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Monday, July 26, 2010

Responsible Giving Responsible Living

On Tuesday, January 12, 2010 a 7.0 magnitude earthquake's epicenter hit near the town of Léogâne, approximately 16 miles west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. Over a 12 day period, 52 aftershocks registering 4.5 or greater were recorded and an estimated 3 million people found themselves negatively impacted by one of Haiti's most damaging natural disaster's to date. The statistics of the dead, injured, missing and homeless was earth shattering and many answered the clarion call to give aid and assistance to this devastated community. Charitable organizations set records employing mobile phone technology, online social media sites, telethons and word of mouth fundraisers designed to render aid.

Fast forward 6 months and reports from Haiti lament more of the same poverty, poor conditions, a sharp increase in orphaned children, starvation, homelessness and physically dangerous conditions continue to exist. Much has been made of the inability to maneuver and render aid throughout Haiti. News reports detailed planes filled with supplies being turned away based on red tape and bureaucratic minutiae. Additionally, hospitals, morgues, jails and orphanages were left decimated, hampering relief efforts, however, many agencies continue to report a lack of funding reaching the ground level. Frustrations continue to run high and this is a dangerous threat to charitable organizations throughout the world, especially in the United States.
The US boasts 1.6 million non profit organizations, but we are inundated with constant news of a recession, weakened economic standing and a failing dollar, which tends shows itself in how we contribute to charitable organizations. Considering this, follow up stories such as those illustrated by the Haiti disaster's inability to effect noticeable change will only serve to justify an individual's decision to withold discretionary funds.  Despite being confronted with the significant struggle and strife resulting from this natural disaster, pockets began to close and apathy set in. 

The plight of those we see everyday without the sensationalism of a soundtrack, graphic image fades and 24 hour a day news coverage can get lost in the shuffle. Combined this with a general distrust of some nonprofit organizations and we find ourselves turning a blind eye to the disenfranchised among us.  With this in mind, the following is a detailed list of the top 5 charitable organizations located in Texas that give the majority of their donated resources to those in need.

1.AIDS Foundation Houston (AFH) was founded in 1982 as Texas' first organization dedicated to HIV prevention education and services. Our mission is to create positive social impact through the innovative management of HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases. AFH values and respects each person's uniqueness and embraces the philosophy of equality in serving individuals and families in a non-discriminatory manner, in collaboration with clients, organizations, and funding partners. AFH endeavors to meet the needs of its clients through the design, implementation, and evaluation of globally significant programs. With innovative programs in education, disease prevention, and client services, AFH strives to eradicate HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses.

2. The Children's Assessment Center Foundation is a functionally integrated supporting organization for the Children's Assessment Center (CAC). The CAC provides a safe haven to sexually abused children and their families - a place where they can receive the kind of care and treatment they so richly deserve. The CAC employs an extraordinarily effective, multi-disciplinary team approach in the prevention, assessment, investigation, referral for prosecution and treatment of child sexual abuse. The goal of the CAC is to promote the complete healing of child victims of sexual abuse and their families.

3. The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-partisan research institute guided by the core principles of individual liberty, personal responsibility, private property rights, free markets and limited government. The Foundation's mission is to improve Texas by generating academically sound research and data on state issues, and by recommending the findings to opinion leaders, policymakers, the media and general public. The public is demanding a different direction for their government, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation is providing the ideas that enable policymakers to chart that new course.

4. Founded in 1977, Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. (FVPS) is dedicated to breaking the cycle of family violence and strengthening families by providing the necessary tools for self-sufficiency through delivery of emergency shelter, transitional housing, education, effective parenting and early intervention with children and youth. The Battered Women and Children's Shelter is a program of FVPS, and works to provide victims of family violence with a place of safety; transition to self-sufficiency; counseling and support for women, children and families who are victims of family violence and in need of service, but not shelter; and education for the public about family violence.

5. The Greater Houston Community Foundation's (GHCF) mission is growing effective philanthropy by connecting donors to the causes they care about, providing excellent stewardship of assets entrusted to us, and convening resources to address important community needs. The Greater Houston Community Foundation began operations in 1995 and ended 2007 with almost $270 million in assets in more than 600 funds. The GHCF has three objectives: to seek funds from private sources to build a pool of permanent capital for philanthropic purposes; to allocate and distribute the income from such capital for a variety of public needs by anticipating emerging community needs; and to provide leadership for community philanthropic initiatives.

Many thanks to The Charity Navigator for assisting with the culmination of information for this article and additional insights about charitable institutions. "Your Guide To Intelligent Giving"

There are also smaller nonprofit charitable institutions in need of your assistance. The following are welcome to my time and money:
The Mission:
Andrea’s Hope was birthed to promote awareness and provide resources that would not only feed the body but also provide emotional, mental and spiritual nourishment. We seek to inspire hope to the hopeless as they transition into independent living. mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of underprivileged school children by providing the support necessary to achieve their highest potential. 

If there are any additional organizations that you're familiar with, please feel free to email or comment.

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