Canadians are asking how to help disaster response efforts for Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. Charity Intelligence Canada analyses Canadian charities; we have no research or recommendations on which charities to support in this disaster response. We’ve found local knowledge is critical in helping donors give intelligently. Without it, Charity Intelligence can’t advise.

American charity research experts like Charity Navigator and Charity Watch can help. Canadians looking to support those hit by Hurricane Harvey should read these charity recommendations.

Charity Navigator’s recommendations for Hurricane Harvey

Charity Watch’s recommendations

Looking through the charities recommended by Charity Navigator and Charity Watch, these American charities got high praise for their help in Canadian disasters.

Team Rubicon helped Fort McMurray’s fire recovery using military veterans to do the heavy lifting, helping families sift through ashes. 

Samaritan’s Purse was well-regarded in its rebuilding work in the aftermath of the Calgary floods in 2013. 

Habitat for Humanity - building homes takes longer but Habitat for Humanity repaired and rebuilt homes for those most in need after the Alberta floods. It is doing similar work on a limited scale in Fort McMurray.

Both Charity Navigator and Charity Watch are recommending food banks: Houston Food Bank and Feeding America (national distributor). In Canadian disaster responses, food banks have always performed exceptionally well. Local food banks will experience a surge in demand as people will have lost all their food supplies.

Canadian donors will NOT receive a tax receipt when giving to US charities. For Canadians that want a tax receipt, you must give to a Canadian registered charity that is doing an appeal for Hurricane Harvey. This includes: 

Canadian Red Cross donations will support American Red Cross. Please note, American Red Cross is a separate charity from Canadian Red Cross. Many questions have been raised about American Red Cross' relief efforts in Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Isaac in 2012, Mississippi and Louisianna floods in 2016 and the US Senate's investigation into American Red Cross operations. 

Samaritan’s Purse Canada donations will support Samaritan's Purse US.

Giving Tips for Disaster Response

  • Make a one-time donation rather than monthly donations. Disaster response charities need money now rather than smaller amounts over the next 12 months.
  • Diversify your giving. Spread your donation among charities. Donations given to one charity are not typically shared with other charities. If you are thinking of donating $500, share it among three charities. You can do this by disaster response time: one doing immediate disaster work, one that will help in the cleanup, and one focused on longer-term recovery. Or spread your donation over three different areas like food banks, cleanup responders, animal rescue/shelters, and local United Ways (United Way of Greater Houston has established local partner charities, knows its community needs and does share donations with local charities). And while the media focus is on the Houston area, don’t forget Louisiana.
  • Support local charities. For donors looking for better impact, local charities historically have better track records in helping their communities recover.
  • Give money, not goods. Please do not send food, blankets or other goods to the US. Giving cash is far easier for charities to receive and gives them the flexibility to best meet people’s needs.
  • Don’t go uninvited: wanting to go to Texas to help is a natural reaction. Rather than going alone, volunteer with a charity that has been called on to help. Samaritan’s Purse Canada is looking for volunteers and has the disaster response equipment.

Media contacts for:

Charity Navigator  - Katie Rusnock 201.818.1288 x 108

Charity Watch -  Daniel Borochoff 773.529.2300

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