There are dozens of charities well-aligned to advance the ideals of nurses and their patients, on a global scale.
Here are 9 of the most effective charities that are especially meaningful for nurses and other healthcare professionals.
Such charities are formally categorized as effective when they spend at least 75 per cent of their budget directly on programs, have open-book status for disclosure of their financial information, and – most importantly – by the amount of good they do through the extent of help they offer to people:
The Lupus Research Institute (LRI)
The nation’s only non-profit organization solely dedicated to using innovative new research to find safer and more effective methods to prevent, treat, and cure lupus, a devastating autoimmune illness that affects 1.5 million Americans.
Breakthroughs so far include a new understanding of the genetics of lupus, why-and-how certain organs are attacked by it, and the biomarkers of lupus development.
Against Malaria Foundation
Malaria is a mosquito-born disease that kills up to 660,000 people a year, most of whom are African children who have no immunity to the flu-like symptoms that lead to respiratory distress and severe anaemia.
The Against Malaria Foundation distributes insecticide-treated mosquito nets in 35 countries across Africa, Asia, and South America that save lives by protecting against malarial infections.
JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation)
For more than four decades, JDRF has been a global leader in the pursuit of a cure for type 1 diabetes. JDRF’s research is focused on three areas:
1) cure therapies aimed at ending or reversing the body’s immune attack on the pancreas
2) treatment therapies that develop new devices to help people with type 1 diabetes live healthier
3) preventative therapy that will stop the disease before it damages the pancreases of future generations
Schistosomiasis Control Initiative
With a top rating from Givewell.org, the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative works in sub-Saharan Africa to provide drugs and health education to protect against schistosomiasis (bilharzia) and other neglected tropical diseases caused by intestinal worms.
SCI surveys countries and creates “risk-maps” that predict infection levels and give direction to their interventions. It also supports impact research and has a strong focus on health education in schools and within communities.
One of the world’s most established charities appears to also be one of the most effective.
Having received $3.9 billion last year in donations, the United Way is working with community-based organizations on three goals they hope to reach by 2018.
They include: reducing high school drop-out rates by half, reducing the number of financially unstable low-income families by half, and improving child health, particularly in obesity prevention.
Project Healthy Children
Throughout the world, micronutrient deficiency is the leading cause of mental retardation, preventable blindness and death during childbirth. It can also cause severe birth defects, compromised immune systems, and a host of other conditions.
Project Healthy Children works with governments in developing countries to fortify staple foods such as flour, sugar, rice or oil with micronutrients like folic acid, iodine, iron, vitamin A and zinc.
With a rare A+ rating from charitywatch.org, CancerCare provides free professional counseling, support and education from oncology social workers and leading cancer experts to more than 170,000 patients, survivors, caregivers and other family members affected by cancer each year.
They also provide financial assistance to help cover expenses such as transportation, child care and home care costs related to treatment, giving out more than $22.3 million in financial aid in 2013.
Deworm the World Initiative
The Deworm the World Initiative works with ministries of health in Africa and India to bring large-scale deworming programs to school children to combat parasitic worm infections that can lead to anemia and malnourishment, which can affect school attendance and threaten the future health of untreated children.
So far, 40 million children in 27 countries have received the cost-effective treatment, which is listed by the Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT as a “best buy” in public health.
The American Kidney Fund
The American Kidney Fund is the national leader in providing charitable assistance to dialysis patients who need help with expenses related to treating kidney failure.
Last year more than 87,000 people – 1 out of every 5 U.S. dialysis patients – received assistance from this charity to cover health insurance premiums and other treatment-related expenses.