The best way to help whenever a disaster strikes at home or abroad is to donate money to reputable, established charities and funds. Clean-up and rebuilding takes months of effort…sometimes years. Every dollar you donate to well-established aid organizations go toward relief efforts. Experts say whatever you do, don’t donate anything but money. If you can’t offer money, most organizations need volunteers.
Above all, beware of charity frauds that claim to be raising money in any disaster. Before you donate your hard earned money to a scammer, read FBI Tips on Avoiding Charity Fraud or check that the agency is top-rated by Charity Navigator, an independent charity rating group. Especially be aware of organizations with similar sounding names to well-established, highly rated ones. If you have any doubt, you can donate to a charity directly from a link on Charity Navigator.
Where to donate for Maui wildfire victims August 2023
The following local Hawaii organizations are providing direct relief for Maui wildfire victims.
- Hawaiian Airlines will match every mile donated to American Red Cross Hawaii in the month of August, up to 30 million miles. HawaiianMiles rewards members can login and donate miles at HawaiianMiles Account Login | Hawaiian Airlines.
- Hawaii Community Foundation has created the Maui Strong Fund to help aid communities affected by the Maui Wildfires. Donate online at hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/maui-strong
- Kākoʻo Maui is raising fund for Maui organizations to support relief efforts. Every dollar donated will be matched up to $250,000.
- Maui County Food Bank is accepting cash donations.
- Maui Humane Society is accepting cash donations
- Maui Mutual Aid Fund (bit.ly/mauimutualaide) is a volunteer group raising funds via PayPal to support the most vulnerable residents without insurance.
- UNITED WAY | Maui Fire Relief Fund is a special Aloha United Way relief fund for Maui fire victims.
- New Life Kahuku is raising funds to provide food and hygiene to fire victims.
- More info: Disaster relief: how and where to donate or volunteer (hawaiionthecheap.com)
Support striking actors & writers: donate to workers safety net
SAG-AFTRA (Hollywood’s largest union, representing 160,000 film and television actors) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA, representing 11,500 writers) are striking to fight for streaming TV residuals, plus assurances that their work will not be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI). More info: Hollywood actors to strike at midnight, join writers on picket lines, July 13, 2023 | Reuters
Entertainment Community Fund (ECF) (formerly The Actos Fund) provides a safety net of human services nationally for people who work in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance—everyone on stage, in front of the camera, or behind the scenes—to address the specific needs of entertainment professionals in the often-unpredictable industry.
Washington State Relief Organizations
Listed below are organizations that directly support communities in Washington State.
Artists and Arts organizations
Artist Trust supports Washington State artists with cash grants, resources, and more. nonprofit organization that supports working artists of all disciplines in Washington State. Recognized as a national model for direct funding and professional development for working artists in all disciplines to enrich community life throughout Washington State.
Northwest Harvest is Washington State’s hunger relief agency supporting a statewide network of 375 food banks, meal programs and high-need schools. Focused on improving equity in our food system, their mission is to lead the fight for access to nutritious food and end hunger in Washington State. Donate online.
- Volunteer at Northwest Harvest in warehouses in Auburn, Yakima, and Spokane, help guests at Community Markets in Seattle & Yakima, or assist at special events. Whether it’s once a week, once a month or once in a while, your time makes a great contribution.
- Advocate for Northwest Harvest policies that 1) promote access to nutritious food, 2) help low-income people meet their basic need, and 3) support budgets that restore our basic safety net with fair and sustainable revenue.
Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, connecting people with food to end hunger. They are the backbone of the food bank system across the country. There are several ways to help, including donating, volunteering, fundraising, and advocacy.
Farms and Farmland
Farm Relief Fund (FRF) is a program of the Seattle Farmers Market Association dedicated to supporting Washington State farms, organic certification, and sustainable agriculture. They do this through neighborhood Farmers Markets, fundraising, educational programs, and emergency assistance. The FRF provides assistance to farms hit by any of the many disasters to agriculture including fire, floods, drought, predators, extreme weather, pandemics, and other emergencies that disrupt farm production.
Washington Farmland Trust is a nonprofit working to protect threatened farmland in Washington State by keeping the land accessible to future generations of farmers for food production. Donate money or volunteer to help restore habitat and other activities that promote local, sustainable agriculture.
Other Recommended Disaster Relief Organizations
Following is our suggested list of organizations who regularly respond in disaster and relief situations, are best equipped to assist those in need, and highly rated by Charity Navigator (4 stars) for accountability and transparency.
- Under no circumstances should you mail care packages, toys, food, or clothes. Donating goods often become a burden. A system is required to accept, manage, sort, warehouse and distribute supplies that often aren’t things people need. The only exception is when a credible organization requests specific supplies and is already set up to receive them. That’s why cash is preferred…always useful, no matter the situation or need.
- Under no circumstances should you travel to an area affected by disaster to “help”. Disaster areas request that individuals do not “self-deploy” and arrive alone. Only work through an established relief organization. Volunteers who self-deploy often find they lack resources and are unable to help, and many end up requiring rescue themselves, placing further burden on an already ravaged area.
Emergency Service Relief Organizations
Aga Khan Foundation is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty. While inspired by the values of Islam – particularly consultation, solidarity with those less fortunate, self-reliance and human dignity – the Foundation is not a religious organization and represents all religions and persuasions. They are driven by the belief that when all people – regardless of faith, origin or gender – live and work side by side to improve their communities, the fabric of society is stronger.
American Jewish World Service is dedicated solely to ending poverty and promoting human rights in the developing world. Through philanthropy and advocacy, they’ve addressed some of the gravest global problems of our time—genocide, AIDS, violence against women and girls, hatred of LGBT people, and the horrific consequences of natural and human-made disasters.
AmeriCares is a global health and emergency response organization. They can quickly dispatch local emergency response teams from their offices worldwide with shipments of medical aid and relief supplies for those affected.
Baitulmaal works to alleviate poverty, restore hope and dignity through emergency relief and long-term sustainable development in health, education, and community empowerment.
Catholic Relief Services maintains field offices worldwide to provide emergency relief materials such as tarpaulins/shelter kits, water, sanitation and hygiene material.
Global Giving is the first and largest global crowdfunding community that connects vetted nonprofits, donors, and companies in nearly every country around the world. They help local nonprofits access the funding, tools, training, and support they need to become more effective.
Entertainment Community Fund provides a safety net of human services nationally for people who work in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance—everyone on stage, in front of the camera, or behind the scenes—to address the specific needs of entertainment professionals in the often unpredictable industry.
Helping Hand for Relief And Development is a global humanitarian relief and development organization responding to human sufferings in emergency and disaster situations around the world regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, class, location, religion, color, cultural diversity and social background, with a special focus in countries where the majority of the population lives below the poverty line. In addition to emergency relief efforts in natural or man-made disasters, they also work on long term relief and development programs.
ICNA Relief USA seeks to alleviate human suffering by providing caring and compassionate service to victims of adversities and survivors of disasters. ICNA Relief USA strives to build healthy communities, strengthen families and create opportunities for those in despair while maintaining dignity and advocating for basic human needs.
International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. IRC is governed by a volunteer, unpaid board of directors. IRC teams provide health care, infrastructure, learning and economic support to people in more than 40 countries, with special programs designed for women and children. They resettle thousands of refugees each year in 26 U.S. cities.
Water Mission is a nonprofit Christian organization that designs, builds and implements safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) solutions for people in developing countries and disaster areas, using innovative technology and engineering expertise.
World Relief (as originated within the National Association of Evangelicals) focuses on disaster response, health and child development, refugee and immigration services, economic development and peacebuilding, working holistically with the local church to stand for the sick, the widowed, the orphaned, the alienated, the displaced, the devastated, the marginalized and the disenfranchised.
Zakat Foundation of America is an international charity organization that helps generous and caring people reach out to those in need. Their goal is to address immediate needs and ensure the self-reliance of the poorest people around the world. They believe that those whom God has granted wealth need to cleanse that wealth through charity, and those whom God has tried with loss are accorded a rightful share from the resources of the affluent.
Crisis Services for Children and Families
Action Against Hunger USA is a global organization that takes decisive action against the causes and effects of hunger, saving the lives of malnourished children and ensuring everyone access to clean water, food, training, and healthcare.
Crisis Aid International concentrates efforts in East Africa and the United States serving children and families who are in crisis situations. Whether it be famine, disease, natural disaster, or sex trafficking, Crisis Aid is there to assist in sustaining life, bring encouragement to those suffering and collaborate with other relief organizations in bringing necessary foods, materials and medicines to people in times of crisis, particularly where life and death situations exist.
First Book creates equal access to quality education affordable – everything from brand new, high-quality books and educational resources, to sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more – for its member network of more than 375,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need. It is the largest and fastest-growing network of educators in the United States exclusively serving kids in need.
Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) is an International crisis response and disaster risk management agency, providing relief and assistance following natural disasters, as well as resettlement programs for displaced families and extended relief and recovery support for communities living in vulnerable environments.
Hispanic Federation works with over 100 Latino health and human services agencies to promote the social, political and economic well-being of the Latino community in the areas of education, health, immigration, civic engagement, economic empowerment, the environment and disaster relief. With offices in New York, Washington D.C., Connecticut and Florida, and a nonprofit footprint throughout the East Coast, HF uplifts millions of Hispanic children, youth and families locally and nationally.
International Relief Teams (IRT) provides health services and humanitarian assistance to victims of disaster, neglect, and profound poverty worldwide. During disasters, IRT chooses appropriate responses to leverage donor resources to their highest effectiveness, including deploying medical and reconstruction teams, providing relief supplies, or financing the restoration of livelihoods and infrastructure.
Medical Care Relief Organizations
Direct Relief is a nonprofit that specializes in providing international medical assistance. It coordinates with local partners to focus relief efforts where the need is greatest.
Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) helps people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from health care. The organization was started by French doctors and its first office was in Paris, but there are now branch offices around the world.
Pathfinder International maintains the right of women and families to have access to contraception and quality reproductive health care in remote locations, under the most difficult conditions, serving the most vulnerable people. They collaborate with governments, NGOs, and community- and faith-based organizations to ensure safe childbirth, healthy families, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, reproductive health, and family planning programs.
Support your favorite charitable organization by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same. On your first visit to AmazonSmile, select a charitable organization of your choice. You can choose from over one million organizations to support.
Some organizations on the above list are eligible, as well as many local organizations such as schools, churches, visual & performing arts organizations, community foundations, veterans groups, and many, many others. You can choose only one organization to receive your donations and you can change organizations at any time.
When you make purchases from the AmazonSmile marketplace, Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to your designated charitable organization.
It’s a simple way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. Plus, you enjoy the added benefit that Amazon will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice.