For all ECHO does to help people worldwide, it has become established among the top charitable organizations in the world.
So it comes as no surprise that Charity Navigator, one of the nation's leading independent charity evaluators, has named North Fort Myers-based ECHO the top international charity in Florida.
Since 1981, ECHO has been researching and delivering sustainable food for small-scale farmers worldwide.
Though it technically isn't an award, rather an indication of how ECHO conducts its charity, the top ranking is a source of pride, especially considering some of the other area charities that also score high.
"We saw Harry Chapin Food Bank was up there, so we're very proud to be among highly respected charities," said Danielle Flood, ECHO marketing director.
ECHO's ranking is based on Charity Navigator's assessment of ECHO's governance practices; transparency regarding financial information; management of administrative and fundraising costs; and policies regarding donors.
"We are pleased to have been recognized as the state's leading international non-profit organization. Pursuing our mission with transparency and accountability helps us make a difference in the lives of children and families every month," said ECHO's president/CEO, Stan Doerr said in a statement.
Charity Navigator's goal is "to help people give to charity with confidence," according to its website, and aims to help charities by shining light on truly effective organizations.
ECHO is already listed as a four-star charity by the organization, attaining an overall score of 68.70 out of a possible 70 points.
It has all been part of a busy summer for ECHO, which has continued its mission to give people the skills to help them grow food to feed the poor through local programs.
Among the biggest fundraisers coming up is the "Taste the World" event coming up at the Gulf Coast Town Center market Plaza.
"Many of the establishments will donate food so when they give ECHO a donation, they will get a passport to taste food from all over the world," Flood said. "It's a signature event that educates people about our fight against hunger by giving them an idea of what could be eaten."
Among the other local programs are the community garden program, which helps non-profits, schools and churches to reach their public with nutritious foods and gardening expertise, Flood said.
They also recently held a free workshop on the farm "Getting into Gardening," and work with non-profits worldwide.
Flood said despite the summer months, ECHO had kept as busy as ever.
"We're blessed. It could be a slow time, but we stay busy," Flood said.
ECHO "provides sustainable options to world hunger through innovative options, agricultural training, and networking with community leaders and missionaries in 180 developing countries," according to its press release.
For more information about ECHO, call 543-3246.