I was saddened to see news of the termination of two top executives from the Wounded Warrior Project. CEO Steve Nardizzi and COO Al Giordano were fired based on allegations of wasteful spending and actions that cast the organization in a negative light. The allegations tended to suggest that the organization was not using donor contributions wisely and that not enough funds were going to assist disabled veterans. Both men of course object to any suggestions of mismanagement.
How donations are spent is always a concern with non-profit organizations. You’ve got to ask yourself, “What percentage of the donations actually go to help those the organization is pledged to assist?” We’ve all seen the advertisements on television for charities seeking contributions to sponsor poverty-stricken children in the third-world and other such charities. As a donor, you expect that your dollars go to assist needy individuals. But that’s not always the case. I’ve heard horror stories of a small percent of money donated going to those in need while the bulk of dollars goes to compensating and entertaining executives and employees of the charity.
I’m not taking a position on whether or not the actions of the executives at Wounded Warrior Project were correct or not because I do believe the organization is an excellent one and is doing what it can to assist veterans. But I will say this, as the executive director of a non-profit organization, Disabled Veterans Resource Center, I know that the non-profit I lead spends virtually nothing on perks such as lavish parties, conferences, or expenditures that benefit the individuals in charge of the non-profit. I donate my time to this organization and do not receive a penny in compensation of any form. We operate this organization because we are committed to helping disabled veterans and are not looking to receive financial compensation for our time.
I think the forensic accounting proposal that has been suggested in the Wounded Warrior Project situation is appropriate. A candid and full disclosure of an organization’s activities is always the best policy in order to retain the confidence of donors.
I wish the Wounded Warrior’s Project the best as it seeks to continue its mission despite this recent controversy. In the veterans resource organization I lead, we continue to advance our mission of educating veterans with information that can help them avoid the problems that come when filing a claim for VA benefits. If you have questions about why your VA disability benefits claim was denied, call our office at (888) 878-9350 to learn about what you can do to get the veterans’ disability benefits you deserve.