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87 top rated charities to support military members and their families

  • 87 top rated charities to support military members and their families

    There is perhaps no more noble act a human being can perform than making the decision to sacrifice their own life in the hopes of protecting others. With more than 1.3 million active service members and 800,000 reserve personnel as of September 2017, the U.S. Armed Forces is made up of some of the bravest, most selfless Americans the nation has to offer, and it is the citizens' collective responsibility to support them in whatever way possible.

    With the help of Charity Navigator, Stacker put together a list of 87 top-rated charities that support the military, veterans, and their families. Each charity is assigned a financial score, an accountability, and transparency score; our list is ordered by financial score from lowest to highest, with any ties broken by the program expenses ratio, representing the percent of a charity's total expenses spent on the programs and services it delivers.

    Read on to get a sense of some of the best charities that you might consider donating to in support of the U.S. Armed Forces.

    You may also like: Military heroes from every state

  • #87. Operation Finally Home

    Focus: Wounded Troops Services
    Overall score: 80.85
    Financial score: 73.22
    Accounting and transparency score: 96.00
    Program expense ratio: 72.8%

    Mission: At Operation Finally Home, we provide homes and home modifications to America's military Heroes and the widows of the fallen who have sacrificed so much to defend our freedoms and values. We bring together corporate sponsors, builder associations, builders, remodelers, developers, individual contributors, and volunteers to help these Heroes and their families by addressing one of their most pressing needs—a place to call home.

  • #86. Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation

    Focus: Military Family Support
    Overall score: 81.14
    Financial score: 73.33
    Accounting and transparency score: 100.00
    Program expense ratio: 63.4%

    Mission: Founded in 1962, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is the Nation's oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships to military children. These scholarships provide access to affordable education for the children of Marines and Navy Corpsmen attending post-high school, under-graduate and career technical education programs. Each year our work eases financial burdens for thousands of Marine families in all 50 states whose military income struggles to keep pace with the rising cost of college tuition. Since our founding, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation has awarded more than 40,000 scholarships valued at nearly $125 million.

  • #85. New England Center and Home for Veterans

    Focus: Military Social Services
    Overall score: 82.20
    Financial score: 75.83
    Accounting and transparency score: 93.00
    Program expense ratio: 72.6%

    Mission: The New England Center and Home for Veterans (NECHV) was founded in 1989 and is one of the Nation's largest private resource providers for Veterans of every era who face challenges and/or are at-risk of homelessness. The Center currently houses approximately 280 male and female Veterans every night at its downtown Boston facility. It has a capacity to provide transitional and emergency housing for 183 Veterans who are working to escape homelessness; and permanent supportive housing units for 97 Veterans. NECHV is continually expanding, refining and improving its programs of service to ensure it is able to address the complex challenges that Veterans may face. Collaborative partnerships with medical facilities, government agencies, educational institutions, the businesses community, and other community-based service providers have enabled NECHV to emerge as one of the country's largest private Veteran service providers.

  • #84. USA Cares

    Focus: Military Family Support
    Overall score: 83.25
    Financial score: 76.32
    Accounting and transparency score: 100.00
    Program expense ratio: 80.9%

    Mission: USA Cares exists to help bear the burdens of service by providing post-9/11 military families with financial and advocacy support in their time of need.

  • #83. Coast Guard Foundation

    Focus: Military Family Support
    Overall score: 83.53
    Financial score: 76.91
    Accounting and transparency score: 97.00
    Program expense ratio: 66.5%

    Mission: The Coast Guard Foundation is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of the men and women of the Coast Guard and their families. Founded more than 40 years ago, the Coast Guard Foundation provides education, support and relief for the brave men and women, who enforce maritime law, protect our homeland and preserve the environment. The Coast Guard Foundation aims to strengthen their service to our nation by encouraging them to excel on- and off-duty. Program support includes college scholarships for enlisted dependents and spouses, support to families of CG personnel who die or are critically injured in the line of duty, morale funding for CG units, and a robust program of recognizing and publically honoring CG heroes.

  • #82. Coro Northern California

    Focus: Military Social Services
    Overall score: 83.85
    Financial score: 80.00
    Accounting and transparency score: 89.00
    Program expense ratio: 76.5%

    Mission: Coro is an organization started in San Francisco in 1942 by W. Donald Fletcher, an attorney, and Van Duyn Dodge, an investment counselor, to train young veterans in the leadership skills necessary to assure that our democratic system of government could more effectively meet the needs of its citizens.

  • #81. United Through Reading

    Focus: Military Family Support
    Overall score: 84.07
    Financial score: 77.48
    Accounting and transparency score: 100.00
    Program expense ratio: 76.2%

    Mission: Together, United Through Reading unites military families facing physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud. In more than 200 locations worldwide on land and at sea, United Through Reading offers military service members the opportunity to be video-recorded reading books to their children at home. When faraway parents read stories to their children and send the video recordings and books home:
    - Children's anxieties are eased.
    - Spouses at home are supported.
    - Parenting is shared.
    - Service members' morale is boosted.
    - Service members continue to be a part of daily life at home no matter where military duty takes them.
    - Homecomings are easier and more joyful.
    - Children's literacy is supported and they become readers.

  • #80. Challenged Athletes Foundation

    Focus: Military Social Services
    Overall score: 84.16
    Financial score: 77.61
    Accounting and transparency score: 100.00
    Program expense ratio: 78.1%

    Mission: Established in 1997, the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) is a unique organization that recognizes the athletic greatness inherent in all people with physical challenges and supports their athletic endeavors by providing grants for training, competition and equipment needs. CAF programs include Access for Athletes, providing funding and support for physically challenged athletes; Catch a Rising Star, a fitness and mentoring program; Operation Rebound, providing post-rehabilitation support and mentorship to American soldiers and veterans; Emmanuel Fund, supporting Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah's efforts to change conditions for the physically challenged in Ghana; and Reach High, conducting outreach to inspire and educate people with physical challenges and our communities.

  • #79. AMVETS National Service Foundation

    Focus: Military Social Services
    Overall score: 84.59
    Financial score: 79.37
    Accounting and transparency score: 93.00
    Program expense ratio: 79.1%

    Mission: AMVETS National Service Foundation was created in 1948, with the goal of assisting our returning veterans from World War II by aiding in their readjustment back into civilian life. This goal has continued to this date. AMVETS National Service Foundation provides support to veterans through service programs as well as providing community and youth-oriented programs designed to promote unity and patriotism. It counsels and represents veterans and their dependents before the Veterans Administration without charge. Our NSOs labor diligently, even on weekends, helping the members of the National Guard and Reserves cut through the maze of red tape and logjams to obtain all VA benefits due to them under the current law for service-related conditions. Between Sept. 1, 2009 and Aug. 31, 2010, our NSOs have presented 233 briefings to 24,700 National Guard/Reserve members, veterans or surviving family members and taken 367 claims at the conclusion of the briefing session.

  • #78. Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for Children

    Focus: Military Family Support
    Overall score: 84.79
    Financial score: 78.49
    Accounting and transparency score: 100.00
    Program expense ratio: 69.3%

    Mission: The Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for Children provides children and families of members of the VFW, its Ladies Auxiliary and active-duty military opportunities for growth and development in a nurturing community, and by doing so, will serve as a living memorial to all veterans. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) established the National Home in 1925 to care for the children and families of our nation's veterans. Located on 629 acres in Eaton Rapids, Mich., the National Home stands today as a tribute to the VFW and Ladies Auxiliary members who help support the facility and the families who call the National Home their home.

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