2014 tax deadline

Please make your year-end donation before midnight EST/9 p.m. PST on December 31, 2014, to receive a deduction on your 2014 taxes.

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Year-end giving: How to choose a charity

Year-end giving: How to choose a charity | World Vision Blog

A dead tree adorned with food colors sealed in plastic becomes a symbol of the holiday season in the Philippines. (Photo: 2013 World Vision)

Within these last few days of the year, many people take this opportunity to squeeze in one more charitable donation as an extra write-off for their taxes. Your tax forms don’t care where that money goes, as long as it’s a charity, but you probably do. You’ll want to make sure that your money is going to a good organization.

But what does that mean? And how can you know?

[Photos] Building a better world for children

How do we build a better world for children? The first step is to understand the issues impacting their lives; then, to have hope that situations can improve; then, to provide opportunities to bring about that change.

The net effect of deadly malaria

Marita Adelino is not your average 10-year-old.

In a world where children typically want so much, she wants only two things -- a best friend and a mosquito net. Yearning for a friend is sketched across her face, a portrait of loneliness.

And the desire for a mosquito net? Marita is terrified of the tiny, sinister creatures that spread malaria, the disease that killed her best friend, Marta João, last year.

[Infographic] Is humanitarian aid really making a difference?

Is humanitarian aid really making a difference? The answer is yes! Child deaths have decreased by 41 percent over the past five years.

The following infographic explains major developments in global child health over the past 10 years.

Handwashing: The greatest medical invention of all time

Today, believe it or not, is Global Handwashing Day.

I appreciate there are a ton of these kinds of days, and it’s sometimes tough to get excited about them all. So far this month we’ve had World Habitat Day, International Day of Older Persons, International Day of Non-Violence, World Teachers Day, World Post Day, World Mental Health Day, International Day of the Girl Child, World Sight Day, International Day for Disaster Reduction, and International Day of Rural Women.

Phew! What a list -- and we're only halfway through the month. One would have to be a saint to get passionate about them all.

On the other hand, commemorative days can focus attention on what might easily be a vital yet neglected topic. Handwashing happens to be one such issue.

Sharing my story with the royal couple

Today, Ellison was given the opportunity of a lifetime -- to share with the royal couple how his life has been changed through World Vision's work in the Solomon Islands. Prince William and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, are paying a visit to our programs there as part of their Diamond Jubilee tour to celebrate the Queen's 60 years on the throne.

Read on to hear Ellison's story in his own words.

A visit from the royal couple

This week, World Vision will receive a visit from the royal couple, Prince William and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. The king-to-be and his wife will be learning about World Vision's work in the Solomon Islands, which is part of the South Asia and Pacific region, where a billion people live on less than $2 per day.

There are no words for the loss of the child

My nephew, Archer Beeme, has a unique name because he has a unique story.

A year before Archer was born, my sister miscarried. As I try and think of a sentence to elaborate on what she must have felt, I feel a lump forming in my throat and tears in my eyes.

There are no words for the loss of a child.

Lopez Lomong: From Sudanese 'Lost Boy' to U.S. Olympian

Today's guest contributor, Lopez Lomong, will run with Team USA in the London 2012 Olympics at the end of the month. But behind his remarkable accomplishment is a turbulent -- and inspiring -- life story of danger, poverty, and ultimate redemption.

Now, this South Sudan native is partnering with World Vision to bring help and hope to children and families in his home country who continue to struggle one year after the celebration of its independence. Read the story of Lopez, and let us know your thoughts!

PHOTOS: When empty shelves threaten lives

Here in the United States, when our little ones come down with common childhood illnesses, we have relatively easy access to over-the-counter medicines and supplies that can treat them and ease their suffering. Rarely, if ever, do such ailments become life-threatening.

Tragically, the opposite is often true in developing countries. Children who become ill with treatable conditions -- such as worms, diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria -- seek treatment at local clinics, but the shelves there are frequently empty. Poverty renders basic medicines and supplies unaffordable or inaccessible, and children's lives are needlessly placed at risk.

World Vision works with pharmaceutical companies and other corporate partners, who donate medications and medical supplies that we can ship and distribute to clinics around the world where they're needed most. The images below depict the problem -- and what we're doing to help solve it.

Building the best shelter for the displaced

Late last week -- after months of hard work, design, and planning -- students from three different schools gathered at John Brown University to present their solutions to the growing need for shelter of displaced people worldwide.

World Vision has been on the front lines, responding to the challenge of providing contextually appropriate shelter that offers privacy, security, and refuge from the elements -- all while being resistant to future disasters, like flooding and earthquakes.

As a part of the World Vision team that responds to emergency situations, I have firsthand knowledge of the importance of temporary shelters and was called upon to judge the student's designs.

Uganda: Visible progress for children

Uganda is one of 16 poor countries that are considered "trailblazers" for the progress they’ve made toward eliminating poverty and improving health. The nation is on track to meet at least half of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Progress is hard-won, but encouraging. Here are some accomplishments to celebrate.

Uganda: Invisible child killers beyond Kony

For the past month or so, Uganda has seen attention in the media and among the American public that it hasn’t experienced in several years, thanks to the viral video phenomenon “Kony2012.”

But this story was no surprise to those of us who have worked at World Vision for a while.

Big advocates can come in small sizes

In the weeks leading up to World Malaria Day on April 25, we're calling attention to this deadly but preventable disease and sharing simple ways by which everyone can be involved in stopping it for good. And by "everyone," we mean exactly that -- including a 7-year-old boy from Missouri, whose unique story we hope will inspire others to take action.

Help save lives: Bring Malaria Sunday to your church

Every 60 seconds, malaria claims another victim.

A single mosquito bite can be a death sentence for people who lack access to medical treatment. What makes malaria deaths particularly tragic is that they are fully preventable -- and some of malaria’s most common victims are children under 5.

Clean water is life: Improvements to wells in Zambia

Samuel Mwinda Mwanangombe is World Vision’s design, monitoring, and evaluation officer for the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) program in Zambia. Samuel has worked for World Vision for three years, motivated by the opportunity to improve the quality of life for vulnerable and marginalized people -- especially orphans, widows, and those with disabilities -- by helping them realize their own potential to be agents of change.

He is dedicated to WASH because he’s seen firsthand the changes it has produced in communities and the lives of children. Samuel has seen God work through the WASH sector in Zambia, providing those in need with clean water, improved sanitation, and hygiene education to sustain their lives. Here, Samuel shares an example of that success, which he witnessed in a community where he works.