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Top-rated charities for 27 major causes for this holiday season

  • Top-rated charities for 27 major causes for this holiday season

    The holiday season has arrived and on top of sipping eggnog, baking gingerbread, and listening to endless rounds of “Jingle Bells," it's the time to engage in the old-fashioned spirit of giving. However, picking out the right cause can be daunting.

    You have to first decide what type of charity to support: With dozens out there including environmental organizations, human right groups, animal welfare causes, and more, the choices can be overwhelming. You also have to feel confident that your money is going to the right place and benefiting the cause.

    To help you make a decision, Stacker has gathered the top-ranking charities in every category listed on Charity Navigator, a charity assessment organization that analyzes the financial documents and accountability metrics of nonprofit groups throughout the United States. It examines charities in 27 different categories including wildlife conservation, public policy research, homeless services, advocacy and education, social services, and more.

    Stacker has compiled the top-ranking charity in every category, according to the overall scores, for every four-star charity working at a national level. Read on to find the group that best fits your mission.

    ALSO: 82 top-rated charities for supporting the military, veterans, and their families

  • Animal rights, welfare, and services: Last Chance for Animals

    Overall score: 98.23
    Financial score: 97.5
    Accountability score: 100

    Mission statement: Founded in 1984, Last Chance for Animals (LCA) recognizes that animals have the ability to experience pain, and as such they deserve certain basic rights protecting them from pain caused by humans. LCA believes that non-human animals should not be subjected to suffering and exploitation by humans because alternatives exist for nearly every traditional usage of animals. LCA opposes the use of animals for scientific curiosity, entertainment, clothing, and food. LCA recognizes the use of non-human animals in medical experimentation as both immoral and of questionable scientific validity due to the tremendous biological difference between species. LCA's work advocates conscious and informed lifestyle decisions, and LCA is committed to disseminating truthful information about societal animal abuse to improve the treatment of animals.

  • Wildlife conservation: Turtle Island Restoration Network

    Overall score: 96.91
    Financial score: 96.84
    Accountability score: 97

    Mission statement: Turtle Island Restoration Network's (TIRN) mission is to take swift and decisive action to protect and restore marine species and their habitats, and to inspire people in communities all over the world to join us as active and vocal marine species advocates. Our Sea Turtles Restoration Project provides public education, action, and hands-on conservation to protect endangered sea turtles and marine biodiversity worldwide. Our GotMercury project works to educate the public about the impacts of consuming mercury tainted seafood. Our Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) works to protect California's largest remaining run on endangered Coho salmon through research, restoration, public education and policy change.

  • Libraries, historical societies and landmark preservation: American Battlefield Trust

    Overall score: 96.94
    Financial score: 96.9
    Accountability score: 97

    Mission statement: The American Battlefield Trust (formerly known as the Civil War Trust) seeks to preserve our nation's hallowed battlegrounds and educate the public about what happened there and why it matters today. We permanently protect these battlefields for future generations as a lasting and tangible memorial to the brave soldiers who fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. Through the generosity of our dedicated members, we have preserved nearly 50,000 acres of significant battlefield land in 24 states. We also educate the next generation about the sacrifices made to secure the freedoms we enjoy today. History education is the foundation of good citizenship and is key to developing the leaders of tomorrow. Battlefields are outdoor classrooms, and we bring to life the history of America's turbulent first century through outstanding educator resources, our award-winning magazine, cutting-edge digital productions, and engaging social media.

  • Public broadcasting and media: Moving Picture Institute

    Overall score: 97.87
    Financial score: 100
    Accountability score: 97

    Mission statement: The Moving Picture Institute believes that film, more effectively than any other medium, can bring the idea of freedom to life. In keeping with that belief, we are working to ensure that film becomes a center of genuinely democratic art in the coming years. Our goal is to guarantee that film's unique capacity to give shape to abstract principles-to make them move and breathe-is used to support and promote liberty. Toward that end, we fund films from development through post-production, support up-and-coming filmmakers, and serve as a high-level intern placement service.

  • Housing and neighborhood development: Enterprise Community Partners

    Overall score: 98.67
    Financial score: 98.12
    Accountability score: 100

    Mission statement: Making well-designed homes affordable—as a proven and powerful nonprofit, Enterprise improves communities and people's lives by making well-designed homes affordable. We bring together nationwide know-how, partners, policy leadership and investment to multiply the impact of local affordable housing development. Our mission: To create opportunity for low- and moderate-income people through affordable housing in diverse, thriving communities. Over more than 30 years, Enterprise has created nearly 380,000 homes, invested $28.9 billion and touched millions of lives.

  • Scholarship and financial support: Central Scholarship

    Overall score: 96.95
    Financial score: 95.69
    Accountability score: 100

    Mission statement: Central Scholarship is devoted to helping individuals achieve a better life through higher education. We believe that education is a right, not a privilege and that scholarships are an investment, not an expense. Founded in 1924, we award scholarships and interest-free loans to students pursuing higher education. Through Central Scholarship, students are able to afford tuition and fulfill their potential.

  • Youth education programs and services: Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO)

    Overall score: 100
    Financial score: 100
    Accountability score: 100

    Mission statement: SEO was founded in 1963 with a mission to provide talented and motivated young people from underserved and underrepresented communities with access to superior educational and career opportunities. Today, SEO runs three programs: SEO Scholars is an eight-year academic program that gets low-income public high school students to and through college-with a 95% college graduation rate; SEO Career is the nation's premier summer internship and training program for underrepresented college students, specializing in banking, private equity, corporate leadership, law, and nonprofit; and SEO Alternative Investments provides education, exposure, training and mentoring opportunities to talented professionals traditionally underrepresented in the alternative investments sector.

  • Special education: Eye to Eye

    Overall score: 96.75
    Financial score: 97.74
    Accountability score: 96

    Mission statement: Eye to Eye's mission is to improve the life of every person with a learning disability. We fulfill our mission by supporting and growing a network of youth mentoring programs run by and for those with learning differences, and by organizing advocates to support the full inclusion of people with learning disabilities and ADHD in all aspects of society. Our vision is simple, yet bold: to create a world in which people with LD/ADHD are fully accepted, valued, and respected—not just by society, but also by themselves—and that they live free from second thoughts or worry, ready, able, and eager to apply their unique strengths to whatever they encounter in life.

  • Early childhood programs and services: Readworks

    Overall score: 95.87
    Financial score: 95
    Accountability score: 97

    Mission statement: ReadWorks is committed to solving America's reading comprehension crisis and student achievement gap. Driven by cognitive science research, ReadWorks creates world-class content, teacher guidance, and integrated tools that improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Vision: Every child in the United States can read well with deep comprehension because all educators teach reading effectively with the superb reading content and curriculum they need.

  • Education policy and reform: The Parent-Child Home Program

    Overall score: 97.17
    Financial score: 100
    Accountability score: 96

    Mission statement: The Parent-Child Home Program's (PCHP) international network of program sites provides low-income families with the necessary skills and tools to ensure their children achieve their greatest potential in school and in life. The National Center assists underserved communities in replicating and expanding PCHP's proven school readiness program that builds early parent-child verbal interaction and learning at home. Together we are strengthening families and communities, and preparing the workforce of the future.

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