Helping Out on Different Scales: NGOs vs. Nonprofits
Nongovernmental Organization Overview
- Habitat for Humanity. Founded in 1976 by Linda and Millard Fuller, Habitat for Humanity builds homes using volunteer labor, most famously former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. Habitat for Humanity has grown to encompass worksites in more than 1,400 communities in the U.S. and 70 countries around the world, utilizing more than 2 million volunteers each year.
- International Red Cross. The American Red Cross is the domestic affiliate of the International Red Cross, which started in 1863. The Red Cross is an international humanitarian group of organizations, founded to help alleviate human suffering during wars, but its mission has expanded to include all sorts of relief efforts. In 2017, across more than 80 countries, the Red Cross helped more than 35 million people access better water and sanitation, provided greater food stability to nearly 8 million people, and supplied another 5.4 million with essential household items.
- Doctors Without Borders. Officially known by its French name, Médecins Sans Frontières, this NGO began in 1971. Doctors Without Borders helps bring medical care to those who otherwise might not be able to access it. The organization, which earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 for its work in the Rwanda genocide, has more than 35,000 employees providing medical care such as vaccinations.
Notable Nonprofit Organizations
- Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Started by 4-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Scott after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2000, Alex’s Lemonade Stand quickly grew from a local story into a national movement. Scott passed away at the age of 8 in 2004, but her parents continue to build on her efforts, raising more than $150 million for pediatric cancer research and helping fund almost 1,000 research projects, as well as supporting countless children with cancer.
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU is a domestic nonprofit whose goal is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Since its founding in 1920, it has helped fund legal defenses for citizens no matter their legal status. With an annual budget of over $100 million, the ACLU’s major work includes initiatives to eliminate the death penalty, promote equal rights, and increase access to abortions and birth control.
- American Cancer Society (ACS). One of the largest cancer nonprofits in the country, the American Cancer Society raises money to fund cancer research and provide treatment and support to cancer patients. Founded in 1913, the ACS now has a presence in 5,000 communities, with 250 regional offices allocating a total of more than $658 million in annual funds.