Monday, February 1, 2016

You Know This Veterans Organization That Got Caught In Mismanagement

by Gary Snyder

The executive director rappels down buildings and rides a Segway into an annual conference meeting that reportedly cost the nonprofit $3 million dollars. The organization has spent millions a year on travel, dinners, hotels and conferences that often seemed more lavish than appropriate. 

Former workers of Wounded Warrior recounted regularly jetting around the country for minor meetings, buying business-class seats or staying in $500-per-night hotel rooms.

In 2013, they were given a D rating by Charity Watch partly due to its low proportion of revenues devoted to program activities. Program activities were reported as accounting for only 43 percent of the charity’s spending.

Veterans organizations are notoriously poor in their management. Compared to other veterans’ organizations, Wounded Warrior is giving less to the people it serves. For example, CBS News reported that Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust spends 96 percent of its budget on vets. Fisher House devotes 91 percent. But according to public records reported by Charity Navigator, the Wounded Warrior Project spends only 60 percent on vets.

The charity has increased fundraising spending an average of 66 percent every year since 2009; the nonprofit spent more than $34 million on fundraising in 2014, according to tax records.

Executive director Steven Nardizzi has record of fighting against financial transparency in nonprofits. Nardizzi is on the advisory board of the Charity Defense Council, an organization that advocates for less oversight in spending for nonprofits and promotes high fundraising costs and high salaries for nonprofit executives. Nardizzi himself makes $473,000 in compensation.

Despite demands for retractions from the organization, the Columbia Journalism Review noted that the reporting appears rock-solid, saying that both news organizations, CBS News and the New York Times, spent months on the story, rifling through public documents and speaking with key sources inside the charity and out. They each interviewed roughly 50 current and former employees. And the journalists’ conclusions line up: While the nonprofit publically says it devotes 80 percent of its fundraising revenues to services, the news organizations found it was closer to 60 percent.

Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Charity Navigator, Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio (NPR), Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), “Betrayal”, (a movie), NBC (on Charity Fraud…TBD), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Marie Claire, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, Charity Navigator, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, Board Room Insider, USA Today Topics, Accountants News,, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times, Portfolio Magazine, The Virgin Islands Daily News, NANKAI (China) BUSINESS REVIEW, National Religious Broadcasters newsletter, The Charity Governance Blog, American Chronicle, Palm Beach Post, Detroit Free Press, Oakland Press, Nonprofit World, Socially Responsible Business Forum, PNNOnline, Ohio Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Good Practice Guide, Nonprofit Startup Guide, Nonprofit Blog, National Coalition of Homeless Newsletter, Finance and Administration Roundtable Newsletter,, CORP! Magazine, Crain’s Michigan Nonprofit,, PhilanTopic, Nashville Free Press, Nonprofit Law Blog, Seniors World Chronicle, Carnegie Reporter, Assoc. of Certified Fraud Examiners Examiner,, Worchester (MA) Telegram and Gazette, Carnegie Corporation of America, EO Tax Journal, Wikipedia: Non-profit Organizations; Parent: Wise Austin, Accountants News, Veterans Today,, Far-roundtable, #Nonprofit Report, nonprofithelpnews, nonprofit news; National Enquirer, Northwest Herald, The HelpWise Daily, The #Nonprofit Report, Wikipedia (Nonprofit Organization),, Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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