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The largest US charities for 2016

Forbes logo Forbes 12/19/2016 William P. Barrett, Contributor

(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images) Largest US charities for 2016 Click through the slideshow above to see America's 25 largest charities.

United Way Worldwide, which takes in much of its contributions through workplace paycheck deductions authorized by employees, received $3.71 billion in the fiscal year ending December 31, 2015, a 4% drop from the $3.87 billion received in the previous period. The organization, which is headquartered in Alexandria, Va., consists of more than 1,000 legally independent local units, each of which determines its own charitable spending priorities in addition to handling donor-specific designations.

Despite the decline in giving to United Way, it still outstripped the second largest charity by a half billion. That’s even more impressive, when you consider that No. 2 and No. 3 on the Forbes list receive much of their support not as cash, but as “in-kind” donations of medicine and food.

No. 2: Task Force For Global Health. The Decatur, Ga.-based nonprofit, which sends donated medicines abroad, reported gifts received for its latest fiscal period of $3.15 billion. That’s nearly double the $1.61 billion of a year earlier thanks to increased gifts from some large drug companies. Donated goods, known as gift-in-kind, or GIK, are a legitimate form of charity, although they can be subject to inflated value issues.

Remaining No. 3 is Feeding America, the Chicago-rooted umbrella for hundreds of food banks around the country. It reported gifts–mainly donated food–of $2.15 billion, up 6% in a year.

Dropping from No. 2 to No. 4 is Salvation Army, the venerable social service agency that is also a church with its own doctrine. Also based in Alexandria, the Salvation Army reported donations received of $1.90 billion, a 10% year-to-year drop from $2.12 billion.

Moving up a notch to No. 5 is YMCA of the USA. Headquartered in Chicago, the Y with its network of youth facilities and health clubs said it got $1.20 billion in donations, up 29% from $930 million a year earlier. The Y’s sharp growth in donations edged out St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, pushing it to No. 6. The stand-alone Memphis facility reported incoming donations of $1.18 billion, a 9% increase from $1.08 billion.

Again, to see the full list of 100, scroll to the bottom of this post. Click on the name of a given charity for more information. For a fuller description of the list methodology, and advice on how to use the information in making contributions, click here.

It’s the amount of private donations, as opposed to government grants or revenue from the sale of goods or services, that determines rankings on the Forbes list, which was expanded to 100 from 50 charities in 2015.  Collectively, they received $45 billion in donations. The total is about one-eighth the estimated $350 billion received by the country’s 1 million-plus nonprofits. The cutoff for this year’s list–No. 100–is $140 million in donations. That position belongs to the American Diabetes Association.

Significantly, we exclude from our list donor advised funds, or DAF. These organizations, some affiliated with financial service companies such as Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard, are essentially tax-favored holding pens for future charitable gifts from individual donors. A taxpayer can claim a charitable itemized deduction in the year money is put into a DAF and then parcel the funds out to favorite charities (including, perhaps, some on our list) over many years.  Contributions to DAFs rose to $22.6 billion in 2015. The largest DAF, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, took in $4.6 billion, which actually is more than United Way collected. We choose not to include the larger DAFs because each is an administrative umbrella for thousands of individual donors in effect running their own quasi-foundations.

Some nonprofits on the Forbes list have substantial revenue other than donations. For instance, No. 18 on the list, Lutheran Services in America, the umbrella organization for several hundred Lutheran social service agencies, received $723 million in gifts but collected nearly $20 billion in fees. The Mayo Clinic brought in more than $9 billion in fees for services rendered.

Of the 100 charities, 18 reported paying some employee more than $1 million. The highest compensated chief executives were Delos M. Cosgrove, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, $4,195,251. He was followed by Steven J. Corwin of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, $4,591,728; Craig B. Thompson, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, $2.844,637; and Emily K. Rafferty. Metropolitan Museum of Art, $2,555,131. These figures can include benefits, deferred compensation and one-time bonuses, and might be for a different fiscal year than that on the list.

Forbes also calculates financial efficiencies for each charity and changes in those ratios from the prior period. For that detail, plus more information on each charity, including top pay, click on a name below.

Largest U.S. Charities for 2016, with private donations received

(Click on a name for more information)

  1. United Way Worldwide, $3.708 billion.
  2. Task Force for Global Health, $3.154 billion.
  3. Feeding America, $2.150 billion.
  4. Salvation Army, $1,904 billion.
  5. YMCA of the USA, $1.202 billion.
  6. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, $1.181 billion
  7. Food for the Poor, $1.156 billion.
  8. Boys & Girls Club of America, $923 million.
  9. Catholic Charities USA, $921 million.
  10. Goodwill Industries International, $902 million.
  11. Habitat for Humanity International, $829 million.
  12. World Vision, $825 million.
  13. American Cancer Society, $810 million.
  14. Patient Access Network Foundation, $801 million.
  15. Compassion International, $799 million.
  16. Direct Relief, $775 million.
  17. Americares Foundation, $740 million.
  18. Lutheran Services in America, $723 million.
  19. Nature Conservancy, $646 million.
  20. American Heart Association, $634 million.
  21. American National Red Cross, $624 million.
  22. Samaritan’s Purse, $565 million.
  23. MAP International, $545 million.
  24. Step Up for Students, $#521 million.
  25. Cru, $514 million.
  26. United States Fund for UNICEF, $509 million.
  27. Wounded Warrior Project, $473 million.
  28. Feed the Children, $446 million.
  29. Mount Sinai Health Systems, $439 million.
  30. Save the Children Federation, $379 million.
  31. CARE USA, $378 million.
  32. Good 360, $377 million.
  33. Catholic Relief Services, $372 million.
  34. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, $354 million.
  35. Doctors Without Borders USA, $338 million.
  36. Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, $331 million.
  37. Make-a-Wish Foundation of America, $305 million.
  38. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, $298 million.
  39. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, $298 million.
  40. Boy Scouts of America, $296 million.
  41. Cross International, $291 million.
  42. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, $285 million.
  43. Catholic Medical Mission Board, $281 million.
  44. Alzheimer’s Association, $278 million.
  45. Population Services International, $271 million.
  46. Mayo Clinic, $271 million.
  47. Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, $269 million.
  48. Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, $268 million
  49. American Kidney Fund, $265 million.
  50. Operation Blessing International Relief & Dev., $256 million.
  51. American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, $255 million.
  52. Entertainment Industry Foundation, $255 million.
  53. Shriners Hospitals for Children, $248 million.
  54. Susan G. Komen, $242 million.
  55. Project HOPE, $240 million.
  56. Brother’s Brother Foundation, $237 million.
  57. American Civil Liberties Union and Foundation, $233 million.
  58. ChildFund International, $230 million.
  59. International Rescue Committee, $228 million.
  60. Young Life, $224 million.
  61. World Wildlife Fund, $222 million.
  62. Easterseals, $221 million.
  63. National Multiple Sclerosis Society, $215 million.
  64. Public Broadcasting Service, $212 million.
  65. Metropolitan Museum of Art, $209 million.
  66. Helen Keller International, $207 million.
  67. Foothill Land Conservancy, $206 million.
  68. JDRF, $199 million.
  69. Smithsonian Institution, 198 million.
  70. UJA/Federation of New York, $195 million.
  71. Teach for America, $194 million.
  72. Scholarship America, $192 million.
  73. Paralyzed Veterans of America, $191 million.
  74. Children International, $188 million.
  75. Matthews 25: Ministries, $185 million.
  76. Harlem Children’s Zone, $184 million.
  77. Medical Teams International, $184 million.
  78. ClimateWorks Foundation, $184 million.
  79. Robin Hood Foundation, $183 million.
  80. Wycliffe Bible Translators, $182 million.
  81. March of Dimes Foundation, $181 million.
  82. Humane Society of the United States, $180 million.
  83. United Service Organizations, $179 million.
  84. New York-Presbyterian Hospital,$178 million.
  85. Metropolitan Opera Association, $176 million.
  86. American SPCA, $173 million.
  87. Christian Broadcasting Network, $173 million.
  88. United Negro College Fund, $171 million.
  89. Houston Food Bank, $169 million.
  90. Educational Media Foundation, $162 million.
  91. Project Orbis International, $160 million.
  92. PATH, $158 million.
  93. Museum of the Bible, $156 million.
  94. The Arc, $153 million.
  95. Junior Achievement USA, $150 million.
  96. Smile Train, $150 million.
  97. Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, $149 million.
  98. Cleveland Clinic Foundation, $148 million.
  99. American Museum of Natural History, $140 million.
  100. American Diabetes Association, $140 million.

For the list methodology and tips on how to use it, click here.

Follow William P. Barrett’s work on Twitter by clicking here.

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