Americans reportedly gave an impressive $449.64 billion to charities in 2019; a 5.1% increase of the overall amount donated in 2018. Over the course of 2020, during the pandemic, thousands of non-profit organisations took a big hit due to the cancelation of crucial fundraising events. It seems that in response to this, more Americans donated to social service charities, food banks and homeless shelters than ever before: donations to small and mid-sized organisations rose by 7.6% in the first 9 months of 2020 when compared to 2019.
One of the most newsworthy donations in the United States in 2020 was made by Jeff Bezos, who contributed $10 billion as part of the launch of his climate change focused foundation, Bezos Earth Fund. The Amazon founder also donated a further $100 million to food bank organisation, Feeding America. Bezos’ ex wife, Mackenzie Scott, also topped the list of most generous American donors, after distributing a total of $5.7 billion to 512 different US-based charities.
When it comes to contributing to charities, sending money online is the most popular method of payment, with card transactions, direct debits and international wire transfers accounting for the majority of charitable donations made across North America.
We asked our users to nominate the most supportive and dedicated initiatives making a difference within the United States’ charity sector and, having narrowed down the list, we have organised each into separate categories depending on the non-profit's line of work. All of these charities have been awarded our badge of recognition as one of the Top 30 Charities in the US, for their altruistic services to society.
Health services in the United States are predominantly owned by private sector businesses and this means access to certain healthcare and treatments quickly adds up, costing patients a great deal. Specialist non-profits that provide medical services, advocate for the understanding and awareness of different diseases and conditions, and facilitate research in specific fields related to public health, are invaluable to those they serve. In this section we will look at two of the top healthcare charities in the US.
Sister Love | https://www.sisterlove.org/
“Your body. Your life. Your choice” is the mantra of this female-oriented organisation that provides free HIV testing. Founded in 1989 by Dr. Dázon Dixon Diallo, a celebrated advocate for sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice, Sister Love is the first women’s HIV, Sexual and Reproductive Justice organisation in the southeastern United States. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the organisation offers free testing and counselling to those who need it in the United States and also South Africa.
Autism Speaks | https://www.autismspeaks.org/
Since Autism Speaks was founded in 2005, the organisation has become revered for its facilitation of crucial research, services and support that help individuals with autism. The work carried out by this charity focuses on increasing global awareness of Autism, facilitating life-changing research, supporting Autistic children (and their parents) during their transition into adulthood, and extending reliable, insightful information to the Autism Speaks community which covers every corner of the US.
The United States is considered one of 17 megadiverse countries on the planet which means the majority of the world’s species reside within the 50 states of America. These organisations have made the cut because they are wholeheartedly dedicated to prioritising the rights of all animals, from tiny abandoned kittens to endangered wildlife roaming the great outdoors. The following 5 charities share the same goal: advocating for those without a voice.
Second Chance Animal Services | https://www.secondchanceanimals.org/
Animal welfare specialists Second Chance offer adoption and veterinary services across the state of Massachusetts. Set up in 1999 as an animal shelter, SCAS has grown into an award-winning organisation that operates three high-quality community hospitals for pets in need.
Save a Cat | http://www.saveacat.org/
As the name suggests, this charity acts as “an alliance for cat protection” and offers numerous helpful guides for anyone interested in adopting or looking after a furry feline. From information about cat health, to behavioural insights, and advice on spay and neutering. Donations go towards various medical procedures, such as vaccinations and deworming, for stray or homeless cats and kittens.
Piney Mountain Foster Care (PMFC) | https://pineymountainfoster.org/
Located in the mountains of Newport, TN, this charity describes themselves as a care facility for dogs. Together with their Canine Rescue Partners, the team are on a mission to prevent animal cruelty, offer low-cost spay-neuter programs and find responsible foster homes for every dog that crosses the threshold at Piney Mountain.
Voice for Horses | http://www.voiceforhorses.org
This Ohio-based foundation was set up in 1999 and primarily serves to provide food, water, shelter and veterinary care to sick, injured, abused, neglected or slaughter-bound horses. Voice for Horses works with 50 likeminded equine rescues across the country to establish a community dedicated to raising awareness of animal abuse and abandonment.
Rude Ranch Animal Rescue | https://www.ruderanch.org
The final rescue charity in this list offers safe and secure sanctuary for animals in need. Based in Harwood, Maryland, this animal shelter has won several awards for its services to saving the lives of abandoned, abused and special needs animals. Whether sponsoring, fostering or permanently adopting a rescued resident of Rude Ranch, the organisation welcomes donations of every kind.
For many Americans a satisfactory education is out of reach, whether it be for personal, geographical or socioeconomic reasons. Thankfully, there are numerous charities that have been set up as a way to offer alternative, affordable and accessible opportunities for those who want to develop their understanding and education of particular subjects.
Trail Blazers | https://trailblazers.org
This youth development organisation has worked with thousands of young people from New York and New Jersey, over the course of more than 130 years. Through outdoor education and programs Trail Blazers helps young people develop the skills and values needed to thrive as adults. In a bid to change the face of the summer camp industry, Trail Blazers are committed to creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive experience, so all young people can be given the opportunity to experience outdoor adventure and overnight camping.
You Run This Town Foundation | https://trailblazers.org
This Los Angeles based organisation works with youth in underserved communities, helping them to attain work-study grants and scholarships, as well as involving them in other enrichment workshops and community engagement projects. Supporters of YRTTF are able to Sponsor-a-Youth by donating via PayPal. This money goes towards providing each young person with work study experience, valuable career, interpersonal, soft and hard job skills, as well as funding the YRTTF financial planning program.
Fr1ends of the Ch1ldren | https://friendsaustin.org/
This organisation has established a country-wide network that offers long-term mentoring to youths across the United States. The charity selects children most likely to experience multiple systemic obstacles, pairing them with a “Friend.” These paid professionals work one-on-one with the child, as a mentor, exploring their unique talents and interests. Based in Portland, OR, the expansive Fr1ends network spans 17 states in the US.
Pandemic Professors | https://pandemicprofessors.org/
The newest educational organisation in our list, Pandemic Professors, was set up in response to COVID-19. Primarily supporting students from low-income families and communities, this charity strives to strengthen academic understanding in a bid to improve comprehension, grades and eventually graduation and employment rates. Donations help to provide school supplies, technology, volunteers and tutors, as well as financial literacy workshops for students and their families.
Hope Inc. | https://www.hopbe.org/
In the case of this charity, Hope stands for Helping Other People be Empowered, and this is the message that motivates founder and CEO, Kenita Smith, and her team. The charity steps in to help individuals that are juggling their role as a parent with completing their college education. By primarily focusing on assisting those that do not qualify for government assistance, Hope Inc. alleviates the anxiety of shelter loss and childcare issues, by offering assistance and support to those in need. Having been endorsed by Michelle Obama during her time as the First Lady of the United States, this education-focused cooperative continues to work towards breaking the cycle of poverty that consumes many young families.
Disaster can hit anyone, anywhere, at any time; a daunting prospect. Fortunately, selfless and altruistic individuals across America have stepped up to help, coming together to form a number of crucial organisations that respond to natural disasters, poverty, disease, and civil war impact, helping millions of people around the world recover from life-altering experiences.
All Hands And Hearts | https://www.allhandsandhearts.org/
“Volunteer-powered relief” is how All Hands And Hearts describe their response to natural disasters. For more than 15 years the charity has been working with communities around the globe, assessing the immediate and long-term consequences, in order to appropriately facilitate the recovery of vulnerable families, schools and communities affected by disasters.
Americares | https://www.americares.org/
The aptly named Americares is a non profit organisation that provides life-changing medicine, clinical services, healthcare and emergency response units for children, families and communities affected by poverty or disaster. The charity is based in Stamford, Connecticut and welcomes help in the form of donations, fundraising and volunteers.
Acupuncturists Without Borders | https://acuwithoutborders.org
Established in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Acupuncturists Without Borders started out as a coordinated effort to provide rapid trauma relief care to those affected in New Orleans, USA. Since then, the organisation has gone global, rallying their team of specialists to treat communities around the world who have been affected by disaster, conflict, environmental devastation, poverty and social injustice.
Although the United States is one of the world's wealthiest countries, with the highest GDP, poverty and hunger still runs rife, affecting communities across the nation. It was reported that almost 50 million people were living below the poverty line in 2020, and more than 20 million Americans are forced to rely on unemployment benefits. A number of public-spirited organisations have been set up in response to these figures, with volunteer groups working closely with communities to provide access to medicine, shelter and food, among other things.
United Way of Southern Cameron County | https://www.unitedwayrgv.org/
The core objectives of the United Way of Southern Cameron County have remained the same since the charity was first founded in 1955: “ensuring opportunity, inspiring hope and creating positive change.” This Texas charity brings people together, addressing local issues affecting communities such as helping young people get a better education, giving families a chance to be more self-sufficient and providing more accessible housing and healthcare.
Operation Address the Homeless | https://www.operationaddressthehomeless.org/
Since 2014, the good people at Operation Address the Homeless have dedicated a great deal of time and effort into their community outreach programs. In addition to finding shelter for those in need, OATH offers job and life skill training programs, designed to give each individual a renewed sense of pride, purpose and self-worth. Based in Allentown, PA, OATH provides showering, grooming and clothing facilities to those in need, gladly welcoming donations and volunteers in all shapes and sizes.
AI for Good Foundation | https://ai4good.org/
This innovative non-profit organisation is utilising artificial intelligence for the greater good of communities, by driving forward technological solutions that measure and advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Headquartered in Berkeley, CA, this group of Machine Learning and Social Science Researchers work alongside volunteer team members to identify, prototype, and scale AI based solutions that bring about positive social change. Donors can find out how their money is contributing to AI for Good Foundation’s three areas of focus - Policy, Education and Research - by reviewing their transparency reports.
Dalit Solidarity | https://dalitsolidarity.org/
Incorporated in the states of Pennsylvania, Illinois and California, this American charity works closely with the Dalit communities of India, who have been marginalised for centuries under caste oppression. Tax deductible contributions made by donors go towards student sponsorships and fiscal services, as well as female empowerment, community health and vocational training programs. It is also possible to help by contributing via the charity’s gift catalogue, or travelling to India as a volunteer.
Council of Korean Americans (CKA) | https://councilka.org/
Set up in 2011 as a national organisation to strengthen the voice, visibility, and influence of the Korean American community, CKA works across San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. As a member of the CKA community, support, advice and guidance is offered through regular meet-ups, events, initiatives and an annual National Summit & Gala.
Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County | https://www.habitatwaukesha.org/
As the name suggests, this organisation primarily serves families of Waukesha, WI, and since the Christian charity’s incorporation in 1989, it has helped more than 30 families achieve their dream of homeownership. Together with their volunteers, this cooperative build decent, affordable housing for in-need members of Waukesha County. Volunteering opportunities are well organised and plentiful; with many opportunities to work for restoration, construction and community service projects.
Environment & climate
Collectively pitching in to preserve the quality of life on planet Earth is a cause most people have got behind. However, these 3 charities are going the extra mile to diminish climate change and guarantee a greener, cleaner, healthier environment for future generations.
The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (FTPF) | https://www.ftpf.org/
The ambitious objective of this conservation charity is “to plant and help others plant a collective total of 18 billion fruit trees across the world, and encourage their growth under organic standards.” The talented team is made up of experienced arborists and authority figures in the conservation and environmental world. The charity runs a number of tree-related projects which include preserving and planting trees on sacred lands and working with communities, food banks, and public parks across the country to create community orchards.
The Forestry and Fire Recruitment Program (FFRP) | https://www.forestryfirerp.org/
This rehabilitation organisation works with the criminal justice system to recruit formerly incarcerated wildland firefighters to join California’s forestry fire labor force. As part of their program the FFRP provide pre-release inreach services, post-release training, job coaching, and a transitional employment pre-apprenticeship program. Those interested in contributing to this great cause can donate funds that go towards the acquisition of protective wear, training, and tools needed to make these projects a reality.
Covenant Solar Initiative(CSI) | https://covenantsolar.org/
Led by a Native American team and renewable energy, education, finance, and community-minded experts, this cooperative is dedicated to supporting and advancing the development of culturally based, indigenous solutions in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. This is a fiscally-sponsored project of the Earth Island Institute in Berkeley, CA, a non-profit organisation that offers support, mentorship, and training to a network of more than 75 conservation action projects across America and the rest of the world.
Whatever your stance on religion may be, communities that are built upon the foundations of a shared faith are often some of the strongest. This next charity is committed to uniting children, teens, young adults, parents and families through fun and educational programs.
Jookender | https://www.jookender.org/
Serving the Greater Boston Area and much of New England, Jookender is a community-focused organisation that welcomes Russian-speaking Jewish people and their families. Through various events, programs, workshops and activities, Jookender teaches and demonstrates Jewish values as a way of assisting members who are looking to become part of a larger Jewish community.
In the United States, the military and their troops are held in high regard, and most Americans have great respect for the armed forces. Therefore, caring for veterans is seen as an important and honourable cause for any charity to take on.
The Nathan Hale Veterans Outreach Centers | https://www.thenathanhaleveteransoutreachcenter.com/
Named after famous American patriot, Nathan Hale, this veterans outreach center is based in Plymouth, MA, and has been supporting veterans, active duty service members and their families since 2006. Through their work, the team behind this organisation are able to extend transportation services, readjustment counselling, food assistance and a creative arts program to veterans in the towns of Plymouth, Carver, Plimpton, Middleboro, Kingston and Marshfield.
Children and families
Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children and their families is a noble cause that many Americans dedicate their entire life to. In this section we take a look at 3 of the best organisations making the biggest impact on the lives of young people and their parents.
Seven Homes Inc. | https://www.7homes4kids.com/
Seven Homes is the brainchild of former social workers, mental health professionals and care staff, who came together in a collective effort to prioritise the long-term outcome of children in the US foster care system. In their mission statement the organisation shares their vision: “to reach out to youth in need of love, safety, and stability". Based in Greensboro, NC, this charitable foster and adoption agency specialise in a nurturing, trauma-focused approach to finding a family for children in their care.
Fathering Together | https://www.fatheringtogether.org/
The core values at the heart of this organisation are Learn, Share and Engage, with a vision to build a supportive and inclusive community for fathers, enriched by shared resources. These resources include virtual and in-person DadChat meet-ups, family counselling, support groups and the “Dads with Daughters” podcast. Additionally, every week Fathering Together present a “Dad of the Week” which focuses on the unique experiences of different Dads across America.
La Peninsula Community Organisation | https://lapen.com/
Based in Bronx, NY, La Peninsula has been offering young children and their low-income families a helping hand since 1964. Through their Head Start program this charity facilitates the mental, social, and emotional development of children from birth to age 5. As well as disadvantaged families, this organisation is equipped with the facilities and experience needed to support families with disabled children too.
Human rights charities are formed by groups of people who are defending the basic moral principles that every individual is entitled to. America, as one of the world’s greatest superpowers, has a number of organisations set up to fight for human justice, speaking out against abuses of power and advocating for the rights of minority communities.
3 Generations | https://www.3generations.org/
This organisation focuses on producing films and videos that capture critical human rights issues. Founder Jane Wells was inspired by her father, Sidney Bernstein, a film advisor for the Ministry of Information. Bernstein was asked to document the atrocities caused by Nazi Germany and turn it into a feature length film. Although the film was never completed or released, it was this experience which motivated Jane to create a safe platform for survivors of atrocities to tell their stories in their own words. 3 Generations’ films touch on subject matter such as criminal justice and probation programs, sex trafficking, Native American justice and genocide. All donations are critical and contribute to the funding of current and upcoming film projects.
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Choosing the Top 30 US charities
Our badge for the Top 30 Charities in the US has been designed as an accolade for the non-profit organisations making the biggest impact in the United States and beyond. It has been awarded to the organisations listed above, for a number of reasons, including:
Dedication: Regardless of size, each charity and every member of their team, is whole-heartedly dedicated to transforming the lives of those they work with on a daily basis.
Reach: Whether domestic or international, the efforts of each charity in this list effectively reach a diverse range of human, animal and environmental causes.
Commitment: From winning awards to glowing testimonials, it is clear each of these 30 charities have committed to the cause and everyone involved feels supported.
MoneyTransfers.com is humbled and inspired by every non-profit listed in this article, and we encourage our readers to check out the fantastic work being accomplished by each of them. Users who wish to contribute to any of these great causes, might find our Send Money to USA guide helpful.