Since we're up in the Hill Country with no TV, only our laptops to stay up to date with the news, I feel kind of out of the loop watching hours-old video clips of the growing tragedy in Japan.
One thing is clear. Japan is in a scarier situation. Something scarier than earthquakes and tsunamis? Nuclear power plant meltdowns, and Japan is full of them.
People Want To Help
I looked around the web for links to organizations providing direct relief to Japan and was dismayed at some of the scathing comments people left on posts that contained these links.
Perhaps I'm naive, but I find it difficult to believe that people think church charities and relief groups like the Salvation Army "keep" donated monies. Sure, I know that some organizations use the bulk of donated monies to pay for their own infrastructure and fund-raising effort, like the American Cancer Society which receives more contributions ($848 million in 2005) than any other cancer charity.
Only 60% of its budget goes to program services not related to solicitations. That's why they get a C+ grade from Charity Watch operated by the American Institute of Philanthropy. We no longer support them.
Help The Smart Way
By contrast, the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund receives an A rating so they're worthwhile to support, but the similarly-named National Cancer Coalition and Coalition Against Breast Cancer receive F’s.
If you want to make sure the money you donate goes to the cause you support, check out their rating from Charity Watch operated by the American Institute of Philanthropy. That's the intelligent and moral thing to do. Don't leave a trail of denigrating comments about organized relief organizations and churches.
Grade A Relief Organizations
Here are some groups that get an A rating from AIP. They're all on standby, waiting for the Japanese government to tell them what is needed.
Now, if you cynically think Japan is a rich country that doesn't need your help, then make a donation to the relief effort in Haiti or other countries devastated by natural disasters.
Catholic Relief Services
Save The Children or call 1-800-760-0011.
International Rescue Committee
Since a lot of you who read my blogs are Aussies, here's a hotline you can call if you're concerned about a loved one who was in Japan: DFAT hotline for Australians 1300 555 135.
The world is a much smaller place than it was decades ago. We should all put enmities aside and pull together to help where it's needed.