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America’s 50 Worst Charities Rake in Nearly $1 Billion for Corporate Fundraisers

20120812_midb104_breiner_pr_10825101_8colBy Kris Hundley and Kendall Taggart – Tampa Bay Times -

The worst charity in America operates from a metal warehouse behind a gas station in Holiday.

Every year, Kids Wish Network raises millions of dollars in donations in the name of dying children and their families.

Every year, it spends less than 3 cents on the dollar helping kids.

Most of the rest gets diverted to enrich the charity’s operators and the for-profit companies Kids Wish hires to drum up donations.

In the past decade alone, Kids Wish has channeled nearly $110 million donated for sick children to its corporate solicitors. An additional $4.8 million has gone to pay the charity’s founder and his own consulting firms.

No charity in the nation has siphoned more money away from the needy over a longer period of time.

But Kids Wish is not an isolated case, a yearlong investigation by the Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

Using state and federal records, the Times and CIR identified nearly 6,000 charities that have chosen to pay for-profit companies to raise their donations.

Then reporters took an unprecedented look back to zero in on the 50 worst — based on the money they diverted to boiler room operators and other solicitors over a decade.

These nonprofits adopt popular causes or mimic well-known charity names that fool donors. Then they rake in cash, year after year.

The nation’s 50 worst charities have paid their solicitors nearly $1 billion over the past 10 years that could have gone to charitable works.

Until today, no one had tallied the cost of this parasitic segment of the nonprofit industry or traced the long history of its worst offenders.

Among the findings:

• The 50 worst charities in America devote less than 4 percent of donations raised to direct cash aid. Some charities give even less. Over a decade, one diabetes charity raised nearly $14 million and gave about $10,000 to patients. Six spent nothing at all on direct cash aid.

• Even as they plead for financial support, operators at many of the 50 worst charities have lied to donors about where their money goes, taken multiple salaries, secretly paid themselves consulting fees or arranged fundraising contracts with friends. One cancer charity paid a company owned by the president’s son nearly $18 million over eight years to solicit funds. A medical charity paid its biggest research grant to its president’s own for-profit company.

• Some nonprofits are little more than fronts for fundraising companies, which bankroll their startup costs, lock them into exclusive contracts at exorbitant rates and even drive the charities into debt. Florida-based Project Cure has raised more than $65 million since 1998, but every year has wound up owing its fundraiser more than what was raised. According to its latest financial filing, the nonprofit is $3 million in debt.

• To disguise the meager amount of money that reaches those in need, charities use accounting tricks and inflate the value of donated dollar-store cast-offs — snack cakes and air fresheners — that they give to dying cancer patients and homeless veterans.

Over the past six months, the Times and CIR called or mailed certified letters to the leaders of Kids Wish Network and the 49 other charities that have paid the most to solicitors.

Nearly half declined to answer questions about their programs or would speak only through an attorney.

Approached in person, one charity manager threatened to call the police; another refused to open the door. A third charity’s president took off in his truck at the sight of a reporter with a camera.

Kids Wish has hired Melissa Schwartz, a crisis management specialist in New York City who previously worked for the federal government after the 2010 BP oil spill.

Schwartz said Kids Wish hires solicitors so its staff can focus on working with children, not on raising donations. According to its 2011 IRS filing, the charity has 51 employees. Schwartz also said donors who give directly to the charity instead of in response to solicitations ensure that 100 percent of their pledge will be spent granting wishes.

She declined to answer additional questions about Kids Wish’s fundraising operations, saying the charity “is focused on the future.”

Charity operators who would talk defended their work, saying raising money is expensive especially in tough economic times.

“No parent has ever turned me down for assistance because we got our money from a telemarketer,” said David Thelen, who runs the Committee for Missing Children in Lawrenceville, Ga. The charity is No. 13 on the Times/CIR list.

Over the past decade, the charity paid its solicitors nearly 90 percent of the $27 million it raised. It spent about $21,000 each year on its cause, most often buying plane tickets to reunite families.

The charity’s efforts primarily consist of giving advice to families whose children have been abducted. Thelen said his group has worked with about 300 parents since 1997.

But he publicly claims credit for reuniting as many as 1,600 children with their families, even if his charity’s involvement was as minimal as posting the child’s picture on the charity website.

Doug White is one of the nation’s foremost experts on the ethics of charity fundraising. A consultant to nonprofits for more than 30 years, White teaches in Columbia University’s fundraising management master’s degree program.

He said charities with high fundraising expenses often rationalize that such costs are inevitable in the early years. But White said the Times/CIR findings, based on a decade of data, show that the nation’s worst charities can’t use that excuse.

White also criticized reputable nonprofits that refuse to condemn bottom-tier charities.

“When you start a charity, you have a sacred compact with society,” said White, one of 30 charity experts interviewed for this series. “They are ripping off the public under the guise of an organization that’s supposed to do good for society.”

What happened to Gina Brown’s mother-in-law is a classic case.

Brown said the 72-year-old woman was struggling with dementia when the phone calls started.

From 2008 to 2011, telemarketers representing some of the worst charities in the nation persuaded her to write checks and charge donations to her credit card for a total of nearly $15,000.

Among those on the Times/CIR list that got multiple donations, sometimes only months apart, were Cancer Fund of America, Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Committee for Missing Children.

“She was such a vulnerable person, she must have been on the ‘A’ list,” Brown said.

The Minnesota woman discovered the donations, which ranged from $10 to nearly $1,000, only after her mother-in-law was placed in an Alzheimer’s facility.

“It’s hard to come to grips with the thought of her as a victim because she had been such a bright woman,” Brown said. “This can happen to anyone.”

 

How the list was made

To identify America’s 50 worst charities, the Times and CIR pieced together tens of thousands of pages of public records collected by the federal government and 36 states. Reporters started in California, Florida and New York, where regulators require charities to report results of individual fundraising campaigns.

The Times and CIR used those records to flag a specific kind of charity: those that pay for-profit corporations to raise the vast majority of their donations year in and year out.

The effort identified hundreds of charities that run donation drives across the country and regularly give their solicitors at least two-thirds of the take. Experts say good charities should spend about half that much — no more than 35 cents to raise a dollar.

For the worst charities, writing big checks to telemarketers isn’t an anomaly. It’s a way of life.

The Times and CIR charted each charity’s performance over the past decade and ranked it based on the total donations diverted to fundraisers, arriving at the 50 worst charities. By this measure, Kids Wish tops the list.

Tracking donations diverted to fundraising is just one way to rate a charity’s performance. But experts called the rating fair and said it would provide a unique resource to help donors avoid bad charities.

White, the Columbia University professor, dismisses the argument made by charities that without telemarketers they would have no money.

“When you weigh that in terms of values, of what the charity is supposed to be doing and what the donor is being told in the process, the house comes tumbling down,” White said.

Collectively the 50 worst charities raised more than $1.3 billion over the past decade and paid nearly $1 billion of that directly to the companies that raise their donations.

If that money had gone to charity, it would have been enough to build 20,000 Habitat for Humanity homes, buy 7 million wheelchairs or pay for mammograms for nearly 10 million uninsured women.

Instead it funded charities like Youth Development Fund.

The Tennessee charity, which came in at No. 12, has been around for 30 years. Over the past decade it has raised nearly $30 million from donors by promising to educate children about drug abuse, health and fitness.

About 80 percent of what’s donated each year goes directly to solicitation companies.

Most of what’s left pays for one thing: scuba-diving videos starring the charity’s founder and president, Rick Bowen.

Bowen’s charity pays his own for-profit production company about $200,000 a year to make the videos. Then the charity pays to air Rick Bowen Deep-Sea Diving on a local Knoxville station. The program makes no mention of Youth Development Fund.

In its IRS tax filings, the charity reports that its programming reaches “an estimated audience of 1.3 million.”

But, according to the station manager, the show attracts about 3,600 viewers a week.

Bowen, who runs the charity out of his Knoxville condo, declined to be interviewed. He defended the practice of hiring his own company with the public’s donations.

“We just happened to be the low bidder,” he said.

 

Obvious differences

America’s worst charities look nothing like Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Clubs or thousands of other charities, large and small, that are dedicated to helping the sick and needy.

Well-run charities rely on their own staff to raise money from a variety of sources. They spend most of their donations on easy-to-verify activities, whether it’s running soup kitchens, supporting cancer research, raising awareness about drunken driving or building homes for veterans.

The Times/CIR list of worst charities, meanwhile, is littered with organizations that exhibit red flags for fraud, waste and mismanagement.

Thirty-nine have been disciplined by state regulators, some as many as seven times.

Eight of the charities have been banned in one state.

One was shut down by regulators but reopened under a new name.

A third of the charities’ founders and executives have put relatives on the payroll or the board of directors.

For eight years, American Breast Cancer Foundation paid Joseph Wolf’s telemarketing company to generate donations.

His mother, Phyllis Wolf, had founded the Baltimore-based charity and was its president until she was forced to resign in 2010.

While she ran the charity, her son’s company, Non Profit Promotions, collected $18 million in telemarketing fees.

Phyllis Wolf left the charity after the payments to her son attracted media attention in 2010. The charity has since stopped using telemarketers, including Joseph Wolf’s.

Phyllis and Joseph Wolf did not respond to several calls seeking comment.

The nation’s worst charities are large and small. Some are one-person outfits operating from run-down apartments. Others claim hundreds of employees and a half-dozen locations around the country. One lists a UPS mail box as its headquarters address.

Several play off the names of well-known organizations, confusing donors.

Among those on the Times/CIR list are Kids Wish Network, Children’s Wish Foundation International and Wishing Well Foundation. All of the names sound like the original, Make-A-Wish Foundation, which does not hire professional telemarketers.

Make-a-Wish officials say they’ve spent years fielding complaints from people who were solicited by sound-alike charities.

“While some of the donations go elsewhere, all the bad public relations that comes with telemarketing seems to come to us,” said Make-A-Wish spokesman Paul Allvin.

Donors who answer calls from the 50 worst charities hear professionally honed messages, designed to leverage popular causes and hide one crucial fact: Almost nothing goes to charity.

When telemarketers for Kids Wish call potential donors, they open with a name you think you’ve heard before.

Then they ask potential donors to “imagine the heartbreak of losing a child to a terminal illness,” according to scripts filed with North Carolina regulators in 2010.

Kids Wish, the callers say, wants to fulfill their wishes “while they are still healthy enough to enjoy them.”

They leave out the fact that most of the charity’s good deeds involve handing out gift cards to hospitalized children and donated coloring books and board games to healthy kids around the country. And they don’t mention the millions of dollars spent on salaries and fundraising every year.

The biggest difference between good charities and the nation’s worst is the bottom line.

Every charity has salary, overhead and fundraising costs.

But several watchdog organizations say charities should spend no more than 35 percent of the money they raise on fundraising expenses.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and North Florida is one of dozens of Make-A-Wish chapters across the country.

Last year, it reported raising $3.1 million cash and spent about 60 percent of that, $1.8 million, granting wishes.

The same year, Kids Wish raised $18.6 million, its tax filing shows. It spent just $240,000 granting wishes — 1 percent of the cash raised.

The formula

The path chosen by Jacqueline Gray shows exactly how a worthy cause can be turned into one of the nation’s worst charities.

In 2007, Gray and her husband, Kevin, started Woman to Woman Breast Cancer Foundation in Lauderdale Lakes.

For a year the couple struggled to raise money by hosting golf tournaments and by making phone calls to potential donors themselves.

Then they met Mark Gelvan, a New Jersey consultant who has spent two decades transforming fledgling charities into money-making machines.

“He said he had the best dialers on the market,” Jacqueline Gray recalled.

Gelvan introduced the Grays to what sounded like a winning formula.

He would help the charity expand if it signed a contract with telemarketer Community Support Inc.

The staff at Community Support would handle everything. They would create the marketing materials and run the call centers.

The telemarketer even gave the Grays $30,000 in seed money to cover bills related to the expansion. All the Grays had to do was agree to let Community Support keep the majority of every dollar raised, then sit back and wait.

The transformation was immediate.

From donations of less than $15,000 in fiscal 2008, contributions to Woman to Woman through its professional solicitor increased to $1.5 million in 2009, then leaped to $6.3 million in 2010 and $6.7 million in its most recent filing.

What the charity got to keep was far more modest. It netted about $50,000 its first year with Community Support and $544,000 in 2011.

That was still enough for Gray, her husband and her daughter to start taking salaries. In the latest year, the trio received $84,000 in total compensation. Each member of the family also has a vehicle provided by the charity.

The Grays’ decision to sign on with professional fundraisers transformed Woman to Woman into one of the nation’s worst. It falls at No. 22 on the Times/CIR list.

Woman to Woman raised $14.5 million in donations from 2009 to 2011, tax filings show.

It paid nearly 95 percent of that to its for-profit fundraiser and spent about $700,000 on overhead and salaries.

That left an average of less than $20,000 a year to provide mammograms and other diagnostic services for women with breast cancer.

Jacqueline Gray, herself a breast cancer survivor, said she is as shocked as anyone by how much money has been raised in her charity’s name and how little of it has reached patients. She said she is angry that phone solicitors take more than 90 percent of the revenue.

But she vehemently denies that she’s to blame.

“Why would I be to blame for a system that’s dysfunctional?” Gray asked. “We are doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”

She showed a reporter several emails she has sent Gelvan in the past year, trying to renegotiate Woman to Woman’s contracts for better returns.

His response, according to Gray: If they didn’t like 10 percent, Gelvan would replace Woman to Woman with another charity.

“In the tele-funding business sector, it is common for nonprofit organizations to renew PFR (professional fundraising) contracts under the same terms and provisions of the previous contract,” Gelvan wrote in an email that Gray shared with Times/CIR reporters. “This is part of the ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ principle.”

Instead of giving the charity a better return, Gelvan introduced the Grays to the next piece of the formula — gifts-in-kind.

Gifts-in-kind are donated items like generic drugs and medical supplies. Getting them to the sick and poor in developing countries can be an important role for a charity.

But for charities that spend most of their money on for-profit solicitors, gifts-in-kind can function as an accounting gimmick.

The value of these shipments is often highly inflated, with pills that sell for pennies priced at $10 each on paper.

Several charities also can pitch in to pay the overseas transportation costs of the same shipment of medical supplies.

Under accounting rules, each charity is then allowed to take credit for the entire value of the shipment as if it alone provided the supplies to those in need.

The result: A charity’s revenues and good deeds are boosted and fundraising costs look smaller.

That makes donated items especially useful for charities that fear being criticized for having excessive fundraising costs on their public IRS filings.

Kevin Gray, the charity’s chief financial officer, said Gelvan made no pretenses when he suggested the charity start shipping goods overseas.

“Mark said it was a way to make our 990 (IRS filing) look better,” Kevin Gray said.

Gelvan told them to hire a company that rounds up donated goods and ships them overseas for charities, according to the Grays.

He handed them a binder laying out options like a Sears catalog.

They could send blood pressure monitors to Ghana. Or maternity ward equipment to the Philippines. Or surgical supplies to Guatemala.

The Grays rejected the idea.

“I can’t figure out why I’d pay to ship medicines out of the country while people need the stuff right here,” Kevin Gray said. “Why would I want to spend money that way?”

But the Grays say their charity would have no money if not for professional fundraisers, so they have continued paying them.

Reaping the benefits

The fundraising formula that raised millions of dollars for the Grays’ charity has been adopted by hundreds of charities.

They use it to deceive donors and turn their causes into profit centers.

Few have been more successful than Mark Breiner, the founder and one-time president of Kids Wish Network.

Breiner relied on professional fundraisers and donated items to build his charity into a nearly $20 million annual operation.

He is among the beneficiaries. The charity he founded has paid him or his companies nearly $4.8 million in the past 10 years — $1.5 million more than what the charity spent on direct cash to children, according to tax filings.

While Breiner was still president of Kids Wish, earning $130,000 a year, he joined a former employee as a partner in a fundraising company called Dream Giveaway.

In 2008 and 2009, Kids Wish paid Dream Giveaway nearly $1.7 million in consulting fees to run automobile give-aways that raised money for the charity. The charity’s IRS filings do not specify how much it netted on these early sweepstakes.

Breiner continued making money after he retired from Kids Wish in mid-2010 and left his mother-in-law on the seven-member charity board. In 2010 and 2011, the charity paid two of Breiner’s companies $2.1 million for licensing, consulting and brokerage fees.

Kids Wish violated IRS rules by waiting four years to disclose the money it paid Breiner’s companies.

The charity first reported the payments in amended tax filings last year after an employee took her concerns about insider dealings to the charity’s board.

Meanda Dubay, who had been a wish coordinator for six months, told Kids Wish’s directors she was seeking protection under the charity’s whistle-blower policy.

She was fired immediately after she raised her concerns.

Kids Wish officials accused Dubay of stealing proprietary information from the company’s database and said they had been preparing to dismiss her prior to her appearance before the board.

The charity asked the FBI to investigate Dubay. The FBI found no wrongdoing.

Kids Wish then sued Dubay for breach of contract and defamation. Dubay, who declined to talk to reporters, has denied all allegations in the civil case, which is pending.

Kids Wish officials said in an email that the omissions in the IRS filings resulted from “inadvertent errors made by the former accounting firm.”

Officials at the Tampa accounting firm, Guida & Jimenez, did not return calls seeking comment.

Breiner declined to answer questions about his fundraising and consulting businesses, which received an additional $1.26 million from Kids Wish for a car giveaway in 2012.

But he said in an email that the charity recently completed an IRS audit that included a review of its contracts with his companies.

“They found no indication of private inurement or conflict of interest with founders or board members,” Breiner said.

An IRS spokesman said federal law prohibits the agency from commenting on a specific individual or organization’s tax issues.

Breiner has cashed in on other close relationships in the charity industry as well.

His consulting business was paid nearly $1 million over two years by a charity founded by a former Kids Wish board member. And when Kids Wish’s longtime telemarketer started a charity so his son could have a job, he turned to Breiner for fundraising help.

“Mark’s a genius,” said Robert Preston, who paid Breiner’s companies more than $375,000 in 2011 to run a Porsche giveaway for the charity, WorldCause Foundation.

Breiner’s consulting arrangements may be perfectly legal, but such relationships are bright red flags to charity experts. They create the appearance of a conflict of interest and make it easy to turn charitable donations into personal profit, experts say.

Putnam Barber at the University of Washington, who has been writing and teaching about nonprofits for more than 20 years, said, “That kind of arrangement makes me fume.”

The 50 worst, ranked by money blown on soliciting costs

Totals from the latest 10 years of available federal tax filings

Rank Charity name Total raised by solicitors Paid to solicitors % spent on direct cash aid
1 Kids Wish Network $127.8 million $109.8 million 2.5%
2 Cancer Fund of America $98.0 million $80.4 million 0.9%
3 Children’s Wish Foundation International $96.8 million $63.6 million 10.8%
4 American Breast Cancer Foundation $80.8 million $59.8 million 5.3%
5 Firefighters Charitable Foundation $63.8 million $54.7 million 8.4%
6 Breast Cancer Relief Foundation $63.9 million $44.8 million 2.2%
7 International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO $57.2 million $41.4 million 0.5%
8 National Veterans Service Fund $70.2 million $36.9 million 7.8%
9 American Association of State Troopers $45.0 million $36.0 million 8.6%
10 Children’s Cancer Fund of America $37.5 million $29.2 million 5.3%
11 Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation $34.7 million $27.6 million 0.6%
12 Youth Development Fund $29.7 million $24.5 million 0.8%
13 Committee For Missing Children $26.9 million $23.8 million 0.8%
14 Association for Firefighters and Paramedics $23.2 million $20.8 million 3.1%
15 Project Cure (Bradenton, FL) $51.5 million $20.4 million 0.0%
16 National Caregiving Foundation $22.3 million $18.1 million 3.5%
17 Operation Lookout National Center for Missing Youth $19.6 million $16.1 million 0.0%
18 United States Deputy Sheriffs’ Association $23.1 million $15.9 million 0.6%
19 Vietnow National Headquarters $18.1 million $15.9 million 2.9%
20 Police Protective Fund $34.9 million $14.8 million 0.8%
21 National Cancer Coalition $41.5 million $14.0 million 1.1%
22 Woman To Woman Breast Cancer Foundation $14.5 million $13.7 million 0.4%
23 American Foundation For Disabled Children $16.4 million $13.4 million 0.8%
24 The Veterans Fund $15.7 million $12.9 million 2.3%
25 Heart Support of America $33.0 million $11.0 million 3.4%
26 Veterans Assistance Foundation $12.2 million $11.0 million 10.5%
27 Children’s Charity Fund $14.3 million $10.5 million 2.3%
28 Wishing Well Foundation USA $12.4 million $9.8 million 4.6%
29 Defeat Diabetes Foundation $13.8 million $8.3 million 0.1%
30 Disabled Police Officers of America Inc. $10.3 million $8.1 million 2.5%
31 National Police Defense Foundation $9.9 million $7.8 million 5.8%
32 American Association of the Deaf & Blind $10.3 million $7.8 million 0.1%
33 Reserve Police Officers Association $8.7 million $7.7 million 1.1%
34 Optimal Medical Foundation $7.9 million $7.6 million 1.0%
35 Disabled Police and Sheriffs Foundation $9.0 million $7.6 million 1.0%
36 Disabled Police Officers Counseling Center $8.2 million $6.9 million 0.1%
37 Children’s Leukemia Research Association $9.8 million $6.8 million 11.1%
38 United Breast Cancer Foundation $11.6 million $6.6 million 6.3%
39 Shiloh International Ministries $8.0 million $6.2 million 1.3%
40 Circle of Friends For American Veterans $7.8 million $5.7 million 6.5%
41 Find the Children $7.6 million $5.0 million 5.7%
42 Survivors and Victims Empowered $7.7 million $4.8 million 0.0%
43 Firefighters Assistance Fund $5.6 million $4.6 million 3.2%
44 Caring for Our Children Foundation $4.7 million $4.1 million 1.6%
45 National Narcotic Officers Associations Coalition $4.8 million $4.0 million 0.0%
46 American Foundation for Children With Aids $5.2 million $3.0 million 0.0%
47 Our American Veterans $2.6 million $2.3 million 2.3%
48 Roger Wyburn-Mason & Jack M Blount Foundation For Eradication of Rheumatoid Disease $8.4 million $1.8 million 0.0%
49 Firefighters Burn Fund $2.0 million $1.7 million 1.5%
50 Hope Cancer Fund $1.9 million $1.6 million 0.5%

Kendall Taggart is a reporter for The Center for Investigative Reporting. Times researcher Caryn Baird, computer-assisted reporting specialist Connie Humburg, and web developer Bill Higgins contributed to this report, along with CNN senior producer David Fitzpatrick. Times staff writer Kris Hundley can be reached at [email protected]

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Comments (23)

  1. Gail Marino says:

    In the name of CHILDREN!! How dare you profit off the innocent.GOD will get you for that. Another unworthy charity is the Humane Society of the United States. I go down personally to my shelter and give to the animals not to the office staff who want pens pencils and printer paper. Looking forward to the best 50 charities and I know the Wounded Warriors Project will be on that.

  2. Gail Marino says:

    Its a sad day when this ILK of society rips off the public in the name of children. Thank you AMAC for the fantastic article. My REAL charities are Wounded Warriors Project and The Tea Party Patriots and The Salvation Army. For animals I go personally to the shelters and give items to the animals I don t the supply the staff with pens and pencils on their wish list.

  3. nannie r says:

    your ranking 1-50 is confusing because the
    % “blown” has no relationship to the dollar amounts you use for the ranking. it is an unexplained added fact.

    makes it confusing

    lots of money spent, and in reality , all of these charities are giving MORE DOLLARS to day to their group than they were BEFORE they hired a solicitation manager.

    these are businesses and it takes money to make money,

    Do you want the best person to make you money or some untrained ignorant person to attempt it. It is a brutal hard work and a lot of turnover in phone callers. If you want to donate to a cause the best way is to donate directly. I give all my donations to my church because I agree with their causes and Know that they serve all races denominations,and all over the world. 202.224.3121 capital switch board defund defund defund

    • Alice says:

      Obvious that you work for one of these corrupt SO CALLED charity raising organizations. WHY would I give my money to a place that gives 5 cents to the charity and keeps the 95 cents. WHY not just give to a charity that gives it to the charity. My church and many other NOT FOR PROFIT charity raising organizations DO that. Charity should NOT be someone’s job. Did you ever volunteer for anything in your life? That’s what charity is, giving of TIME and money for good causes. I do give to charity and I make sure it is a charity that gives MOST of my dollar to the charity. I can see a small, maybe 5 percent going to help the cause of raising the money but not the 95 percent range that makes like-minded people of your kind get RICH.

  4. Yaddy says:

    When a phone solicitor calls I ask to be sent some financials – i.e. $ spent of fund raising. I NEVER get any information.

  5. T. Rio says:

    There is nothing out there that makes me as angry as charities ripping off people in the name of a good cause.PEOPLE LOOK WHERE YOUR MONEY’S GOING!! What else needs to be said?

  6. Ralph Boone says:

    Add The Police Benevolent association !!! A huge Rip Off the Sheriff post in the news paper every year that they do not give the Police even 1% of the money.. These Crooks need to be stopped but, I guess they have Millions to fight against anyone trying ..

  7. Graciela G. Wakefield says:

    The sad part is … with so much money, there could actually be a solution for so many children problems; I guess this is now taken by many as a way of doing business to make a great living….. Shame on us who allow it to happen.

  8. Dennis Pine says:

    I suppose that some of these “people” may have started out, in this racket, meaning to do some good, but wound up doing themselves, more good, than anyone else! That is human nature, which is “actually” Satan’s nature, not God’s. God is a “GIVER”, actually, the BIGGEST GIVER, by far, of all, but Satan, the adverary, is a “TAKER”, A MURDERER, A DECEIVER, A LIAR, AND A DESTROYER, just, for starters! By the way, if you know anything about biblical prophecy, Satan, “IS” going to be “put away”, along with all of his henchment, and SOON! I love it!!! A lot of these so-called “do-gooders”, ought to be “doing” hard time, but, instead, they’re living the “high” life!

  9. Terry says:

    This list should be published regularly in nenwspapers in every city across the US. And run with every TV special begging for money. This list should be sent to every household via USPS. It is such a shame that some folks will use other persons misfortune or misery as a way to gain personal wealth.

  10. Veritas says:

    My response to ANY telephone solicitation is “I NEVER GIVE OVER THE PHONE” and hang up! If it come thru the mail- and I want to give, I check them out first.

    • Alice says:

      AMEN! And I used to ask what percent of my dollar went to the charity and the response was something like; ‘unlike most other charities, we give 12 cents of every dollar to the charity’. Person went on to say that most charity raising organizations only give 5 cents of every dollar to the charity. Like this was supposed to convince me that this charity raising organization was really a caring organization. Now days I just say loud and clear, “WE don’t ever give to any organization over the phone. When they contest this, I just repeat it as often as it takes for them to hang up.

  11. Kathy Lee says:

    Humane Society of United States,,spends less than 1 percent on animals.. Not your local humane society..I would like to see them added.

    • beegee says:

      They probably don’t make the list because they manage to make their tax forms LOOK like they are providing more “direct aid” than they are. (I suppose they consider hiring anti-farmer lobbyists to be “direct” aid.) It just isn’t going to save any animals.

    • cheryl says:

      I agree Kathy…When I see advertisements on TV, I cringe..Can you imagine how many animals could be SAVED if the Humane Society spent a least 50% on what they raise money for???? Find other charities that do what they say….

  12. Jennifer Duncan says:

    I wonder that the IRS hasn’t targeted these “charities” and checked their non-profit status!

  13. Rose Buss says:

    Glad to have this list……would love to a list of the 50 BEST charities!

    • Grumps says:

      I’m with You Rose! I would like to have the complete list of the bad guys.

    • Patricia Sylvester says:

      I think it is best to give locally. Local fire and police have events that benefit them. You can get info on local places more easily. Spend your money at church socials, school sporting events, local hospital fund raisers. Read your local calenderof events in the paper or the internet. Besides you meet old and new people there. I still do St. Judes, Wounded Warriors and my church missionarys.

  14. PaulE says:

    The lesson that everyone should take away from this article is that you should ALWAYS do as much research as you can about ANY charity BEFOREHAND to ensure the vast majority (90 cents or more of every dollar donated) of your donation would go for the intended purpose. That means you NEVER, EVER give money to any charity over the phone. If they are legitimate, they can mail you a solicitation and you can check them out on-line before sending any money.

  15. Miss D says:

    Is there a way for you to put a link to take people directly to a LIST of the 50 worst charities? I’d like to share it via email and facebook so that others will know which charities NOT to give to!

  16. Pat Sisler says:

    Ask Clinton what happen to the money for Haiti. He kept most of IT! He a PIG’s Person
    (“PEOPLE IN THE GUTTER SYDROME”) These people also should be in Jail.

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