Philanthropedia Identifies Highest-Performing Nonprofits in Two Cause Areas: People with Disabilities (National), and Climate Change (Bay Area)

Donors Searching for Worthy Charities to Support This Holiday Season Get a Helping Hand with Top Nonprofit Rankings
Release date: December 5, 2013

Jasmine Marrow
Jasmine Marrow

Washington, D.C.—Philanthropedia, a division of leading nonprofit information provider GuideStar, today announced new rankings of the top 16 nonprofits supporting people with disabilities nationally and the top 18 nonprofits working on climate change in the San Francisco Bay Area. The rankings are based on in-depth surveys of and conversations with hundreds of experts, including nonprofit leaders, academics, funders, grantmakers, policy makers, and consultants. Philanthropedia originally ranked nonprofits in these cause areas in 2010 and 2011. Philanthropedia re-runs its research every few years to give donors and funders an updated list of highest-performing nonprofits.

"Our new rankings come just in time for the charitable giving season," said Jasmine Marrow, GuideStar's manager of Philanthropedia research. "Giving should not only be emotional; people should feel that their donations are going to the charities doing the most good. Our rankings of highest-performing nonprofits are a great, easy way for donors to feel really comfortable with their decision making."

High-Performing Nonprofits Supporting People with Disabilities

Collectively, people with disabilities constitute the nation's largest minority group, and the only minority group of which any of us can become a member at any time, according to Disability Funders Network. What's more, people with disabilities are among the most marginalized groups in the world. On the whole, the group is known to have poorer health outcomes, lower educational achievements, less economic participation, and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities. Nonprofits working in this field cover a wide range of issues including accessibility, support services, medical care, social justice work, stigma reduction, and research. This diverse world of nonprofits reflects the diversity of the population of people with disabilities and their various needs.

National disability experts were asked to recommend nonprofits that support people with any of the following: developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, mental disabilities, blindness, and deafness. Types of nonprofits might include research, advocacy, legislative, education, or direct services. Nonprofits considered in this research might provide the following types of services: transportation, health care, housing, employment, and other services.

The following 16 outstanding nonprofits were recommended by 74 top experts:

  1. The Arc
  2. March of Dimes
  3. Special Olympics
  4. (Tied) National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and
    United Cerebral Palsy
  5. National Council on Independent Living
  6. Autistic Self Advocacy Network
  7. American Association of People with Disabilities
  1. Alzheimer's Association
  2. (Tied) Disability Rights International and
    National Association of the Deaf
  3. United States International Council on Disabilities
  4. Autism Speaks
  5. (Tied) Access Living and
    Reeve Foundation
  6. National Center for Learning Disabilities

To learn more about each organization, meet the experts, and read the experts' reviews, please visit:

High-Performing Climate Change Nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area is a model for local, state, and national climate change work. The Silicon Valley, in particular, is well known for innovations in green tech, renewable energy, and sustainability. At the state level, California's 2006 legislation, Global Warming Solutions Act, mandates California reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990's levels by 2020. The Bay Area is uniquely situated to lead this effort by showcasing climate change interventions from individual action to business practices and public policy change.

Bay Area climate change experts were asked to recommend up to four high-impact nonprofits and up to two promising start-ups working in the field of climate change in the San Francisco Bay Area. These organizations include associations, transportation advocacy groups, research organizations, grassroots organizers, policy focused organizations, open space advocates, organizations promoting clean energy solutions and sustainability, environmental health justice organizations, and more.

The following 18 outstanding nonprofits were recommended by 88 top experts:

  1. Sierra Club
  3. Union of Concerned Scientists
  4. Earthjustice
  5. Pacific Institute
  6. Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC)
  7. Rainforest Action Network
  8. (Tied) Communities for a Better Environment and
    San Francisco Planning & Urban Research Association (SPUR)
  1. Transform
  2. Center for Biological Diversity
  3. The Vote Solar Initiative
  4. Greenbelt Alliance
  5. Telos Project
  6. Environmental Defense Fund
  7. Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
  8. Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project
  9. Solar Sonoma County

To learn more about each organization, meet the experts, and read the reviews, please visit:

"Impact-oriented donors can save a ton of time and energy finding the best nonprofits to support this holiday season thanks to these rankings," added Marrow. "Our one-of-a-kind expert crowdsourcing methodology brings the best minds together around a particular social cause so charitable givers can benefit and know that their giving choices are good ones."

For the complete list of top nonprofit rankings in 34 different cause areas, please For more information about Philanthropedia's ranking methodology, please visit: For information about choosing the best charity this holiday season, please visit our giving season resource center: LINK

About Philanthropedia

Philanthropedia,, is an online resource for donors who want to make a bigger difference with their charitable giving. Philanthropedia was founded on the belief that experts working in the field, such as foundation professionals, researchers, and nonprofit senior staff, are best suited to evaluate nonprofits in a more holistic way. In April 2011, Philanthropedia was acquired by GuideStar.

About GuideStar

GuideStar,, connects people and organizations with information on the programs and finances of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofits. GuideStar serves a wide audience inside and outside the nonprofit sector, including individual donors, nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers, and the media.

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