According to Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, demand for services by veterans peaks about four decades after a conflict ends. The year 1978 was relatively quiet for active American military personnel, besides a brief Air Force involvement in South Zaire. Yet today, in 2018, the demand for veteran services is as high as many observers can remember it ever being.
In 2006, the small Virginia-based veterans charity Circle of Friends for American Veterans was struggling to pull in $200,000 in donations. Three years later, the outfit was a fundraising powerhouse, earning more than $2 million in annual revenue, after CEO and retired Army Maj. Brian Arthur Hampton turned to telemarketers and other freelance fundraisers — but according to a new investigation, the vets the money was meant to help barely saw a dime. It went to enrich the Hampton and his fundraisers instead.
A well-funded charity organization called the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation is under fire after it was revealed that only 2% of its cash donations have actually been donated to veterans and their families. That information was recently brought to light by a team of CNN investigative reporters, who dug into tax records made available by a watchdog organization that tracks the financial performance of thousands of charities across the United States, and which named NVVF one of the “worst” veterans charities in existence — despite the fact that it’s run by a combat veteran who is currently employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
I received an email today informing me of a new, non-profit group supporting veteran entrepreneurs. As I was reading through the email, I had two thoughts. First, this is a great program, and second, this program already exists. It made me think about all of the charities and programs aimed at helping veterans, and I wondered, are there too many veteran-focused charities?