Wounded Warrior Project Spends Lavishly on Itself, Insiders Say


NY Times:

Wounded Warrior Project Spends Lavishly on Itself, Insiders Say

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In early 2014, after 10 years of rapid growth, the charity Wounded Warrior Project flew its roughly 500 employees to Colorado Springs for an “all hands” meeting at the five-star Broadmoor hotel.They were celebrating their biggest year yet: $225 million raised and a work force that had nearly doubled in just a year. On the opening night, before three days of strategy sessions and team-building field trips, the staff gathered in the hotel courtyard. Suddenly, a spotlight focused on a 10-story bell tower where the chief executive, Steven Nardizzi, stepped off the edge and rappelled down toward the cheering crowd.

That evening is emblematic of the polished and well-financed image cultivated by the Wounded Warrior Project, the country’s largest and fastest-growing veterans charity.
Since its inception in 2003 as a basement operation handing out backpacks to wounded war veterans, the charity has evolved into a fund-raising giant, taking in more than $372 million in 2015 alone — largely through small donations from people over 65.
Today, the charity has 22 locations offering programs to help veterans readjust to society, attend school, find work and participate in athletic endeavors. It contributes millions to smaller veterans groups. And it has become a brand name, its logo emblazoned on sneakers, paper towel packs, peanut butter cups and television commercials that run dozens of times per day.

But in its swift rise, it has also embraced aggressive styles of fund-raising, marketing and personnel management that have caused many current and former employees to question whether it has drifted from its original mission.
It has spent millions a year on travel, dinners, hotels and conferences that often seemed more lavish than appropriate, more than four dozen current and former employees said in interviews. Former workers recounted buying business-class seats and regularly jetting around the country for minor meetings, or staying in $500-per-night hotel rooms.

Sadly,a lot of charities seem to go down this road.


So many morph into fundraising machines as their business.


The New York Times has been publishing many “not true” stories. The Wounded Warrior Project is a great blessing to our military guys and gals. The wounds that they have endured from serving in all the horrible places in the world would have gone without care if it were not for the Wounded Warrior Project.

I just hope nobody takes the title of this post and believes it, causing harm to the great effort all the people are making to help our military. They deserve huge thanks and support not cheap slander. They are not like the IRS, the VA, Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, etc.

I SUPPORT Wounded Warriors and hope you will too!


I am a monthly doner to WW.I remember checking their status when I first decided to support their efforts.At that time I believe only 2percent of donations were used for overheard costs.I would be very disheartened to learn that they are actually going down the road so many charities end up on.


Charity Navigator gives the Wounded Warrior Project an 85 overall, but a 78 for its financials.

This is acceptable but top charities score above 95.


I encourage people to look into any charity before donating.


No doubt it’s a great blessing, but how much more great would it be if it cut expenses and directed the savings to help more vets?


A lot of charities pay what seem to be lavish salaries to executives. They can point to other similar charities and say this is normal. For profit businesses work pretty much the same way. Everyone on the board of directors votes to pay above average salaries. It is the self-perpetuating old boys club like the fictional Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average.

In fairness, running a large charity requires a lot of skill and business acumen. There is a limited number of people who can do those jobs well.

One of the issues here is whether or not fund raising costs count as expenses or distributions. Wounded Warriors does a lot of television ads and direct mail which are expensive. A business would justify advertising that raises revenues easily, but many people feel that charities should be different from for profit businesses.

You may want to read this:


I donate regularly to this charity. It would sadden me greatly if this story is true, and if true, I would stop donating to them. I guess I will have to check it put for myself.


I checked the link provided by Theo(post#5) This site gives WW a 85 percent,whereas DAV has. 95percent.Seriously thinking of supporting them instead.


Ive wondered about WW before, Ive noticed they are the only charity that seems to buy up huge blocks of commercial tv ad time, plus they have some high priced celebrity spokespeople, whom, Im sure are not just representing them out of the goodness of their hearts.


All I can tell you is a personal truth: Wounded Warrior Project responded immediately to one of the finest Airmen ever, our 1st Grandson, when he was at death’s door from a tropical water borne illness. They met with his parents and outlined the help they were ready to provide right now, immediately, whatever was needed. He pulled through thanks to Our Lord and fully recovered - still serving. If they need to trim their expenses, they will find a way to do that because their #1 priority is wounded warriors and their families.

There are other fine organizations that help and support our military. They are all needed!
These fine young people must be provided the best we can give - we take all they give!


A celebrity spokesperson does nothing to convince me to buy, give, whatever. I didn’t even know who the grizzled old country singer was who was hawking WWP until someone told me it was Trace Adkins. Never heard of him until I was enlightened, but then, I don’t listen to country music - hate it. Apologies to all the country music fans out there.

I notice NutriSystem has Marie Osmond and Weight Watchers has acquired Oprah! LOL If I needed to lose weight, neither would convince me to go with them. They have private chefs and personal trainers that I can’t afford. I care what works for the ordinary person, like me.


Many of the donars to the Wounded Warrior Project are military members and their families.


here’s the Wounded Warrior’s response as reported in the Washington Times:

The Wounded Warrior Project is demanding CBS News apologize and retract a report accusing the charity of lavishly spending donor money on itself.
CBS News spoke to more than 40 former Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) employees who accused the charity of needlessly spending millions of dollars in donations on lavish conferences and parties.
“We are outraged to see that CBS chose to run the story despite our ongoing efforts to set the record straight,” WWP said in an open letter posted Wednesday on Facebook. “We can only deduce that CBS willfully set aside the information WWP provided in favor of the false statements made by a handful of former, disgruntled employees.”

The CBS News report said that in 2014 alone, WWP received more than $300 million in donations and spent only 60 percent of that on vets. It also claimed, based on the charity’s tax forms, that spending on conferences and meetings went from $1.7 million in 2010, to $26 million in 2014 — reportedly the same amount the group spends on combat stress recovery, their top program.
WWP said the statements are false.

“Based on our most recent independently audited financial statements, 80.6% of total expenditures went to provide programs and services for wounded service members, their caregivers, and families,” the group’s statement said, adding that “CBS falsely reported our conference and meeting expenses.”


That’s sounds good. I’m relieved because I do love that charity.


I am so glad that Wounded Warrior Project got right back to CBS accusers. Its so disturbing when good people are burned to satisfy extreme promoters of discord.




I think perhaps whoever wrote that rebuttal forgot that their tax forms are publicly available. For year 2013 they spent $26,054,363 on conferences, conventions, and meetings. How does a charity with only 481 employees manage to spend over $26 million on meetings, conferences, and conventions in a single tax year? It comes out to $54,167.07 per employee. I think its obvious that the claims of lavishness are true and reviewing their tax filings reveals that the only way you can reach the 80% figure that Wounded Warriors claims is if you take out many millions in what is actually overhead (like fundraising and advertising expenditures) and count it differently. Their total program service expense was only $189,558,100 out of a total revenue of $342,066,144. So CBS was/is absolutely right. Wounded Warriors only spends 55% of what it brings in on helping veterans.


I heard today that it is now 40%. (at least)

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