Categories
News

Eagles Singer-Songwriter Joe Walsh Launches New Charity

Joe Walsh, who played in the 1970s hit band the Eagles, has created a new charity that will benefit U.S. military veterans.

The charity, called VetsAid, will fund organizations that provide physical, mental, and emotional care to service members and their families. Giving veterans the support they need is an issue that hits close to home for Walsh; the singer-songwriter’s father was a flight instructor who died while on active duty in Okinawa, Japan.

“War is hell for everyone involved,” Walsh stated. “I lost my father when I was a baby, before I could even make a memory of him. I stopped counting the number of friends I lost in the Vietnam War or that came home forever scarred mentally or physically or both.”

In order to raise money for the charity, the talented musician will host a benefit concert in which he will play alongside Keith Urban, Gary Clark Jr. and the Zac Brown Band. Additional musicians will be announced at a later date, with a special closing performance from a mystery guest. The concert will take place on September 20 at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, VA. Tickets will go on sale tomorrow.

“I had to do something and seeing as though rock and roll seems to be what I do best, it’s also the least I could do for those who have served and continue to serve our country,” Walsh remarked. “We’re all in this together as Americans and seems to me lately that people are forgetting that. I asked my buddies Zac, Gary, and Keith to step up and I’m so grateful that they did. Let’s put on a show, raise some money and celebrate our vets… and let’s do it every year!”

Way to go, Joe Walsh! Keep up the good work! You make our country proud.

Categories
News

Trump Finally Gives Away the Money He “Donated” In January

Photo credit: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Back in January, instead of attending a debate, Donald Trump held a fundraiser for veterans’ charities. Supposedly, it raised about $6 dollars, with Trump having donated $1 million himself, though until very recently, most of that money had yet to be given to any charities.

Trump’s campaign manager claimed that the money the Republican candidate donated had already been withdrawn and distributed, and that the process would be complete by Memorial Day, but Trump himself has said that he doesn’t know how his campaign manager would know that. Instead, he finally did donate $1 million on May 23rd, to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, which helps children of fallen marines and law enforcement officers.

According to Trump, it took so long because “you have a lot of vetting to do” when you donate. That’s actually good advice, and something that donors and nonprofit groups know well, except it doesn’t mesh with the fact that the Donald J. Trump Foundation already donated over $230,000 to that group. So did the Foundation not do a good enough job of vetting them, or is that just an excuse Trump made to avoid admitting that he never planned on actually donating any money in the first place?

The whole issue seems like just another example of Trump grasping for publicity. It’s become clear in the last few months that he is not a generous man, and that most of the “donations” he has made over the years weren’t really donations in the first place, but instead free golf games and the like.

It’s good that a charity finally did get the money Trump pledged, four months later, but some of that money is still unaccounted for, which is pretty amazing considering just how long four months is, and that he already has a foundation, named after him, which could have handled the actual donations in a few days or so.

Categories
News Organizations

Another Veterans Charity Under Investigation

Military veterans are, sadly, some of the most in need of support from nonprofits, but lately there have been a number of veteran’s charities coming under fire for not doing right by the people they’re supposed to be helping. The Wounded Warrior Project has seen the most press, after the CEO and COO were fired following revelations that they were spending most of the group’s money on pomp and circumstance, instead of helping veterans.

Now, The National Vietnam Veterans Foundation is under investigation for similar offenses. The group actually has a rating of 0 out of 4 stars from Charity Navigator, which is pretty damning on its own. A big part of that is because it does not have an independent board of directors. Their board consists of only three members, some of whom are related to each other. According to 2014 tax filings, they spent $133,000 on travel, $8,000 for parking, and $21,000 on awards. How is any of that possibly justified?

It doesn’t seem like the organization cares, because they also paid the charity’s head $65,000 that year. Which was in addition to the $127,000 salary he brings home as a deputy director of the Office of General Counsel for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA has a pretty mixed reputation with veterans, and the idea of somebody who makes that much money in the first place supplementing his income by another 50% instead of actually helping the veterans he purports to work for, is pretty disgusting.

Veterans charities exist because the VA isn’t all that good at it’s job, and with people like this involved, it’s not hard to see why. J. Thomas Burch, the individual in question, so far hasn’t responded to requests for interviews from CNN or anyone else, which is a sure sign that he’s got no real defense for his actions.

Categories
Donation News

Former President Bush Paid $100,000 to Speak at Veterans’ Charity

Image via Joseph August / Shutterstock.com

Former President George W. Bush charged a veterans’ group, Helping a Hero, $100,000 to speak at an event held in 2012. His wife, former First Lady Laura Bush received $50,000, and they were flown there in a private jet which cost another $20,000. All told, the charity spent $170,000 to have Bush speak at their event.

Some in the organization aren’t happy about the expenditure. Helping a Hero works to construct housing for severely wounded veterans of the “war on terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan, both conflicts that Bush was responsible for. Some within the organization think that it was offensive for Bush to charge for such a speech, especially after they were wounded serving under him. It’s especially upsetting when compared to other former presidents who, while making a solid living off the speaking circuit after they’re terms, don’t generally charge veterans’ groups.

Bill Clinton has never charged veterans, George H.W. Bush had some events underwritten to cover costs for the charities, and Jimmy Carter donates honorariums to the Carter Center.

The charity has justified the expenditure in several ways. For one, they raised larger sums than normal when the Bushes came to speak, even after expenses. That’s a fair point, and big name speakers can bring in donations that otherwise might not appear, but they do greatly increase the cost of holding fundraisers in the first place. Those fees were paid for by the charity, but they were underwritten by a private donor, which certainly helps, but that was money that could have just as easily gone to their mission. The charity also claims that the Bushes charged substantially less than their normal speaking fees for the charity, which could be seen as generous of them, but not as generous as doing it for free.

Categories
Organizations

$25 Million Settlement Reached in Veterans Charity Case

The Disabled Veterans National Foundation
IMG: via The Disabled Veterans National Foundation.

Quadriga, a direct-mail fundraising company that sent solicitations on behalf of a disabled veterans charity but took in most of the money raised, will pay $9.7 million in damages, re-organize its board, and reform its practices as part of a $24.6 million settlement, according to the state attorney general’s office.

The Disabled Veterans National Foundation raised more than $115 million from 2007 to 2013 from donors who responded to fundraising appeals that highlighted the group’s assistance for disabled veterans. However, several of these aid claims were false or misleading and roughly $104 million of the amount raised went towards paying vendors.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that the investigation sheds light on how direct-mail fundraising sometimes takes advantage of a popular public cause. “These direct-mail companies used cleverly designed but misleading mailers to raise tens of millions of dollars from generous Americans, nearly all of which went to the fundraisers and their agents,” said Schneiderman in a statement announcing the settlement. “Charities and their fundraisers that rely on direct-mail campaigns can and must do better.”

Besides the damages, the settlement calls for Quadriga to forgive $13.8 million still owed to it by the charity and pay $800,000 to the state for costs and fees. Convergence, which Schneiderman’s office said also played a role in the fundraising scheme, will pay $300,000 in damages. The $10 million in damages from the two direct-mail vendors is slated to go towards efforts to help disabled veterans including spinal cord research.

As Schneiderman pointed out in a recent statement, the way that Quadriga and Convergence misled generous American donors left the Disabled Veterans National Foundation nearly $14 million in debt. With this in mind, the $25 million settlement seems to be an appropriate repayment, and an opportunity for similar charities to better scrutinize direct-mail companies in the future.

Categories
Organizations

The Near-Tragedy Behind the Bob Woodruff Foundation

 Kayce Freed Jennings and Bob Woodruff
Kayce Freed Jennings and Bob Woodruff IMG: Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

Bob Woodruff is perhaps best known as a co-anchor of World News Tonight, a position he took up just shortly before the near-tragedy that almost took his life. While reporting from Iraq, Woodruff was injured by a roadside bomb. He experienced a near-fatal brain injury, spent over a month in a coma, underwent several surgeries, and was in rehabilitation for over a year before returning to work.

There are a LOT of worthy causes in the world. Most people who are philanthropically active don’t have the ability to donate to all those that touch their hearts; there are just too many. Most end up choosing a few closest to their hearts and doing their best to support those. After his accident and rehabilitation, Bob Woodruff and his family decided to start their own foundation to support veterans, who experience tragedies like Bob’s on a regular basis.

The Bob Woodruff Foundation raises money and supports programs for veterans, their families, and their caregivers. Bob isn’t a veteran, but he shares a special kinship with the warriors who fight in our country’s name each and every day.

Veterans Day is coming up, and that means it’s time for the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s biggest annual fundraiser, Stand Up for Heroes. This year, the fundraiser will be held on November 6th at Madison Square Garden. Performances by Bill Cosby, Jim Gaffigan, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Bruce Springsteen, and more are scheduled to make the evening a fun and successful night of giving.

Bob’s wife, Lee Woodruff, has been a big part of the foundation’s formation. “I always figured there would be a cause that I would feel passionate about,” she said in an interview with Forbes’ Nancy Collamer. “But this lane chose me. I feel so connected to these families.”