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One of the most disgusting methods criminals use to con money out of the populace involves exploiting philanthropic intentions in times of disaster.

Charity monitoring organizations like these listed play an important role in eradicating fraud and providing information to donors. Smaller local groups may not be listed but their finances and non-profit status should be public and easily accessible.

Charity Navigator


The Chronicle of Philanthropy


Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance


Guide Star




The Law

Any individual can give money to any person or any organization.

When the donor desires a tax deduction for that gift, that is when the law comes into play.

To receive a tax deduction (which means you have to itemize your deductions on your taxes) you must give to an IRS designated 501(c)(3) organization or its equivalent.

Organizations must apply for articles of incorporation from the State and for tax-deductibility status (501(c)(3)) from the IRS. (After a disaster this process is usually fast-tracked.)

Organizations are required to use your gift as they said they would when you gave. (This means gifts for Katrina relief cannot be spent on another disaster or internal expenses.)

Because giving is located in the tax code that defines charity, giving must be for a charitable purpose. (While loosely defined, the American Red Cross encountered issues post 9/11.) Gifts must be irrevocable in order to receive a tax-deduction.

Take the Lead

Take The Lead provides direct services, support and care for people in the sport of purebred dogs who suffer the devastation of life-threatening or terminal illness. The fund was extended to assist people in the world of dogs who lived in federally designated disaster areas and suffered loss as a direct result of disaster. Click on the logo for more information.

The AKC CAR Canine Support and Relief Fund

CAR Fund logo

The AKC CAR Canine Support and Relief Fund has been established as a permanent charitable fund with the goals of providing resources, support, funds, and other assistance to:

Please note that funds may be requested or granted to support Search and Rescue Dog organizations in relation to past or current crises, disasters, and/or actual Canine Search and Rescue missions.

The genesis of this fund was the emergency relief fund established by AKC and AKC CAR, which ultimately raised and distributed over $250,000 to organizations in the above three categories, as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.