My thesis statement is that medical charities are utmost important for the nation as well as humanity in general as they help to cope with medical emergencies and necessities thus saving several precious lives and providing much needed medical help on time. This is the reason I have chosen medical charities from among the other charities to donate the sum of $10,000 at my disposal. For efficiently gauging which are the best medical charities, I have done some preliminary research by poring through their websites in detail supported by secondary research of going through their performance parameters and reviews from other sources. A combination of these both often gives a clear cut idea on which charity is the best bet to park funds intended for philanthropy. (Reich, R, 2006)
Many emergencies like natural calamities turn up unexpectedly where the role of medical charities is of prime importance. Such calamities could be of the likes of storms, floods and so on and they could strike at any point of time and in any part of our nation. One such was the case of Moore, Oklahoma, a town that was devastated by the Oklahoma 2013 Spring Storms. Many of the primary infrastructures in the town including schools had been decimated by these storms. It is the need of the hour to reconstruct the schools as quickly as possible. The American Red Cross is doing great work in helping to have the schools up and running at the earliest. Such dire needs faced by different communities and its residents provide a compelling need for medical charities in our nation. This is also the reason as to why as individual donors, we need to contribute to more such worthy causes. (Prochaska, F, 1990)
The American Red Cross is one of the most active medical charities in the United States and has been on the ground caring for the afflicted during several medical emergencies from its inception in 1881. This includes disaster relief, supporting military families in America, providing lifesaving blood, providing health and safety services and also indulging in international services. The mission statement reads “The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors”. A bulk or nearly 75% of its funding is through government grants. Other avenues of financial help are from corporate foundations, community partners, Individuals and celebrities. 90% of this charity’s budget is spent on its different programs and services which goes on to prove this is a well run charity outfit. Their standing in the field of emergency medical relief is unsurpassed and unparalleled and this is the prime reason I have chosen this charity for my study. Another attraction for me was their organization’s size and scope, not only at the national level but also globally.
The American Kidney Fund, since its inception in 1971 is the nation’s leading provider of charity assistance to dialysis patients. In 2013, in excess of 87,000 patients or one out of every five dialysis patients in the United States got assistance from them. Their purpose statement reads “The mission of the American Kidney Fund is to fight kidney disease through direct financial support to patients in need; health education; and prevention efforts”. The funds from the charity are given to needy dialysis patients who don’t have the wherewithal to meet the expensive dialysis costs. (Payton, R L and M P Moody, 2008) The sound fiscal management of this charity is proved by the twelve consecutive four star evaluations it has received from Charity Navigator, which is the country’s leading charity evaluator. Their claim is that 97 cents from every dollar spend goes into services and programs. They collect funds from individual donors as well as corporate sponsors. This charity is my pick primarily due to the success rate they have in implementation of their programs and they have been lauded as one among the top charities of the nation. The need of financial assistance for dialysis patients to cope with this expensive medical procedure also helped me out in the choice of this charity.
The Cystic Fibrosis foundation, founded in 1955 is the world’s leading funding agency of research into cystic fibrosis. In fact, almost every single Cystic Fibrosis drug on shelves has been made possible due to this foundation’s support. It is this impeccable track record that has made me chose this charity. (Mills, C W, 1956) Money is collected through various fund raising events such as Golf and fishing tournaments, dinner dances and galas and so on. Funds also arrive by means of gifts, contributions and grants. 81% of this charity’s budget is spent on various programs and services. The funds are used to support research into creation of efficient drugs to combat cystic fibrosis and act as caregivers linking cystic fibrosis patients and their families with specialized CF care. (NCVO and CAF, 2009)
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is the world’s leading funding organization working towards the goal of a world devoid of Type 1 Diabetes. The charity strives to improve the lives of patients who are suffering from this ailment and to help them to lead easier, healthier and safer lives. As the word ‘juvenile’ suggests, Type I Diabetes was afflicting only minors till recently but now this disease has started to appear among adults also, increasing the scope of this charity. At present, it sponsors $530 million towards scientific research across 17 countries. In excess of 80% of its expenditures are spent on research and research related education. The Forbes magazine has named this charity as one among its five all star charities. It gets funds from private donors and through fund-raising events like walks, rides and so on. JDRF has a really active network of volunteers spread across several local chapters that supports them in their cause. The attraction of this charity for me is its determination to eradicate the menace of Type 1 Diabetes and their efficiency of operations. (May, T, 1997)
The mission of the American Liver Foundation is to “facilitate, advocate and promote education, support and research for the prevention, treatment and cure of liver disease.” This is another top rated charity and it was formed in 1976 by AASLD or the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease. This charity indulges in research pertaining to finding cure and improving treatment of various liver diseases. Vital education is imparted as many varieties of Liver disease can be prevented and much more cured if detection is done early. It also strives to impart education on various liver diseases that helps many who are living with the disease but are unaware of it. Another role this charity performs is to advocate on behalf of millions of Americans with liver diseases to the government. Donations are sought from individuals and funds also pour in through corporate partnerships. They have various fund raising events namely the Liver life Walk, Liver Life Challenge; Join an American Liver Foundation Event and so on. An efficient network of nationwide divisions and offices further augment their efforts. My choice of this charity lies with the success it has had in advocating the cause of those suffering from Liver diseases and the spotlight it has managed to throw on their plight. (Love, B, S Raymond, et al, 2009)
The impeccable track record of the American Kidney Fund over the years and their standing as a medical charity provider of repute meant I had no hesitation in donating the $10,000 I had at my disposal to them. I was also mighty impressed by the sheer volume of work they have done over the years. The fact that one in five dialysis patients in our nation has got help from this single entity speaks volumes on their immense reach. I could not find another medical charity that would come close to their performance parameters. Compared to the other charities that are discussed in this study, they are way far ahead in their percentage of funds utilized for charity in lieu of their expenditure. Another factor weighing in heavily in their behalf is that none of the others match up with regard to their reach in their respective fields. (Lloyd, T, 2004) The American Kidney Fund is more helpful to the beneficiaries as they dole out direct financial assistance. Except for the American Red Cross, the other charities tend to be more indirect in their support as they do more of research, raising awareness, advocacy and so forth.
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Reich, R (2006) ‘Philanthropy and its uneasy relation to equality’. Taking Philanthropy Seriously: Beyond Noble Intentions to Responsible Giving ed W Damon and S Verducci. Indianapolis, Indiana University Press