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San Diego Charity Watchdog Downgrades Wounded Warrior Project

San Diego Charity Watchdog Downgrades Wounded Warrior Project

GUEST:

Greg Hillgren, chairman, The Patriots Initiative

Transcript

Greg Hillgren believes that most Americans want to assist returning veterans who need help, but they often don't know how, and frequently they're afraid.

Hillgren, chairman of The Patriots Initiative, a Rancho Santa Fe-based group which evaluates and rates military charities, says the unease comes from news stories about the wasteful spending and inefficiency of many military charities, such as the very well-known Wounded Warrior Project.

The Wounded Warrior Project raised $235 million in 2013 and helped 59,000 veterans, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. But the charity spent nearly $32 million on fundraising, and close to $17 million on veterans. Recently CBS News reported that the Wounded Warrior Project's spending on travel and conferences rose from $1.7 million in 2010 to $26 million in 2014.

The Wounded Warrior Project has said its relatively high spending on overhead costs is necessary to maintain its services.

The Patriots Initiative downgraded the Wounded Warrior Project last week, taking it off its directory of efficient, transparent military charities. The 100 charities that remain in the directory, says Hillgren, also have an engaged leadership and spend the majority of the funds they raise on the people they profess to serve.

The Patriots Initiative is not going to stay local for long. In the coming months it will roll-out offices in four more areas.

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