The world is one large community, and we are all its citizens. If you wanted to help your neighbor, you could easily just go next door. But how exactly can you help someone who’s half-way across the world? Proximity is one obstacle. But then there’s also the question of gathering enough funds to make a difference, figuring out what to do with those funds, and determining who to give those funds to. Fortunately, there are a number of foreign aid charities that do all of the work for you.
Here’s a look at some of the top-rated charities in International Relief and Development according to Charity Watch. All of these organizations have received an A+ Grade, the highest grade that an organization can receive.
International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Stated Mission: Serves refugees and communities victimized by oppression and violent conflict worldwide. Provides emergency relief, protection of human rights, post-conflict development, resettlement assistance, and advocacy.
The history of IRC goes all the way back to 1933. The committee was founded at the request of Albert Einstein who had seen firsthand the tragedies of war and persecution throughout World War I and the rise of fascism that followed. Over the years the organization provided aid to Germans post-World War II, Cuban refugees who arrived in US to flee Castro’s dictatorship, Vietnamese refugees displaced by the Vietnam War, those displaced by the most recent genocide in Darfur, and communities across Sierra Leone and Liberia that suffered the brunt of the Ebola Virus.
Partners in Health (PIH)
Stated Mission: Dedicated to delivering quality health care to people and communities devastated by the joint burdens of poverty and disease. Work has three goals: to care for patients, to alleviate the root causes of disease, and to share lessons learned around the world.
Like IRC, the pedigree of PIH includes some renowned luminaries. Ophelia Dahl (the daughter of Roald Dahl), Paul Farmer (an internationally renowned doctor based out of Harvard Medical School), Jim Yong Kim (president of the World Bank Group and former director of the WHO’s HIV/Aids Department), Todd McCormack (senior Corporate vice president at IMG Media), and Tom White (who provided the organization with its first large round of money).
When it comes to healthcare, the founders of PIH know their stuff. When PIH was first founded in 1987, it focused on delivering health care to those around Haiti’s Central Plateau Region. Today, PIH has a number of health care projects across the world. These projects include bringing community-based HIV treatment and primary care to regions of Rwanda, assuming responsibility for clinical care at Siberia’s TB project, and launching numerous TB and HIV related projects across South America.
Rotary Foundation of Rotary International
Stated Mission: To advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.
The Rotary Club is perhaps the oldest organization on this list and also one of the largest in scope. In 1905, Paul P. Harris founded the Rotary Club in Chicago as means of getting professionals from diverse background into a room to exchange ideas and form meaningful friendships. The name comes from meetings originally rotating between the offices of its members. By 1921, the Rotary Club had clubs in six continents. It’s members include the likes of President Warren G. Harding, UN General Assembly President Carlos Romulo, and Lebanese President H.E. Soleiman Fragieh. The Rotary undertakes a variety of projects from promoting peace in conflict-affected areas, fighting disease by educating and mobilizing communities, providing clean water by giving communities the ability to cultivate their own clean water resources, helping mothers and children with health education and provisions, and supporting education through building schools.
United Methodist Committee of Relief (UMCOR)
Stated Mission: Alleviating human suffering around the globe by providing humanitarian aid through programs of relief, rehabilitation, service to refugees, and renewal of life.
When it comes to faith-based organizations have providing outstanding relief to those abroad and at home, UMCOR stands at the top. In 1940, the Methodist General Conference created the committee to provide relief to war-torn China . The efforts soon spread to other parts of southeast Asia, and eventually the world. Over the years, UMCOR has leant aid to Ethiopia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Korea and more. Like other organizations on this list, UMCOR makes an effort to offer immediate and long-term aid.
Africare (Africare House)
Stated Mission: Works to improve the quality of life of the people in Africa by building partnerships with African people to build sustainable, healthy and productive lives and communities, and is a leading voice in addressing African development and policy issues.
In 1970, an American doctor and his wife, a nurse, found themselves working in a hospital in Niger while drought was ravaging the country. Seeing the real and immediate need for assistance, William and Barbara Kirker founded Africare. The first iteration of the organization focused on healthcare. Then, in 1971, the organization’s work expanded. Hamani Diori (the first president of Niger), C. Payne Lucas (former director of the Peace Corps Office of Returned Volunteers), Oumarou Youssoufou (a Nigerian diplomat), and Joseph C. Kennedy (former Peace Corps director in Sierra Leone) all joined the newest iteration of Africare. With its strong humanitarian backbone, Africare set forth to tackles a variety of humanitarian issues throughout the whole continent of Africa.
Africare is one of the largest and most accomplished African-American led non-profit foreign aid organizations out there. Setting apart Africare even more is that its staff is near entirely composed of Africans who have valuable connections to various communities throughout the continent.
American Refugee Committee (ARC)
Stated Mission: Works with refugees, displaced people, and those at risk to help them survive crises and rebuild lives of dignity, health, security, and self-sufficiency.
Like IRC, ARC focuses on assisting displaced and oppressed people throughout the world. In addition to more noticeable projects such as building schools and hospitals, ARC also implements education based projects spreading awareness about health, domestic violence, and gender-based violence. The organization has chapters throughout Sudan, Jordan, Liberia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand, and Uganada.
The primary goal of the U.N. Diplomatic Services Corp. is to help individuals is to provide not only immediate, but also long-term relief to countries. We provide not only humanitarian aid, but also developmental aid. We believe that the answers to many of today’s humanitarian problems are stem from giving people the tools that they need to live healthy, safe, and productive lives. In the end, by helping others we help the world.
Corey Engelen is President of the U.N. Diplomatic Corp. Although he is based out of Colorado, he spends over half of the year traveling between Europe, for fundraising efforts, and Africa, for implementing humanitarian and developmental aid projects.