By Carol Berne, Senior Vice President of Development

When I was asked to write the column on “Know Your Charity,” what first came to mind was Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet and Juliet’s quote, “What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The implication is that names do not affect what they really are.

But, in fundraising a name means everything. And what that name represents is what you should be aware of when making a contribution to a charity. There are many Alzheimer’s related charities competing for your philanthropic dollar – through the mail, by phone calls, in print advertising, on TV and the radio, and through social media.Just because Alzheimer’s is in the charity’s name doesn’t mean it is deserving of your support.

When we left the Alzheimer’s Association, we did so because our Board of Directors strongly believed that the New York Alzheimer’s community deserved the gold standard of dementia care. New Yorkers deserved a local resource where they could attend an education seminar or a Family Caregiver Workshop, be part of a support group, and have access to 18 licensed social workers experienced in geriatrics and dementia care, all free of charge. They could also contact our 24-hour Helpline and know that our staff was knowledgeable about local resources, because they lived locally.

When you make a donation to CaringKind, or include us in your estate plans, you should know the following:

  • Every program undergoes rigorous evaluation to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our clients, in the most cost-effective way;
  • We are an accredited charity of the Better Business Bureau;
    100 percent of our Board of Directors donates to CaringKind;
  • We work with over 500 community partners throughout the five boroughs, and have built these relationships over 30 years;
  • We have a research partner where 100 percent of your donation goes directly to a research scientist;
  • We advocate locally, statewide, and nationally for funding for care and research;
    When you mail a donation to CaringKind, it goes directly to our offices at 360 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, not to a PO Box somewhere else in the country;
  • We do not exchange your name and contact information with other nonprofits or for-profit companies;
  • We do not use your charitable donation to cover the costs of national advertising campaigns or direct mail marketing;
  • Every dollar stays local, helping you, your family, and those you know who are affected by dementia.

Throughout this newsletter, you will learn more about what to look for in evaluating a charity, and hear from the former head of the New York State Charities Bureau on page 6. Our hope is that when you make a donation - which we hope will be to CaringKind – you will do so with confidence and the knowledge that your donation is being used wisely and well to benefit the community.

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