How Forbes chooses the top American charities – and where to search for your favorites

The new Forbes list of 100 top charities for 2019 is out, showing not only rankings, but some trends in the way Americans give. Be sure to scroll to the end of their article to see their interactive database where you can explore your own favorite nonprofits.

These 100 Top Charities collectively received more than $51.5 billion in private donations in their most recent fiscal years. That’s up an impressive 4.9 percent from the year earlier and accounts for 12 percent of the estimated $427.7 billion received in contributions by all of the country’s one million-plus charities according to Giving USA.

The cutoff to make their 21st annual list was private donations of $146 million, up $1 million from last year. That was the sum received in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018 by Covenant House, the New York City-based agency providing shelter to homeless and runaway youths. (It returns to the list after an absence of some years.) The lone first-time-ever member of the list has a well-known name: Ronald McDonald House Charities. Ranked No. 98 with private contributions of $149 million, the Chicago-based nonprofit is best known for its houses which allow the families of children being treated at distant hospitals to stay together.

Despite a continuing slide in donations, United Way Worldwide was again the leader of the 100 by a wide margin. For its fiscal year ending in June 2019, United Way reported private contributions received of $3.30 billion, down 5.7 percent from a year earlier, and off 20 percent from its 2007 peak. Based in Alexandria, Va., United Way consists of more than 1,000 legally separate franchises that receive most of their donations from paycheck deductions authorized by workers. Each individual unit (or alternately, each worker) determines which charities ultimately get the money that passed through United Way. But the United Ways as a whole have been losing ground to single-purpose causes as well as donor-advised funds – charitable-giving vehicles (including three affiliated with Fidelity, Charles Schwab and Vanguard) that provide a tax efficient way for individuals to funnel money to individual charities. It’s also gotten new competition in the workplace from Benevity, a fintech upstart that expects to process $1.2 billion in employee giving worldwide for 2019.

Read the full story at Forbes.

Photo: Church of the King, Unsplash

Up Next

What do young adults really mean when they say they are Christians?

Read Now
Editor's note: Stories appearing on NCF's website from third-party contributors are intended for informational purposes only, and we do not endorse or approve the content, services, products, or theological teachings they contain. Any questions or concerns may be directed to the original publisher of such third-party content.

Sign up for our
Saturday 7 email digest

Join 40,000+ subscribers who receive our email digest of the
week's top stories from We call it Saturday 7.

Read our privacy policy