The Charity that Wasn’t

In an earlier article I briefly mentioned that I try to keep my charitable giving close to home. I rarely give to any organization that I don’t have personal knowledge of or have done my research into their legitimacy. After writing that piece I came across an article in the New York Times about a charity called the U.S. Navy Veterans Association. It was formed in the early 2000s to provide aid for Navy veterans needing help. During the next ten years the nonprofit collected $100 million of which, none went to helping veterans. The whole thing turned out to be a major swindle that would still be bilking the unsuspecting donors today had it not been for the efforts of a couple of reporters who became suspicious and began prying.

There are about 1.5 million nonprofits in America, 59,000 that include the word “veterans” in their name. The I.R.S. branch responsible for watching over all this is so understaffed they are barely able to keep up with new nonprofit applications, let alone keeping the players honest.

Last Sunday we were at the in-laws home when the phone rang. I answered it and the caller said he represented the Ohio Association of Police Officers and Sheriffs and was seeking support for the wives and families of disabled officers. Without responding I hung up the phone and told my father-in-law. His only response was telling me I should have looked at the caller I.D. message. Well, we don’t have caller I.D. so the thought never occurred to me. But, I think CID maybe included in my letter to Santa this season.

I now wonder how many nonprofits include some version of “police officer” in their title?

If you’d like to read the NY Times article, click HERE.

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