What’s your favorite charity?

We’re chatting today about our favorite charities.  This is a timely topic with all the hurricane and fire relief and the outcropping of new charities that have come on board.  I’ve also just started with my friend and fellow author, Stacey Joy Netzel, a not for profit corporation, Authors4Veterans.  

During all the hurricane relief my husband and I donated to the JJ Watt Foundation for hurricane relief.  I did this because other more well-known charities extract exorbitant salaries from their CEO’s before your money ever gets to the people who really need it.  Case in point, the CEO of the Red Cross, Gail J. McGovern, earned $1,037,000.00 in 2010, but in 2011 earned $561,000.00 according to Snopes.com.  

 Snopes.com also stated the following:

“According to the most recent available Form 990 filings, all of these statements are false and/or misleading (in large part because the National Commanders are not necessarily the top business executives of these organizations):

  • The two men who served as National Commander of the American Legion during the 2009 tax year (David Rehbein and Clarence Hill) received total aggregate compensation of $103,701. The American Legion’s National Adjutant (Daniel Wheeler), who is described as “the administrative head of the organization,” received $201,661 in total compensation.
  • The two men who served as the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Commander-in-Chief during the 2009 tax year (Glen M. Gardner, Jr. and Thomas J. Tradewell, Sr.) received an aggregate total compensation of $329,868.
  • In the 2009 tax year, the National Adjutant of Disabled American Veterans (Arthur H. Wilson), who is described as “serving as the DAV’s chief executive officer,” received a total compensation of $328,252.
  • The Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) is a separate entity from the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation (MOPHSF), although the former is largely dependent upon the latter to raise funds for its programs. For tax year 2009, the Executive Director of the MOPHSF (Gregory A. Bresser), who left that post in August 2009, received $142,986 in total compensation.
  • In tax year 2009, the President of Vietnam Veterans of America (the closest match to the “Vietnam Veterans Association” mentioned in the e-mail), John Rowan, received a total compensation of $69,874. (The highest paid executive was CFO/staff director Joseph Sternburg, who was paid $137,902.)
  • For the fiscal year ending September 2013, the Executive Director of the Wounded Warrior Project, Steven Nardizzi, received a total compensation of $375,000.

Unfortunately, the six veterans-related charitable organizations mentioned above don’t receive very high marks for efficiency (as determined by Charity Navigator, the BBB, or Form 990 information):

  • American Legion: 55%
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars: 84%
  • Disabled American Veterans: 77%
  • Military Order of Purple Heart Service Foundation: 35%
  • Vietnam Veterans of America: 25%
  • Wounded Warrior Project: 58%”

While I understand that these folks are working and therefore deserve a salary for their work, just like anyone else, I think taking advantage of people’s donations is untrustworthy and misleading.  People give money because they want to help those who are in dire need, not those who drove their Mercedes to work that morning.  

As for my Authors4Veterans charity, 100% of the donations are donated to the charity of choice, though we are much smaller scale in our donations and we’ll keep it that way.  Let’s see what my fellow bloggers donate too.

6 thoughts on “What’s your favorite charity?”

  1. Yes, I’m also extremely suspicious of how much donated money to charities actually gets to the people who need it. Well done for setting up your not-for-profit Authors4Veterans charity.

  2. Very timely post and discussion Patti! Your new initiative is such a wonderful idea. We can’t do enough for our miliary!

  3. Awesome post that is important to share with others. CharityChecker.org is a great place to read up on almost all charities, to find out where the money goes, and other critical issues.

  4. Lots of organizations that have good intentions at first, but as they grow, the original intent gets lost to hype.

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