With over $350 billion given to charity in just 2014, the United States is clearly a leader in philanthropy across the global community. Individual donations, local secular societies, and large scale religious institutions all do their part to funnel the fruits of their success toward segments of society in need. While it should be said that philanthropic endeavors aren’t a contest, it’s a simple fact that not all charities are created equal, especially in the United States, where a select body of organizations and individuals stand out as the best philanthropies in the county.
1.United Way Worldwide
This Alexandria, Virginia-based philanthropic organization has a history stretching back to the 19th century where it began as a humble endeavor of a small but dedicated group of church leaders. Since then, United Way has grown beyond the confines of the U.S. with bases in New Zealand and France. Functionally, United Way operates as a charitable collective with roughly 1,000 independent chapters across the country, enabling the organization to offer support at a local level, with a focus on health initiatives, income equality and assistance, and improved education standards.
United Way is unique among philanthropic groups in that much of its funding is donated directly from supporters’ paychecks. Last year alone organizers and supporters generated nearly $4 billion worth of donations which were then used for disaster relief, generating education opportunities in third world countries, and a host of other projects.
2.Task Force For Global Health (TFGH)
The TFGH is a United States philanthropic effort with a truly global perspective as it works in 154 countries. Only recently founded in 1984, the TFGH has grown in its short lifespan to be one of the largest U.S. charitable organizations with $3.15 billion in reported gifts. Rather than working strictly with providing funding, the main thrust of the TFGH is to provide medicine to low income and developing nations and communities. The group has forged relationships with many prominent drug manufacturers in support of this mission. In recognition of its efforts to combat HIV, offer vaccinations, and other philanthropic projects in third-world countries, the TFGH received the prestigious Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize.
3.Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
After retiring from Microsoft’s day-to-day operations, tech innovator and investor Bill Gates has grown to become a prominent force in the philanthropic community, along with his wife, Melinda. Their Foundation, makes significant financial contributions to charitable groups throughout the world, cementing their reputations as some of the most effective and generous U.S. philanthropists.
Bill and Melinda’s lifetime donations are currently near $27 billion. While their efforts in the U.S. primarily focus on educational opportunities, particularly in the information technology sector, their global efforts focus on combating poverty and health concerns in less developed nations. Some of the organizations to receive philanthropic grants from the Gates Foundation include the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the Rotary Foundation.