10 Best Charities in America

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If the holiday season is inspiring you to give back, you might be looking around for a worthy cause to support. Sadly, many well-known charities squander a high percentage of donation dollars on administrative costs and fundraising instead of directly helping those in need. To find out which major charities are the most deserving of your gifts, we consulted leading charity watchdog website Charity Navigator, which rates nearly 7,000 of the largest charities in America based on financial health, accountability and transparency. About a quarter of all the charities that Charity Navigator tracks have earned perfect four-star ratings, and you can check an organization's marks just by searching for it on CharityNavigator.org.

Which charities are the most honorable of all? Among the charities with a four-star rating, we've narrowed the list down to the top 10 with the highest Charity Navigator score (out of 70). Read on for the full list, plus some information on each charity's mission.

#10: Women's Learning Partnership
Overall score (out of 70): 69.43
Total contributions: $2,239,837

If you're looking to help improve women's progress worldwide, you might want to consider donating to the Women's Learning Partnership (WLP), which earned a Charity Navigator score of 69.43 out of 70. WLP works with 20 partner organizations in the Global South to empower women to transform their families, communities and societies. The organization's primary objectives include increasing the number of women taking on leadership and decision-making roles at family, community and national levels, and improving the effectiveness of feminist movements in Muslim-majority societies and throughout the world.

#9: East Meets West
Overall score (out of 70): 69.47
Total contributions: $8,639,311

The ninth most highly rated charity on our list, East Meets West (EMW) strives to transform the health, education and communities of disadvantaged people in Asia. EMW's core programs focus on providing a good education, clean water, crucial medical care and social infrastructure to impoverished children and families. Some of the organization's key programs include Operation Healthy Heart, which provides financial assistance for poor families when a child needs treatment for a congenital heart defect; SPELL, a scholarship program to prevent poor children from dropping out of school; and the Clean Water & Sanitation program, in which EMW provides a sustainable water supply to rural communities through the construction of school and village water systems.