Americans are generous when it comes to charitable giving. The top ten charities in the country received $51.5 billion in donations, and that represents just over 12% of giving nationally. It’s clear that people in the United States want to make a difference in the world. In order to do that, they want to give to the most reputable organizations that do the best with the money they’re given. Some of America’s favorite charities fall into the medical, educational, and environmental categories.

Before people do their giving, it’s important that they do some research first. Organizations like Charity Navigator track what information non-profits report. They give charities a grade out of 100 and a star rating. The Charity Navigator site breaks down how much a non-profit spends on marketing and administration, and how much actually supports the stated cause. One example of a well-rated charity is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This charity provides free medical care to children. It is one of America’s favorites, receiving $1.7 billion in private donations. They’re also a four-star rated charity, with a score of over 91 on Charity Navigator. Donors can be confident their money is making a difference.

Other charities that America loves include the Salvation Army. In 2019, this religious organization was rated No. 2 in total giving, with $2 billion in private donations. This organization provides a whole host of services. They’re perhaps best known for the thrift stores they operate. These provide job training. The organization is also known for its outreach to homeless populations, providing food, and sometimes hotel vouchers to families in need. They also provide drug and alcohol rehab for addicts. Finally, the Salvation Army provides disaster relief internationally for events like the ongoing bush fires in Australia.

Finally, the YMCA is an organization focused mostly on youth and families. They provide affordable summer camps, sports leagues, and other programming that’s accessible to working families. This organization serves over 13 million adults and 9 million minor children in the US annually. Their services focus on encouraging health, wellness, and pro-social behavior. The YMCA was America’s ninth favorite charity overall for the year 2019. This organization received over $1 billion in private donations for that year.