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Veterans Charities - How They Fared

December 13th, 2007 . by TexasFred

EDIT TO ADD 12-14-07: Mr. Jay Agg, National Communications Director for AMVETS, has contacted me personally and has posted a comment in this thread, I want to thank Mr. Agg for his response and I also want my readers to know, Jay has been the only official from the list of charities receiving an ‘F’ that I have heard from on this matter…

To the gentleman from Alaska that keeps trying to post figures and so forth about the PVA, you’re NOT an official of PVA and your link to Fishing in Alaska or whatever it is, is the reason I am not letting your comments thru, I detect a bit of commercialism on your part, if you want to see the PVA’s viewpoint on this blog, have THEM contact me and have them submit their comments, facts and figures from an official site and an official position like Mr. Agg did…

EDIT TO ADD 12-13-07: I have sent emails to all sites that garnered an ‘F’ in this report, 3 of the site had no email available and one was returned as undeliverable, no mail there I guess

Here are the figures on how well some of the Veterans Charities are doing on a grading level, I am shocked at the grades received by several of these highly regarded charities, this is truly a disgusting situation and I hope this list and the story just below will wake a few folks up…

How many of you have the guts to re-post this list and the story below?? How many are going to take the stance of the Bush Bots and just blow it off and say all is well??

The American Institute of Philanthropy, a leading charity watchdog, issued a report card this month for 29 veterans and military charities. Letter grades were based largely on the charities’ fundraising costs and the percentage of money raised that was spent on charitable activities. The charities that received failing grades are in bold type.

Air Force Aid Society (A+)
American Ex-Prisoners of War Service Foundation (F)
American Veterans Coalition (F)
American Veterans Relief Foundation (F)
AMVETS National Service Foundation (F)

Armed Services YMCA of the USA (A-)
Army Emergency Relief (A+)
Blinded Veterans Association (D)
Disabled American Veterans (D)
Fisher House Foundation (A+)
Freedom Alliance (F)
Help Hospitalized Veterans/Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes (F)
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (A+)
Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation (F)
National Military Family Association (A)
National Veterans Services Fund (F)
National Vietnam Veterans Committee (D)
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (A+)
NCOA National Defense Foundation (F)
Paralyzed Veterans of America (F)

Soldiers’ Angels (D)
United Spinal Association’s Wounded Warrior Project (D)
USO (United Service Organization) (C+)
Veterans of Foreign Wars and foundation (C-)
Veterans of the Vietnam War & the Veterans Coalition (D)
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (D)
VietNow National Headquarters (F)
World War II Veterans Committee (D)

Veterans Charities - How They Fared

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21 Responses to “Veterans Charities - How They Fared”

  1. comment number 1 by: BobF

    I’m glad to see the Air Force Aid Society got an A+ rating as I gave to them throughout my Air Force Career. They are very closely linked with the Air Force and 1st Sgts work with them all the time. I think the Army Emergency Relief and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Societies work closely with their respective branches too. That why they got the A+ ratings too.

    I’m shocked that the USO only got a C+ rating.

  2. comment number 2 by: TexasFred

    And I am not joking in the story below, we actually got a call from Paralyzed Veterans of America hitting us up for $$, they got none…

  3. comment number 3 by: jo

    You have no idea how upset I am about PVA, Feels like total betrayal.
    I will cross post tomorrow…want to see if I can get a straight answer from someone first.

  4. comment number 4 by: RTaylor

    This is beyond disgusting…
    Isn’t Paralyzed Veterans of America the same group that keeps sending me those cute little address labels and note pads asking for money? Usually toss stuff like that in the trash —
    Put a post up alerting our readers. These sleaze-bags prey on the goodness of the American people and it ticks me off that they will use our veterans in this way.

  5. comment number 5 by: C Haigh

    Thank you for printing this list and the grade they received. I have been giving to Disabled Amer Vets for years, but will have to rethink that.

  6. comment number 6 by: cary

    Cross posted, Fred.

    Cannot begin to tell you how disgusted this makes me. Thank you very much fro bringing this up, I am sorry to say I had not practiced due diligence on a few of my donations…

  7. comment number 7 by: N Henry

    I see nothing about whether any vets are members or directors of these organizations. Probably not many.

  8. comment number 8 by: Jay Agg

    Texas Fred, thank you for providing an opportunity to respond to Dan Borochoff’s and the AIP’s unfounded charges against the AMVETS National Service Foundation. If any of your readers have additional questions that I may not have answred here, I will also be happy to grant interviews over the phone, by e-mail or in person by appointment. Please find my contact information below.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Borochoff refuses to explain his A-F rating system and will not respond to AMVETS’ repeated attempts to contact him directly, and the media has repeatedly aired his highly dubious report without giving the AMVETS National Service Foundation or other veterans service organizations an opportunity to respond.

    It is true Dan Borochoff, founder of the American Institute of Philanthropy, gave our National Service Foundation an “F” grade for percentage of donated dollars spent on veterans programs. However, Mr. Borochoff has devised his own system of measurement, one he refuses to explain in detail. According to AMVETS NSF’s Federal Form 990 on file with the IRS, we returned more than 77 percent of our charitable donations directly to programs for veterans. The Form 990 is the established tool for rating charities used by the IRS, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Better Business Bureau, and a number of charity watchdog groups including Independent Charities of America, of which AMVETS NSF is a recognized member in good standing.

    What Dan Borochoff does not wish you to see in the media is the fact that he draws more than $124,000 in personal total compensation from the AIP, more than 28 percent of that organization’s total annual donation revenue. This is easily verifiable from the AIP’s own Form 990 and is a matter of public record. Mr. Borochoff also does not want you to know that he is a highly paid consultant to ABC News and profits a great deal from news reports that cite his bogus rating system critical of veterans charities. It was no small coincidence that ABC’s first story using Borochoff’s rating system aired Nov. 9, on the eve of Veterans’ Day in an attempt to create selacious, revenue-generating copy at a time when the American public was focused on America’s veterans. The media struck again this week the day before Borochoff was to testify before Congress. Neither time did the media bother to corroberate the AIP’s rating system or attempt to contact the VSOs accused. My phone never rang once.

    The truth is AMVETS is a Congressionally chartered veterans service organization with nearly 63 years of survice to veterans and their families. Last year alone AMVETS National Service Officers helped veterans file more than 65,000 claims and appeals to the VA resulting in nearly $324 million in recoveries directly to veterans and their families. Headquartered near Washington, D.C., AMVETS has a constant presence on Capitol Hill, and constantly works for legislative reform to benefit our veterans’ community. We know not every charity maintains our exacting standards, and a few charlatans are giving us all a black eye, but Dan Borochoff has made a grave miscalculation in attacking AMVETS NSF. His assault on our organization has caused actual harm to our ability to serve veterans, and he may rest assured that we will not stand idly by while he defames our good name and character. I implore concerned readers to investigate more fully before accepting the AIP’s rating system.

    Thank you for hearing our side of this story. If I may offer any additional information or supporting evidence, or if you would care to speak with me directly, please do not hesitate to contact me either by e-mail: [email protected], or by phone: (301)683-4035.

    Jay Agg
    AMVETS National Communications Director

  9. comment number 9 by: TexasFred

    In an attempt to remain fair and balanced, here is the FAQ link from the American Institute of Philanthropy

    Frequently Asked Questions About Giving Wisely to Charity

  10. comment number 10 by: Bloviating Zeppelin

    So Fred, do you believe the rating system presented is a fair and, more importantly, an accurate evaluatory and grading system of the charities mentioned? Do you believe its veracity and/or, are there other systems doing evaluation of charities?


  11. comment number 11 by: TexasFred

    BZ, I honestly don’t know, I am presenting everything I can find, from any reputable source…

    I just sent an email to The American Institute of Philanthropy asking them to respond to this as well…

    We shall see what we shall see, Mr. Agg was gracious enough to respond, I hope other charities will as well…

    I have given them the opportunity…

  12. comment number 12 by: Bloviating Zeppelin

    That’s oh-so-very true. I can only hope these grades aren’t accurate but it does tend to illustrate one very important point to me:

    Every year there is a push on my department to donate to The United Way. Years ago, failing to donate could actually get you called in your supervisor’s or manager’s office. These days, as a supervisor, all MY managers and “superiors” know that as soon as I receive these materials, I advocate AGAINST making ANY donations to large charities. Just as my former administration railed against anything less than a 100% employee return on donations, I rail against ANYONE making a donation to a major charity. And guess what? I’ve been quite successful for a number of years now, and many other fellow supervisors and managers have taken up my cause.

    Instead, I verbally advocate: find a LOCAL charity, one you KNOW, one you realize is SMALL and NEEDS the donations. I donate to our local Law Enforcement Chaplaincy. Whilst in Homicide I KNOW what good work they did.

    And isn’t it sad that I can’t trust any large organization any more? Screw the United Way and its (and every OTHER’s) BLOATED BUREAUCRACIES!

    That these organizations could fuck over our wounded and courageous AMERICAN SOLDIERS is BEYOND reprehensible.

    I want to believe in their goodness. But history has, unfortunately, not been kind to LARGE bureaucratic charities.

    And I’ll never donate to another again, quite frankly. Because, after all, charity begins in your own neighborhood, your own town.


  13. comment number 13 by: TexasFred

    Thank you Darrell, the more of us that get involved on this, the more likely we are to get to the REAL bottom of this…

    DAV has been one of my faves for a long time, this hit me like a hammer…

  14. comment number 14 by: RTaylor

    DAV has been a favorite of mine, too. When my father (an Air Force vet) passed away 16 years ago, they were great. My stepfather was a Navy vet and our family has been involved with different veterans organizations for many years.
    We’ll all keep digging and searching. As Fox Mulder says “The truth is out there”.
    And - thanks to Jay Agg for taking the time to answer you and address is organization’s grade here for us. To me, that says alot for him.

  15. comment number 15 by: Verlin Martin

    I also recently got a call from the Paralyzed Veterans. Something was fishy when they started the conversation by saying they appreciated the support I’ve given them over the years and would I like to UP my donation.

    This is the first time I’ve ever spoken with that particular charity.

    OT: LSU Shooting

  16. comment number 16 by: BobF

    I posted this on the previous post but I don’t think it was seen . The link below if for the Combined Federal Campaign (area specific) which all military installations contribute though. It lists each organization that’s eligible to receive contributions through CFC and it also lists the percentage of dollars spent on administering the charity. CFC considers any charity that spends more than 35% on administrative costs to be problematic. For the discussion above, the DAV spends 3.7% of its dollars on administrative costs.


  17. comment number 17 by: Daniel Borochoff

    We appreciate your alerting us to the comments posted about American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) by Mr. Jay Agg of AMVETS National Service Foundation. Mr. Agg contacted our organization on 11/9/07 and we responded to his inquiry by the end of that business day. We attempted to contact Mr. Agg again on 12/14/07. He did not call or e-mail us to follow up on his inquiry on either of those days, or to date, 12/17/07.

    AIP has been a nationally recognized, independent charity watchdog organization for more than fifteen years, and is frequently covered by, and readily works with and provides information to every major media outlet in the country. Our rating criterion is clearly explained and defined on both our web site at http://www.charitywatch.org/criteria.html, as well as in every edition of our Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report. Our rating criterion was also outlined in my 12/13/07 Congressional Testimony http://oversight.house.gov/documents/20071213131834.pdf. We do not understand what difficulty Mr. Agg is having in locating or understanding our rating criterion. We encourage him to respond to our attempts to contact him.

    AMVETS National Service Foundation receives an F rating from AIP for spending only 29%-46% of its budget on its programs, and for its inefficient fundraising; it costs the group $40-$55 to raise $100 in public support. Based on our rating criterion, a charity should spend at least 60% or more of its budget on its programs, with no more than 40% going to fundraising and management overhead. This level of program spending would warrant a “Satisfactory,” or C range rating. Most highly efficient charities, like those that appear on our List of Top-Rated Charities http://www.charitywatch.org/toprated.html are able to spend 75% or more of their budgets on programs, and spend $25 or less to raise $100 in public support.

    AIP’s rating of AMVETS National Service Foundation is based on a thorough analysis of its IRS Form 990, including schedule A & attachments, and Audited Financial Statements, including Auditor’s Notes, and Annual Report. The IRS Form 990 is an annual tax filing containing information self-reported by a charity. For this reason we always compare a charity’s tax form reporting with its Audited Financial Statements, since the latter documents are published by third-party auditors and are often more reliable and may contain more detailed breakouts of financial activities.

    Charities have wide latitude in how they choose to report their financial activities. Taking the self-reported information of charities at face value and repeating it in the form of a rating without analyzing it may be the role of a media relations employee or advertising/publicity company, but is certainly not the role of a responsible charity watchdog organization. At AIP our primary mission is to provide donors with the information they need to make informed giving decisions. Charities may legally spend as little as 1% of their budgets on their programs and still meet IRS reporting standards, AICPA reporting standards, and GAAP standards. These standards are not designed to measure the financial efficiency of a charity; rather they are designed to provide standards by which a charity should report its financial activities. Many highly inefficient charities correctly apply and report their financial activities within IRS, AICPA, and GAAP standards. More information explaining the differences in AIP’s rating standards can be found at http://www.charitywatch.org/aboutaip.html#difference.

    Mr. Agg likes to bring attention to the fact that Amvets National Service Foundation is Congressionally Chartered. A major concern addressed in my congressional testimony is with respect to veterans charities that hold Congressional Charter status:

    Misuse of Congressional Charter Status
    See Page 7 http://oversight.house.gov/documents/20071213131834.pdf

    Daniel Borochoff
    American Institute of Philanthropy

  18. comment number 18 by: Faultline USA

    Excellent reporting Fred! I’m forwarding this link to others.

  19. comment number 19 by: Patrick Sperry

    Cross posted with additional commentary at

    This is just plain sick. That PVA and the VFW are on this list with such miserable grades is appalling.

  20. comment number 20 by: Ann D. McGee

    Mr. Borochoff, with his arbitrary standards, did a drive-by on our organization, too, citing his “rating system” as law. We too are a member of the Combined Federal Campaign and the Children’s Charities of America and meet all of their requirements. Mr. Borochoff gave an interview to our local paper with four separate lies in it regarding his personal contact with our organization. The only contact we have ever had with him is once every quarter when he sends me a letter telling me that he will send me a copy of his opinion of our organization if I send him money. Maybe it’s Mr. Borochoff and his tactics, ethics, truthfulness and how he raises money that need to be checked out. He has caused great damage to many organizations to meet his own agenda. Shame on Mr. Borochoff for the damage he is doing.
    Ann McGee, National President, Miracle Flights for Kids

  21. comment number 21 by: Daniel Borochoff

    It is understandable why Ms. McGee would be on the offensive regarding AIP’s rating system. Inefficient charities of course do not like it when we point out their low program percentages to the public. The statements she is making about AIP are incorrect. I have never and would never send her a letter asking for money to tell her my opinion on Miracle Flights for Kids. We do regularly ask this charity for basic financial documentation which they decline to provide and therefore this group receives “closed book” status in the current Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report. I am more than happy to tell her and anyone else interested why Miracle Flights receives an F grade from the American Institute of Philanthropy—they spend only 31% of their total cash expenses on bona-fide charitable programs that are not a part of their solicitations. AIP’s clear and fair rating criteria is explained here: http://charitywatch.org/criteria.html

    Also, being a member of the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is hardly anything to boast of. Please read Inefficient, Tax-Delinquent, and Even Fake Charities Pass CFC Screens:

    Children’s Charities of America is not a watchdog. It’s an agency that raises funds mainly through participation in workplace campaigns.

    Here is the news article that Ms. McGee cited but did not share:


    Daniel Borochoff
    American Institute of Philanthropy