The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital A DC-10 has been set up as a hospital operating room specializing in eye surgery. For 20 years this organization has taken the best in equipment and techniques all over the world to attack the problem of blindness.

The World Heath Organization estimates that blindness affects 45 million people, 90% in developing countries and 80% of which would be preventable with decent care.

What I especially like about this group is their focus on training local staff. Video equipment and lecture facilities in the DC-10 allow local medical staff to watch the surgery being performed and to discuss techniques. Thus, the work can be multiplied after the aircraft leaves.

Volunteer pilots from major airlines and over 400 surgeons who donate their time work with corporate sponsor and a small staff to make this work. I'm also taken with how the plane has been welcomed to all sorts of "hostile" places - and even got a free load of fuel from Libya. We should have a thousand things like this going on. Lean more at the Orbis site and from an article in Airliner World June 2003.

How do you know if your charitable giving is really going to people who need it? There are several organizations that rate charities, ranking them on criteria like how much of a donation goes to actual programs, how good their financial controls are and how open they are. These include the American Institute of Philanthropy for example. Charity Navigator also includes criteria for growth of the size of the charity, which tends to penalize good groups that aren't fashionable at the moment. The Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance judges charities against several criteria and provide financial data on each group they evaluate.

Charity rating organizations

Charity Watch American Institute of Philanthropy
Online they just list top rated. (Up 8/27/11; posted 12/13/06)

Charity Navigator Rating 1-4 stars, gives detailed comparative data. (Up 8/27/11; posted 12/13/06)

Give - Better Business Beaur Wise giving Alliance (Up 8/27/11; posted 12/13/06)

The Center for Victims of Torture The Center provides comprehensive assistance to those who have suffered torture, helping with the specialized medical and psychological problems such people face.
Based out of Minneapolis, they worked with over 200 clients there each year and more on site in countries where torture is going on. Established in 1985, they also train health providers, do research about the effects of torture and advocate for the end of torture. Their website has resources for those dealing with torture victims.
ChildFund Child fund (formerly Christian Children's Fund) provides both direct aid to individual children and to the schools and other institutions that support children in many poor countries around the world.
The means for that support is linking donors to individual, specific kids and providing updates on their progress and insights to their world. I've supported three different children over the 25 plus years that I have been contributing and have enjoyed and learned from the school reports, personal letters and other correspondence. I've been challenged to write to "my daughter" in a way that explains my life to someone who regards clean water as a luxury.
KSU Biochemistry Department
I don't expect you to support this. I set up a memorial fund upon my father's death that supports grad students in his old department.
The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences
A key organization attempting to put back together what never should have been separated. See my comments here.
The Innocence Project fights to free those wrongfully accused.
The rise of DNA evidence has offered a near-infallible way of checking a fraction of criminal convictions. Organized in 1992, the Innocence Project works to use DNA evidence to free those who are innocent. Reasons for false convictions turn out to run the gamut from false confessions, to mistaken ID, to actual misconduct. The Innocence Project is organizing the Innocence Network to connect various groups who work to free innocent men and women.

 

Last modified 8/27/11; posted 11/26/05, original content © 2011, 2005 John P. Nordin