There's abundant compassion but a great deal of confusion about the best places to send charitable donations to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Here's a list of progressive, grassroots organizations in Louisiana and elsewhere around the country. These groups are already on the ground and are poised to deliver aid to those who need it most.
ACORN is one of the oldest and most successful organizations serving low-income communities in the United States, especially African-American communities, and it has a strong, longstanding base in New Orleans that will enable those affected to speak in their own names and hold politicians at all levels accountable over the long term.
Reprieve is a nonprofit run by Billy Sothern, an attorney who lives in New Orleans and represents indigent people facing the death penalty. Tax-deductible donations can be made online.
Community Labor United
Community Labor United is a coalition of progressive organizations in New Orleans formed in 1998. Their mission is to build organizational unity and support efforts that address poverty, racism and education. CLU organized in the areas hardest hit by the hurricane. Contact: Curtis Muhammad .
Charity Hospital 
Charity Hospital is a public hospital in New Orleans serving low-income people. It was among the last to be evacuated, while private hospitals were able to pay for transport and care for their patients days earlier.
Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence
LCADV is a network of twenty domestic violence programs and shelters throughout the state. Four shelters and two nonresidential programs are completely closed, and two or three may be completely destroyed. Donations will be used to assist battered victims from the following parishes in Louisiana: Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. Bernard and Plaquemines. To make a credit card donation, call (225) 752-1296. Or fax a voided check with the amount of your donation to (225) 751-8927.
The NAACP is setting up command centers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as part of its disaster relief efforts. NAACP units across the nation have begun collecting resources that will be placed on trucks and sent directly into the disaster areas. Also, the NAACP has established a disaster relief fund that can accept monetary donations to aid in the relief effort.
Modest Needs 
Modest Needs has launched an initiative designed to ease the financial burden placed on those who have opened their homes to friends, family members and others displaced by Katrina.
LEAN members have provided airdrops of food, water and medical supplies to the trapped residents of St. Bernard, Washington and Plaquemine parishes. LEAN is raising funds to give local people, working with local government leaders, immediate assistance.
Since 1964, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation has helped local philanthropists create a lasting legacy of community development. The Hurricane Katrina Displaced Residents Fund will benefit those individuals evacuated to Baton Rouge. The Hurricane Katrina New Orleans Recovery Fund will focus on rebuilding infrastructure.
In partnership with many organizations around the country, NYAC and its partners, including NCLR, have launched the Hurricane Katrina LGBT Relief Fund to ensure that LGBT youth and families receive the critical support they need to regain stability in their lives.
The National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) has established an emergency fund to provide abortion care for women and girls affected by the hurricane.
AmeriCares is providing medical relief to aid Hurricane Katrina survivors in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Operation USA 
Operation USA can provide medical supplies and cash grants to smaller local clinics that are not Red Cross affiliates.
Louisiana Welfare Rights Organization
Located in New Orleans, WRO is one of the oldest welfare-rights advocacy organizations in the area. Among the services provided are job training and low-income housing. Donations should be sent through the Direct Action Welfare Group .
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is sponsoring a food and clothing drive for hurricane victims.
Contact: (718) 254-8800
Lewis Temple CME Church
272 Medgar Evers Street
Grambling, LA 71245
Contact: Rev. Dr. Ricky Helton (318) 247-3793
S.H.A.P.E. Community Center
3815 Live Oak
Houston, Texas 77004
Contact: Deloyd Parker (713) 521-0641
St. Luke Community Life Center
6211 East Grand Street
Dallas, TX 75223
Mohammad Mosque 65
2600 Plank Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70805
Contact: Minister Andrew Muhammad (225) 923-1400 or (225) 357-3079