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Wounded Warrior Project - Charity, Scam, or Something Else?

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posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 11:34 AM
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Wounded Warrior Project - Charity, Scam, or Something Else?

This is a hot topic on the internet right now. I thought it would be a good subject for ATS to dig into and find the truth about. Denying ignorance and spin ... finding facts ... It's what we are good at. This is something important so let's see what we can come up with. I will put the information I have in this thread in installments because each post has a different aspect of this issue to discuss. I encourage you all to add to this thread any and all solid information you have so that we can work together as a team to find the truth in this matter.

There is A LOT of chatter on the internet that the Wounded Warrior Project is a scam, and there are mass emailings going around saying the same thing. If it's a scam, then it should be outed as such to as many people as possible, especially those who are donating to them. However, If The Wounded Warrior Project is an awesome charity, then it deserves to have it's reputation restored and the slander to be silenced. If it's something else entirely or something in between, then lets find that out as well.

For disclosure I should state that I am a veteran (Army), so is my husband (Air Force), and so is my brother (who is a member here) as well as my father and father in law and my nephew. We have been donating to The Wounded Warrior Project on a regular basis but have decided to wait on giving further donations until the results of this discussion are revealed.

Most folks have seen the commercials on TV about donating to the Wounded Warrior Project to help returning vets. The commercials run showing severely wounded warriors missing limbs or in need of rehabilitation. The families talk about how wonderful the Wounded Warrior Project has been to them and how they couldn't have made it without them. The commercials move the heart and encourage donation to help those in need who sacrificed for America. Wounded Warrior Project looks like a grass roots kind of small organization that is asking you to partner with them to help veterans.

However, the discussion online and in emails paints a very different picture. It talks of a massive charity business with huge salaried officers and small portions of donations actually going to help the veterans. There are reports of inflated numbers being used to make it look like more vets are being helped then really are. I've read on different sites accounts by people who tried to get help from them but couldn't get any. There are allegations that Wounded Warrior Project is anti-2nd Amendment and anti-religion. There is also an alleged link up with celebrities and with FOX News personalities (Hannity, O'Reilly, etc) that could have political implications. All of this, and more, should be examined and discussed.

With that being said, I'll start with the basic info and then make additional posts with other information. Remember, this is YOUR thread as well so please jump in and add your comments and information. Let's see what ATS can do with this.

Wounded Warrior Project Mission, Vision, Core Values

- To raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members.
- To help injured service members aid and assist each other.
- To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.


Wounded Warrior Project Board of Directors
Salaries range from $150,000 - $330,000 per year. This is in line with other mega-charity salaries.

Our Supporters, Our Brands
List of Corporate Sponsors
These companies donate to Wounded Warrior. They earn the right to put the Wounded Warrior label on their items and in their stores in exchange for the donation. 'Branding' is a common tactic used by business' and charities. It is a way of sharing a customer base.

Okay .. that's the basics on Wounded Warrior.
Next up ... the controversies.


edit on 1/6/2015 by FlyersFan because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 11:46 AM
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I have no problem with the people running a charity getting paid well as long as their pay is in line with what they would be earning in the private sector.
For example a city attorney should have a salary similar to the salary of a private attorney. That's the only way to get and keep good employees.
That being said I have no idea if these people are being paid that way.
I personally have a hard time trusting any charity with my money.
Maybe somebody here has some experience with this particular charity. I will be reading this thread with interest.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 11:46 AM
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Their is a need for something that's for sure, the VA isn't doing its job from what I'm hearing. I hear that the wwp is more efficient because it does not have the quagmire of government beuaracracy and red tape apparently this allows them to more directly bring aid to our troops. If looked at like this it is an example of our nations government failing its first line of defense, citizens should be angry about that if true IMO.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 11:48 AM
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How do you define "scam?"

Before coming to a conclusion about WW it would be useful to define the word "scam," otherwise this entire thread is going to turn into a discussion of everybody's definition of "scam" and either advocating that WW is part of their definition or not.


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posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 11:51 AM
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Salaries range from $150,000 - $330,000 per year. This is in line with other mega-charity salaries.



These salaries are outrageous for an organizations who pride themselves on helping others. Who are they really helping? I understand the need to have a salary, but when you're a non-profit organization, who don't pay taxes, the board of directors have no right to expect an outrageous salary. This is why a lot of people question donating money to charities. We hear all the time that most of the money goes towards salaries and most of the donations barley make to the people who are truly in need.

If you can command that high of a salary and operate out of plush offices and high rental spaces, the message you give about helping others is conflicting. Charities should be managed by people who clearly want to help, and a high salary should be the last thing on their minds.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 11:53 AM
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a reply to: FlyersFan

You present some very interesting statistics and facts...makes one wonder....However, my younger brother who is also a vet donates a lot of free time to the WWP..And from what I understand the project actually does and provides a lot of free services to the more unfortunate veterans... For instance recently he was telling me how some of the wheelchair laden vets just got back from a all expense paid hunting trip....During summer months they go on many expense paid fishing trips, canoeing , and a host of other activities that the wounded vets would most likely never have the resources to do....I also know that the comradary alone is worth a fortune to many of these men and women, that have had there lives completely turned upside down.....Is there corruption at higher levels....There' no doubt in my mind that is the case...but the WWP does do a lot of good.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 11:53 AM
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Comments from those who had direct dealings with Wounded Warrior Project. Most are negative. Is this a case of a charity that doesn't have enough funds and enough workers to give help to everyone and are overwhelmed? Or is it a case of a mismanaged charity or a charity that isn't in it for the charity at all? Read the comments. You can decide. (I don't have the answer)
Military Money Matters

Misrepresenting figures on how much donation money is actually spent on the vets.
Tampa Bay News - Wounded Warrior Project Spends 58% of Donations on Vets

In its 2012 IRS filing, Wounded Warrior reported that about 73 percent of its expenses went toward programs. But the charity is one of many that use a commonly accepted practice to claim a portion of fundraising expenses as charitable works. By including educational material in solicitations, charities can classify some of the expense as good deeds.

Ignoring these joint costs reduces the amount Wounded Warrior spent on programs last year to 58 percent of total expenditures.

The charity has been criticized for its salaries, with 10 employees earning $150,000 or more. Chief executive Steve Nardizzi, whose total compensation was about $330,000 last year, said salaries are in line with similarly sized organizations.


Charity Watch had them at 'D' level but upgraded to 'C+' ... I'm thinking that's still a rather low grade.

Charity Watch gave Wounded Warrior a "C+" grade, up from a "D" two years ago, based on the amounts spent on programs and fundraising.


Lots of information on income and expenditures.
Information from Charity Navigator

Wounded Warrior has been accused of being anti-religion. It comes from this incident and the discussion around it. WWP refused to take donations that were raised from a church because they don't accept anything attached to any particular religion. This may be a positive or a negative, it depends on your point of view.
Wounded Warrior Project Reportedly Refused to Take Church’s ‘Religious in Nature’ Donation

Another issue that depends on your point of view. It could be a negative or a positive. (I can understand their position on this.)
Wounded Warrior Doesn't Deal with Fire Arm Companies

WWP fundraisers can not be sexual, political or religious in nature, and cannot be partnered with alcohol brands or the exchange of firearms. This messaging conflicts with our mind, body, and spirit approach to programs. As everyone is aware, alcohol and substance abuse have been a significant problem with segments of the Wounded Warrior population, often with deadly consequences. WWP would not be honoring and empowering Wounded Warriors if the warrior population perceived partnerships with these types of events as encouraging the use of products that contribute to that problem.


More comments -
The Daily Beast - Wounded Warrior Project Under Fire

“I receive more marketing stuff from them, [and see more of that] than the money they’ve put into the community here in Arizona,” he told the Beast. “It’s just about numbers and money to them. Never once did I get the feeling that it’s about veterans.” ..

Can it claim to serve 56,000 vets when at least one-third haven’t engaged with the group in the past year? Or claim to be maximally effective if it spends more of its budget on administrative costs than the top-ranked charities in the field do?



MORE COMING ...
edit on 1/6/2015 by FlyersFan because: fixing link


+3 more 
posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 12:00 PM
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originally posted by: Brotherman
Their is a need for something that's for sure, the VA isn't doing its job from what I'm hearing. I hear that the wwp is more efficient because it does not have the quagmire of government beuaracracy and red tape apparently this allows them to more directly bring aid to our troops. If looked at like this it is an example of our nations government failing its first line of defense, citizens should be angry about that if true IMO.


This is what is confusing me about the WWP. The first time I saw one of their commercials, I have to admit to being a bit angry. My first thought was that it is outrageous to ask private citizens for monetary donations for returning veterans. Not because I have a problem with vets (actually, I support them), but because, IMHO, the VA and the gov should be helping these people. Isn't that why I pay taxes and such??

Seems our government has plenty of money for whatever else they want (corporate bail-outs, foreign aid, wars, etc...), but they can't pay for rehab for a severely brain damaged soldier? Makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 12:05 PM
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On the surface of this before even looking into it I have to say I really hope this is all BS. My head hurts just imagining some director of the board making 150,000 a year while a crippled vet is depressed sitting with his curtains drawn in his home because he cannot receive the help that is meant for him from donations.

If the "board of directors" had any honor or moral lining to their soul at all they would volunteer their work and get every penny they can to those who sacrificed so much. Its the wounded soldiers who should be getting 150,000 + a year.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 12:09 PM
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This confuses me. If people are sending money to Wounded Warrior, then why is Wounded Warrior sending veterans to Operation Silverstar for help? If someone can follow this ... please explain it. Thanks.

Operation SIlverstar

At Operation Silver Star, organizations such as Wounded Warrior Project, Military One Source and other veteran organizations send us veterans and/or deployed and returning combat troops who are encountering very difficult financial situations when all other help has failed.

If a wounded warrior or returning combat troop needs direct aid, these organizations refer them to an organization that offers financial assistance like ours, which happens quite frequently. Their high visibility allows us to help several veterans each month. Once they refer a veteran to us, then it is up to us to try to help the best that we can.


Isn't Operation Silverstar a separate charity from Wounded Warrior? And if Wounded Warrior sends the vet to Silverstar, does Wounded Warrior still keep that vet and his/her family in their own record keeping as someone they are helping? Are the numbers crossed over and both WWP and Silverstar count them in?


A little more 'branding' and corporate sponsorship. Understandable. Smart business. But it shows how big Wounded Warrior is. It's not a grass roots thing like you'd think.
Bank of America and Wounded Warrior


Strong Arm Bully Tactics Against Small Veterans Charity .. or .. Wounded Warrior Project protecting itself from slander?
Controversy Surrounds Wounded Warrior Project White House Connections

The defendant, Ret. Staff Sgt. Dean Graham — a veteran of combat operations in Iraq with diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder — first criticized the charity in a blog post he made last year, with claims the Wounded Warrior Project spent little on wounded vets and paid senior execs lavish salaries. The post appeared on the now-defunct website for Help Indiana Vets, his own tax-exempt charity, which he says he had to shut down in the wake of the lawsuit.

The charity subsequently filed charges against Graham in December that accused the vet of defamation and unfair business competition, alleging that his post confused donors and led to a $75,000 drop-off in contributions.

“I didn’t say anything false about them,” he maintained in an interview for IVN. “They want to send a message to every other person who wants to speak out against [the Wounded Warrior Project].”



Some LONG reading for those interested -
Wounded Warrior Project Financial Statements - Apr 2014


MORE COMING ....



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 12:21 PM
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I said more was coming ... so here's some more ....
allegations of STOLEN VALOR.

And let me tell ya'll ... stolen valor really ticks us vets off.


WordPress Saving Sgt Ryan Webster


WWP, in their rush to sign up wounded warriors of the Iraq/ Afghanistan Wars, have failed their assigned duties in obtaining permission to use the likeness of wounded Vets for their Charity Fundraising adventures. WWP is fond of these legal talismans. Their ex-employees tell me they are required to sign nondisclosure agreements about everything and most especially when exiting the employ of said non-profit. The WWP is top heavy with attorneys so it follows they have forms for everything. Horribly injured or disfigured Vets are asked to allow their image to be used for fundraising and required to sign off on any profits that might be made with the images. Very Sad but very WWP.


Seems they keep a very tight lid on anything and everything that goes on around there. AND if you read the article it looks like at least one of their 'wounded warrior' workers is a fake. A stolen valor fake. The article looks rather well documented.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 12:31 PM
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a reply to: DustbowlDebutante
I agree. These charities are doing the work that the VA is supposed to be doing. There should be no reason for these charities to have to exist.

That being said, I don't know if these charities are doing a poor job because they are overrun with work to do and not enough people and resources to get the job done??? People complain about Wounded Warrior Project not helping them or that they do very little. It could be a matter of the charity being overwhelmed or not up to being able to help as much as they want to.

OR .. it could be that it's a business and that the charity that they do is just window dressing.

That's what we should find out. ATS is good at uncovering information and getting to the bottom of things.


Anyways, I agree with you. The VA should be taking care of these things. But we all know how the VA is a failure so someone has to pick up the ball and run with it.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 12:32 PM
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I used to work with WW. They started out as a grassroots organization but has morphed and taken over by the "charity industry." High executive salaries and sue to protect their copyrighted logo and name. You can't use the term "wounded warrior" for an event without being sued.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 12:33 PM
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originally posted by: Jamie1
How do you define "scam?"


A pyramid scheme or a business that uses heart-string charity just as a window dressing to get money. That's what I'd define a scam as in this type of situation.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 12:35 PM
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a reply to: WeRpeons

They say the salaries are in line with other mega-charities, and it may be true. But Wounded Warrior likes to present itself as a grass roots type, down to earth charity (and it isn't ). You'd expect much smaller salaries for a grass roots charity. Not $330,000 a year.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 12:36 PM
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a reply to: highfreq

Excellent first hand information to help balance the discussion. Thank you
If you have any more info from your brother that you'd like to share, please do. It'll be helpful in the discussion.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 12:41 PM
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originally posted by: Digital_Reality
On the surface of this before even looking into it I have to say I really hope this is all BS. My head hurts just imagining some director of the board making 150,000 a year while a crippled vet is depressed sitting with his curtains drawn in his home because he cannot receive the help that is meant for him from donations.

If the "board of directors" had any honor or moral lining to their soul at all they would volunteer their work and get every penny they can to those who sacrificed so much. Its the wounded soldiers who should be getting 150,000 + a year.



$150,000? It's more like $375,000.


$375,000 0.23% Steven Nardizzi Executive Director



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 12:47 PM
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I don't know for sure but isn't the WW charity
a Koch industries program ? I always see it on Georgia Pacific and Brawny products.
If so maybe 375k a year seems like a charity salary compared to what they make?
Navy Doc is obviously our best source on this .



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 12:54 PM
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Wounded Warrior Project salary is in line with other mega charities. People think it's a grass roots small charity and that people wouldn't have mega-charity salaries. But WWP is absolutely now in the mega-charity category.

To compare - other charity salaries

Business Insider
Red Cross top exec salaries for 2010 -
Executive director Gail McGovern made $561,210
EVP for biomedical services James Hrouda made $621,779
Biomedical services president Shaun Gilmore made $573,933

SNOPES
President/CEO of the US Fund for UNICEF, Caryl M. Stern, $472,891
CEO of United Way Worldwide, Brian A. Gallagher, $717,076
Dave Toycen [President/CEO of World Vision Canada] salary is $184,000
Salvation Army W. Todd Bassett $126,920
President/CEO of Goodwill Jim Gibbons, $725,000.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 12:56 PM
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originally posted by: UnderKingsPeak
I don't know for sure but isn't the WW charity a Koch industries program ? I

In the opening post I linked to the brands and sponsors for WWP.
I don't see them listed.
If you have information showing a link, then by all means post it here.




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