Medical charities

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has been advertising quite a bit lately. I’ve always heard good things about them, and it’s nice that Danny Thomas backed up his faith with deeds. I was wondering how they perform as a charity, so I looked them and two others up:

[ul][li]ALSAC - St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – Overall rating 52.27, with 70% of proceeds going to the program[/li][li]Shriners Hospitals for Children – Overall rating 63.22, with 83.6% of proceeds going to the program[/li][li]Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti – Overall rating 62.61, with 90.1% of proceeds going to the program[/ul][/li]
If you could choose one of these, which one would receive your donation?

As I said, I like that St. Jude’s was founded as an act of faith. I’m a heathen myself; but I respect people who profess a belief in a higher being, who don’t let their dogma get in the way of doing Good Things. But they use less of their donations to pay for the services they provide.

Shriners spends a higher percentage on their programs. Their emphasis is on orthopedic and burn treatments. As someone who destroyed both of his knees as a teenager, and having known someone who was horribly burned as a child, I applaud their efforts. When it comes to it though, I think I prefer St. Jude’s mission of treating and trying to prevent catastrophic diseases.

Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti spends an impressive 90.1% of its donations on helping people. Haiti is an impoverished country that has suffered serious setbacks in recent years. Impoverished children in the U.S. have it bad, and St. Jude’s and Shriners are godsends to some of them. With the ACA, I think (hope!) resources will become more available to them. I don’t think people in Haiti have such options, and HASH is a critical component of its healthcare system that serves 300,000 people living in poverty.

Does charity begin at home? That is, should people of a country (such as the U.S.) support charities within that country? Or should donations go to where the need is greatest? The SO became an RN after seeing the devastation in Indonesia after the tsunami, and has spent the last week volunteering in a clinic in El Salvador. She wants to go on a mission to Peru sometime, and would love to go to Niger if she could afford it. I think, like she does, that I come down on the side of ‘greatest need’.

So what do you think? If you were to make donations to one of the listed charities (I’m limiting it to those three, just to keep the thread simple), which one would it be? (Note: I’m not saying I’m planning on donating to any of them – and if I did, I wouldn’t tell anyone. I’m just asking. I may ask the admins if I can start a sponsorship thread to send the SO to Niger though, next time there’s a mission there. :wink: )


Be aware that the “X% of donations are spent on programs” comes with a giant caveat, as there is a tremendous amount of administrative book-juggling at many places to make that number appear better than it actually is. Take it with a grain of salt, and if there isn’t an issue with the verifiability of the charity itself or any ethical questions (for instance, St. Jude’s scores the maximum on Accountability and Transparency, which is very important to me - and likely offsets their slightly lower score on fundraising efficiency), give to whatever cause you feel closest to.

On your links, two items (out of all three sites) get dinged - Haiti doesn’t have their financial audit on their website, and the Shriners pay their board members. I don’t care that Haiti doesn’t put their audit online - it’s not required, and those can get pretty invasive. But I do have an issue with the Shriners paying their board members. It’s actually really surprising - it’s a very volunteer-based organization from the ground up. I wouldn’t have guessed that.