Under the Radar

Sound Off: Does the Wounded Warrior Project Controversy Change Your Attitude About Military Charities?

Last Thursday, the Wounded Warrior Project fired its CEO, Steven Nardizzi, and COO, Al Giordano, after a barrage of criticism about high spending on party, hotel and travel expenses at the charity.

CBS News reported in January that organization has raised more than $800 million over the last four years.  Here are a few numbers that led to the firings.

  • Watchdog organizations like CharityWatch and Charity Navigator estimate only 54 to 60 percent of donations go to help wounded service members.
  • Nardizzi received a salary of $496,415 in 2014.
  • Spending on conferences and meetings rose from $1.7 million in 2010 to $26 million in 2014.
  • Last year, the organization gave a $150,000 grant to a group that defends higher spending on overhead, executive salaries and fundraising by charities.
  • The charity has a $248 million surplus, money that's sitting in a bank account and not being spent to help veterans.
The board took action after Fred and Dianne Kane, the parents of two Iraq War veterans, called for Nardizzi to resign. Since 2009, the family has donated $325,000 to WWP through its personal charity, Tee-off for a Cause. Fred has also criticized Nardizzi's absence from the debate since the allegations surfaced. "Where is this guy? You lead from the front -- good or bad -- you don't hide," he said, "If no one is going to talk about this right now and it has to be me, then it has to be me."

The Wounded Warrior Project has flooded television with fundraising spots over the last couple of years and they've become the highest-profile military charity in the USA. Do you think this controversy will curtail giving and end up being bad for veterans? Or will citizens move on to more responsible charities. Maybe you think the criticism of WWP is unfair. Let everyone know what you think and sound off!

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