Japan's earthquake last week was the largest in the country's recorded history, and the subsequent tsunami even more terrible in its devastation and destruction. Now the Japanese people must rebuild their communities, while mourning their dead and caring for the injured and displaced.
They will need our help. Many of us are desperate to do something, but perhaps don't know how best to assist the victims of this horrific catastrophe. What do the Japanese people need most right now? Which charities are most effective in providing relief to the region? Does Japan really need money at this particular time? These are just a few of the questions that Americans are wondering about at the moment.
What to do
Seeking answers to these questions yesterday, I spoke with Sean Milliken, who is the executive director of MissionFish, the administrator of eBay's
There are numerous ways of offering cash donations, according to Sean. First, you can find lists of leading charitable organizations on major news sites. Be sure to click on the links to the listed charities' websites in order to read more about them. You can then research your selections on Charity Navigator, a site that is devoted to intelligent giving. It will provide you with ratings and additional operational information on more than 5,000 charities.
In the table below I've provided links to some of the leading charities -- along with their ratings -- that are providing relief to Japan:
|Charity||Charity Navigator Overall Rating|
|American Red Cross||55.48|
|Save the Children||63.97|
Source: Charity Navigator.
Sean also suggested that you might consider donating to the Network For Good, which will distribute your donation across a wide array of participating charities.
In addition to donating directly to the various charities, prospective donors can also give via other websites. eBay, Amazon.com
Finally, potential donors can give via their mobile devices. Below is a list of possible options in the U.S.:
|JAPAN to 20222||To donate $10 to Save The Children|
|MERCY to 25283||To donate $10 to Mercy Corps|
|REDCROSS to 90999||To donate $10 to American Red Cross|
|4JAPAN to 20222||To donate $10 to World Vision|
Right time, right place?
Over the past several days, there has been a spirited online debate as to whether now is a good time to donate money to Japan. The blogger Felix Salmon, for example, argues that Japan is a wealthy country that has plenty of money to help out its citizens. Others argue that Japan needs our help during this difficult time, and that there are a lot of fine organizations out there who can provide that assistance in a timely and efficient way.
Personally, I'm a firm believer in the latter argument, and gave $250 to AmeriCares yesterday to assist with its efforts to help tsunami survivors. I've heard and read great things about that organization, and am very happy to support its work.
If you also decide to contribute to Japan relief, be sure to spend some time researching your organization, and make sure you are reasonably comfortable with it before making your donation.
Japan is a great nation, and I know that it will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever before. If anyone has additional ideas on how we might support the relief effort, feel free to share them in the comments box below.
John Reeves owns shares of Google, but none in any other company mentioned above. Amazon.com and eBay are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. The Fool owns shares of Google, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value and Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.