1 - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
As the charity of one of the richest men on the planet, it is only natural the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the wealthiest charitable foundation in the world. The organisation is “guided by the belief that every life has equal value” and works to help people escape from extreme hunger and poverty.
The main focus of the Foundation’s Global Health Program is fighting and preventing diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. It also works to protect and improve the health of mothers and their children as well as implementing family planning solutions into local communities.
Since 1994 the charity has spent more than $14.7 billion on its Global Health Program and for 2010 alone this figure stands at more than $1.4 billion. Meanwhile, the overall endowments for the organisation currently total $36.3 billion.
In 2005 Bill and Melinda Gates were named as ‘Persons of the Year’ by Time magazine for their dedication to charity work.
2 - The Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is the largest medical research charity in the world, “dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health.” The charity’s annual endowment totals approximately $22 billion, which it spends across five health challenges; genetics and genomics, understanding the brain, combating infectious diseases, investigating chronic diseases and connecting the environment with nutrition and health.
3 - AmeriCares
An international charity that provides an emergency medicines, medical supplies and treatments to disaster areas across the world, AmeriCares’ outstanding feature is that it donates over 98 percent of its entire expenses to its support and relief programmes. Since its inception in 1982 it has given more than $10 billion to causes in 147 countries.
4 - UNICEF
The United Nations Children Fund was created in 1946 to provide food and shelter to children affected by WW2. Today it is one of the leading charities promoting children’s rights. UNICEF is the world’s largest purchaser of insecticide-treated bed nets, which it gives free to governments in countries where malaria in prevalent. Its 2010 annual income was $3.6 billion.
5 - The Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is the umbrella organisation for 186 National Red Cross societies. The Red Cross has 97 million volunteer members and in 2010 it received contributions totalling more than $1.3 billion. The ICRC has also been the recipient of three Nobel Peace Prizes, in 1917, 1944 and 1973.
6 - Feed The Children
Consistently ranked as being among the 10 largest international charities in the US, Feed The Children gives food, medicine and clothing to children and their families affected by poverty, famine, disasters and conflict. Ninety percent of the charity’s expenditure goes on the delivery of its services, which for 2009/10 was over $808 million.
7 - Médicines San Frontières
Also known as Doctors Without Borders, MSF provides emergency medical relief and care to over 60 developing countries across the world. It also works in partnership with health authorities to develop and strengthen healthcare training and educational programmes. In 2010 MSF spent €666 million on its social mission, 82 percent of its total expenditure.
8 - Cancer Research UK
The 2002 merger of two charities, the Cancer Research Campaign and the Imperial Cancer Research, saw the creation of Cancer Research UK, the world’s biggest independent cancer charity. During 2010/2011 the organisation, which is funded entirely by the public, spent £332 million on research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
9 - Water Aid
Contaminated drinking water leads to approximately two million deaths each year from diseases like cholera and typhoid. Water Aid’s sole mission is to give everyone in the world access to clean drinking water and it works in 26 countries in Asia, Africa and the Pacific region to achieve this. Its total expenditure during 2009/10 was £45.2 million.
10 - Avert
Avert is a charity dedicated to preventing the global spread of HIV/AIDS through treatment, care and education. Although the organisation’s charitable expenditure for 2010 was just under £500,000, Avert boasts the world’s most popular HIV/AIDS website. With over 200 pages of information on the disease, the site receives two million page views each month.