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by Allen J. Sheinman | September 09, 2011

The list 

As we mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, it's a good time to reflect on ways we can make this troubled world a better place. Here are five charities well worth your interest, as recommended by Charity Navigator (charitynavigator.org), a respected independent charity evaluator.
 
1. Books for Africa
(booksforafrica.org) collects, sorts, ships and distributes books to children in Africa. Books are donated by publishers, schools, libraries, individuals and organizations, then sorted and packed by volunteers who carefully choose items that are age and subject appropriate. Since 1988, the organization has shipped more than 20 million books to 45 African countries. They wind up in the hands of "children who are hungry to read, hungry to learn, hungry to explore the world in ways that only books make possible," says the organization.
 
2. The Fisher House Foundation (fisherhouse.org) is a private-public partnership that supports the families of American soldiers requiring medical care. There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center in the United States to provide families with comfortable lodging while attending to their loved ones. The Fisher House program serves more than 10,000 families annually and has made available nearly 2.5 million days of lodging to family members since 1990.
 
3. MAP International (map.org) has a stated mission to "promote the physical, economic, social, emotional and spiritual health of impoverished people in more than 115 countries through provision of essential medicines, promotion of community health development, and prevention and mitigation of disease, disaster and other health threats." MAP works in partnership programs with more than 300 organizations, agencies and medical missions around the world.
 
4. Scholarship America
(scholarshipamerica.org) has distributed more than $2 billion to nearly two million students since 1958. It is the nation's largest private scholarship and educational support organization. In addition to providing funds for scholarships, SA runs a variety of programs such as Dreamkeepers, which helps community colleges achieve their goal of retaining and graduating students by providing financial assistance to those who might otherwise be forced to leave school because of an unexpected financial emergency.
 
5. Best Friends Animal Society (bestfriends.org) is a national nonprofit organization committed to animal welfare. The group works to provide sanctuary for animals abandoned due to owner neglect or from disasters such as earthquakes, fires and floods. BFAS also promotes an end to the euthanasia of unwanted animals and supports nonaffiliated local and national animal rescue operations. Currently, BFAS provides direct animal welfare services in Utah; Nevada; California; Illinois; New York; Florida; Missouri; Washington D.C.; Maryland, and Georgia.
 
Source: Charity Navigator