Over the weekend, Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Gulf Coast, destroying homes and infrastructure in Texas, displacing tens of thousands of people, and killing at least eight. As many as 13 million people are under flood watches and warnings.
After landfall, officials ordered several Houston-area counties to evacuate, due to fears of more flooding. Experts are forecasting up to 50 inches of rain in and around Houston, making many homes inhabitable. An estimated 30,000 people will likely need to find refuge in shelters, since flooding will linger, according to The Washington Post.
Victims in Texas and Louisiana will likely need millions of dollars in aid. On Monday, President Donald Trump said he believes Congress will act swiftly to provide funding to affected areas. Charities — both big and small — will also step in.
But not all charities are created equal. Charity Navigator, a nonprofit that has independently rated over 8,000 charities, compiled a list of some of the best organizations to donate to in the wake of Harvey. Its team considers several factors when giving a charity a score out of 100. These include program expenses (e.g. how much of the donations go straight to victims) and transparency (e.g. audited financials prepared by an independent accountant).
The charities that Charity Navigator recommends for Hurricane Harvey, along with their scores out of 100, are below.
Note: Right now, it is not clear whether all these organizations will spend 100% of donations received on Hurricane Harvey relief and associated expenses. But in past large-scale disasters, high percentages of donations have directly gone to victims.
St. Bernard Project — 93.66
Founded in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina, St. Bernard Project works out of a parish near New Orleans. After disasters, the organization rebuilds homes, advocates for recovery strategies, and advises policy makers, homeowners, and business owners about resilience.
Samaritan’s Purse – 96.32
Smaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational, Christian organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to people affected by disaster and poverty around the world. It focuses on helping victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine.
GlobalGiving — 96.46
Founded in 2003, GlobalGiving is a funding platform that helps people find causes they care about. Users select projects they want to support, make a contribution, and get regular progress updates.
Convoy of Hope — 96.46
Convoy of Hope is a faith-based nonprofit that works to fight hunger around the world. Founded in 1994, the Springfield, Missouri-based charity also responds to disasters.
All Hands Volunteers — 96.66
All Hands Volunteers works to address the long-term needs of communities affected by disasters. Over the last 12 years, the organization has enlisted over 39,000 volunteers who helped 500,000 people worldwide.
Americares — 97.23
Since its founding in 1979, Americares has provided more than $13 billion in aid to 164 countries, including the United States. It is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, and specializes in fighting ongoing health crises.
Direct Relief — 100
Direct Relief is California’s largest international humanitarian nonprofit organization. It provides medical assistance to help people affected by poverty and disaster in the US and around the world.
Other local organizations
- Houston Food Bank
- United Way of Greater Houston
- Food Bank of Corpus Christi
- Houston Humane Society
- San Antonio Humane Society
These local charities have all received scores between 85 and 100, and work in the most heavily affected areas of Houston.
Sara Nason, a Charity Navigator spokesperson, told Business Insider that choosing between donations to a local or national organization is a matter of preference. The main thing to look for is that the charity is an established and highly-rated organization.
“Local organizations will continue to work in the community long after the disaster has happened, as they have an established presence in the community. National and international organizations deal with disasters at a large scale, with an established infrastructure and coordinated teams that specifically hold a skill-set for responding to crises,” she said in an email.