Wounded Warrior Project Accused of Partying Away Funds

wounded warrior project

The veterans’ charity is being accused of profiting off donations.

The Wounded Warrior Project or Wounded Warrior Profit?

A new report investigating where Wounded Warrior Project donations go does not look good for the veterans’ charity, whose mission is to raise money and provide services for American military vets. The report shows that the charity uses significantly less of their income on vets compared to other veterans’ organizations and raises questions about where the money is going.

According to CBS News, the Wounded Warrior Project uses only 60 percent of their budget on veteran programs and activities — a third less than other organizations such as Fisher House and the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust who both spend more than 90 percent of their funds on charitable work.

The New York Times also reports that about 40 percent of the charity’s money is spent on organizational overhead, about $124 million in 2014 alone — the organization takes in about $300 million a year. The Wounded Warrior Project is, according to some, modeled after for-profit businesses and employs practices that are not common with other charities.

The Wounded Warrior Project responded to the CBS piece, demanding that they retract the report and accusing CBS of making “false statements.”

“We demand that CBS immediately correct the record, issue a retraction of the false statements, and issue an apology to the public and the tens of thousands of wounded veterans and their families who have been offended by these false statements,” said Ayla Tezel, executive vice president of communications for the Wounded Warrior Project. We expect your prompt attention to this urgent matter.”

See Also: Gun Bloggers Raise $4,000 for Honored  American Veterans Afield

This is not the first time the Wounded Warrior Project has been cast in a negative light. Last year the Daily Beast revealed that the charity sold donor information to pad their bottom line, and in the past the organization has tried to shut down other wounded veterans’ charities in competition with the Wounded Warrior Project.

Army Staff Sergeant Erick Millette spoke out against the Wounded Warrior Project to CBS News. “Their mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors, but what the public doesn’t see is how they spend their money,” he said.

Millette, who served in Iraq and is a decorated — and wounded — veteran, is an ex-Wounded Warrior project spokesman. “You’re using our injuries, our darkest days, our hardships, to make money. So you can have these big parties,” said Millette.

According to the report the charity spent $26 million on conferences in 2014 alone, about as much as they spend on their Combat Stress Recovery Program, one of their biggest projects. “Donors don’t want you to have a $2,500 bar tab. Donors don’t want you to fly every staff member once a year to some five-star resort and whoop it up and call it team building,” said Millette.

The Wounded Warrior Project is rejecting the claims that their spending was on non-charitable work. “CBS falsely reported our conference and meeting expenses” argued Tezel. “94 percent of the figure CBS reported as conference and meetings for staff was actually a program expense for warriors and their families to participate in services such as mental health programming.”

(Editor’s note: Having not had any experience working with the WWP, it’s not within our purview to make any judgements about the organization.  We’re just reporting what other news organizations are saying based on their investigations.   As for whether WWP is running an above board operation, we’ll let you weigh in and give us your thoughts and experiences.)

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

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  • Dan January 31, 2016, 4:14 pm

    We stopped supporting WW two years ago when they came out against wounded vets having access to firearms. As a veteran and retired police officer, I can say that no one needs access to a gun to defend him/herself from more than a disabled warrior; they often are not able to flee due to their injury/disability. They gave up their strength and agility fighting for my liberty. Their freedom should not be taken away and their lives put at risk when there is no one around to protect them.

  • Gary January 30, 2016, 5:47 pm


  • Mike c January 30, 2016, 4:48 pm

    Better wake up wwp….I will stop sending money in a heartbeat if you’re like the US government and wasting my money

  • Marcelino January 30, 2016, 11:07 am

    Now I understand why they didn’t support Donald Trump visit to South Carolina to raise money for WW.

  • E. Wood January 30, 2016, 10:02 am

    Their exec director Steve Nardizzi makes 475k per Charity Navigator. Ridiculous. They are one of the very lowest rated military charities. In addition they are covertly anti gun. I was involved in a shooting competition at a 1000+ member gun club where 100% of the intake went to them. About 2500.00. At one point they some department of wwp said they would not take our money. We worked it out but said we would not donate again.

  • Ronald Carl Dennis January 30, 2016, 3:26 am

    The Wounded Warrior organization is known to be both anti-gun & anti-knife. Accordingly, I’m anti-them!

  • Andrew N. January 30, 2016, 12:28 am

    I learned a long time ago (in the US Navy, dealing with the Combined Federal Campaign) to check the “Administrative” costs of any charity BEFORE I give them anything. By law, they have to post that information. Wounded Warrior is one of those wasteful organizations that are in it for money, not the cause they are pledging to support. I have never given them a cent for that reason. Another scam is the people calling for the local “Reserve Police Officers” organizations. They give a VERY small percentage of your donations to the cause, the rest goes to all the paid employees that are calling you, plus the execs at the “fund raising business” that is doing the calling.

  • Charlie January 29, 2016, 11:49 pm

    What I want to know is why we need these organizations at all? Did not our country send these people to fight? If we sent them, and they need help, we the people must get them the help required. Spend a dollar for war, then spend a dollar for veterans. I bet if the Congress and the Executive Branch had to use the VA for their medical needs, the VA would be fixed real quick. Lead us to war, then send your sons mister congressman. Do that , and I will follow, otherwise we stay at home. Take away the special privileges the law makers enjoy and institute term limits for Congress. No more than twelve years in any post, and no shifting to any other post until you have been out of government the same amount of time you served. Do not elect, or re-elect professional politicians, and take this country of the politicians, by the politicians, and for the politicians, and return it to the country of the people, by the people, and for the people. Eliminate riders on legislation, either the bill stands on its own, or does not pass. Come on America, stop voting for special privilege and vote for the good of the whole country. Do not let family empires rule this country any more. If you have not really worked for a living, and have been nothing but a bought politician all your adult life, please get a little shame and stop selling us down the river.

  • jib quinn January 29, 2016, 7:34 pm

    Never looked into them, but the incredible amount of money they spend on
    advertising has been a red flag since they first came on the scene!

  • WillB January 29, 2016, 7:33 pm

    When they can afford to take every one of their fund raisers on an all expenses paid vacation……that’s the MAIN reason they are in business, i.e. making money.

  • Onthe Wall January 29, 2016, 7:02 pm

    Shoot them all!

  • Dan Heiser January 29, 2016, 12:51 pm

    I stopped donating to WWP when I could not get them to stop wasting resources trying to get more money. Continual mailings to my house. I emailed and called them to get them to stop. They did not, so I changed my financial support to other veteran groups. I want the money to go to the veterans not to non productive advertising.

  • cpolesen January 29, 2016, 11:40 am

    America is the most generous country in the world, unfortunately the rats of the world know this. I rarely contribute to charities.

  • Loyd Garcia January 29, 2016, 10:43 am

    Just Google Wounded Warrior scam. This information has been out there for a couple of years. I have worked with the local chapter but refuse to send money to the national organization.

  • SPB January 29, 2016, 10:29 am

    As a disabled combat wounded veteran I feel this is our country’s responsibility to care for our service men and women. It makes me sick to see commercials that shows a disabled vet being wheeled out practically begging for money. When we enlisted everyone knew the consequences of that enlistment. You weren’t thinking about collecting VA disability compensation or private handouts that leaves others rich off your misfortunes. In this country there is always help available for those in need. This great country is why we all enlisted and gave our all in the first place. Wake up law enforcement and put the thieves away for good!!!!!

  • Francis Rice January 29, 2016, 9:26 am

    i don’t give nothing to no org.that don’t gives 90 to 100% back to the org.,vets ,children chop,mc donal and shriners

  • frank January 29, 2016, 9:10 am

    I have supported the WWP since its inception and truly believe in their mission. However, having organized and continuing to be involved in a 501c3 charity organization, transparency is paramount in providing donors comfort that their hard earned dollars are going for the intended purpose. If organizations are reluctant to “show their books” it sure makes one suspicious of excessive takes at the upper administration level. Not too often is there smoke without fire. In my opinion, IF WWP doesn’t want to take a big hit on this, they’d better demonstrate a lean budgeted upper management team. Thank you.

  • James Mytle January 29, 2016, 9:04 am

    Clearly they spend a lot on Ads to bring in donations. they made the $19 a month popular.

    I feel we should look at the total amount spent helping vets where numbers show the out spend disabled vets by a very large
    amount. If their 60% more than doubles the others 90% then who is doing more good ?
    You must spend money to make money.

  • Michael S. January 29, 2016, 8:52 am

    I’m a vet, wounded in ‘Nam in ’69. As you, editors, I also have no direct experience working with WWP. Thus I don’t feel qualified to comment on their use of donors’ funds. But I DO know about the lies that CBS has told over the years, lies by Walter Cronkite concerning our efforts in Vietnam, and lies about military and patriots in general for decades, and I know also how the NY Times twists their stories to suit their liberal viewpoints. So I lend very little credence to anything that the media has to say, especially CBS or the NYT. But what really pisses me off, is when some snot-nosed kid, who calls himself editor of a web-based publication, feels compelled to repeat stories about which he ADMITS to knowing NOTHING, Let CBS and NYT twist stories as they always have. They do just fine without your help. As for you, an editor’s note at the end of a story that alleges wrongdoing, yet purports to not “to make any judgments” is lazy at best and and makes YOU a liar at worst, because you HAVE made a judgment. In the future you would do well to stick to subjects on which you have taken the time to research and in which you have at least a modicum of knowledge.

    • Skip January 29, 2016, 10:04 am

      While I support your premise that passing on information that is at this point rumor is lazy journalism… however, it does open the discussion to more than your singular view and may put on track a program calling for transparency and honesty. IMHO worthy of opening those doors given the propensity of liars and cheaters and thieves in this day and age.

      • Michael S, January 29, 2016, 10:39 am

        I understand what you’re saying, and agree whole heartedly that there needs to be transparency and honesty, both in a charity’s use of funds, and in journalistic endeavors. I have donated to WWP, and actually a lot more than the $19/mo. When the allegations of waste came out several years ago, my wife and I were understandably concerned about the allegations, and after several weeks of correspondence with the WWP, decided that we would continue to support them. Still, it is not possible to know absolutely that the funds are expended as they should be, because, as you point out, there are a lot of frauds and charlatans out there. All one can do is to exercise due diligence, decide whom to believe, and hope and pray for the right outcome. WWP sent us what documentation we requested, and satisfied us to the point that we still contribute. We may be fools to believe them, but in the long run, we are doing what we believe to be right. I am determined to do my part to see that our currents young veterans are treated better than those of past wars.
        My whole point was the lack of due diligence on the part of the editor. He did nothing to actually add to the discussion.

  • Top January 29, 2016, 8:11 am

    One of their main organizers was at a night club in Las Vegas . He was trying to “out buy” the number of champagne bottles that a somewhat famous basketball player was buying . It was entertaining to observe the stupidity. I am not sure how much was spent but at 100$ per bottle i stopped counting at 25 . Maybe it was his own money though?

  • Sorcerer January 29, 2016, 7:39 am

    I would hope that the allegations are not true , These Warriors need all the help they can get . What they get now is not what is owed for their service and sacrifice . Shame to any program that abuses what is owed and there should be legal consequences .

  • AllenCSC January 29, 2016, 7:22 am

    I recall a decade or so back that similar faults were found with the management of The United Fund. Their donations suffered for years while reforms were instituted. Sounds like similar reforms are needed at WWP. Ads for charitable foundations should be required to prominently post the percentage of funds that are channeled to the mission as stated. I personally refuse to contribute to charities that use television spots with high profile spokespersons judging them to be deficient in funding the needs illustrated.

  • Rick January 29, 2016, 7:12 am

    There like all the other charity’s, the CEO’s and board members make huge salaries and very little of the money goes to the people. I don’t donate because of it.

    • OC January 29, 2016, 9:37 am

      Take a look at Disabled American Veterans, they are at 96% going to veterans.
      Fisher House is at 91% going to veterans.
      The CEO of WWP makes a six figure salary.


      • P Hunt January 29, 2016, 10:23 pm

        The CEOs for WWP make more than $300K annually. It’s absolutely disgraceful to make a substantial living off wounded warriors. I will never donate to the WWP charity.

  • Andrew January 29, 2016, 6:55 am

    WWP was one of the groups that said if Trump gave them money they’d return it. Guess they don’t need anymore funds for partying. Unfortunately it’s been my experience that most charities are scams that only help the people running the charities. The only charity I would feel confident giving to is the Salvation Army.

  • Chief January 29, 2016, 5:57 am

    What a shame . Bad karma is coming back to some people,

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