All posts by Linda Allen

Tips on Researching a Charity Before Donating

If you’re pondering a request for a donation to a charity, do your research before you give. By discovering as much as you can about the charity, you can avoid scammers who try to take advantage of your kindness. Here are tips to help guarantee your charitable contributions are used for its intention.

Signs of a Charity Scam

These days, non-profits and charities use the web, email, texts, and face-to-face to solicit and get money. Naturally, scammers use these same techniques to take advantage of your kindness.

It doesn’t matter how they come to you, avoid any charity or non-profit that:

  • Refuses to give detailed information about its costs, mission, identity and how the donation will be used.
  • Won’t offer proof that your contribution is tax deductible.
  • Uses a name that is very similar to that of a reputable, well-known organization.
  • Thank you for a pledge you don’t remember making.
  • Uses high-pressure strategies like trying to get you to donate right away without giving you time to do any research and/or think about it.
  • Asks you to wire money or to donate cash.
  • Wants to send an overnight delivery service or courier to collect the money ASAP.
  • Promise sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a donation. By law, you don’t have to give a donation to qualify to win a sweepstakes.

Charity Checklist

Take the following steps to make sure your donation helps the organizations and people you want to help.

  • Ask for in-depth information about the charity such as the name, address, and telephone number.
  • Get the exact name of the organization and research. Look up the name of the organization online, particularly with the word scam or complaint. This is one way to learn about its reputation.
  • Call the charity. Find out if the organization knows of the solicitation and has approved the use of its name. The organization’s development staff should be able to assist you.

Better Basics

Better Basics has the goal to improve the lives of children by encouraging literacy via enrichment programs. Over 1, 200 volunteers help more than 22, 000 children each year. Last year alone, Better Basics gave away over 70,000 books.

Better Basics offers enrichment programs, educational opportunities, and literacy intervention for elementary- and middle-school students all through the state of Alabama. Through active partnerships with the various communities and schools, they bring a sense of confidence by nurturing an interest in learning and improving every child’s ability to read and be successful in life.

Our programs encourage kids as they proceed along the learning range, from reading to retention, while instilling literature into their homes and revealing to them enrichment programs and multi-cultural arts.

As they boost childhood literacy rates, they lessen future adult illiteracy issues and their many side effects, forming countless benefits for our society as a whole. Better Basics is a non-profit organization and well-known authority on childhood literacy in Birmingham, Alabama.

Empowering Children: They empower children by promoting an interest in learning, building confidence, and giving kids the tools to be a successful student.

Enriching the Community: Their programs absolutely impact AL students and their communities by raising literacy rates, increasing educational achievements, and boosting productivity levels.

Reducing Illiteracy: By improving childhood literacy rates, they decrease adult illiteracy issues and enhance quality of life.

In 1993, John Glasser established Better Basics on the principle that illiteracy and poverty are so closely connected they are literally one and the same. Mr. Glasser also realized that because reading skills are the basis of learning, children who lack these crucial skills had little hope of being successful in school or life. What started as an agency with two devoted employees providing tutoring in one Birmingham public school has developed into a full-fledged organization.


Sharsheret is a not-for-profit, national organization assisting young Jewish women and their families in dealing with breast cancer. Our mission is to provide a community of support to women, of every Jewish background, diagnosed with breast cancer or at increased genetic risk, by nurturing culturally significant personal connections with networks of health professionals and peers.

Sharsheret knows and supports the complete spectrum of diversity within our communities. Sharsheret’s volunteers, staff, and leaders welcome all voices to be heard and treated with respect. Everyone who reaches out to Sharsheret, doesn’t matter their social or economic status, will not be turned away. They don’t discriminate based on color, political belief, ethnic origin, race, national origin, religion, gender, marital status, age, or sexual orientation.

In 2001, Sharsheret was established by Rochelle Shoretz, a Jewish mother with breast cancer. Part of a tight NJ Jewish community, many people offered to assist Rochelle with cooking and taking care of her children, such as taking them back and forth to after-school activities.

However, what she truly wanted was to talk with another young mother who could tell her sons about breast cancer and how it would affect her. How she would feel preparing for High Holidays while going through chemotherapy.

Rochelle’s grandmother had died of the disease and cancer was unmentionable and not talked about within her family. She soon found out it was talked about within the Jewish community either.

In 2015, Rochelle died from breast cancer, a disease for which she created a community of support for many. The Sharsheret community lost a founder, mentor, and leader. The Jewish world and the cancer world had lost a real champion of women and their families. Rochelle’s legacy is her children and an amazing organization that only she could have built. Her drive and passion will forever be the basis of Sharsheret.

Alpha House of Tampa

Who We Are

  • Founded in 1981, we are a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization
  • Alpha House of Tampa provides homeless pregnant women and mothers with young children safe housing and the things necessary in becoming self-sufficient, responsible parents.
  • We offer a temporary and safe to stay. We also help with employment, housing, as well as talking about the underlying problems that contributed to homelessness.
  • We give strength, hope, and vision for a better life.
  • We are thankful to our bighearted funders and community partners who make it possible to accomplish our goal.


Program Description: Alpha House of Tampa is a wide-ranging residential program assisting around 100 homeless pregnant and parenting women, as well as their children, every year in and their infants and children each year in 39 units of emergency shelter.

Mothers and pregnant women and mothers who are homeless or in danger of being homelessness are given safe housing and an assortment of support services while staying in the emergency shelter. Every mother partners with her case manager to link to community resources, create a plan to get permanent housing, get counseling, partake in healthy child development programs and parenting classes, and take advantage of employment and education opportunities. The campus is staffed 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Program Services: Alpha House of Tampa offer topnotch services established in a client-centered model and crafted to fulfil our mission goals:

  • Healthy births
  • Increase each child’s developmental ability
  • Improve the mother’s capability in becoming and staying employed
  • Getting safe housing upon departing the program

Alpha House Academy

Alpha House Academy concentrates on life skills to aid in supporting mothers and their children. Classes given by Alpha House staff and partner agencies are job readiness, childbirth preparation, literacy, health, housing, self-esteem, and parenting.

Every mother and child deserves to life a fulfilled and safe life.

Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW)

ELAW (Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide) aid communities around the world in demanding clean water, clean air, and a healthy planet. They are a global alliance of scientists, lawyers, and other advocates working together across borders to encourage grassroots efforts to create a just, sustainable future.

ELAW activists, serving in their home countries, understand best how to protect the environment. By giving their partners the scientific and legal support needed, ELAW assists in challenging environmental abuses and forms a worldwide corps of skilled, dedicated activists working to safeguard ecosystems and communities for future generations.

Our strategy: Discovering passionate lawyers who are devoted to protecting the ecosystem in their home countries.

ELAW advocates play crucial roles in aiding communities go after environmental justice. They aid citizens with participating efficiently in decisions about the environment, confront environmental abuses, and administer environmental laws. They provide guides to citizen participation, school community paralegals to speak for community interests, and bring legal action to bring to an end the worst offenders. As businesses spread their reach around the globe, many communities deal with unjust issues.

These communities have to be able to speak out to safeguard their health, environment, and rights. Grassroots activists have a key role in aiding communities speak out and ELAW provides these activists the scientific and legal support needed to confront abuses and craft a viable future. ELAW finds the most dedicated environmental defenders and works with them to follow these initiatives to advance environmental justice.

Legal professionals around the globe call on ELAW for tools to enforce and support environmental laws. ELAW U.S. attorneys partner with local activists to evaluate proposed statutes, recreate model laws, and bring enforcement actions.

ELAW activists depend on ELAW staff members to analyze plans for planned developments, make systems to observe environmental settings, give professional testimony, and suggest cleaner alternatives.

GBS/CIDP Foundation International

The vision of GBS/CIDP Foundation International is that each individual affected by CIDP, GBS, or MMN has easy access to early and precise diagnosis, low-cost treatments and reliable support services.

The theory is that the body’s immune system, which usually protects itself, identifies myelin as unfamiliar and attacks it. Myelin is a vital part of the peripheral nervous system. It coats the nerve axon (the long, wire-like part of a nerve cell) similar to insulation covering an electrical wire. The nerves expand from the spinal cord to the rest of the body, arousing muscle contraction and spreading sensory information back to the nervous system from receptors in the joints and skin.

This myelin lets electrical impulses proficiently travel down the nerve axon. When myelin is removed or damaged, these electrical impulses are lost or slowed, and messages sent from the brain are interrupted and may never make it to their ending destination. What instigates this process is not yet clear.

Offering support to our community is utmost to our grass-roots mission. All volunteers have a relation to GBS, CIDP or variants via a personal journey or due to a loved one or family member. The Foundation knows how critical it is to get the care and support needed to live through these trying times. While we are not physicians, we do connect ourselves with some of the best doctors on the globe. Our Global Medical Advisory Board has made a pledge of support for our constituents and to make sure our patients have access to their resources via the Centers of Excellence.

We have local chapters everywhere on earth. Find the chapter nearest to you and bond with volunteers who have lived through a parallel journey. Ask for our printed literature and gain access to the current and most knowledgeable information.

FSH Society

Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy is generally categorized as a neuromuscular disease, like all muscular dystrophy types. Muscular dystrophies are denoted by defects in the physical, structural, and biochemical components of muscle, the death of muscle cells and tissue, as well as progressive skeletal muscle weakness.

FSHD gets its name because the advance loss of skeletal muscle is typically across the muscles in the upper arm, back, and face. Also, the legs, hips, and abdominal are affected in numerous patients.

Muscle weakness frequently sets in asymmetrically, disturbing only one leg or arm. Because of this, the symptoms are incorrectly attributed to a sports injury or strain. Symptoms may come early, years before a formal diagnosis. These could be:

  • Failure to whistle
  • Failure to use a straw
  • Eyes that don’t completely shut while sleeping
  • Trouble with such exercises as pull-ups and sit-ups
  • Shoulder blades that look like wings
  • Trouble raising arm over shoulder
  • Dropping feet
  • Feeble lower abdominal muscles
  • Weakening of chest muscles
  • Curved spine (lordosis)

An approximated over 860,000 people in the world suffer from a curved spine. FSHD strikes people of every ethnicities and races. About 10% of these individuals have symptoms before the age 10. The illness is inherited and can affect several family members across several generations. Around 30% of cases are in families with no prior history. The bottom line is no family or individual is immune.

As long as the FSH Society is around, no patient will have to deal with this illness alone. And with substantial donations from families, patients, sponsors, major donors, and friends, we’ll keep working to fast-track research leading to treatments.

The globe’s biggest grassroots network of people with FSH muscular dystrophy, their families, and research activists, the FSH Society was established in 1991 by two patients, Steve Jacobsen and Daniel Perez. The FSH Society aids individuals via outreach, education, and medical research. They also advocate for raised industry and government investment in FSHD.

Acadia Center

Acadia Center works at the junction of climate change and energy, including transportation, land use, carbon emissions reduction, mitigation, consumer-side energy resources, and power generation.

Acadia Center keeps the big picture in plain sight while following targeted and thorough advocacy efforts across and within numerous economic sectors. This comprehensive approach is needed to having high-impact results. For instance, Acadia Center’s EnergyVision details how changes in many sectors could put the northeast region on track to reduce emissions by over 80% by 2050.

Acadia Center undertakes tests from several angles, with expertise and strategies that go across several disciplines. This method shows the difficulty of the issues and influences a range of skillsets and networks.

Energy efficiency is the cleanest and cheapest fuel. It produces big savings for consumers and is the basis to a sustainable, carbon-less energy future. By lessening need on the power grid, efficiency reduces the problem of shared infrastructure costs.

Acadia Center promotes and designs complementary policies and market-based strategies that encourage cleaner energy supplies in every sector.

Acadia Center spreads policies that level the playing field so renewable power can equally participate and thrive. Allocated energy resources like rooftop solar create clean energy while improving customer control over energy bills and decreasing the need for grid infrastructure and polluting power plants.

The Next Generation Solar Framework program offers a maintainable policy approach that compensates solar based on proven value, while confirming equitable payment for sustaining the grid.

RGGI has assisted Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states lessen power plant emissions considerably while producing health and economic benefits in the region. This efficient model can and should be spread to other states, as well as cover additional sectors like heating fuels and transportation. Emissions reductions can also be accomplished by putting a price on pollution via a carbon fee that encourages changes in behavior and evens out the field for cleaner energy supplies.

National Pediatric Cancer Foundation

A nonprofit organization, the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation is devoted to supporting research to wipe out childhood cancer. Their goal is to fund research to develop less toxic, more targeted treatments by working with leading medical facilities around the nation.

A great part of cancer research centers on adult treatments and is performed within the walls of specific institutions. They fund clinical trials and work together with a group of cutting-edge hospitals around the nation to come up with targeted, toxic-free treatments. The aim is to improve the survival rate of children with cancer.

For over 26 years, they have become the one bright light for children who are battling cancer. They have given millions of dollars to research and their clinical trials are producing incredible discoveries that are saving a lot of children’s lives.

In the beginning, the Pediatric Cancer Foundation funded seed grants at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa, the University of Florida in Gainesville, the University of Miami School of Medicine, All Children’s Research Institute in St. Petersburg, and the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.

In 2005, the Pediatric Cancer Foundation established the Sunshine Project, a pioneering collaboration with one mission which is to bring together top researchers and physicians to develop new treatments and improve the survival rate for children battling cancer. With the founding of the Sunshine Project, the Pediatric Cancer Foundation has created a business model that maximize the potencies of researchers from various fields of science and simplifies the procedure to quicken the development of new treatments.

The best part is that the Pediatric Cancer Foundation has shown that this model works. Since 2005, they have funded four clinical trials (phase one). New treatments have been, and continue to be, tested. These trials and treatments bring great promise for children who have not had good results under the normal treatment protocol. In 2016, the Pediatric Cancer Foundation re-branded and changed its name to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF)


Stopping the cycle of poverty in Nepal and India by endowing ostracized people with services, infrastructure, and skills founded in ecological development.


We feel an unwavering change in disadvantaged areas can only occur when individuals get in front and

direct the change.  Our techniques give control and not a handout to the poor.

We create our programs to generate benefits for women and children who are important players in the struggle against poverty.  We energize ostracized individuals with live skills, self-governance, and educational abilities so they are prepared to make changes to their lives and the lives of their children.

We also feel every person has the right to live and grow with dignity.  We feel that everyone has the right to have the basics for their day-to-day living. Our programs serve the underprivileged without any regard to caste, creed, or religion.

In our battle against poverty, we realize the need to offer resources that can increase development. Though, a shortage of resources is not the only problem.

Poverty is inherent and goes further than material deficiency. After years of marginalization and social oppression, many poor Indians have given themselves to a destitute way of living. A crucial part of the solution rests in aiding them to see their power to improve their lives and change. We feel that local groups are equipped best to realistically tackle this need.

Therefore, IDRF joins forces with local non-governmental groups to give power, confidence, and resources to needy individuals. We have fundraisers to offer grants to certain grassroots groups which work to empower women, enhance education, increase green development, and health care.

Moreover, IDRF distributes funds to these groups based on the project, using the money raised in the most meaningful way. Almost each project is co-financed by a local NGO. The objective is to make these individuals completely self-supporting.