADMIN $1 RES $19
FVPF trains judges, health workers, and employers to respond to abuse and teaches violence prevention to boys.

Girl Scouts*
FNDR $1 ADMIN $9 RES $-0.20
Girl Scouts teaches 2.8 million girls skills and self-esteem. Its Research Institute studies healthy girls' development and provides policy information.

Goodwill Industries International*
FNDR $0.29 ADMIN $13 RES $-0.67
Goodwill helps more than a half million people join or advance in the workforce. Its national office is supported by grants and dues.

Habitat for Humanity International
FNDR $20 ADMIN $4 RES $9
Habitat volunteers and recipient families have built more than 125,000 homes in 83 countries-more than 40,000 in the U.S.

FNDR $9 ADMIN $17 RES $5
Since 1995, KaBOOM! has helped build more than 400 playgrounds and renovate 1,500 more, mostly in low-income areas.

Lutheran Services in America
FNDR $0.30 ADMIN $8 RES $4
LSA's network of 281 agencies provided 5.8 million people in the U.S. and the Caribbean with relief, health care, adoption services, hospice care, and more in 2001. These consolidated figures cover 85 percent of LSA's members.

Mentor/National Mentoring Partnership
FNDR $10 ADMIN $8 RES $28
Mentor helps groups find mentors and establishes the best practices for mentorship. Its Web site lists mentoring opportunities.

National Alliance to End Homelessness
FNDR $3 ADMIN $5 RES $-2
The Alliance supports 2,500 groups seeking to end homelessness through prevention, quick rehousing, and better legislation.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
When a child is missing, NCMEC speeds response and facilitates communication among law enforcement agencies. It has helped find more than 67,000 children.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
FNDR $9 ADMIN $11 RES $-1
Knowing that fear of poverty is just one reason women stay in abusive situations, NCADV developed an Economic Literacy Project. It also refers battered women for free plastic surgery and provides them with cell phones.

National Coalition for the Homeless
FNDR $12 ADMIN $2 RES $5
The coalition advocates for laws to protect the homeless and for programs to serve them. Through its efforts, homeless people organize self-help and political action groups and can attend school or vote without an address.

National Council of YMCAs
FNDR $2 ADMIN $15 RES $11
The YMCA's 2,493 independent branches provide child care, sports, substance-abuse prevention, and job training to 18.3 million members (half of them kids).

National Crime Prevention Council
NCPC partners with communities to make schools and neighborhoods safer, implementing plans to reduce crime and keep prevention at the fore of policy.

National Partnership for Women & Families
FNDR $8 ADMIN $6 RES $15
After helping to engineer the Family & Medical Leave Act of 1993, NPWF is working to get the first-ever statewide paid-leave legislation passed in California.

National Youth Employment Coalition
NYEC is a crucial force in keeping youth-employment and youth-development programs on track and on the radar of policy makers and funders.

Prevent Child Abuse America*
FNDR $17 ADMIN $6 RES $15
Child abuse costs us $258 million a day. Prevent Child Abuse strikes at the root of the problem by teaching parents coping skills.

Salvation Army
FNDR $4 ADMIN $10 RES $14
In 2001, this church provided nearly 38 million Americans with food, lodging, disaster relief, job aid, drug rehabilitation, and more.

Share Our Strength
FNDR $11 ADMIN $8 RES $3
SOS has given more than $64 million to 1,000 anti-hunger and anti-poverty groups in 18 years. It also teaches nutrition, cooking, and finance to poor people.

Special Olympics*
FNDR $17 ADMIN $7 RES $11
Special Olympics serves 1 million people with mental retardation annually. It improves the health of its athletes via on-site exams, health worker education, advocacy, and the sharing of health data.

Volunteers of America
Christian group VOA requires no religious commitment from its volunteers or from the 1.4 million people it serves every year.

Youth Law Center
FNDR $2 ADMIN $5 RES $14
YLC works to ensure that the half million kids in the custody of the welfare and justice systems get treatment and services.

YouthBuild USA*
FNDR $3 ADMIN $14 RES $15
YouthBuild prepares high school dropouts for the GED and teaches them job skills-typically by building homes for poor families.
What's 10 times 10? It depends on whom you ask. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only one-quarter of students in the fourth and eighth grades and 17 percent in the 12th grade can do arithmetic at or above proficient levels. The nonprofit groups we list here are largely focused on tightening the achievement gap in K-12 public education. Fifteen percent of charitable gifts in 2001 went to education-including colleges-for a total of $31.8 billion, a 2.3 percent decline from the previous year, adjusted for inflation.

AVID Center
FNDR $1 ADMIN $10 RES $26
Advancement Via Individual Determination trains schools to help mostly underprivileged C and D students improve their odds of getting into college. Trained teachers spend one period a school day mentoring, motivating, and teaching study skills to students who have applied to the program. Then, under AVID policy and with the administration's support, the students are placed in those schools' most rigorous classes. Ninety-five percent of AVID grads go to college, compared with 63 percent of high school grads nationwide. Eighty-five percent of AVID grads remain enrolled in college after two years. More than 1,500 schools in 21 states and 15 countries have purchased AVID's program, which was developed by Mary Catherine Swanson, named America's Best Teacher in 2001 by Time magazine and CNN.

A Better Chance
FNDR $10 ADMIN $6 RES $49
ABC recruits academically talented poor and middle-income minority students and places them in 225 top private and public schools. The schools provide scholarships, and ABC covers shortfalls and special needs, including living expenses. ABC also provides long-term mentoring to help the kids adjust to their new environments. Down the road, it helps them find internships and jobs. Since its creation by the headmasters of 23 private schools in 1963, ABC has placed more than 10,000 students. Its high reserve is due to a restricted $10 million gift.

Communities in Schools*
FNDR $4 ADMIN $22 RES $-16
CIS knows that kids can't focus on learning if they're hungry or scared or they can't see the blackboard. It integrates needed services such as mentoring, counseling, vision screenings, day care, job training, and gang prevention into schools so teachers and students are free to focus on academics. The national office supports 179 independent CIS organizations, which operate at 2,500 schools in 32 states and reach 1.9 million kids annually.

Education Trust
FNDR $1 ADMIN $15 RES $-8
Education is a highly politicized field, but ask education experts of all political ilks to identify the most effective advocate for poor and minority students, and they'll say Education Trust. The organization comes at this from two directions: political advocacy and classroom changes. It trains teachers to analyze the effectiveness of their assignments and helps districts rework curricula so that all students, not just the most gifted, can learn. Education Trust's hard-hitting reports-such as one this year that showed that teachers in schools with high concentrations of poor and minority students lack educational backgrounds in the subjects they teach-shape the national debate on education.

Just for the Kids
FNDR $3 ADMIN $14 RES $28
JFTK analyzes long-term student achievement data to identify high-performing schools and then creates online profiles against which individual schools can benchmark themselves. It studies the best practices at those schools and trains educators to replicate them through seminars and online training materials. JFTK started in Texas, as Just for the Texas Kids, and is expanding to 13 more states.

KIPP Foundation
FNDR $1 ADMIN $16 RES $10
Knowledge Is Power Program trains teachers to open rigorous, independent public middle schools in largely poor communities; 75 percent of the 1,700 students at 15 KIPP schools are from families that meet federal poverty guidelines. Students sign commitments to work hard and spend up to two-thirds more time in the classroom than students at other public schools. Since the first KIPP schools were founded in 1995, in New York City and Houston, results have been consistently impressive. KIPP students have earned $18 million in scholarships for high school, and 99 percent go on to attend college-prep schools. Expect up to 19 new schools next year.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
FNDR $3 ADMIN $8.02 RES $-0.02
NBPTS is ratcheting up expectations for teachers by establishing criteria for what they should know. Teachers with bachelor's degrees and three years' experience (and state certification, if their state requires it) can apply for National Board certification. The process requires 200 to 400 hours of work during a school year, and half of those who complete the work achieve certification. Among educators, NBPTS certification is a mark of distinction; more than 400 school districts and 48 states give financial incentives to certified teachers. So far, more than 16,000 teachers are certified nationwide; the goal is 100,000 by 2006.

Public Education Network
FNDR $2 ADMIN $10 RES $47
PEN aims to create a movement of "education voters" who will vote according to politicians' records of supporting public education. It informs the public about getting involved and refusing to accept poor conditions, bad teachers, and low standards at local schools, both through its Web site and through public events held by its network of local education funds (LEFs) in 29 states and Washington, D.C. PEN also provides technical and financial assistance to LEFs to help them work with local school districts to improve their schools. A Philadelphia LEF recently conducted a study to convince its district that dropping the requirement that teachers live within the city limits would alleviate its teacher shortage. Another LEF goal: bringing medical care and other services that kids need into schools. PEN's high reserve is due to many restricted gifts.

Reach Out and Read*
FNDR $4 ADMIN $6 RES $32
Little kids who don't read become big kids who fail in school. Through Reach Out and Read, doctors "vaccinate" kids against failure by "prescribing" reading aloud. At each checkup from age 6 months to 5 years, doctors give kids a free book. They also counsel parents on the lifelong benefits to children of reading with their parents. Last year, more than 14,000 pediatricians participated in the program, and 1.5 million kids received books.

Reading Recovery Council*
FNDR $1 ADMIN $16 RES $14
Reading Recovery works to close the achievement gap before it's too big. It targets the 20 percent of a school's first graders with the lowest reading scores-the kids who have not grasped the complex concepts of reading and writing. Teachers are trained to give students 30 minutes of one-on-one daily reading instruction for 12 to 20 weeks. More than 80 percent of the kids who complete these lessons catch up to the classroom average in reading and writing. In 2001, more than 10,000 schools paid to use this program for 152,241 first graders.

Rural School and Community Trust
FNDR $4 ADMIN $4 RES $17
One-quarter of U.S. kids go to school in rural areas or small towns. This group works to increase the number and quality of rural teachers by improving their training, certification, and pay. It advocates for funding of rural schools and for appropriate state policies such as opting for many small schools instead of a few big ones, which may be more economical but require kids to travel long distances. It also promotes place-based education: learning rooted in local history, culture, and literature.

Success for All Foundation
FNDR $0 ADMIN $13 RES $6
Success for All sells regimented pre-K to eighth-grade reading programs to schools; the foundation raises funds through the fees, so donations go to programs. Teachers must adhere to a highly structured schedule and a script, so SFA won't sell its program to a school unless 80 percent of teachers vote to use it. Despite criticism of its methods, SFA is considered a good option in schools needing test-score improvements as required by the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act. At 57 schools that use SFA programs in New York City, the percentage of fourth graders scoring proficient or better on the state English Language Arts test has improved 6.9 points since 2000, compared with 4.8 points in the rest of the city. Last school year, 1,500 schools in 48 states used SFA's reading program; 170 used its math program too.

Teach for America
FNDR $5 ADMIN $4 RES $49
Teach for America trains recent college grads to become teachers and then places them in low-income urban and rural public schools. It's currently undergoing a massive expansion effort. By 2002, it was training or had placed 2,500 teachers, and it aims for 4,000 by 2005. Applicants have tripled in the past year, to 14,000. Studies show that despite their lack of formal educational training, TFA teachers continue to meet or exceed the results of other new teachers. TFA graduates often continue in the education world; two of its alumni founded KIPP Academies, now the KIPP Foundation. Note: TFA's reserves appear high because they include large uncollected commitments earmarked to finance its expansion.
The Arts
The arts are the philanthropic sector least affected by recession: In 2001, Americans gave $12.1 billion, or 5.7 percent of their gifts, to the arts (up 2.7 percent from 2000 in inflation-adjusted dollars). But that doesn't mean arts organizations aren't scrambling. In 2001 and 2002, they've dealt with declining ticket sales, a dearth of tourists, some high-stakes reneging on pledges, and a decrease in government support. Arts groups that had relied on corporate contributions were particularly affected. These 24 nonprofits represent the best of our country's culture. Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation
FNDR $3 ADMIN $10 RES $31
Alvin Ailey passed away in 1989, but his company has thrived under the leadership of his muse, Judith Jamison. This year, the foundation received a National Medal of Arts, the first for a dance company. It is currently raising funds for a new building in New York City-hence its substantial reserves.

Boston Symphony Orchestra
FNDR $4 ADMIN $9 RES $27
In addition to the programs that have made the Boston Symphony justly famous-namely, the summer Tanglewood apprenticeship program and festival and the renowned Boston Pops-the BSO plays another important role in the world of classical music. Its prestigious Tanglewood Music Center has trained 20 percent of the musicians (and 30 percent of all first-chair players) in the nation's leading orchestras.

Brooklyn Academy of Music
FNDR $9 ADMIN $18 RES $8
BAM is the quintessential buzzing urban cultural center. In 2002, it celebrated the 20th year of its signature Next Wave Festival, two months of contemporary international opera, theater, dance, and music. The remainder of the year brings BAM Opera (rarely performed works and foreign opera companies), BAM Theater (a New York City venue for theater companies from around the world, many of them performing in their native tongues), BAM Dance, Dance Africa, and film and education programs.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
FNDR $4 ADMIN $11 RES $22
CSO's 2001-2002 season featured premieres by four important contemporary composers. Its outreach efforts include musician residency programs at community centers around Chicago and audience discussions with composers and musicians.

Cleveland Orchestra
FNDR $5 ADMIN $7 RES $32
One of the great urban orchestras and a highly visible cultural leader in its community, the Cleveland Orchestra celebrated its chorus's 50th anniversary this year and has its first new music director in 18 years. It tours worldwide and hosts the likes of the Vienna Philharmonic (coming this March). Among the Cleveland Orchestra's education programs are a youth orchestra, a youth chorus, and even a preschool program.

Cornerstone Theater Company
FNDR $4 ADMIN $11 RES $26
Imagine a racially divided community staging a production of Romeo and Juliet in which the Capulets are white, the Montagues are black, and the teen playing Romeo can't read a script. Cornerstone Theater Company of Los Angeles places itself directly in divided communities across the country. It gets the people in these communities to tell their stories and create new works or adapt classical ones to reflect their circumstances. Community members are then cast in the plays, which are staged at community venues. The results are often thrilling.

Handmade in America
FNDR $1 ADMIN $21 RES $18
Independent artists who live outside big cities know they'll eventually have to bring their work to town to show and sell it. Unless, that is, they live in western North Carolina, where Handmade in America brings the market to the artists through a book that leads visitors on self-guided studio tours. The Craft Heritage Trails of Western North Carolina (in bookstores everywhere) also leads to shops, galleries, restaurants, historic crafts workshops, and historic lodgings. In addition, Handmade is helping 12 small towns revitalize their public spaces and, in another program, is harnessing methane from a landfill as a power source for glass and ceramics businesses.

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
FNDR $3 ADMIN $19 RES $14
This national cultural center (whose building-but not artistic-expenses are paid by tax dollars) presents the world's major opera and ballet companies, orchestras, chamber ensembles, and soloists. But it's much more than a stage. The center is home to the National Symphony Orchestra. It produces theater such as last summer's spectacular Sondheim festival and will host the upcoming five-year residency of Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company. Its education programs annually reach 6 million people. A $400 million renovation will link the center to the National Mall, making it easier for pedestrians to reach.

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
FNDR $4 ADMIN $10 RES $16
Lincoln Center in New York City functions as both home and stage to 12 resident arts organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera. Its own programming features numerous signature festivals: Lincoln Center Festival (a multidiscipline extravaganza), Midsummer Night Swing (24 evenings of bands and dance lessons), the Mostly Mozart Festival, and Lincoln Center Out of Doors (four summertime weeks of free dance, music, and interactive events). Lincoln Center's extensive arts education programs reach out to schoolkids in the region, and a PBS series brings the whole mix to millions of people. The center is gearing up for a 10-year, $1.2 billion renovation.

Liz Lerman Dance Exchange
FNDR $4 ADMIN $12 RES $14
Liz Lerman is known for her intergenerational work; current Dance Exchange company members range in age from mid-twenties to 69. From its base in suburban Maryland, outside Washington, D.C., the company emphasizes community engagement, helping people express their stories through dance and words. Dance Exchange just concluded a three-year, 15-city tour called the Hallelujah Project, through which people learned to move and speak in praise of things they celebrate. Lerman herself was recently awarded a MacArthur "genius" grant.

Lyric Opera of Chicago
FNDR $5 ADMIN $12 RES $14
Arts organizations may want to take notes: The Lyric Opera has sold more than 100 percent of its seats for the 14th year in a row. (The "more than" part comes from reselling tickets that subscribers turn in.) Of the more than 290,000 bodies that fill the nation's second-largest opera house every year, an enviable quarter are under the age of 45-kids, in opera terms. Last season, the Lyric exceeded its fundraising goal of $14 million.

Manchester Craftsmen's Guild
FNDR $1 ADMIN $11 RES $12
Pittsburgh's MCG is many things-all designed to provide free arts training and inspiration for at-risk youth and to enliven Steel City. This all-purpose haven is an after-school art, music, and mentoring center. MCG's two art galleries exhibit works by artists of regional and international stature. Its 350-seat performance hall offers concerts by some of the best performers in modern jazz. It also has a Grammy-winning recording studio. Next month, MCG is scheduled to open a $4 million greenhouse where kids can learn to cultivate orchids.

Mark Morris Dance Group
FNDR $4 ADMIN $14 RES $24
Mark Morris has been dubbed both the Mozart and the clown prince of modern dance. In addition to choreographing his company's performances, Morris also creates dances for the nation's top classical ballet companies. Last year, the Mark Morris Dance Group became the first single-choreographer company in the United States to build its own dance center, in Brooklyn, New York.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
FNDR $1 ADMIN $5 RES $56
One of the planet's finest museums, the Met houses more than 2 million works. Five million people visit annually, drawn by its collection of 2,200 European paintings, one of the greatest assemblages of Egyptian art outside of Cairo, and one of the world's best collections of Islamic art. The Met devotes enormous energy to education and generously loans its art and expertise to other museums. Some of the Met's operating expenses are paid by the City of New York, which owns the museum's buildings. Its high reserve is due to restricted gifts.

Metropolitan Opera
FNDR $5 ADMIN $5 RES $23
The Metropolitan Opera, in New York City's Lincoln Center, has a simple formula for success: Bring supreme talent to the stage (from Marcella Sembrich in the 1883 opening season to Plácido Domingo in 2002), be first to market (29 operas have had their world premieres at the Met), and then do it again. The Met also believes that everyone should have access to opera. Although some of its nearly 4,000 seats and standing spaces can run as high as $280, others cost just $12. The Met also has a 36-year habit of presenting free performances in public parks. For further cultural outreach, 20 operas are broadcast on the radio every season, and at least one is televised on PBS, in the Emmy-winning series The Metropolitan Opera Presents.

Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum
FNDR $8 ADMIN $10 RES $18
The MFACM has redefined what a museum can be to a city and to a community. It's unusually well integrated into its Mexican neighborhood in Chicago, with initiatives such as a 24-hour youth-run radio station that provides on-the-job training for radio careers and after-school and summer programs that introduce children to the arts. Its exhibits draw 100,000 visitors annually, and admission is free. Started by a handful of community members on a budget of less than $1,000, the museum recently completed a renovation that tripled its space, to 48,000 square feet.

Museum of Modern Art
FNDR $3 ADMIN $11 RES $38
Instead of shutting down during the renovation of its Manhattan home (it will reopen in 2005), the country's foremost museum of modern and contemporary art up and moved to Queens. The new location, in a brilliantly repurposed former factory dubbed MoMA QNS, has given legions of visitors a new perspective on MoMA's collection of 100,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, architectural models, and design objects-and perhaps on New York City itself.

National Gallery of Art
FNDR $2 ADMIN $11 RES $31
Located on the National Mall, the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., houses a collection of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present, spanning some 106,000 paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, decorative arts, and sculptures. Highlights include the only Da Vinci in the Western Hemisphere and the single largest collection of photographs by Alfred Stieglitz anywhere. The recent Egyptian art exhibit-an example of the museum's efforts to showcase non-Western cultures-featured many items never seen before outside of Egypt.

National Public Radio*
FNDR $2 ADMIN $17 RES $7
Every week, almost 20 million of us tune in to Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Car Talk, and the rest of the 120 weekly hours of news and cultural programming that NPR distributes to 709 radio stations. (As we are reminded during every fund drive, the programming is supported by listeners.) NPR's well-stocked trophy case includes a 2000 National Medal of Arts.

Public Broadcasting System*
FNDR $0.12 ADMIN $3.88 RES $-2
Anyone who's ever had the exhausting good fortune to live with a 2-year-old is eternally grateful to PBS for its wholesome educational programming, from Barney to Sesame Street. PBS distributes an annual 4,400 hours of award-winning entertainment such as perennial favorite Mystery!, news programs such as The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, and cultural programs such as Live From Lincoln Center through 349 independent public television stations. It also produces school-lesson plans that are downloaded 250,000 times a month from its Web site.

San Francisco Ballet
FNDR $4 ADMIN $16 RES $7
Part of a trio of top U.S. ballet companies, alongside American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet is the nation's oldest professional ballet company. It presented the American premieres of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. In 2002, it featured three world premieres and will produce another three in 2003. Known for its varied repertory, the San Francisco Ballet offers ballets ranging from classical to modern.

San Francisco Opera
FNDR $5 ADMIN $15 RES $10
The nation's second-largest opera company (after the Metropolitan Opera in New York City) is the West Coast's largest performing arts organization. Its recent American premiere of Saint Francois d'Assise-a huge production requiring tremendous resources-drew international critical acclaim. Its world premieres include Dead Man Walking and A Streetcar Named Desire. The San Francisco Opera is credited with reviving Russian opera in the United States, and it also encompasses the Western Opera Theater, opera's only national touring company.

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
FNDR $4 ADMIN $8 RES $32
The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, in keeping with the spirit of its home, does what no one else does-witness its recent heralded American Mavericks Festival. Performances are carried on syndicated radio from coast to coast. Its education programs are extensive; the orchestra regularly plays at local elementary schools, publishes a music curriculum for teachers, and has a Web site ( to teach kids about music.

Santa Fe Opera
FNDR $4 ADMIN $21 RES $17
Santa Fe Opera is home to one of America's premier summer opera festivals. A typical July-August season includes a popular opera, a neglected opera, a Mozart opera, something from the Richard Strauss canon, and the debut of a new work-usually amounting to about 40 performances in total. The opera offers intensive training programs for young singers, theater technicians, and arts administrators. An additional draw is its southwestern setting: Performances take place in an extraordinary open-air theater on a mountaintop overlooking the desert hills around Santa Fe.