My husband and myself have been contributors to Ort America for a long time. We have gone on a number of ORT missions which has allowed us to see the good that ORT does. Because of the difference the Ort program makes in the lives of the students, we have endowed three computer labs. Two of which are in Russian and one in Brooklyn, NY. I was a long time volunteer and served in many positions including a member of the National Board and a delegate to World ORT Union.
As I see it, there are two main factors that contribute to a low quality of life for people: living in poverty and lacking the education to get yourself out of poverty.
ORT America has for decades provided hundreds of thousands of people the education that they need to raise themselves up and out of low socioeconomic situations.
Whether people have immigrated to a new country and need to learn a new language; or a current college grad looking for a career path; ORT's schools and programs help open the doors for new and better opportunities.
I am proud to say that my grandmother was a part of ORT in Iran teaching young children how to read and write; and I find myself honored to be following her footsteps with my association with this amazing organization.
I have been involved with ORT America for about 12 years, as a donor and as a member of the Atlanta board of directors. They are now highly rated by Charity Navigator. I have always found their headquarters in NYC to be very responsive and able to provide whatever I asked for. It is a great charity that helps 300,000 disadvantaged people around the world to get an employment oriented education, especially in the field of computers and science.
DO NOT INVEST WITH THESE PEOPLE. They are very irresponsible. You call for tax information and forms to send in with your taxes, they do not return phone calls, e-mails, etc. It is almost impossible to speak to a real person. They do not send vital information, checks in a timely manner. It is like pulling teeth to get any response. I am the benficiary of a testimentary trust and every year we go through the same song and dance to get tax information. Very Bad business practices.
ORT America is an important and inspiring organization, merged from the two incredible organizations which preceded it. I have been a dedicated volunteer for 20+ years and truly believe in ORT's mission of worldwide education. I also firmly stand by my statement that ORT manages both their donors, and their donor's funds, correctly and consistently. The professionals that I have worked with at ORT have always been attentive to my needs and treated me with the utmost of respect. ORT has always been an organization that I trust to manage money in a way that benefits their schools and programs most. I have had the privilege to see this firsthand. Having been involved for so long, I know that overhead is extremely low overall and that the diligent staff are always taking extra steps to ensure that the maximum amount of funds are being transferred to the cause. This organization has been around for more than 133 years now and I believe strongly that, to make it this long, they are surely doing many things right. I proudly stand by this charity.
DO NOT DONATE. I DONATED $50,000 TO ESTABLISH A FAMILY FUND IN 2008. I HAVE HAD NO UPDATES AND WHEN CONTACTED IT TOOK 3 MONTHS TO CONFIRM THE FAMILY FUND. THEN SILENCE AGAIN. THEY BLAME AUDITS, HOLIDAYS OR ON VACATION FOR NOT RESPONDING TO MY INQUIRY. I AM SAD THAT ORT THOUGHT SO LITTLE OF MY DONATION.
Great organization that trains people for real world skills. Around the globe ORT schools give the help needed in that area and for the current job market.
ORT America works in support of the programs and projects across the global ORT network, all geared to the needs and circumstances of the local communities but all of which work toward a single mission of changing lives through education. But one of the things that I find MOST admirable about ORT (the individual organizations as well as the individual projects) is that they keep working at something long after attention has shifted elsewhere.
They are still on the ground more than five years after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
As the first (and second) wave of Haitian relief begins to recede, they are ramping up, laying ground work for new, "hit the ground running" desperately needed educational infrastructure in Haiti
And now - in that same way - their updates from Chile continue as attention is focused on next steps and future needs.
It shows that they are committed to sustaining programs and continuing support however long it is needed - no easy feat at the best of times but especially now in our current economic climate.