How to tell which charities for military veterans are legit

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Philippine Marines from the Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG) storm the beach to simulate an “extraction” of a kidnapped victim as they kick off a five-day amphibious military exercise at the Philippine Marines training center in Ternate, Cavite province, about 50 miles (80kms) south of Manila, Philippines Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. The naval exercise dubbed […]

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two Wounded Warrior Project executives have been fired after a report aired about the organization’s misuse of donated funds.

The charity for wounded veterans was created after the events of September 11.

Since then, it has raised more than a billion dollars from Americans expecting their donations to help wounded veterans.

But, former employees said a lot of that money went to people on the organization’s payroll. Now, the Board of Directors is making policy changes after an internal review of the accusations.

More than 40 former Wounded Warrior Project employees said the charity’s spending habits were out of control, with donations being used for luxurious company meetings and big salaries instead of helpingthe veterans in need.

CBS News discovered the Wounded Warrior Project spends 40-50 percent on overhead, while similar charities spend about 10 to 15 percent. The CEO and COO were fired Thursday afternoon.

After a review of the reports in the news, the Board of Directors says it “found that WWP continues to advance its mission of providing substantial services for the nation’s wounded warriors, and that certain allegations raised in media reports were inaccurate.”

“I’m hopeful that they will find out that there’s some misunderstanding or something. That would be the best case,” U.S. Representative Bill Johnson said.

Johnson met with some veterans in Salem Friday. He said trust plays a role in giving to charities.

“When Americans donate money to charities that profess to be taking care of our nation’s heroes, that’s where they expect that money to go,” Johnson said.

The Board’s review says the most recent financial statement says WWP spends 80 percent of donations on programming. The review points out some changes are being made.

They said they are strengthening policies related to employee and director expenses, training employees on existing and new policies.

And, now, employees must travel in economy class unless they have health concerns. Congressman Johnson, a veteran himself, says Americans should continue supporting charities with due dilligence.

“Donating to charities that fill the gap in what the Veterans Administration can’t do, that’s a big deal. I think we ought to try to continue to support that,” Johnson said.

If you’re looking for a way to find out which military charities are legit, you can check out Charity Navigator’s online guide.

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