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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.

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Ex-Eagles Take on Wounded Warriors for Charity

The Wounded Warriors Amputee Football Team took on select NFL Alumni/Media before the Philadelphia Soul’s home game against the Orlando Predators recently in honor of Military Appreciation Night. The challenge pitted men and women who lost a limb during service in Iraq or Afghanistan against a team of more than 25 former players from the Philadelphia Eagles and other NFL teams.

Former NFL players included Brian Westbrook, AJ Feeley, Ike Reese and Mike Mamula. The event was hosted by Ron Jaworski and Vince Papale, and took place at the Wells Fargo Center. The game ended in a final score of 63 to 35, bringing the Wounded Warrior Amputees to an undefeated 8-0 record against NFL alumni teams.

“They called me because of the movie ‘Invincible’ but these are guys who are what invincible spirit is all about,” said Vince Papale. “It’s pretty amazing with their resiliency and the guts they have.” Soul owner Ron Jaworksi served as the coach of the Alumni/Media squad. His team also featured former Eagles Garry Cobb, Vince Papale, Bill Bergey, Mike Mamula, Thomas Tapeh, Gerry Feehery, Kevin Reilly, Lee Woodall, Ken Dunek, Bruce Laird, Jack Dolbin, Chris Draft, Dave Vobora and Kyle Eckel. Baltimore Ravens assistant coach Randy Brown, former Temple University quarterback Adam Dimichele, 6ABC’s Walter Perez, USA soccer star Heather Mitts and former Soul defensive back Keita Crespina rounded out the group.

The Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team is a group set out to raise awareness and support for wounded warriors and their families. The team is comprised of several service members that now use a prosthetic device in their everyday lives. This exemplifies the perseverance of our service men and women, both active and former, which continue to face life’s challenges without excuses.

Learn more about the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team and its annual games and events by visiting woundedwarrioramputeefootballteam.org.

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Running For Charity

Color Run
The Color Run is fun, and brings in money for charity.

As the weather starts to become warmer and sunnier with each passing day, we’re reminded that charity can take place outside just as much as in. Nowadays, charity events involve being active and physical, and encourage participants to get competitive and have fun while raising money for worthy causes. Various organized charity races have become the most popular way for people to give back. Here are a handful of the most popular races out there right now:

The Color Run

The Color Run has quickly become one of the most popular races to participate in, likely due to the fact that it’s considered “the happiest 5K on the planet.” Created only a couple of years ago in 2012, The Color Run hosted more than 170 events in 30 countries in 2013 alone. Race organizers are all about giving back, which means that each race generates funds for great causes. To date, $3 million has been donated to causes such as Global Citizen, the Boys & Girls Clubs, the Cool Kids Campaign, and many more.

Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder isn’t your average race, rather, it’s a 10-12 mile obstacle course challenge, where you can expect to have to get down and dirty in order to make it to the finish line. To date, Tough Mudder participants have raised more than $6 million for the Wounded Warrior Project, just one charity that benefits from the obstacle course competitors. A fun, challenging race that also supports incredible causes? What’s not to like?

Wounded Warrior Project 8K Runs

This race is only held in Tennessee, Florida, and Texas each year, but funds go towards the Wounded Warrior Project’s efforts to support those affected by 9/11. According to Women’s Health Magazine, “Before each race, guests perform the National Anthem and a Wounded Warrior tells his or her story,” making for a very intimate, patriotic race. This race is particularly great for anyone who is currently serving in the military, as it tends to attract many active duty military men and women.

Boston, Chicago, and NYC Marathons

Running a marathon is no easy feat, but if this is more your style, head to a nearby city and register to run! Not only will you get the chance to be part of something epic and widely attended, you’ll be raising vital funds for incredible causes. According to Runner’s World, the Chicago Marathon alone “boasts 190 charity partners, a record it reached last year.” The Boston Marathon and NYC Marathon are very similar, particularly because they are such renowned races, and have raised huge sums of money to benefit charities from across the country.

What are your favorite charity runs?

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Wounded Warrior Project

Wounded Warrior Project
IMG: via woundedwarriorproject.org

Last week, the New York Yankees General Manager, Brian Cashman, broke his leg and dislocated his ankle doing a charity parachute jump for the Wounded Warrior Project. And despite being laid up for the next eight weeks, Cashman says he’s glad that the WWP is getting some well-deserved recognition.

In observance of that tradition and in appreciation of the work they’re doing, we’ve decided to profile the WWP. Their mission, stated in large, bold letters on their website, is simply “To honor and empower wounded warriors.”

Every generation has seen men, and more recently, women, returning from war. In the past, those war veterans were thrown back into life as though nothing had changed. But if time has taught us one thing, it’s the fact that going to war can’t not change a person. Whether it’s physically or mentally, our warriors come back different people—and it’s not always easy for them to readjust back into normal life.

With that thought in mind, WWP works “[to] foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.” In order to do this, they’re raising public awareness and soliciting help for wounded service members, promoting camaraderie between fellow injured service members, and providing support programs to help injured service members return to everyday life.

WWP aims to accomplish their goals while always keeping five core values in mind: Fun, Integrity, Loyalty, Innovation, and Service (FILIS). Their program offerings currently include programs in the categories of Mind, Body, Economic Empowerment, and Engagement.

The Wounded Warrior Project is a nonprofit organization, and therefore donations are tax deductible. Funds can be donated in honor or memory of individuals, and go toward funding assistance programs for returning servicemen and women and their families. Donations options include one-time and recurring (Advance Guard monthly donor).

To learn more about Brian Cashman and how he helped raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project, click here.

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GM of Yankees Breaks Leg for Charity

Brian Cashman
IMG: Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

Brian Cashman is the General Manager for the New York Yankees—no small responsibility. The Yankees are the highest paid team in Major League Baseball, and Cashman is the man who decides which multimillion-dollar contracts to offer. It turns out the baseball bigwig is also a charitable sort of man.

Last week, Cashman broke his right fibula and dislocated his ankle after participating in a charity parachute jump in Florida. The charity jump was being conducted as a way to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that offers support to military veterans when they return from service.

But despite the fact that Cashman had to undergo surgery last Monday following the break, his attitude was positive. “I’m in great spirits and it was an awesome experience,” he said in a statement last week. “The Golden Knights are first class. While I certainly didn’t intend to raise awareness in exactly this fashion, I’m extremely happy that the Wounded Warrior Project is getting the well-deserved additional attention.”

“The Golden Knights” is the nickname for the U.S. Army’s parachute team. Cashman’s break occurred on his second of two tandem jumps at the Homestead Air Reserve Base near Miami. He was accompanied by a parachutist from the group.

Whether breaking his leg will be enough to deter Cashman from future daredevil activities remains to be seen. He is also known for rappelling from the Landmark Building in Stamford, Connecticut a few years past. The building is 22 stories high, and rappelling during Christmastime has now become tradition.

“The attempt of this whole jump was to raise awareness. And some much-needed funds,” he said in an interview last week. And despite the fact that he made a mistake that cost him a broken leg, he doesn’t regret it. “… I was so honored to participate and do something I’d never done before. Even though maybe I’m not good at it.”