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Doctors Without Borders USA Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Disaster Aid, Disaster Preparedness & Relief Services, International, International Development, Refugees

Mission: To provide independent medial humanitarian emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, natural disasters and exclusion from health care.

Programs:

Every year, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides emergency medical care to millions of people caught in crises in more than 60 countries around the world. MSF provides assistance when catastrophic events — such as armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, or natural disasters — overwhelm local health systems. MSF also assists people who face discrimination or neglect from their local health systems or when populations are otherwise excluded from health care.

On any given day, thousands of individuals representing dozens of nationalities are working together to provide assistance to people caught in crises around the world. We are doctors, nurses, logistics experts, administrators, epidemiologists, laboratory technicians, mental health professionals, and many others who work in accordance with MSF’s guiding principles of humanitarian action and medical ethics.

Community Stories

37 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Brenda Tramel H.

Donor

Rating: 5

After years of periodic support, I now donate to Doctors Without Borders monthly. This charity is also my choice to receive donations from amazon.com when I order through smile.amazon.com.

DWB works around the world providIng medical services where they are most needed. These people go into extremely dangerous areas to help people suffering from diseases or wounds caused by wars. Physicians and nurses devote years studying for their professions. Afterward, they can work anywhere for good pay, but the DWB medical professionals choose to go where they are most needed.

They send me occasional magazines that describe their work in various areas. I find this information educational and inspiring. Their overhead expenses are quite low compared to many charities.

I am sorry that I cannot join these heroes in their work, due to my age and lack of expertise, not to mention my cowardice. At least I can send money to support their worthy cause.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Great mission. But poor administration. Maybe self-grandeur because of the Nobel Prize? Constant solicitations, often with needless "swag"--wasteful, and hardly in the mind of a sustainable environment. Poor business ethics in sending membership "renewals" to persons who are not members. Poor rating on donor privacy policy. No longer the organization it once was.

1

Donor

Rating: 1

I made 1 donation to this organization and soon after I got bombarded from all kinds of charitable organizations asking for donations. This is ridiculous! I get about 5 requests for donations per month! I was very clear when I made my donation that it was a one time donation because I live off of disability and did not want to be contacted further. Ultimately my small $25 donation has been poorly spent on mailing me more unsolicited mail requests for donations. I’m very disappointed and regret throwing my money away and on top of that have spent a lot of time calling each one of these organizations trying to get my name off these lists!!

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I went on several missions with this organisation and still miss it every day. We made lives better

Review from Guidestar

1 Scott Slocum

Donor

Rating: 5

These people are heroes. They go where they're needed, and they make impossible situations possible for people to live through, and hopefully go on with their lives.

Donor

Rating: 5

Former Nobel Peace Prize winners and 33,000 volunteers makes an awesome impact.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

While studying, I made a concerted attempt to understand disease beyond the contexts of the medical textbooks and decided to work with international child health in the polarized parts of the world where I could help share my pediatric knowledge reciprocated with the experience of local people of their disease.

With my red swiss water bottle in hand. I became a member of the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).I started work with MSF in 2014 and have really just started my life with MSF.

This is a life changing experience. I am now trying to decide what the next steps are for me. Only time will tell.

5

Donor

Rating: 4

This Nonprofit may not provide long term solutions but it helps those in need of immediate care. I am grateful for all those dedicated to providing the necessary care. I often find myself wishing I could do more for this much needed Nonprofit. I am so glad this Nonprofit exist.

13

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

Doctors Without Borders is an international organization that seeks to provide medical attention to individuals that have been impacted by natural disaster, conflict, or limited accessibility to health care services. They have provided relief in 70 countries worldwide with recent work in Western Africa treating people who have been affected by the Ebola crisis.

The work done by Doctors Without Borders has been shown to reduce the hardships in developing countries during a crisis. However, once the immediate crisis subsides they train individuals in the region to run the medical centers and Doctors Without Borders leaves the operation in the hands of the locals. I think there is little question that the organization has a positive impact on relief efforts, but they may not contribute to long term development. This does not address the larger structural issues that plague developing regions and keep those affected in poverty. This ultimately results in regions reverting back to the same conditions they had before they were faced with a crisis.

Overall, Doctors Without Borders is a stable organization that has a positive impact in the developing world, and although health care is a factor in development the relief nature of their programs prevents them from having a long term effect in those regions. Relief efforts are important in the developing world but at a certain point focus needs to be redirected to finding long lasting solutions to the problems that cause overwhelming poverty. Money donated to Doctors Without Borders is well spent and benefits those with urgent need. That being said, I think the organization would have an even bigger impact if they did more work to address the underlying causes of poverty that make extensive relief necessary.

Review from Guidestar

32

Donor

Rating: 5

I have served as a volunteer pro bono attorney, from 1988-2000 as a volunteer director, from 2000-present as a volunteer member of the board of advisors, and as a donor to Doctors Without Borders USA. Before I retired, I practiced law specializing in the law of charities. I choose to give to Doctors Without Borders because it is the most ethical organization I have ever worked with and serves huge numbers of the world's poorest and neediest in often-awful settings. Doctors Without Borders has low salaries and highest ratings from people who know actors in the field of international relief and medical service. It follows its own internal rules of its MSF/Doctors Without Borders movement and I find it stunning--absolutely stunning--that the BBB has elected to downgrade its rating because Doctors Without Borders has not written some internal evaluation report to take to the US board of directors. Maybe the board of directors is too busy worrying about the safety of its staff and patients in South Sudan or Syria to worry about make-work reports to satisfy rating agencies. Has the BBB ever read the reports on its missions produced by Doctors Without Borders??? They are the gold standard in the medical field.

Review from Guidestar

8 Michael233

Donor

Rating: 4

Not sure what all the fuss is about the snail mail donor solicitations. I've donated online a couple times in the past 6 months and I have had no issue with solicitations. The only mailings I get from DWB are quarterly updates on the work that DWB is providing and I think that's because I'm associated with their Partners Program. CEO compensation appears to be in check which was a big thing for me when I decided to donate to DWB. The advertising and fund raising program numbers appear to be slightly high and I would prefer that more of that money be spent directly towards the needs of the people that require assistance but DWB I feel is a top notch charity. Also, DWB is a secular charity not pushing some religious agenda which is right up my agnostic alley. I don't see religious charitable organizations as being completely compassionately motivated if your gonna push your religious agenda upon those your providing assistance too. I will continue to donate to DWB in the future.

5 Geof Bar-David S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

MSF sets the standard. Their reports to the media are highly regarded. Unparralled.

I have been in developing nations during war it is not a picnic. I just had my EMS I respect the very fact of completing medical education. To then eschew raking in the money doing elective cosmetic surgery and to put your life on the line going into Syria is awesome.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

DWB (MSF) is an incredible organization. No one else really can do what they do - providing care to the places that need it most.

17 Sheri12

Donor

Rating: 4

I would rate this a 5 because the work Doctors Without Borders do is fantastic and they go into places that many would not. However, the money poured into mailings and calls could be better spent if fewer solicitations were made. My husband and I were getting about one mailing a month from DWB, which was bad enough. But somehow that split into two mailings one to him and one to me. Then they started sending one to two different forms of my husband's name, for a total of three copies. (First name, middle initial and first initial, middle name.) The number of calls seemed to increase, as well. So they must have been calling for each name.

I called to have the names removed from the mailing list and was told that they could only remove one name per call. That's a ridiculous policy. I had to speak to Donor Services, which took several calls. DWB should be easily able to avoid sending multiple solicitations to one address in the first place.

Although I apparently could have reduced the frequency of mailings if I had an online account with them, I don't because I've always done my donations through the mail. But I would still know that even if I reduced my own mailings my annual donation would be paying for monthly mailings to other people.

So, as a result, I've asked us to be completely removed from mailings and calls. And this year, our donation will go to a different organization who doesn't just waste the money I donate on mailing things out to me.

7

Donor

Rating: 4

I am donating because as I research I find DWB along side every NGO in any hotspot around the globe and sadly they lose too many doctors, nurses, caregivers are killed at these places--both local personnel they recruit and their staff.... They are truly saints and unsung heroes to risk life and limb to this cause. Likewise when I view many a documentary or television special about a conflict or disease outbreak or mission of mercy,,,in the background quietly I see DWB in their role. This has recently promted me to make a monthly donation via credit card, rathe rthan write checks. I give to a few charities regularly this way. I have not been heavily solicited to date, as others report-- that only adds to expenses and they will hear from me if that occurs,,,perhaps one nicely done package of reports and a global map, etc, and a request or two here and there. I am switching to email notification and I will block them if it gets bothersome. thank you, best wishes,,,,,Richard B.

6 Loretta F.

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a fantastic organization. It goes into very dangerous areas to give medical care where needed. Their advertising and administration expenses are minimal. It is one of the few charities that I give monthly to.

Previous Stories
4

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a great organization that has minimal admin and advertising expenses. The doctors go into places that are extremely dangerous in order to give aid to injured, starving, or sick individuals. I think they are highly effective in what they try to do.

8

Donor

Rating: 4

This is my favorite charity because they go where the action is and put their lives on the line to help the victims of war and violence. I have given since i can't remember when and will continue. But i must whole heartily agree with those that comment about the monthly mail, and equally frequent emails and phone calls. ENOUGH. You can only drive firm supporters away. Be selective with your solicitations. Become more competent with your very high advertizing expenditures.

Review from CharityNavigator

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I HAVE BEEN DONATING TO DWB FOR SEVERAL YEARS NOW THROUGH DIRECT CHARGE TO ONE OF MY CREDIT CARDS. I DON'T MISS THE $$ AND FEEL THAT IT IS DOING SOME GOOD. TAKE A LOOK AROUND YOU, PEOPLE, AND SEE HOW LUCKY WE REALLY ARE HERE IN THE U.S. THESE MEDICAL PERSONNEL GO INTO WAR ZONES TO GIVE HELP TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOTHING!! OPEN YOUR POCKETS, EVEN FOR A SMALL AMOUNT, AND SHINE A LIGHT IN THE WORLD. I HAVE NEVER HAD ANY PROBLEMS WITH THIS CHARITY.

2

Advisor

Rating: 5

GOOD CHARIITY! IT MAKE ME HAPPY. Thaks for you time! - Jeff

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I have donated to Doctors without Borders for years and feel confident that my money is going to save lives effectively. I used to receive more mail than I wanted, but I contacted them and the mail has slowed considerably. On their site, this is their suggestion for updating mail preferences:

"We can send you mail as often as you would like. We can limit the mailings to quarterly, twice a year, just once a year, or none at all. Simply state your preference when making your gift or send an email, with your name, address, and mail preference, to [email protected]

Please note that due to our mail production schedule it may take up to 6-8 weeks for this request to take effect."

6

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm sure Doctors Without Borders is well worth any donation we can give. When they sent me a snail mail request for a donation, I donated $50.00 through Charity Navigator rather than write a check and mail it. As it turned out, the total charge to my bank account was $57.37 -- "processing fee" of 2.37 and another, unspecified fee for 5.00. Charity Navigator won't let me rate them, and this unknown intermediary, "Network for Good" (which seems to have claimed the unspecified five dollars) doesn't appear on Charity Navigator's list of charities. I didn't authorize these charges. I will donate to Doctors Without Borders again, but guess how I will NOT be doing it from now on.

9

Donor

Rating: 5

I have a family member who just returned from E. Africa after having spent nine months with the U.S. Military on the Kony mission. I asked him if he came across any charitable organizations working there I should support. His immediate answer was DWB. He said it is reaching people like none other. I’ve been a long-time donor and getting his first hand confirmation sealed the deal for future donations.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 3

I wrote this charity, explaining that I could not contribute in the near future and suggested that they could try again in two years. It had no effect. Well, I tried. If they persist, I will keep any gifts received and throw everything else away.

Comments ( 1 )

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

Thank you for your past support and for sharing your concerns about Doctors Without Borders' fundraising practices. We value your feedback and want to address your concerns specifically and directly. Doctors Without Borders takes the contact preferences of our supporters very seriously and makes every effort to honor requests to either limit or stop completely mailings and other requests for contributions. Please contact our Donor Services department at your convenience and we will make sure our records reflect your preference. Donor Services, 212-763-5779 or [email protected]

3

Donor

Rating: 4

I seriously considered stopping my donations to Doctors without Borders because I could not get them to stop sending me solicitations by mail. I finaly wrote to directly to a board member when I received a solicitation signed by her. I have not received any mail from Doctors without Borders in several weeks. I am cautiously optimistic at this point that the mail has stopped.

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

Thank you for your generosity and support of Doctors Without Borders’ work. Please know, that we make our very best effort to respect all our donors’ requests for limited solicitations and apologize that your initial requests were not honored. If you contact our Donor Services department at the number below we will confirm that our records reflect your specific preferences. Also, if at any time in the future you would like to change the frequency with which we contact you, please feel free to contact us directly. Donor Services, 212-763-5779 or [email protected]

Review from CharityNavigator

1 Paul F.

Donor

Rating: 5

Doctors Without Borders is one of the premier international medical non-profits. Doctors Without Borders medical staff provide health services in areas of the world that are too dangerous from other non-profit agencies to work in. The courage of these doctors is unbelievable. They are literally laying their lives on the line to provide medical services in conflict zones around the world. Critics who question the fund-raising practices of DWB are directed to www.charitynavigator.org and www.charitywatch.org.

Comments ( 1 )

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

Thank you for your support of Doctors Without Borders work. We are grateful for your positive feedback. Our field staff works in nearly 70 countries around the world, and in many regions where conditions can be extraordinarily precarious. The generosity of donors like you makes their work possible and allows Doctors Without Borders to treat many thousands of people around the globe who would otherwise have no access to medical care. We hope you will continue to contribute as we depend on individual donors for more than 90% of our annual funding.

2

Donor

Rating: 3

Like some others who have commented, I receive about one mailing per month from this charity, each with a 45-cent stamp on the enclosed envelope. How many people are likely to donate this frequently? I feel it is a real waste of money on their part and would like to see that money go to their field work instead. If people want to donate, they will provide their own stamp! This practice has made me less likely to contribute in the future.

Comments ( 1 )

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

First, thank you for your support of Doctors Without Borders. We appreciate and share your interest in keeping fundraising costs low and are continually reviewing our practices in an effort to lower them. We also strive to always honor specific requests from donors, regarding how often and in what manner we communicate with them. We would be happy to discuss your preferences and put in place measures that will ensure future correspondence are the most cost and environmentally responsible. Please feel free to contact us directly at Doctor Without Borders headquarters in New York. Donor Services, 212-763-5779 or [email protected]

Review from CharityNavigator

Donor

Rating: 4

Yes, they do wonderful work but I too am tired of all the snail mail (and environmental degradation that goes with it). Seems like that would be better spent on non-donors. If you stop donating, does the mail ever end?

Comments ( 1 )

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

Thank you for your generosity and interest in Doctors Without Borders. We share your desire in keeping costs low and minimizing any negative impact our fundraising efforts may have on the environment. Donors can notify us of their contact preferences on our website, http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/contact/. This link allows you to let us know how often and in which manner you would like us to communicate with you. We are happy to honor any requests you have related to when and how you hear from us. Our donor services team is available at 212-763-5779 or [email protected]

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 1

We have donated to Doctors Without Borders for many years. They absolutely will not stop the snail mail, no matter what we do. We donate to quite a few charities, and all of them have honored our request to stop the calls/snail mail. But Doctors Without Borders will not. Also, their privacy choices are difficult to find on their website, and I'm not sure they will honor those preferences either. There are so many wonderful international charities that we find it easy to stop our donations to this group.

Comments ( 1 )

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

First let us apologize for not having honored your requests. We try our best to respect the wishes of all of our supporters. From time to time duplicate records are created in our database and an individual may be entered more than once in the system under a slightly different name or address. This may generate duplicate mailings or additional contact from us. We continually work to improve our systems to ensure your requests are honored. If you would be so kind as to contact us in our NYC office, we would be happy to review your current preferences and put in place the necessary filters which will reduce or completely stop our mailings if that is what you wish. We are also able to limit our correspondence with you to email alone, if that’s your preference.

Review from CharityNavigator

Marius M.

Donor

Rating: 5

Doctors without borders is one of the most proactive and altruistic charities I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. Their efforts around the world have an immediate impact, and their non-bias and anti discriminatory policies is one of the reasons why I hold them in such high regard.

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

Thank you for your support and for your kind words. We know you have many choices when making charitable contributions. We strive to bring both transparency and integrity to every element of our work.

Review from CharityNavigator

Donor

Rating: 5

Looks like this organization has gotten back its 4 star rating. I plan to donate for the first time this year as I know a person who is participating. 13% is not unusual to spend for getting contributions in this economy where everyone is tightening their purse strings. I would hope that once you have donated, they don't ask you again until the following year.

Review from CharityNavigator

Donor

Rating: 2

I have been a donor for years and was disappointed to find Doctors Without Borders downgraded to 3 stars. I will contribute again this year but if there is no improvement in their rating for 2012, I will remove them from my charitable donations list.

Comments ( 1 )

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

Doctors Without Borders would like to acknowledge and address your concern regarding our recent rating change on Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator 2.0, the updated system by which the site assess charitable groups' accountability and financial position, assigns significant value to year over year increases in programmatic spending. Charity Navigator asks that the nonprofits they evaluate grow at a certain rate each year in order to be considered healthy financially. Doctors Without Borders, however, is an emergency response organization and our program commitments can shift from year to year. In 2009, the year considered for our current 3 Star rating, Doctors Without Borders made an internal decision to cap our program expense growth over the prior year. We did this to ensure that after a 26% growth in 2008 that we could continue to maintain the high quality of our projects while growing prudently. We made this conscious decision to make sure our patients were receiving the high quality care they needed, in addition to continuing to expand our reach at a reasonable rate. If you would like to discuss our work or our ratings on Charity Navigator, please our Donor Services department, 212-763-5779 or [email protected] Charity Navigator provides information online to explain how they rate growth, we have posted it below: “In response to the recession, many charities have trimmed expenses either because they were forced to as actual revenues declined or in anticipation of such a decline. Among all the types of charities we evaluate, these causes have reported the biggest changes in their spending on programs since the recession took hold. Adjustments for the program expense growth scores for each of these categories began with the fiscal year ending 2009. Each cause was adjusted individually based on the actual reported data. Each charity's rating page shows its actual program expense growth rate, not the normalized figure which we use in evaluating the organization.”

Review from CharityNavigator

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I have gladly donated monthly to the courageous Doctors and staff of this necessary organization for many years now. But as I give to other needy charities as well, I use the 4 Stars of Charity Navigator as my cutoff point for deciding who will receive my donations. I am considering holding back on donating to Doctors Without Borders until they meet the 4 star criteria. But the hard working Doctors and Staff on the front lines don't "manage the business" so I'd like to see the management staff and board hustle to get this Charity up to the high class standards of the many other charitable organizations and support their front line.

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

We are glad to report that Doctors Without Borders 4 Star Rating has been reinstated in 2012 and we hope you will continue to support our work in the field, as we respond to the need for medical care in 70 countries around the globe. Please also see our response to similar comments made by other supporters. If you would like to discuss our work or our ratings on Charity Navigator, please contact our Donor Services department, 212-763-5779 or [email protected]

Review from CharityNavigator

2

Donor

Rating: 3

The cost of $.13 to receive a $1 donation seems high and unnecessary. I received mailers at least monthly, if not more. I finally requested that they stop sending requests except once a year, which they have done, fortunately. I have always happily donated to this charity, but am now reconsidering. I think they can do better at increasing the amount of their funds going to programs, rather than fundraising. They should evaluate how effective their fundraising strategies really are.

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

Thank you for your support and for sharing your concerns about Doctors Without Borders' cost of fundraising. We value your feedback and want to address your concerns specifically and directly. Doctors Without Borders' executive staff and board of directors are highly conscious of the cost of fundraising and make every effort to keep that cost low. At $.13 to raise a dollar our cost of fundraising exceeds nonprofit industry standards, and is comparable to that of other humanitarian aid organizations. Please note that the figures that you are referring to are from our 2009 audited financials. That year, as the economy dipped, our fundraising team had to make significant efforts to raise the revenue needed to support our programs, as donor response declined from prior years. With those additional efforts our cost of fundraising slightly increased. In our 2010 financials, you will see that our cost to raise a dollar has decreased to less than $.10, this is because of the significant amounts of support we received in response to the earthquake in Haiti. External factors influence our cost to raise a dollar from year to year. In order to help bring down the cost of fundraising the best thing that donors can do is to become a Field Partner (monthly donor). You will receive less mail, which means less cost, and you provide a guarantee of regular, predictable, and unrestricted funds for our projects. You can find more information regarding our Field Partner program on our website: https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate/monthly.cfm? We appreciate your concern and hope this sheds a bit more light on the question of our cost of fundraising. If you would like to discuss this further please contact our Donor Services department at [email protected]

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 1

I have supported this organization as a Field Partner for several years. I authorized a small charge of $7.50 on my charge card each month to support their work. However, in June 2011, they put a charge of $800.00 on my card without my authorization. When I called, they offered absolutely no explanation as to how this could have happened and four days later, there is still no credit pending on my account to reverse this charge.

Comments ( 1 )

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

We apologize for this error and have taken steps to correct it and to prevent similar errors in the future. We hope this matter has been resolved to your satisfaction. We are genuinely sorry both for the error on our part and for the time it took to resolve. We hope that if in the future when you have issues or questions you will contact our Donor Services department, 212-763-5779 or [email protected]

Review from CharityNavigator

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a Physician my self but not biased. I am also the president of Sahaita Inc. a 501 c 3 non profit organization. We started up after Tsunami in 2005. At the time of Tsunami we raised lot of funds and the only organization which really cared and went out of their to appreciate our work was Doctor's without Border's. Lot of them didnot even acknowledge they got funds but I will not name any. Doctors without Borders are really a great organization. Since they need long commitments I could never join them so started our own small organization with similar goals called Sahaita Inc. ( You can visit us st www.sahaita.org) This time again The two picks where our funds we collect will go to are doctors without Borders and United Sikh organization which does a lot of work( which sometime do not get credited).United Sikh is also a volunteer run Non profit entity and they did great work at Tsunami,Katerina and in Houston during last Hurricanes and ran Food kitchens. So our 100% support for Doctor without Borders and United Sikh organization, Thanks you all for working to help Humanity.

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

Thank you for your generosity and endorsement of our work. Doctors Without Borders will continue to expand our work where possible to underserved populations around the world and appreciate support from contributors who provide us with the means to meet the needs of so many.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I recommend this organization who help under developed countries by providing health care in over 70 countries. they currently have a special program helping people in Haiti who have no health coverage or medical assistance.

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Doctors Without Borders 08/14/2012

Thank you for your support and endorsement of our work.