I was speaking with my father during his visit this past fall and mentioned that I was considering donating my horse to the PATH Intl. Horses for Heroes Therapeutic Riding Program which prompted a discussion about how much of the donated proceeds raised by the several Wounded Warrior type organizations actually go towards helping veterans and their families versus paying for administrative costs. I am from a strong military family and my father serves as the Chairman of the Air Commando Association (ACA) Board of Directors, and is writing a book that is due to be published soon. It’s particularly exciting for our family because he has promised to donate the proceeds to the Air Commando Association Foundation. Thus began a lengthy discussion and comparison between the three organizations that our family has donated to – Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF ) and the Air Commando Association Foundation Endowment (ACAF ).
Charity Navigator is an independent charity evaluator providing free ratings and evaluations of nonprofit corporations, http://www.charitynavigator.org/. Below are their assessments of the three foundations mentioned above.
WWP was founded in 2005 in Roanoke, Virginia and spends 57.9% of the charity’s budget on the programs and services it delivers and 41.9% on fundraising and administrative expenses. They employ officers, directors, trustees, and their highest compensated employees at a cost of $2.197 million.
SOWF was founded in 1980 and spends 84.4% of the charity’s budget on the programs and services it delivers and 15.5% on fundraising and administrative expenses. They employ 14 full time staff members at a cost of $1.162 million.
ACAF Endowment is a much smaller organization, but is quickly growing and helps Air Force Wounded Warriors and their families. 100% of the foundation funds go to helping veterans and their families. The fundraising and administrative costs are funded by the parent association “ACA”. Their board of directors is exclusively pro-bono. Another major difference in this foundation is that their agility allows them to react to circumstances at a moment’s notice.
Giving to any of these organizations is a fantastic demonstration of your support for our many men and women in uniform, as well as their families, who have sacrificed so much to secure our freedom and way of life. My only advice would be, do a little research and know how your contribution is being used. When you are comfortable with an organization, knowing about the services they provide and structure of their foundation, then you’ll sleep well assured that your charitable contribution is helping those who have given so much for us.