Atlanta Charities Worth Your Money - Culture - Atlanta Magazine

Atlanta Charities Worth Your Money

For the giving season


As you ready your year-end tax deductions charitable contributions, think about how effectively your cash will be used. For consideration: seven Atlanta-based nonprofits that earn top four-star ratings from Charity Navigator, which evaluates nonprofits nationwide on accountability, transparency, and fiscal health.

American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation
Not as well known as other medical nonprofits, but vital for both pediatrics and our aging population.

Canine Assistants
Get literally warm and fuzzy supporting this group; it trains and provides service dogs for the disabled.

The Carter Center
Beyond politics, the ex-president’s global organization increases access to quality healthcare and ranks second on Charity Navigator’s “Ten of the Best Charities Everyone’s Heard Of” list.

Chattahoochee Riverkeeper
This environmental watchdog helps conserve the ’Hooch and its surrounding waterways through legal and educational initiatives.

Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International
The celebrated foundation dedicated to preserving African gorillas is based in the ATL. Who knew? 

Good Samaritan Health Center
Since 1999 Good Samaritan has quietly provided medical attention to people without health insurance—the majority of whom are working poor.

MUST Ministries
For four decades, MUST has offered social services to Cobb and Cherokee counties. With the rate of suburban homelessness on the rise, demand for its services is increasing too.

What about organizations not ranked so well by Charity Navigator? We were surprised to see a number of well-known nonprofits—including the Atlanta Botanical Garden, PATH Foundation, Trees Atlanta, and Public Broadcasting Atlanta—rated at just two stars.

A lower rating could be due to excess spending on fundraising or inefficient use of resources—red flags for any donor. It also could be the result of not having documentation used in Charity Navigator’s matrix. When asked about PBA’s poor showing, Tina Arbes, chief financial officer, said, “We have a very strong financial base of net assets and net reserves that we’ve built up over time, and we intend to work with Charity Navigator to better understand their rating system.” Arbes said new data provided by PBA to Charity Navigator should be reflected in updated ratings later this year.

Ranked at just a single star is Children’s Wish Foundation International—not to be confused with Make-A-Wish Foundation. Linda Dozoretz, founder and executive director, said, “We have done better in the last three years, and our programs have increased and our fundraising has decreased. But it’s a slow process.”

Illustration by Wesley Bedrosian. This article originally appeared in our December 2012 issue.

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  1. Angels with faith Ministries 501c3 charity posted on 03/03/2013 07:21 PM
    When leaving your estate,donating Real Estate,property,land,vehicles,Rvs,Boats to charity ask that charity what percent of your donation will actually go toward helping those in need,you may be surprised.On average less than 20% of every donation to large charities & an average of 10% of donations to the with causes charities actually goes to helping those in need,the rest goes to pay salaries,overhead,admisnitrative costs,rent for fancy storefronts etc..
    5 years ago we wanted to start a REAL charity that gives 100% of every donation goes directly to helping those in need,we help 1000s of families & people every year & 1000s of children every Christmas with 0 funding like those big charities receive,we are all volunteers & are a home based Charity/Church, we do all of our own website,promotional worl,advertising etc on free sites so that not a cent of donations ever goes to costs.Our belief is that when someone makes a donation to a charity they expect & want that donation to go directly toward helping those in true need.we will even disclose to the donor,upon request,exactly who,where & how their donation went & helped
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