One thing that hasn’t been mentioned about the whole Trump skipping the debate nonsense, which has basically dominated our news cycle for the last 48 hours because it is so much easier to pay someone a few bucks to sit and wank on tv than it is to actually go out and report things, is the choice of which veterans charity Trump is using in his little dick measuring contest with Roger Ailes- the Wounded Warrior project.
The founder of a small Pennsylvania charity helping wounded warriors in that state says the group has spent more than $72,000 defending a lawsuit from the Wounded Warrior Project over their similar logos.
“We’re out of pocket a lot of money and I am sure they are out of pocket a lot of money,” said Paul Spurgin, the director of Keystone Wounded Warriors and a Marine who served two combat tours in Vietnam.
As you can see, they both are black and white and have soldiers assisting other soldiers. The reason this is such a priority for the Wounded Warriors Project is because, in my opinion and the opinion of many others, they aren’t a charity, they’re an elaborate grift. And when you are a grift, you gotta protect that brand.
Today, the NY Times released a scathing and very illuminating piece of investigative journalism on this scam:
In 2014, after 10 years of rapid growth, the Wounded Warrior Project flew its roughly 500 employees to Colorado Springs for an “all hands” meeting at the five-star Broadmoor hotel.
They were celebrating their biggest year yet: $225 million raised and a work force that had nearly doubled. On the opening night, before three days of strategy sessions and team-building field trips, the staff gathered in the hotel courtyard. Suddenly, a spotlight focused on a 10-story bell tower where the chief executive, Steven Nardizzi, stepped off the edge and rappelled toward the cheering crowd.
That evening is emblematic of the polished and well-financed image cultivated by the Wounded Warrior Project, the country’s largest and fastest-growing veterans charity.
Since its inception in 2003 as a basement operation handing out backpacks to wounded veterans, the charity has evolved into a fund-raising giant, taking in more than $372 million in 2015 — largely through small donations from people over 65.
The Wounded Warrior Project cuts a different profile. Under Mr. Nardizzi’s direction, it has modeled itself on for-profit corporations, with a focus on data, scalable products, quarterly numbers and branding.
In an interview at the organization’s four-story headquarters in a palm-lined office park in Jacksonville, Fla., Mr. Nardizzi, 45, said spending on fund-raising and other expenses not directly related to veterans programs has enabled the Wounded Warrior Project to grow faster and serve more people. It estimates that 80,000 veterans have used its services.
“I look at companies like Starbucks — that’s the model,” Mr. Nardizzi said. “You’re looking at companies that are getting it right, treating their employees right, delivering great services and great products, then are growing the brand to support all of that.”
Read the whole thing, and here is another piece for good measure:
But granted anonymity, the vet gave voice to what is at the very least a perception problem for the WWP: “They’re more worried about putting their label on everything than getting down to brass tacks. It’s really frustrating.”
The same veteran spoke of waking up in the hospital after an IED hit his supply truck—WWP, he said, had given him only trivial merchandise: a backpack, a shaving kit and socks.
“Everything they do is a dog-and-pony show, and I haven’t talked to one of my fellow veterans that were injured… actually getting any help from the Wounded Warrior Project. I’m not just talking about financial assistance; I’m talking about help, period,” he said.
Some gripe in interviews with the Beast about how the charity has become more of a self-perpetuating fundraising machine than a service organization. WWP certainly is successful at fundraising: It had revenues of more than $300 million, according to its most recent audited report, up from approximately $200 million the year before.
“In the beginning, with Wounded Warrior, it started as a small organization and evolved into a beast,” said Sam, an active-duty Army soldier who works with Special Forces. It’s “become so large and such a massive money-maker,” he says, that he worries the organization cares about nothing more than raising money and “keeping up an appearance” for the public with superficial displays like wounded warrior parking spots at the Walmart.
Fortunately, the word is out, and vets are savvy to it, and hopefully more of the public will become aware. Here is my former CEO, who is basically my political photo negative and vice versa. Politically, we agree on nothing other than that we both think the only reason John Brennan still has a job is he has naked pictures of everyone in Washington:
They are SHIT. One of THE biggest wasters of donations. Their CEO (Nardizzi) is a horse’s ass who pulls down over 300k/yr in salary. Two other execs are in the six figure range as well. They just built a lavish new HQs and actually PAY those celebrities for the commercials. WWP spends less than 10% of the funds they raise on vets themselves…
Friends don’t let friends and family donate to the Wounded Warrior Project.