These are, in my opinion, charities that are top-notch
Charities around the globe are doing incredible things, and these are just a few of the ones that have captured my heart and my mind. I believe they are ethical both in their use of funds and in their approach to creating good change in the communities they work within.
International Justice Mission
International Justice Mission has locations across the globe. What impresses me about this charity is their high level of excellence. They hire only the best of lawyers, social workers, and other professionals. They assist countries by equipping their own citizens to solve their own legal problems, with the ultimate goal of defending the severely oppressed, as well as changing the systems to prevent more oppression. They introduced the awful reality of human trafficking to me many years ago through a presentation by a member of IJM Canada. I will always recommend them, as they continue their incredible work.
Equal Justice Institute
Equal Justice Institute is doing vital work in the USA to get innocent souls off of death row. Bryan Stevenson, their founder, wrote a book that I would also highly recommend, and you can learn more here. Not only do they work tirelessly to free innocent people, they also change unjust systems through their policy work, and have created a memorial to lynching victims during Jim Crow laws, which you can read more about here. I can't say enough good things about this organization and their work.
Ratanak International was started by a Canadian in response to the extreme exploitation of the poor in the traumatized nation of Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge did their best to destroy all evidence of modernity in Cambodia, leaving its people with few professionals, low literacy, exploitation, gender violence, poverty, and country-wide PTSD (read more here). Ratanak approaches these very painful realities in a stance of partnership with the country. Their projects surround prevention of exploitation, protection of the vulnerable, equipping the trafficked to return home, and assisting to heal the survivors of trafficking.
These are 'local' to the Vancouver area of British Columbia. I know these either because I've worked with them directly as an outreach worker, or because I know staff there, and I'd highly recommend them.
From the Bottom Up Foundation
From the Bottom Up Foundation partners with organizations in the Downtown Eastside to provide low-income families with free diapers and formula. Diapers can cost from $70 - $100 per month. Formula for a fussy baby adds to that cost. Low-income families cannot afford these prices (especially on income assistance). They scrounge free diapers from the few organizations that provide a few per person here and there, but it does not provide enough. From The Bottom Up Foundation eliminates this stress, and provides this necessity with regular deliveries of free diapers to their door. I have had the pleasure of connecting a single, newly-immigrated mother fleeing domestic violence with free diapers and formula. They are a small organization, and they need more funding. Please consider donating.
Youth Unlimited Greater Vancouver is connected to a global organization called Youth For Christ. I've known this particular branch by meeting with many staff who run the programs across Vancouver and North Vancouver. They are incredible because they reach youth in a way that is appropriate to their community. The Youth Unlimited in East Van is very different from North Van, but the overall goal is to support, encourage, and empower youth to their fullest potential. They meet youth where they're at, quite literally, as one particular project illustrates. Twice a week a renovated RV drives to a hangout area of many street-entrenched youth, providing soup, games, and basic necessities. Because they are there regularly, youth build trust with staff, and know they can rely on them in an unreliable world. Browse through their work and be inspired.
HomeStart Foundation is close to my heart. I am lucky enough to know them very well through my work with low-income women and families. HomeStart provides a free delivery of free, donated furniture to people in need. I've seen single mothers fleeing abuse get furniture for them and their toddlers. I've known women who gain sobriety, find a new place, but spend every last cent of their Income Assistance on rent, food, moving, and damage deposit, left not even with a chair, making their apartment a home by receiving furniture. If you think furniture isn't an important resource, let me know how you feel after getting a flu and having no couch to lie down on, or try to raise children without a kitchen table to eat meals at. The mental wellness from good furniture is surprising. If you don't know what to do with your good-quality, used furniture, please consider donating (see what they accept here), or donate money to pay delivery drivers and hydro bills.