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Oklahoma Tornado Relief

May 20, 2013


On May 20, 2013, a two-mile-wide EF5 tornado tore through Oklahoma City's suburbs, demolishing an elementary school, homes and businesses. The storm resulted in fatalities and the hospitalization of hundreds. There will be both short term and long term recovery needs. But before you contribute to one of the highly-rated charities listed here that are responding, please read our Tips For Giving In Times of Crisis.

Also keep in mind:

  • Consider the nature of the charity's work. That is to say, not every charity is responding in the same way to this disaster. Some are providing temporary shelter while others are providing food, water and medical assistance. Other charities are focused on long term rebuilding efforts. And some are simply fundraising on behalf of other charities. Think about what it is you want your donation to accomplish and then make sure you select the charity that is doing that type of work.
  • Avoid charities sitting on the sidelines. In the wake of this disaster, as we’ve seen with past disasters, many charities have said that they stand at the ready to respond.  While we applaud those that are being thoughtful and strategic in their response, we know there are some charities whose help many never be needed and thus donors to those groups will ultimately see their donations utilized elsewhere. So, we encourage donors to look for charities that offer evidence that they are actually providing assistance now or that offer a detailed plan for how they’ll address the mid to long term response. 

Regarding this list of charities:

  • We are only including charities that are 3 and 4-star charities and that have responded to our request for more information about their efforts in Oklahoma and their plans for designated funds.
  • Some of the charities listed here are not committing to spending all of the money they raise now for their efforts in Oklahoma. As the situation continues to unfold, many charities are yet unsure if they will raise more than they need and therefore will want to use the donations instead for future disasters and/or their work in other parts of the world. If the charity has clearly indicated to us, and on their website, that they allow donors to designate their gifts to this particular disaster and if they are promising to use 100% of those funds only for those purposes, then we have indicated that as a ‘yes’ in the last column in the table to the right. All the charities with ‘no’ responses either were not entirely clear on this point or they were accepting designated gifts with the caveat that ‘excess’ funds may be used elsewhere, or they were not accepting designated gifts at all preferring to ask donors to contribute to their work in responding to any and all disasters.

We will update this list as we become aware of more charities helping.


Why isn't Salvation Army listed here?
The Salvation Army is exempt under Internal Revenue Code from filing Form 990 as a "church or convention or association of churches." As a result, we lack sufficient data to evaluate their financial health. We know many donors are interested in this organization and have asked the Salvation Army to submit their financial data to us for review, and they have elected to decline, as they are allowed under federal law.

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