Every November 11th, the United States honors Veterans with events, services and memorials nationwide. As with many designated holidays, Veterans Day can also inspire you to honor a soldier with your hard-earned money by donating to charities that serve them.
But as with most donations, you need to be careful about where you are giving. Not every charity does what it claims, and there are some you should look out for. According to Charity Watch, an organization that rates organizations on a letter scale, 14 different veteran charities received a failing grade.
For most of these charities, the problem wasn’t their mission, but rather the amount of money that actually goes toward it. As stated by Charity Watch, “donors cannot assume that just because a charity is ‘legitimate’ by virtue of being registered with the IRS that it is also operating efficiently and effectively.”
Among the organizations flagged by Charity Watch: AMVETS National Service Foundation (28% of donations go toward the programs), Disabled Veterans National Foundation (only 5% of donations to support programs), Homes for Veterans (19% toward programs), Purple Heart Foundation (6%), the VFW Foundation (44% to programs), and others. No Connecticut-based programs appear on the list.
There is good news, though, if a charity you planned to support ended up on that list. Charity Watch lists a similar number of organizations that received high marks. These include the National Military Family Association, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, the Fisher House Foundation, and the Wounded Warriors Family Support, among several others.
Here in Connecticut, One Voice for Vets is a non-profit set up by veterans to help with improvements at the Connecticut State Veterans Home. These veterans say they set up the project when they realized the state did not have the funds necessary to invest in the property. According to the website, it will cost about $100 million to bring the home up to date.
It should be noted that there is no rating system for local charities.