Many Americans donate to charities that help military veterans as a way to honor them for their service to the country. It can, however, be daunting to choose from the more than
8,000 such groups operating nationwide.
Donor trepidation is magnified by the
scandals that have embroiled vets' groups. In fact, more than 10 percent of the charities tagged as “America's Worst Charities" by the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting in 2013 focus on veterans.
As a professor who researches nonprofit organizations and teaches about their finances, I have observed that while some veterans' charities do squander donors' dollars, others make the most of donations in meeting their mission. Fortunately, a little research goes a long way toward spotting the difference between a good cause and a lost cause.
The following four tips will help you vet these charities.
EULESS, Texas — Six months ago, Larry Fromme rarely left his apartment, and he worried that he might get evicted as he struggled to pay his rent and buy groceries.
Fromme, 80, is a disabled veteran who served in the U.S. Army as a private first class in Germany at the height of the Cold War. He was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, and said he often had nightmares about serving in a stressful environment.
Fromme recalled what it was like to be isolated and the difficulties of finding people who understood his struggles.
"I was down in the dumps," he said. "I was looking for people to talk to."
Fromme described how it was difficult for him to leave his apartment as no one thanked him for his service, although he wore his cap displaying the words, "disabled veteran" when he went shopping.
But now life is getting better for Fromme as he regularly meets with veterans who understand the stress of serving in the military and what it is like to be ignored.
If everyone is an expert on mental health and wellness, are we listening to those who are actually experts?There seems to be a gulf, a gap, between the veteran community and the clinical mental health community that focuses on veteran mental health.
Anthony Drees vividly recalls the 1991 Iraqi missile attack on U.S. military barracks in Saudi Arabia that claimed the lives of more than two dozen fellow service members — an event that would also put his on a new course.
Rush University Medical Center will receive up to $45 million — its largest single donation ever — from the Wounded Warrior Project to provide mental health services to thousands of additional veterans.