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StandDown.us
 
Mission
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Lets Redirect Our Donations for Homeless Veterans to the Local Stand Down Organizations that Qualify to help.

The VA is committed to ending Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. No one who has served our country should ever go without a safe, stable place to call home.

The entire department has put its energy and resources into ending Veteran homelessness. VA's programs provide individualized, comprehensive care to Veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Still, VA cannot do it alone. Organizations and individuals in communities across the country are integral to providing services to Veterans and spreading the word about the resources VA provides to end and prevent homelessness among Veterans.

Far too many veterans are homeless in America—between 130,000 and 200,000 on any given night—representing between one fourth and one-fifth of all homeless people. Three times that many veterans are struggling with excessive rent burdens and thus at increased risk of homelessness. Further, there is concern about the future. Women veterans and those with disabilities including post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury are more likely to become homeless, and a higher percentage of veterans returning from the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have these characteristics.

 
Fifty charities collected $970.6 million. Only about $49.1 million or 05% in direct cash actually went to the needy. Below are the Veterans Charities that made the list. How is this possible?
 
Rank Charity Name $$$ Raised Paid to solicitors
% to direct aid
8
National Veterans Service Fund $70.2 million $36.9 million 7.8%
10
$55.9 million
$1.28 million
2.3%
24
$15.7 million
$12.9 million
2.3%

 

- Consumer Expert

Ones to avoid

  • American Ex-Prisoners of War Service Foundaton (F)
  • American Veterans Relief Foundation (F)
  • AMVETS National Service Foundation (F)
  • Freedom Alliance (F)
  • Help Hospitalized Veterans/Coalition to Salute America's Heroes (F)
  • Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation (F)
  • National Veterans Service Fund (F)
  • NCOA National Defense Foundation (F)
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America (F)
  • Vietnow National Headquarters (F)

 

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Birmingham, Alabama (CNN)

By David Fitzpatrick and Drew Griffin, CNN Special Investigations Unit

Charity's money, $55.9 million not Helping Veterans (click logo)

A national charity that vows to help disabled veterans and their families has spent tens of millions on marketing services, all the while doling out massive amounts of candy, hand sanitizer bottles and many other unnecessary items to veteran aid groups, according to a CNN investigation.

The Disabled Veterans National Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., and founded in 2007, received about $55.9 million in donations since it began operations in 2007, according to publicly available IRS 990 forms. Yet according to the DVNF's tax filings with the IRS, almost none of that money has wound up in the hands of American veterans.

Instead, the charity made significant payments to Quadriga Art LLC, which owns two direct-mail fundraising companies hired by the DVNF to help garner donations, according to publicly available IRS 990 forms. Those forms show the charity paid Quadriga and its subsidiary, Brickmill Marketing Services, nearly $61 million from 2008 until 2010, which was the last year public records were available.

The independent group Charity Watch gave the DVNF an "F" grade. More than 30 veterans charities were rated by the independent group by the amount they spend on fundraising compared to actual donations, and two-thirds were given either a D or F grade, according to CharityWatch president Daniel Borochoff .

"Up to $2 billion is raised in the name of veterans in this country and it's so sad that a great deal of it's wasted," Borochoff said. "Hundreds of millions of dollars of our charitable dollars intended to help veterans is being squandered and wasted by opportunists and by individuals and companies who see it as a profit-making opportunity."

WEWS: Suspect accused of stealing millions through phony veterans charity On its website, the DVNF posted a "news bulletin" announcing that the charity had sent badly needed goods "by the truckload" to veterans centers in Birmingham, Alabama, in the wake of last year's devastating tornados. DVNF specifically cited a small veterans charity called St. Benedict's. But the charity's executive director said most of the donations from DVNF could hardly be classified as "badly needed." They sent us 2,600 bags of cough drops and 2,200 little bottles of sanitizer," J.D. Simpson told CNN. "And the great thing was, they sent us 11,520 bags of coconut M&M's. And we didn't have a lot of use for 11,520 bags of coconut M&M's. " Simpson said the DVNF also sent him more than 700 pairs of Navy dress shoes, which he said he can't use. He has put them up for purchase at a yard sale. In its tax filings, the DVNF also claims to have sent millions of dollars of so-called "Goods In Kind" to smaller veterans-related charities around the nation. In one instance, the DVNF claimed more than $838,000 in fair market value donations to a small charity called US Vets in Prescott, Arizona.

CNN obtained the bill of lading for that shipment, which showed that, among other things, hundreds of chefs coats and aprons were included in the delivery, along with a needlepoint design pillowcase and cans of acrylic paint. The goods listed in the two-page shipping document were things "we don't need," a US Vets spokesman said. And at the bottom of the bill of lading, the DVNF itself estimated the value of the shipment at around $234,000 -- significantly less than the $838,000 it reported to the IRS.
CNN has attempted to get a comment from the DVNF for more than a year, but has received no specific replies, even after submitting several questions in writing.

When approached by a CNN crew at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Disabled National Veterans president Precilla Wilkewitz rebuffed questions." Well, this is the Veterans of Foreign Wars and I really didn't think you'd do something like this and we've agreed to talk to you ... answer your questions," she said, standing in the entranceway to her office.
Wilkewitz is the former national legislative liaison for the VFW, which is not directly tied to the Disabled Veterans National Foundation. She said she would answer questions only in writing, but so far CNN has received no response. When asked about Quadriga's relationship with DVNF, spokesman Ron Torossian told CNN in an e-mail that the company is privately owned and "we do not discuss specific client relationships." But according to IRS filings, Quadriga has been paid for direct-mail services by DVNF since the charity was founded in 2007.

Torossian did say in his e-mail, "At times, Quadriga chooses to invest money in partnerships with non-profit organizations. Sometimes it is a successful business venture, while others it is not." In a subsequent e-mail, Torossian said Quadriga had lost $7 million investing in veterans nonprofit organizations.

When CNN asked whether that included the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, he said "your facts remain woefully inadequate," but he declined to elaborate in a later e-mail exchange. He also threatened to sue CNN on behalf of Quadriga.
At the small house in Birmingham where J.D. Simpson operates St. Benedict's, he said his main goal is to provide beds to homeless and disabled veterans.

He characterized the DVNF operation in harsh terms." I ask myself what the heck are these people doing stealing from our veterans. because that's what they are doing," Simpsons said. "I don't care how you look at it. These people have sacrificed for our country. And there are some people out there raising money to abuse 'em and that just makes me mad."

Whopping fine could change the way fundraisers for charity operate

New York (CNN) -- In what it called the "largest amount of financial relief ever obtained for deceptive charitable fundraising," the New York State Attorney General's office has reached a nearly $25 million settlement with one of the nation's biggest direct-mail companies.
The settlement calls for damages of just under $10 million and forgiveness of debt for another $13.8 million against Quadriga Art, whose clients include some of the nation's most well-known charities. A three-year CNN investigation into Quadriga Art and its profiteering off donations made to U.S. veterans has led to a fine that New York regulators say is precedent-setting. This potentially could change how professional fundraisers operate in the state of New York and possibly the entire country.

The total settlement prevents Quadriga from engaging in what it calls a "funded model" of beginning new charities -- paying all of the start-up costs and fundraising costs in advance in hopes of profit down the road.

In particular, the settlement zeroes in on Quadriga's relationship with a charity based in Washington called the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, founded in 2007
After direct-mail payments, little left for veterans

CNN has been reporting on Quadriga and the veterans foundation since the fall of 2010, broadcasting a series of reports that showed the charity sending practically all of the millions it raised back to Quadriga as payment for the direct-mail campaign. Almost none of the cash left over went to veterans, the CNN investigation found.

As a result of CNN's reporting, the Senate Finance Committee began an investigation of Quadriga and the veterans foundation. So did the New York State Attorney General's office.
The Senate investigation is ongoing, according to a spokesman for the committee. The New York state investigation found that for all intents and purposes, the charity was a front for Quadriga.
"From the very beginning," the state said, "the investigation found DVNF lacked independence from its principal fundraiser, Quadriga. Quadriga's lawyer's got the charity up and running and drafted the fundraising counsel agreement that DVNF signed."
In all, the charity raised $116 million since 2008 but returned $104 million of it to Quadriga, according to the attorney general.

And of that leftover funds, much of it was sent in the form of donations that one prosecutor said was "dreck" -- M&M candy, chef's hats and coats and leftover shoes that no one wanted.
The settlement was signed by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
State Attorney: Actions were 'pretty despicable'

"To take the money that people are trying to spend to help disabled veterans just to feed your own overhead and to pay off your executives as Quadriga did here is pretty despicable," Schneiderman told CNN.

Quadriga president and CEO Mark Schulhof said in a statement that he has "taken responsibility for the mistakes that were made" in its dealings with the veterans charity.
"We deeply apologize for our actions and for any adverse impact they may have had on our industry," he said.

Schulhof also said his uncle, Tommy Schulhof, had resigned as the company's chairman of the board.

Under terms of the settlement, the founding board members of the charity are resigning and the charity can no longer do business with Quadriga for three years unless the company is a legitimate low bidder and prosecutors agree.

 

 

 

 

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