CharityWatch is America's most independent and assertive
charity watchdog. Rather than merely repeat charities' self-reported finances using simplistic
or automated formulas, we delve deep to find the real story of how efficiently
charities use your donations to fund the programs you want to support. Founded in 1992 as
the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP), CharityWatch continues
to expose nonprofit abuses and advocate for your interests as a donor.
The extremely violent Syrian conflicts that began in March
2011 have claimed the lives of more than 140,000 people. The Syrian Medical Association estimates
that an additional 200,000 people have died from chronic illnesses due to lack of access to medicine
or adequate medical treatment. 60 percent of Syria's hospitals and medical centers have been severely
damaged or destroyed, and one third of the water treatment facilities have broken down. Access to
vaccines has plummeted, resulting in a rise of preventable deadly illnesses, including polio and
As many as 9.3 million Syrian people are in need of emergency assistance. As of early 2014, the
violence has displaced more than 6.5 million people within Syria. More than 2.5 million Syrians are
registered as refugees seeking assistance in neighboring countries - including Jordan, Lebanon, and
Turkey - and the total number of people fleeing Syria is much higher than that. Distribution of aid
within Syria is difficult, and the large number of refugees into neighboring countries has overwhelmed
social service providers.
CharityWatch announces its top-rated list of charities involved in efforts to provide emergency humanitarian relief
to the people of Syria.
Find out how you can help.
Large religious TV networks that repeatedly ask you for charitable donations are allowed to hide how they spend your
dollars. If you want to know if your donation is used to fund TV broadcasting or charitable aid, a tax-exempt religious broadcaster
does not have to tell you.
Thanks to court records from an employee lawsuit, it's been uncovered that Daystar, one of the largest religious TV broadcasters,
spent only about 5 percent of its donations on ministries or charitable aid that was not directly related to Daystar broadcast activities.
Hear CharityWatch president Daniel Borochoff's assessment of the situation on this
Pay at Nonprofit Hospitals Is it acceptable for the head of a nonprofit to earn a seven-figure salary? Upon
what criteria should a salary be based? A recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine reveals that a CEO at
a nonprofit hospital earns, on average, about $600,000 a year and the median salary of a CEO at a large
nonprofit urban hospital is over $1.66 million.
In the wake of any humanitarian disaster that hits the U.S.,
the American Red Cross (Red Cross) usually takes the lead in providing immediate and long-term
disaster relief services. The Red Cross, though, has not been immune from criticism related to how it
allocates the spending of donations contributed in response to disasters.
Thanks to an October 23, 2013 agreement with New York's Attorney General, the Red Cross will
give online donors clear options with respect to how their contributions will be used and provide
transparency about such uses. Read more.
Booted at Dishonored Veterans Charity
Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV), which earns
an F rating from CharityWatch, has been sued
by California's Attorney General. The AG shares CharityWatch's long held position
that HHV's accounting gimmicks inflate the reported amount of contributions
spent on program services to help veterans. As part of the settlement, officers and
directors named in the suit must resign and pay restitution.
CharityWatch has been critical of HHV for years, and puts the settlement agreement
in context with our article Leadership
Booted at Dishonored Veterans Charity. For more CharityWatch reporting on HHV, check out these past articles:
CharityWatch Discusses Executive Compensation at Susan G Komen Foundation
In this video CharityWatch
President Daniel Borochoff offers context regarding nonprofit executive compensation. Borochoff suggests factors donors might consider to
help determine whether executive compensation at a given charity is appropriate. (Video link will open in a new browser tab or window.)
Overhead Ratios are Essential for Informed Giving
GuideStar, Charity Navigator and BBB Wise Giving Alliance have
started a campaign called "The Overhead Myth" which asserts that focusing on the percentage
of a charity's budget spent on administrative and fundraising expenses—or overhead
ratios—"can do more damage than good." Overhead costs comprise all of a charity's
expenses which are not charitable program expenses. The Overhead Myth condemns the use of
charities' spending ratios as a measurement to evaluate nonprofit performance. CharityWatch
urges you not to be persuaded to ignore this essential metric for understanding how charitable
dollars are spent. Read more...
Fraudster's Identity Revealed
In April 2012, a fugitive using the alias
"Bobby Thompson" was arrested in Oregon & is now jailed in Ohio
facing charges of corruption, theft, and money laundering related
to a sham charity he used to steal millions of dollars in donations
intended to help veterans. On October 1, 2012, the US Marshalls
Office revealed the true identity of "Bobby Thompson" to be John
Donald Cody. Cody is a former military intelligence officer who
has been on the FBI's wanted list since 1987 on charges of fraud
The video above illustrates that some nonprofits enter into agreements
which direct most of donors' money to for-profit marketing companies
and leave only small amounts for the charities. In the video and related
CharityWatch President Daniel Borochoff explains why some charities go for these bad deals.
Slowly developing crises like droughts don't attract
the media attention or contributions that earthquakes and tsunamis
can, even when the number of people in need is greater. Find
out how you can help!
Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms recorded, has devastated the central Philippines, leaving
hundreds of thousands of people in need of humanitarian assistance.
CharityWatch announces its list of A and B rated charities involved in efforts to provide emergency shelter, clean water, food and medical assistance for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
Find out how you can help.
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has come under increasing fire for its ban
on gay scouts and scout leaders. Whichever policy position the BSA ultimately decides to
take, it is useful to know that a wide variety of youth programs are available to families
with differing views on these controversial issues. In order to help you select an organization
that aligns with your personal values, CharityWatch provides you with a guide to the
varying non-discrimination policies of several scouting & youth services groups.
F Rated Breast Cancer Charity Forced to Close
The F rated Coalition Against Breast Cancer (CABC) has been shut
down by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Though CABC claimed to use donated funds for
breast cancer research and prevention programming, less than .05% of donations actually funded breast cancer prevention or detection. Most of
the money that was raised went to a professional fundraiser. CharityWatch highlights significant terms of the settlement in a brief article: Coalition Against Breast Cancer
Dissolved by New York Attorney General's Office.
In response to the US Anti-Doping Agency's October 2012 report implicating Lance Armstrong at the center
of a doping scandal, CharityWatch President Daniel Borochoff called for Armstrong to step down from his prominent
position at Livestrong Foundation, the highly-efficient cancer charity he founded.
A week later, Armstrong announced that he would step down
from his role as chairman. Mr. Borochoff spoke to trust issues related to the charity's image being so closely tied to the persona
of its founder. Read more.
Charities Receive Attention for Overvaluing Donations
VSO earns an F rating from CharityWatch.
The group claims to have no fundraising costs on its audit and tax
form for fiscal 2010, yet raised over $5.6 million in contributions.
Despite what VSO reported on its financial documents, CharityWatch
believes that it incurred nearly $4 million in fundraising costs
that were reported as "On-the-job training programs" on its tax
form. VSO's "program" does not help unemployed veterans obtain useful
skills, such as computer programming, carpentry or nursing, to help
them to obtain gainful employment. But the "program" does help VSO
raise money for itself by turning veterans into street solicitors,
who are instructed to keep 30% of what they raise. CharityWatch
believes that the cost of hiring fundraisers should be reported
as a fundraising expense regardless of who is doing the fundraising.
CharityWatch is keeping CNN's investigative
reporters informed about veterans charities which spend millions
to enrich fundraisers, and not much to help veterans. Check out
this video and article
to learn about similarities between two F rated groups, the National
Veterans Foundation and the Disabled Veterans National Foundation.
What is the Breast
Cancer Society really doing to help cancer patients?
CharityWatch informs investigative reporters
on the Breast Cancer Society's skimpy program spending. Watch
the video below or read
this article to find out how the group uses in-kind donations
to appear efficient without spending much on charitable programs.
CharityWatch is calling for the IRS to start requiring
charities to shine light on their international grants. Under current
reporting rules nonprofits are allowed to conceal the organizational
names of their international grantees on their mandatory public
disclosure report, the IRS form 990. This omission is making it
too easy for charities to exaggerate their work and mislead the
American public. As a world humanitarian leader, it is essential
that the United States require its nonprofit international aid organizations
to be transparent and accountable. Read
our plea to the IRS.
Two months of heavy rain and severe flooding in Pakistan has devastated
the population, with a death toll surpassing 1,800 and more than
twelve million people in need of immediate assistance. Find
out how you can help.
CharityWatch announces its top-rated list of charities involved in efforts to provide relief to victims
of Superstorm Sandy, domestically and/or in the Caribbean. Donors should find out what specific roles a
charity has in the relief and recovery efforts before donating. When people hear about the tens of
billions of dollars in damages, they need to be aware that much of that will be paid for by government
and private insurance. The role of charity is to cover what these larger players don't.
Find out how you can help.
CharityWatch announces its Top-Rated list of charities currently offering
services to the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami, and
volcanic eruptions that struck in Indonesia. Find
out how you can help.
NPR's Talk of the Nation featured CharityWatch President
Daniel Borochoff discussing challenges in getting aid to victims
of Pakistan's flood.
Click this link to listen.
Mr. Borochoff was also interviewed on the radio program The World
for a segment on Haiti
versus Pakistan Aid Response, highlighting the enormous scale
of the Pakistan disaster, and the lack of sufficient aid money to
this interview CharityWatch Analyst Laurie Styron explains that
Defeat Diabetes Foundation receives an F rating for spending
more on fundraising than on charitable programs. Watch
CharityWatch Analyst Laurie Styron reveals the
high fundraising costs of F rated group American Association
of State Troopers. Watch
Analyst Laurie Styron speaks to Fox Tampa Bay's investigative news
team about unusual fundraising expenditures at F rated Kids Wish
this video clip, CharityWatch Analyst Laurie Styron informs Fox
Tampa Bay that the CharityWatch F rated group, Children's Charity
Fund, also known as A Child's Wish Foundation, has not
kept its promise to become a more efficient charity. Watch
CNBC, CharityWatch President Daniel Borochoff debunks the idea that
pledges by billionaires, such as Gates and Buffett, to give half
of their wealth to charity would somehow hurt the economy. Watch
Gulf Oil Spill Disaster
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion of April 20, 2010 has resulted
in the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Millions of gallons of
oil have polluted the Gulf of Mexico. Coastal ecosystems and the
fish, birds and people that depend on these formerly pristine areas
for their livelihoods have been seriously harmed. What
to consider before donating to help.
Daniel Borochoff, CharityWatch president, informed a national news
investigation revealing Feed the Children's false claims
related to Haiti relief. For more information on recent and past
controversies involving Feed the Children, read
Hurricane Relief Five years after
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated Gulf coast communities, Daniel
Borochoff marked the anniversary by calling attention to top-rated
charities still serving victims of those disasters.
Talk of the Nation featured CharityWatch President Daniel
Borochoff discussing Reliable
Ways to Donate Money to Haiti Effort. Click on the link to listen,
or read a transcript of the conversation.
On the African-American Public Radio Consortium's UpFront with
Tony Cox, Mr. Borochoff offers guidance for donating to Charities
for Haiti Relief. To listen, follow the link and click on the
first item in the radio player on the left side of the page.
Listen to two radio interviews featuring CharityWatch
President Daniel Borochoff. As a guest on NPR's Tell Me More,
Mr. Borochoff discusses Making
The Most Of Charitable Dollars. On the BBC's Business DailyCharities
Under Pressure Mr. Borochoff offers insight as to how the economic
downturn is impacting the work of charities.
CharityWatch President Daniel Borochoff discusses on national TV
the charity fallout from the Madoff Ponzi scheme and precautions
donors can take when considering donating to charities that may
be holding highly risky and even fraudulent investments. Watch
Help Provide Relief for the People of the Democratic Republic of
Renewed fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has left
over 1 million people displaced. With militiamen burning down some
of the temporary housing, many are going without food and shelter
as they attempt to avoid the worst areas of conflict. As the crisis
worsens, humanitarian organizations are stepping in to provide assistance
to the victims of this catastrophe. See the CharityWatch list of
Top-Rated organizations providing relief in the DRC to find
out how you can help.
Help with Sudan Refugee Relief. The growing
international attention to the crisis in Darfur has failed to alleviate
the large-scale violence. The janjaweed militias continue to terrorize
civilians and underfunded African Union troops have been unable to
maintain peace. Up to 3 million people have been displaced since the
fighting began in 2003.
F Rated Charities
Awarded Best in America Seal
Ubiquitous on charity web sites is a ribbon-style seal that in large
type reads "BEST IN AMERICA," features five stars across
the top edge, and indicates that the charity awarded the seal is
"certified by Independent Charities of America"
(ICA). Many donors may view such a seal as a reflection of how efficiently
a particular charity will use their donations, and assume that it
represents an independent endorsement of a charity from an outside
organization. While ICA may refer to its member charities as "Best
in America," some donors may be disappointed to learn that
ICA is funded by the very charities that use its seal, and that
ICA generally does not screen charities for financial efficiency.
Help Provide Relief for the People of Afghanistan
Thirty years of war have left Afghanistan one of the least developed
and most dangerous countries in the world, and yet a recent study
shows that some 40 percent of reconstruction and relief assistance
provided since 2001 has been returned to donor countries in the
form of corporate profits and consultant salaries. See the CharityWatch
list of Top-Rated charities providing relief in Afghanistan to find
out how you can help.