Saturday, March 24, 2012

Is Wounded Warrior Project a country crock?

UPDATE JANUARY 27 2016
Wounded Warrior Project accused of wasting donation money

UPDATE Do not get confused by the different groups using Wounded Warrior in their name! Just an example, there is Wounded Warrior Program.
The Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) is the official U.S. Army program that assists and advocates for severely wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families, wherever they are located, regardless of military status. Soldiers who qualify for AW2 are assigned to the program as soon as possible after arriving at the WTU. AW2 supports these Soldiers and their Families throughout their recovery and transition, even into Veteran status. This program, through the local support of AW2 Advocates, strives to foster the Soldier's independence
This program has an excellent reputation but too many think it is part of Wounded Warrior Project.

The Marines have their own. Wounded Warrior Regiment


Being involved with a lot of groups, I am asked a lot why I do not support Wounded Warrior Project now. One example is the fact that since 2008, out of 14,500 posts on this blog, there are only 14 with Wounded Warrior Project in the tag line. This is not a good thing considering I track reports across the country.

About a year ago, I contacted Ed Shultz's radio program when I heard him advertising for Wounded Warrior Project and donations from USA Coffee going to them. He said they were working on PTSD, so I asked his producer what they were doing on PTSD in case I missed something. They didn't have an answer when I asked for specifics. A little while later, they were not talking about Wounded Warrior Project.

I know this won't be popular to do it but I can't support them at all. There are a lot of great charities out there actually trying to make a difference with very little money. There are way too many complaints about what they are not doing. Here are just a few.

Dec 12, 2011
Still a "D" from AIP
by: Anonymous

FYI, in the December 2011 Charity Watch guide (from AIP), WWP still has a D rating for very high Administrative/FR costs and a low percentage going to programs and services.

I want to scream at the radio every time I hear one of their (many) ads.


Feb 04, 2012
WWP PAYS for NON ADA-COMPLIANT Events
by: Anonymous

For the 3rd year in a row, injured heroes have been taken to places that are inaccessible to them - in Whitefish MT - INCLUDING FUNDRAISERS fully sanctioned by and in fact promoted by Wounded Warrior Project.

Wounded Warrior Project management is well aware of the lack of access by these businesses that are required to be accessible, but has decided they have the right to "suspend the ADA" by giving their violation a trendy new name - the name of the title held by the chaperone that saw the violations and did not report them last year, but assured us someone would take notice THIS TIME..

The irony and hypocrisy is unbelievable. They go to an event planned for them in places they can not get into independently or with dignity and safety, or go to the bathroom (because it's not accessible at all), so Wounded Warrior Project can raise money to help them live independently...in direct violation of the law that was enacted specifically to protect their right to access independently. And they get PAID to do this.

Individuals who are terminated from WWP are bound by a confidentiality agreement, but soldiers from past events are speaking out about these issues with far more frequency.

I will never support Wounded Warrior Project in any fashion ever again.


Feb 09, 2012
Claim of 82 cents per dollar is hogwash!
by: Former #1 Supporter

I have always been a huge supporter of our troops and an advocate for paying for their care. I have donated to WWP in the past and was in the process of putting together a fundraiser to raise money for their organization.

I have 11 team members and we are in the execution stages of an event planned in September. We are completing a website, and have accessed connections in media that could produce thousands of donations. I am thankful that we haven't officially selected WWP as our charity.

I had always assumed the WWP was a highly efficient organization based on its highly visible advocates. When I read that they gave 82 cents per dollar I was satisfied enough.

Last night I stumbled upon this website and was appalled at the comments. I decided to do my own research and was equally sickened by their claims of giving 82% back to the soldiers. Let's take a look at how they get this number. I will refer to this "Audited Financial Statement."


On page 3 you can see that they spent $54.9M on Program Services expenses out of a total of $66.96M total expenses. Simple division and you get 82%. That is how they claim that number.

But take a look at the next two pages to see exactly where that $54M goes.

To start, over $25M goes to "Media Ad Value." While it is certainly hopeful that $25M in ads will bring MORE than $25M in donations... that money does not count as going to the soldiers in MY book.

As you look down the list, the benefit that gets to the individual soldier is hard to account for.

How much of the nearly $2M spent on travel is for the executives and the board vs. a wounded warrior? How much of the $5M spent on postage is spent on getting items to the warriors? How much of the $317K spent on Telephone is spent talking to warriors?

I also found out that the top executive received $200K as well as an additional $190K that he received as a "consultant." $400K for a year for overseeing 100 employees? The whole "You need to pay to find good executives" argument is PURE hogwash.

There are millions of teachers, police officers, firefighters, and soldiers that give their entire lives away for $50K a year. Are you telling me that those people don't exist in the business world? Business is just people talking to people. The skills needed are no different than being a principal or police chief.

The more that I looked at the statement, the more "smoke" I saw. My organization has decided to forgo the WWP as the recipient of our funds and to focus on a charity that offers more than inflated advertising budgets, excessive executive pay and empty promises to our warriors.
read more here

Example of what they report under Benefits Service
Media ad value $ 2,307,198
Salaries 696,683
Advertising 649,750
Consulting and outside services 176,994
Direct mail 265,480
Postage and shipping 247,931
Travel 161,183
Payroll tax and benefits 148,070
Meetings and events 14,111
Promotional items 23,629
Grants -
Depreciation 51,166
Occupancy 36,088
Telephone 23,334
Miscellaneous 1,227
Professional fees - Office equipment rental and services 15,820
Supplies 6,360
Printing 1,985
Insurance 6,096
Utilities 3,167
Staff education 896
Books and Subscriptions 1,825
Bank service charges -
Organizational membership fees and dues -
$4,838,993

All this money goes to doing this according to their own site

A PARTNER IN THE PROCESS
To help warriors make the most of their benefits and successfully transition to life after injury, we provide warriors with the tools they need to become financially secure. Unlike traditional models of veterans' services, we identify the warrior's individual needs, in addition to providing economic empowerment. Our Benefits Service team ensures warriors and their families have information and access to government benefits, as well as our full range of programs and the community resources necessary for successful transition to life after injury.

A key part of this program is support and education for warriors, as well as their family members and caregivers. We advise warriors on their benefits, along with information on how to access those services through the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Our service personnel work closely with each agency so they can walk warriors through every step of the process. When a claim is filed, we make sure it is processed correctly the first time and guide injured service members through this crucial part of their transition.

If you are in need of benefits assistance, Wounded Warrior Project™ (WWP) can help. WWP is a VA accredited organization and has experienced staff to help veterans with their VA claims. Please contact us at wwpservice@woundedwarriorproject.org for help with your benefits claims.

View our Policy and Government Affairs section for more information about WWP's legislative efforts.



Need a copy of your DD214 or service record?

These documents are always free to obtain for the service member and family members. Requests can be processed online or by mail/fax. To complete the online form or to print the form and mail/fax it to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), please follow the link below.
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project is to:
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


This is from an accountant who took the time to look over their tax filings.

WWP 2010 Tax Return



The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) 2010 Tax Return has been posted online. It follows the same formula - the percentage of expenses paid for Program Services was only 65% - according to page 10 of their IRS Form 940, posted at their web site.

FYE 2009 Officer salaries = $700,301
FYE 2010 Officer Salaries = $1,021,638

So here's the breakdown -
2008 - 64%
2009 - 62%
2010 - 65% of all expenses paid (out of CASH donated*) being used for veteran/wounded programs.

* Some of WWP's donations are "in kind" rather than cash - such as advertising time on radio and TV.

A+ charities should have 80% + going to programs. Even 75% would be better.

Just think what 10% more for programs could accomplish - we ALL owe it to our veterans to hold accountable the charities that we donate our money to.


Is this about raising awareness for the wounded or for Wounded Warrior Project?

They list providers from Give An Hour as part of what they do, but it looks like Give An Hour didn't mention them on their own listings for Florida.

Resources in Florida

Category Links
Mental Health Association of Southwest Florida
[3/24/2012]

The Mental Health Association of Southwest Florida is a nongovernmental voluntary citizen organization whose primary goals are to promote healthy emotional and mental development. The association's Web site, www.mhaswfl.org, has more information on its programs to support veterans.

Seminole Behavioral Healthcare
[3/24/2012]

Seminole Behavioral Healthcare is offering mental-health and substance-abuse counseling to military personnel and their families who work or reside in Seminole County and have been impacted by deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq. These services cover individual, couple and family therapy; drug and alcohol abuse; post-traumatic stress disorder and counseling for children of military personnel. The number of sessions will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to the counseling, “Mental Health First Aid” training will be offered to chaplains, senior military personnel, family readiness coordinators, service members and their families. Mental Health First Aid is a 12-hour training course designed to give attendees skills to recognize potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental-health problems, including depression, anxiety/PTSD, psychosis and psychotic disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse and self injury.

For more information, see our brochure. To take advantage of any of these services or for more information, military personnel and/or their families should call Laurie Reid, Director of Veteran Services for Seminole Behavioral Healthcare, at (407) 831-2411 ext. 1266. Visit us on the web at www.seminolecares.org and click on “Veteran Services” link on the left.

Paws for Patriots
[3/24/2012]

Since its founding in 1982, Southeastern (Florida)Guide Dogs has been a proud supporter of American veterans. Over the past 26 years, their expertise in training guide dogs to work with people who have multiple disabilities has led many disabled veterans to seek their services.
This is another great charity. Homes For Our Troops does a great job and uses very little for fundraising.

Homes For Our Troops

Another problem here in Florida is this group. Most people see them at intersections with their uniforms and buckets, thinking they are with the Disabled American Veterans, but they are not part of the DAV.
How much of your donations actually reaches veterans?
By Joe Crankshaw

$1.70.
That’s likely about how much of Navy veteran Gilbert Hahn’s $10 donation went to help his fellow vets.

After receiving a letter asking for a donation, Hahn, an 88-year-old Stuart resident, gave the money to a group called the National Veterans Services Fund. But only 17 percent, or $1.4 million of the $8.4 million the organization spent in 2008, went to help veterans, according to the most recent information supplied by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the group’s own Internal Revenue Service filings.

“This is an outrage,” said Hahn, a veteran of service on board the USS Hancock in the South Pacific during World War II. “I gave them a small donation and they are back asking me if I forgot them and wanting more. They should be exposed and stopped. They are just making a living off us veterans.”

Hahn’s experience is not unusual.
click link for more



I did some temp work for Seminole Behavioral Healthcare and know first hand what a great job they do. I still have friends there and have taken some training through them. They are very interested in helping our veterans heal.

When it comes to the ads you see on TV, think about the organizations you don't see advertise and wonder why the others are spending so much money collecting your money. We all know about the USO but you don't see many ads for them. We all know about the Red Cross but unless there are major disasters draining their resources, you don't see their ads.

What this all boils down to is we need to ask about all these organizations popping up claiming to be all about the veterans when we are reading terrible reports getting worse. We need to support organizations putting the veterans first.

Besides, I want you to save some of your hard earned money for me if I ever get to the point where I start to ask for donations again. After all, considering what Wounded Warrior Project is doing for millions, I do the same thing for free except supply backpacks and taking them on trips!

I support
New England Center for Homeless Veterans
DAV
Point Man International Ministries
Orlando Nam Knights
just to name a few.

UPDATE
Wounded Warrior Project stated in a recent article they have 2,300 members.

The DAV on the other hand reports this
The 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is a non-profit 501(c)(4) charity dedicated to building better lives for America’s disabled veterans and their families.

The DAV was founded in 1920 by disabled veterans returning from World War I to represent their unique interests. In 1932, the DAV was congressionally chartered as the official voice of the nation’s wartime disabled veterans.

With our brave Americans leaving the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the DAV’s services and advocacy are as relevant and critical today as in any time in our nation’s history.

Annually, the DAV represents more than 200,000 veterans and their dependents with claims for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense.

The DAV’s Voluntary Services Program operates a comprehensive network of volunteers who provide veterans free rides to and from VA medical facilities and improve care and morale for sick and disabled veterans.

The DAV’s 1.2 million members provide grassroots advocacy and services in communities nationwide. From educating lawmakers and the public about important issues to supporting services and legislation to help disabled veterans — the DAV is there to promote its message of hope to all who have served and sacrificed.

DAV STATEMENT OF ACTIVITIES
Support and Revenue
SUPPORT
Contributions Received Primarily from Direct Mail Solicitation
$99,629,259

Contributed Services and Facilities, Primarily Services
$41,074,184

Bequests
$9,168,123

TOTAL SUPPORT
$149,871,566

Membership Dues
$5,386,895

Income from Investments, Net
$7,665,134

Realized Investment Gains
$1,961,014

List Royalties
$744,777


Miscellaneous
$38,775


TOTAL REVENUE
$15,796,595

TOTAL SUPPORT AND REVENUE
$165,668,161

DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS
STATEMENT OF ACTIVITIES EXPENSES
Program Services
National Service Program
$42,875,720

Legislative Program
$1,693,510

National Voluntary Service Program
$40,797,407

State Services, Disaster Relief and Memorials
$6,796,090

Publications and Other Communications
$5,697,335

Membership Program
$9,016,206

Public Awareness Outreach
$21,070,402

TOTAL PROGRAM SERVICES
$127,946,670

Supporting Services
Fund Raising Costs
$32,580,986

Administrative and General Expenses
$5,937,326

TOTAL SUPPORTING SERVICES
$38,518,312

TOTAL EXPENSES
$166,464,982


Granted I favor the DAV since I am a life member and have been Chaplain of the Orlando DAV Auxiliary for the last couple of years. But as such, I see what they do with the donations and most people had no clue. Now you do.

UPDATE Perfect example is events they hold are sponsored by others. This "Soldiers Ride" was sponsored by GEICO.
Wounded Warrior Project® Soldier Ride®™, sponsored by GEICO, rolls into North Fork, N.Y., September 7 WOODBURY, N.Y. -- Wounded Warrior Project®’s (WWP) Soldier Ride®™, sponsored by GEICO, will be in North Fork, N.Y. on Saturday, Sept. 7, with a start time of 8:30 a.m. at Mitchell Park, 15 Front St., Greenport, N.Y. Registration begins at 7 a.m. The finish location is at Greenport Skate Park, Moores Lane, Greenport, N.Y., where a community picnic will take place after the ride. This ride is open to the community, and people are encouraged to sign up to ride in the event or join the crowd from the sidelines with the GEICO Gecko to cheer on the riders. For registration and additional details on the ride, visit www.soldierride.org/northfork.