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Wounded Warrior scandal: How to check a charity

Posted at 6:08 PM, Jan 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-28 18:11:29-05

We all support the men and women who defend our country. And many of us donate generously to help those who have returned from war.

But accusations of mis-spending have shaken our trust in who is getting our money.

The Wounded Warrior Project has raised hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to ads from country star Trace Adkins and other celebrities.

But now it's enveloped in scandal, and local veterans worry.

"I don't think it's right"

Doug Hoskins of Bridgetown, Ohio, a Vietnam Vet, is talking about former staffers' claims of lavish parties, sky high salaries, and other wasteful spending.

"I heard something on the news about it," Hoskins said. "I don't think it's right, that's all I can say about it."

His wife Sandra, who volunteers at Cincinnati's VA Hospital, says the accusations are shameful if true.    

"We know too many veterans who need help, we know a lot of them, we deal with them once a month at the VA, helping them out," she said.

Veterans Groups Worry

At veterans halls and charities across the Cincinnati area, there are now worries about how the Wounded Warrior scandal is going to impact donations.

Dan Clare of Disabled American Veterans said "frankly we're concerned that whenever any patriotic organization comes under fire that the public will feel there's a lapse in faith."

Disabled American Veterans, the nation's oldest veterans charity, is headquartered in Northern Kentucky.

So how can you tell if a veterans group is worth your money?

Two great sources to check are:

  • The Better Business Bureau's Give.org charity guide (you can also access it through bbb.org).
  • Charity Navigator, which rates thousands of charities, based on how much money actually goes to the cause.

Charity Navigator reports that Disabled American Veterans gives 96% of its money to vets, and give it an excellent rating.
    
But it says Wounded Warrior gives just 60%, putting it much further back in the pack.

DAV's Dan Clare hopes people don't cut back on donations just because a different vets group is now under fire.

"Think carefully and look into the charities you want to help, and know that veterans need help," he said.

So give generously, but don't waste your money.

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