HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Zalman Ulman, a dayan and mo”etz (Moreh Tzedek) on the beis din of the Shevet Halevy Shlita, as well as av beis din in Kiryat Sefer explains that one should give tzedaka to those in need in one’s own community before looking elsewhere.
The rav explained that it has already been discussed and well known that the needy in one’s community are a priority, and this was announced so avreichim understand it is to be practiced as well. He calls on the tzibur to refrain from looking afar for worthy causes while there is work to be done in one’s own community.
“Those who give most of their tzedaka or ma’aser funds to tzedaka funds outside the city are simply acting contrary to Halacha”, adding “promises of brochos and ‘yeshuos’ do not override Halacha and the bracha will come by simply fulfilling the mitzvah as prescribed by Halacha”.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)