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purple heartI am leery of most charities that advertise on TV – just too many horror stories about misuse of funds by the directors/founders and extremely high percentage of funds going to professional solicitors. In the last few years, I have become especially concerned about the rise of veteran-related charities.

First, I am ashamed that our country, given the billions of dollars that flow to the military contractors year after year, cannot find the will to properly care for our warriors, wounded or not. It sickens me to watch the Republican dominated Congress and Senate belittle the appropriateness of funding veteran services. Instead, they prefer to rely on the private sector and faith-based organizations to do the job our government should be doing. All the while funneling billions of dollars back to the military-industrial complex that pay huge portions of their election funding.

Why must our veterans rely on charity? Why should they have to go on TV and beg for help? It’s just shameful, that’s all.

One popular veteran’s charity I’ve been especially concerned about is Wounded Warrior Project. Again, the sight of disabled veterans and their family members being used to solicit funds sickens me. Of all the service members who have needs, these Americans deserve to be taken care of. They earned it. They are not part of the “entitlement” mindset that the Republicans distain.

So today, I did a bit of checking online and found these sad facts:

  • Raised $281 M in 2012
  • Spent $148 M in 2012 on programs that actually benefited veterans – only about half that raised – including the salaries of the staff providing the programs
  • Spent $50 M in fundraising costs in 2012
  • Paid their CEO $333,000 per year
  • Paid 10 employees $150,000 per year or more

But WWP is better than most of the Veteran’s-related charities in one way – % of money spent on professional solicitors:

  • WWP – 11% of funds raised
  • The Veterans Fund – 65%
  • National Veterans Service Fund – 82%
  • Vietnow National Headquarters – 84%
  • Circle of Friends for American Veterans – 85%
  • Veterans Assistance Foundation – 89%
  • Our American Veterans – 89%

So please join me in communicating to our congressmen and senators that we should not force our veterans to be dependent on charity. They’ve earned better treatment from this country.