Samaritan Guide – a project of the Acton Institute

Private charities do demanding and heroic work for vulnerable people. We seek to reward their good work with prizes and publicity

  • The Guide: This online guide provides detailed information on hundreds of private charities around the country. This unique charities rating resource is intended to be a reference for charities and donors alike, encouraging good practices and prudent investments.
  • The Award: This $10,000 grand prize is awarded once a year to an exceptional and privately funded nonprofit that fosters deep personal change in the individuals they serve. A comprehensive application makes an organization eligible for the Award and enters it in the Samaritan Guide.
  • (Homepage and News).

Award Winners; Excellent Non-Profits; Methodology; Resources; The Acton Institute;

FAQs … /Objectives: What is the objective of the Samaritan Award and Guide? The last forty years of federal welfare programs have taught us that, in general, such programs are not only ineffective in helping vulnerable populations, but often make social problems worse. 

Despite multi-trillion dollar expenditures in these programs since the 1960s, poverty rates are largely unchanged. Worse, a variety of social pathologies, from an explosion of single family homes to intergenerational poverty and domestic violence can be linked to the very programs designed to solve such problems.

The problem is not a lack of good intentions. The problem is that large, impersonal, government bureaucracies with little accountability are the wrong instruments to meet the needs of our most vulnerable fellow citizens. All things being equal, the charities closest to the problem are most likely to succeed in solving the problem. Unfortunately, the reach of federal programs is now so extensive that even many private charities are, in effect, part of the system itself.

The objective of the Samaritan Award and Guide is to encourage and highlight charities that succeed without large amounts of government funding. Our hope is to show that, in general, private, personal, faith-based charities outperform federally funded welfare programs.

Why does Acton run this charities rating program? … //

… What is the Samaritan Award?

The annual Samaritan Awards identifies and rewards programs that exemplify the Seven Principles of Effective Compassion and demonstrate accountability and transparency. These exceptional charities help individuals break the cycle of dependency by providing help that is direct, personal, and accountable.

The Samaritan Award also serves as the entry point to the Samaritan Guide … (full text).

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