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This article was prepared for the December 19, 2001 edition of

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Outstanding Charities

There no fewer than 819,000 charities in the United

States. Supporting health, education, the arts, international relief,

the environment, animal welfare, religious organization, and human

services, each and every one would like a few of your dollars —

now, and in perpetuity.

Where to give?

One way to decide is to evaluate how good a job charities do of

putting

donations to work. When donors discovered the American Red Cross

planned

to put into reserve a portion of the money it collected to aid victims

of the September 11 attacks, there was outrage. Donors made it clear

they wanted as much of the money as possible to go directly to the

families. While the charity differs, donor sentiment remains the same

on this issue. Few people feel good about giving money to a charity

that uses the bulk of donations for fundraising, administrative costs,

or future reserves.

Worth magazine, in its December issue, used percentage of money put

to work as intended as a yardstick to measure charities. In naming

America’s Best 100 Charities, the magazine revealed how much of every

$100 received these stellar non-profits funnel directly to the causes

they serve — and what percentage of donations goes to fundraising,

administrative costs, and future reserves. On the high end, the

National

Council on Aging puts $96 out of every 100 dollars into programs to

aid senior citizens. Most of the rest in the top 100 allocate

something

above $60 to their programs, and amounts over $85 are common.

A relatively low number of dollars going directly into programs is

not necessarily a bad thing, however. Ashoka, a promoter of social

entrepreneurship that was founded in 1980 by a former McKinsey & Co.

consultant, gives three-year living stipends to individuals who run

innovative development projects. The organization, based in Arlington,

Virginia, puts only $35 directly into programs. It pays its stipends

in installments, so it needs to keep a large reserve. Worth approves

and lists it among the best 100.

Beyond allocation of donations, Worth looked at the length of time

a charity has been in existence, consulted philanthropy experts, and

sought to determine how much of an impact each charity is making.

It did not include arts organizations, or charities with ties to a

religious group. Worth’s editors admit that many excellent charities

did not make the list. But a number that did make the cut have ties

to the greater Princeton area, either because their founders live

here, they maintain offices here, or they run projects or programs

here.

Alzheimer’s Association. Credited with doing away with

the term "senility," the Alzheimer’s Association has spent

$120 million on research for the prevention and treatment of a disease

that affects 4 million Americans. The money has led to the development

of drugs that can postpone onset and to a vaccine now in clinical

trials. Of every $100 it raises, $76 goes to programs.

Alzheimer’s Association, Greater New Jersey

Chapter,

12 Roszel Road, Suite C-201, Princeton 08540. 609-514-1180.

Www.alz.org.

American Cancer Society. Established in 1946, the American

Cancer Society has spent more than $2.2 billion on cancer research,

and has funded the work of 31 Nobel Prize winners. It also provides

cancer education, including a 24-hour cancer information hot line.

Of every $100 it raises, $68 goes to its programs.

American Cancer Society, 2600 Route 1, North

Brunswick

08902-6001; Eastern division headquarters. 732-297-8000.

Www.cancer.org.

American Cancer Society, Mercer County Unit, 3076

Princeton Pike, Lawrenceville 08648-2304. 609-895-0101.

American Heart Association. Since 1948, the American Heart

Association has funded $1.9 billion in research to cures for heart

disease, which kills 950,000 Americans each year. It educates the

public about the symptoms and risk factors for heart disease and

stroke.

It is working to improve public access to portable defibrillators.

Of every $100 it raises, $72 goes to its programs.

American Heart Association, 2550 Route 1, North

Brunswick 08902; New Jersey affiliate. 732-821-2610.

American Lung Association. This organization introduced

Christmas Seals in 1904. Originally founded to fight against

tuberculosis,

the organization now focuses on the effects of smoking and air

pollution,

helps asthmatics learn how to manage their disease, and funds research

on lung function and disease. Of every $100 it raises, $79 goes to

its programs.

American Lung Association of New Jersey, 29 Emmons

Drive, Building A-20, Princeton 08540-2006. 609-452-2112.

Www.lungusa.org.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Arranging mentoring

for children since 1904, this organization reports that youngsters

in its program are less likely to use drugs, skip school, or behave

violently, and more likely to get good grades and be self-confident.

Of every $100 it raises, $69 goes to its programs.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Mercer County, 535

East Franklin Street, Trenton 08610. 609-656-1000.

Www.princetonol.com/groups/.

Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. This

organization’s

signature event is the "Race for the Cure," which raises

awareness

and money for breast cancer research, education, screening, and

treatment.

The foundation was begun in 1982 by Nancy Brinker in memory of her

sister, who died of the disease. Since then it has raised $400 million

and awarded $87 million in research grants. Of every $100 it raises,

$75 goes to programs.

Breast Cancer Resource Center/YWCA Princeton, 914

Commons Way, Montgomery Commons, Princeton 08540. 609-497-2126.

Www.princetonol.com/groups/.

Camp Fire USA. Founded in 1910, this organization seeks

to build future leaders by engaging children in activities such as

camping and community service that stress responsibility and

self-reliance.

It serves 650,000 children in 40 states. Of every $100 it raises,

$84 goes to its programs.

Camp Fire Boys and Girls, 535 East Franklin Street,

Trenton 08610. 609-695-8410.

Child Welfare League of America. This organization guides

1,165 member agencies dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk

kids through abuse prevention, youth development, child care,

adoption,

and foster care programs. It writes national standards for the

agencies

and helps them deliver their services more efficiently. Of every $100

it raises, $88 goes to its programs.

The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey, 635

South Clinton Avenue, Trenton 08611-0831. 609-695-6274.

Www.chsofnj.org.

Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation "The American

Paralysis Association and the Christopher Reeve Foundation merged

in 1999, adding Superman’s star power to a hardworking but publicity

starved organization," writes Worth magazine. The new group is

one of those that Worth approves even though it is currently sinking

a large of amount of money into reserves rather than programs, which

try to improve the lives of the estimated 400,000 people with spinal

cord injury paralysis. Of every $100 it raises, $33 goes to its

programs,

and $56 is currently being placed in reserve.

The organization does not have a Princeton area office, but Reeve

was raised in Princeton and began his acting career on the stage of

McCarter Theater. Contact the foundation at 800-225-0292 or at

www.paralysis.org.

Easter Seals. More than 1 million disabled children and

adults utilize the organization’s 450 centers for recreation, child

care, job training, and medical rehabilitation. Of every $100 it

raises,

$75 goes to its programs.

Easter Seals New Jersey, 1 Kimberly Road, East

Brunswick 08816. 732-257-6662. Www.easterseals.org.

Foundation Fighting Blindness. Founded by Princeton resident

Gordon Gund, who serves as chairman of the board, this foundation

funds research into retinal degenerative diseases, which impair 6

million Americans. Since 1971, it has funded $150 million in research.

One recent gene therapy project successfully created eyesight in dogs

that were born blind. Of every $100 it raises, $80 goes to its

programs.

Headquartered until several years ago in Gund’s Nassau Street office,

the foundation is now in Owings Mills, Maryland. 888-394-3937.

Www.blindness.org.

Habitat for Humanity. Since it was founded in 1976,

Habitat

for Humanity has built 120,000 homes by bringing together donors,

who supply materials and some labor, and recipients, who exchange

sweat equity for a down payment. Of every $100 it raises, $65 goes

to its programs.

Habitat for Humanity-Trenton Area, 20 Nassau

Street,

Princeton 08542-4509. 609-921-3695.

Habitat for Humanity-Trenton Area, 601 North

Clinton

Avenue, Trenton 08638. 609-393-8009.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). It took just one

mad mother, whose four-year-old child was killed when a drunk driver

rear-ended her car, to start this movement back in 1980. Since then

the number of Americans killed by drunk drivers each year has

decreased

from 28,000 to 16,000. Many people credit MADD for more stringent

drunk driving laws. Of every $100 it raises, $66 goes to its programs.

MADD New Jersey, 110 West State Street, Trenton

08608-1101. 609-396-1876.

community.nj.com/cc/maddnj.

March of Dimes. Among this organization’s campaigns is

a drive to education expectant mothers on the importance of taking

folic acid before and during pregnancy. Doing so reduces birth

defects,

including spina bifida and anencephaly. Of every $100 it raises, $74

goes to its programs.

March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, 1010

Eastpark

Boulevard, Cranbury 08512. 609-655-7400 Www.modimes.org

Share Our Strength. Where better to fight world hunger

than in the finest restaurants. This organization fights hunger and

poverty through celebrity cooking events and annual readers by big

name writers. Among its programs: Cooking and nutrition programs for

low-income families. Of every $100 it raises, $84 goes to its

programs.

The organization is based in Washington, D.C. 800-969-4767. For

information

on the Princeton area efforts, see story, beginning on page 14.

Special Olympics. More than 1 million mentally and

physically

handicapped children and adults receive year-round training and

compete

in 26 sports in the United States and in 150 other countries. Of every

$100 it raises, $61 goes to its programs.

Special Olympics New Jersey, 201 Rockingham Row,

Princeton Forrestal Village, Princeton 08540. 609-734-8400.

Www.sonj.org.

YMCA-USA. There are 2,434 YMCAs in the United States,

and others in 122 nations. They offer fitness activities, family

services,

and child care. Of every $100 the organization raises, $85 goes to

its programs.

YMCA Hamilton, 1315 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road,

Hamilton 08619. 609-581-9622. Www.hamiltonymca.org.

YMCA Hightstown East Windsor, 230 Mercer Street,

Hightstown 08520. 609-448-1357.

YMCA Raritan Valley, 206 Dunhams Corner Road, East

Brunswick 08816. 732-257-4114.

YMCA Trenton, 431 Pennington Avenue, Trenton 08618.

609-599-9622.

Hopewell Valley YMCA, 104 West Franklin Avenue,

Pennington 08534. 609-737-3048.

Princeton Family YMCA, Paul Robeson Place,

Princeton

08540. 609-497-9622.

YWCA of the U.S.A. The YWCA seeks to empower women and

girls and to eliminate racism. It is the largest provider of shelter

services for women and their families. In addition to offering

programs

on economic empowerment, conflict resolution, and violence prevention,

the organization provides child care and after-school services. Of

every $100 it raises, $76 goes to its programs.

YWCA Princeton, Paul Robeson Place, Princeton

08540.

609-497-2100. Www.ywcaprinceton.org.

YWCA Trenton, 140 East Hanover Street, Trenton

08608. 609-396-8291.<


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