Thursday, November 18, 2010

America's 10 Largest Charities

Charity starts at home.
Collectively, the organizations on our annual list of America's 200 Largest Charities took in $42 billion in contributions from people like you. Here's a quick look at the 10 biggest as measured by gifts received.

United Way: $3.8 billion
With a focus on workplace fundraising campaigns, this nationwide network of 1,300 local affiliates dwarfs all other charities. Its financial efficiencies are above average for its class. Boss Brian Gallagher earned $715,000.

Salvation Army: $1.7 billion
Technically a Christian religion, the Army is far better known for helping the poor. Its financial efficiencies are slightly below average. But National Commander Israel L. Gaither worked for relative peanuts: $135,000.

AmeriCares: 1.2 billion
Foreign disasters and refugees are this Connecticut charity's hot button. It gets 98% of its gifts in goods and medicines, which results in extremely high financial efficiencies. President Curtis Welling was paid $310,000.

Feed The Children: $1.2 billion
Welcome to the country's most scandalized major charity. The ouster of founder Larry Jones, who was paid $280,000, was accompanied by claims of economic and operational improprieties. Most gifts are donated goods, which generates average financial efficiencies--if you believe the numbers.

Food For The Poor: $1.1 billion
This Florida-based charity specializes in sending donated goods to other charities in impoverished areas of the Caribbean and Central America. Financial efficiencies are high, and so, relatively, was the pay of top official Robin Mahfood: $425,000.

Catholic Charities USA: $940 million
Umbrella group of 170 church-owned agencies focuses on domestic relief. Despite church affiliation, most of its $4.3 billion budget comes from the government. President Larry Snyder, a priest, earned $155,000.

American Cancer Society: $900 million
Venerable charity with 3,400 offices funds much cancer research. But high fundraising costs give it the worst financial efficiencies among the top 10. Boss John Seffrin certainly was well paid at $1.3 million.

World Vision: $865 million
Washington State-based humanitarian group works both at home and abroad, providing emergency relief and support for foreign children. While most contributions are donated goods, financial efficiency is only average for niche. Head Richard Stearns was paid $435,000.

YMCA: $775 million
Complaints of unfair competition from for-profit health clubs haven't hurt this network of neighborhood facilities. Most of its revenue comes from fees for services rather than gifts. Financial efficiency is subpar, but head Neil Nicoll is rather underpaid at $435,000.

Feeding America: $680 million
Formerly called Second Harvest, this Chicago-based charity supplies 200 food banks for poor across country. Large gifts-in-kind from corporations and use of celebrities keep financial efficiencies high, though below some peers. CEO Vicki Escarra was paid $485,000.