Wounded Warrior fires execs over spending accusations

Steve Nardizzi, CEO of the Wounded Warriors Project at their meeting at the Hotel Monaco in Washington, Monday, July 20, 2009. Caregivers say parents, spouses and siblings of the disabled have given up jobs, health insurance and college to care for a loved one. Yet they get no compensation to ease the burden. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The board of Wounded Warrior Project, one of the nation’s largest veteran support groups, has fired two top officials amid news reports accusing the group of wasteful spending.

According to a statement released on behalf of Wounded Warrior Project, chief executive officer Steve Nardizzi and chief operating officer Al Giordano are no longer with the organization that is based in Jacksonville, Florida. CBS News reports the two were fired after a Thursday afternoon meeting in New York.

According to CBS, Wounded Warrior Project spends 40 to 50 percent of its money on overhead – including extravagant parties – while other veterans charities have overhead costs of 10 to 15 percent. The CBS report also talked to former employees who accused the organization of making money off their injuries.

One former employee told CBS that how Wounded Warrior Project spends money is equivalent to “what the military calls fraud, waste and abuse.

How to pick charities that maximize donations

If the Wounded Warrior Project controversy has you worried about making charitable contributions, there are steps you can take to vet organizations.

Charity Watch is a great place to start. The website reviews charities based on a number of factors, including how much money a charity spends on its programming – as opposed to overhead costs – and how much it actually costs a charity to raise money.

Here’s a list of the charities rated by the site. Here are the site’s top rated charities.

Charity Navigator also examines organizations. The site will help you “find a charity you can trust.” Here are the site’s consistently low rated charities.

Here are other tips from NBC News:

  • Check with the IRS to make sure the charity is legitimate.
  • Check with the agency in your state that monitors charities. It’s likely the attorney general’s office.




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