Coalition to Support America's Heroes

by E.M. Abernathy
(Pleasanton, Ca.)

Why did Coalition to Support America's Heroes (actually Coalition to Salute America's Heroes) receive an F? Is it a scam? Having read the overall reason, it begs the question if one should or should not donate to this cause.

I just received a solicitation of monies to allow a disabled veteran to take his wife out for a Mother's Day Dinner, which sounds like a good thing.

We just received the same solicitation from the organization, whose name is actually Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes (CSAH). Whoever is employed to write their solicitation letters definitely knows how to tug at America's heartstrings. Before major holidays, they come out with a sob story that makes you want to open up your wallet and send them whatever you can – until you learn more.

Don't be lured in by their talented (and probably well-paid) copywriter, because not much of the money you send them actually goes to help veterans or their families. Much of it goes to questionable expenditures that no donor would approve, if they only knew.

The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes (CSAH) was founded in 2004 by San Diego real estate developer Roger Chapin, who has been under fire from various sources for many years. Chapin, a veteran of the Army Finance Corps, has been called a "charity entrepreneur," due to his 40-year history of running ostensibly charitable organizations.

The stated purpose of the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes is "to provide support to wounded troops, veterans, and their families."

Chapin’s other veterans charity is Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV), which provides "therapeutic" arts and crafts kits to hospitalized veterans. I can think of a LOT of things a hospitalized veteran might need or want more than an "arts and crafts kit." Can't you?

In December of 2007, the American Institute of Philanthropy's Daniel Borochoff testified before Congress about veterans charities. Borochoff called Chapin "very good at setting up charities that don't do so much charitable, but bring in lots, lots of money."

A Washington Post review of the tax return for HHV at that time indicated that Chapin, 75, the charity's president, received $426,434 in salary and benefits. His wife, Elizabeth, 73, received $113,623 in salary and benefits as "newsletter editor," according to the Post.

The AIP report contained these additional statements about HHV/CSAH:

"A good example of questionable in-kind items flowing through the financial statements of veterans charities is the $18,750,000 of ‘phone cards’ that Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV) in fiscal 2006 received and passed through to its related entity, Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes (CSAH).

"These 'phone cards,' which were distributed to overseas military personnel by CSAH, were not for soldiers to call home to their family but rather to make free calls for sports scores with ads provided by a company called EZ Scores.

"HHV and CSAH, who share the same president and founder, each counted $18,750,000 of the sports score cards as a contribution and program expense in their respective fiscal 2006 financial statements.(HHV received the cards as a donation, then "donated" them to CSAH, who distributed them.) These sports score cards and $2 million in donated public service airtime accounted for 85 percent of CSAH’s total program expenses reported in its 2006 financial statements."

There is now some question about whether those cards were ever distributed at all. The USO in Washington, DC, was listed as a recipient of a substantial number of the cards. The USO said it never actually received the cards. CSAH has filed an amended tax return and acknowledged that there is some question about the cards, which it is still investigating.

The New York Times wrote of "Roger Chapin and his fishy charities for veterans" in February 2008:

"They have lavished millions of donated dollars on administrative expenses, salaries, and perks while sending only a relative trickle to charitable services that sound highly dubious, like sending overseas troops a shipment of 1.5 million telephone cards that could be used only to call for sports scores, not to talk to family members."

Forbes magazine reported in January of 2008:

"San Diego 'nonprofit entrepreneur' Roger Chapin admitted to a congressional panel . . . that one of his veterans charities reimbursed him $43,225 for a forfeited condo-purchase down payment (what?!), loaned $135,000 to help a longtime director finance a divorce settlement (you've got to be kidding!), and paid $17,000 (a year) for a country club membership."

How many of you would donate money to a veterans charity (or any other charity) to be used for those purposes? Neither would I.

These gems were revealed in Chapin's testimony before the House of Representatives' Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which investigated fundraising practices of various veterans charities. When Chapin declined an invitation to appear voluntarily, he was subpoenaed to appear before the committee.

Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) asked Chapin what would happen if his charities told donors how their donations were spent.

"We’d all be out of business," Chapin said. "Nobody would donate."

From 2004 to 2006, only 25% of the $168 million raised by the two charities (CSAH and HHV) actually went to veterans. The rest was spent on direct-mail fundraising, administrative costs, and 'other expenses' (including the eye-openers above).

Among other "questionable items" reported by Forbes:

"In 2001, $500,000 donated to HHV ended up going to other Chapin nonprofits focusing on cancer, Alzheimer's disease and drug-free youth."

While those are worthy causes, that money was given by donors to help wounded veterans!


"HHV loaned $1 million to the direct-mail company of Richard Viguerie, . . . responsible for much of Chapin's direct mail. Both Chapin and Viguerie said that Viguerie couldn't get a loan from commercial lenders, and that it was later repaid."

So? That is another million intended for veterans that went elsewhere.

And here's a jaw-dropper: "Chapin . . . paid retired General Tommy Franks a one-shot $100,000 and another retired general, Arthur F. (Chip) Diehl, $5,000 a month for use of their names in direct-mail pitches. . . . Franks later withdrew permission to use his name . . . ."

Are you kidding me?! Those two generals should have had enough sense to realize that was just wrong. I'm appalled at their lapse in judgment.

Another very sad commentary: "Over the objection of his staff, Chapin authorized the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes Foundation to pay $250 to $500 to injured vets for use of their name and case history in future fund raising. An affidavit put on the record from coalition employee Stephanie D. Lepore quoted Chapin as saying, 'Not having these pictures and stories is costing us hundreds of thousands of dollars.' Chapin testified he wasn't sure any money was so paid."

So not only are Chapin and the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes NOT using your money to help the veterans you intend to help, they're actually exploiting their stories for the paltry sum of $250 - 500, in order to get more and more donations, money that also won't go to help veterans.

Henry Waxman told Chapin, "It's unethical, it's wrong, it's really a fraud against Americans who ... give you their hard-earned dollars."

We couldn't agree more. Instead of the fabulous retirement package Chapin created for himself, we think he should be housed at taxpayer expense, provided three-square and closely supervised, as our guest at Fort Leavenworth.

Chapin's pension deal with HHV will pay him 75% of the average of his three highest consecutive years of compensation after he retires. That compensation package exceeds half a million dollars a year. Wonder how much his other "charities" pay him?

Despite all of this, Chapin's newest "charity" was granted tax-exempt status by the IRS in 2008. The Make America Safe Foundation lists its headquarters as Chapin's San Diego home.

Make sure you investigate before giving to any charity.

There are a number of reputable veterans charities that do great work to help our veterans. Among them, we recommend:

Fisher House Foundation
National Military Family Association
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund

AIP also gives top ratings to:

Armed Services YMCA of the USA
Homes for Our Troops
Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund
Operation Homefront (national organization)

We have repeatedly received CSAH solicitations via World Net Daily's mailing list (for which WND is paid by CSAH). We have corresponded with WND editor and publisher Joseph Farah, calling to his attention the dismal record of CSAH. Mr. Farah has assured us that WND would accept no further advertising from CSAH.

We need to stop the flow of money into CSAH and HHV. Help us spread the word by using the buttons at the bottom of the page to share this article.

Comments for Coalition to Support America's Heroes

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Nov 13, 2015
Stay Clear!
by: Anonymous

The current CEO was the Treasurer when Chapin was leading the organization.

Read the 990's. See how the salaries have increased, yet donations have decreased.

Support another charity. Maybe CNN will do a follow up on HHV's "sister organization".

Oct 21, 2015
Old News
by: Wounded Troop

The organization as it existed under Chapin is completely different today. Chapin was kicked and and died many years ago. The organization today is one of the best vet supporters out there!

Wounded Troop, I know that's their mantra today, and it's true that Chapin is dead. That doesn't automatically mean everything is wonderful now.

I was asked a couple of years ago to re-review the organization based on the premise that Chapin was gone and things were really different there now.

When I looked at the then-current tax return, I had some concerns, so I e-mailed the person who asked me to re-review them (who was doing consulting work for them at the time) for answers. I never received a response, which was interesting, because he wrote me several times about re-doing their review.

I didn't find enough difference to justify the time it would take to write about the new management group, so I didn't.

I still would not recommend them.

Aug 13, 2015
by: Andy

I have been giving to CSAH for some time now and Wounded Warriors as well. No more!!

Reading this article made me sick to my stomach. That someone could take such advantage of givers who truly care for our military who fight to keep us free and sacrifice so much in those endeavors.

CSAH Chairman should be publicly Caned!! As should the General who sold his soul for $100K. This is despicable but mostly very sad. These people would eat their own young to get rich.

Andy, thank you for your generosity on behalf of our veterans. Please see a list of some charities we recommend here: Honorable Veterans Charities.

Jul 24, 2015
Legalized Thievery
by: Robert E Frederick

I am a Marine veteran of WWII and the Korean War
(Fortunately I saw no combat) but my admiration for those who fought for us is unbounded.

I am disgusted and sickened by the thieves who profit at the expense of people who want to help our injured veterans.

I am appalled at the famous dupes who allow their names to be listed as supporter of this fraud. I would welcome the opportunity to spit in their faces, and would cheerfully pay any fine I might be charged.

Words cannot adequately express my anger at these parasites.

Robert, please accept our gratitude for your service, and thank you for joining our conversation.

May 01, 2015
by: Anonymous

As of 02/2015, the Coalition does not meet the bbb standards in 3 major areas: Budget Plan, Board Oversight and has not provided an Annual Report.

Apr 02, 2015
What's Not To Like?
by: Anonymous

They send me a dollar bill in their mailings every few months.

Couple months, that's a cup of Starbuck's finest....

I hope they keep me on their mailing list -)

Mar 15, 2015
scam artists
by: Anonymous

I am so sick of these blood suckers draining good peoples pockets to finance their own agenda. They should be put in jail until they rot.

Sep 12, 2014
Any New News that is Good?
by: Anonymous

I am tempted to send a small donation in hopes that the friend of the former CEO has changed his black and white stripes for the Stars and Stripes...of red white and blue...

If they have learned their lesson, it is sad to deprive the heroes the honor of the $ they deserve...if the corruption is gone.

Anon, I have done a preliminary review of CSAH's most recent tax return, but am awaiting answers from them with regard to some of the entries. I still see far too many unexplained expenses, which makes me wonder what they're hiding. So I've asked for clarification, but have not yet received a response. Overall, I'm not impressed.

I would recommend that you find another veterans charity to donate to. There are many that are more efficient at helping vets with their money. You can find some we recommend here: Honorable Veterans Charities.

Sep 12, 2014
Thank You
by: Anonymous

I appreciate your detailed account of the salaries paid the big shots in this operation...I cant understand how this can be allowed to continue. Unless the taxes they pay goes back into the pot for the vets...

We have a present govt that is totally screwed up, trying the spreading the wealth and leveling the playing field with everyone except their own high paid stooges..And most major generals probably never saw action but did the ordering of others from their safe havens of security.

I am soo sorry but I too will not send to this organization.

Today,I got a request from M.G. Singlaub. It appears that he hasn't been mentioned as a major player for more than a year...

As mentioned in the previous response, Major General Singlaub is 93 years old in 2014, and I seriously doubt that he's much of a "major player" any more, if in fact he ever was.

Sep 12, 2014
Who is Major General John Singlaub?
by: Anonymous

It seems that you have not included M.J. Singlaub's name in your description of Salute to Amerrica's Heroes...I got my request with his name on it..

And you are nuts...Thrice I have entered the right spelling for each of the words and you continue to say that the wong wod haz bin entrd...


Sorry, Spambot, I don't know what the problem is. I received your submission all three times. The anti-spam program uses cookies, so if you have your computer set to not accept cookies, that can cause it not to recognize that you've entered the correct word.

Now, on to your question. According to Wikipedia, Major General John K. Singlaub (born in 1921), is a highly-decorated former OSS officer, a retired U.S. Army Major General, and a founding member of the CIA. His military service spans 34 years, from 1943 to 1977.

He fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. While chief of staff of U.S. forces in South Korea in 1977, he publicly criticized President Carter's decision to withdraw US troops from the Korean peninsula, and, as a result, was relieved of duty by Carter for overstepping his bounds and failing to respect the President's authority as Commander-in-Chief.

If you'd like more details of his career, you can just type "Major General Singlaub" into a Google search box, and you'll get lots of information about him.

He's 93 years old in 2014, and I have an idea he would be horrified to realize what CSAH is doing with the use of his name. My guess is that the Major General failed to do his due diligence to check out CSAH's track record before authorizing the use of his name. (Odd for a founding member of the CIA, don't you think.) Or perhaps they offered him an attractive amount of cash for the use of his name. It's impossible to know.

Aug 11, 2014
New management???
by: Veteran60

The current President of the Coalition was a friend of Chapin, and the Treasurer until appointed by Chapin to fill his shoes once the heat was turned up.

The current President sided with Chapin when other board members attempted to throw Chapin out... voting to have them removed instead.

You can say what you want, but this "new" leader can't change his old stripes.

Stay clear, much better groups to support! Watch for a new book about this charity and ALL the players old and new.

Aug 06, 2014
Smells Kinda Fishy!
by: John Penic Jr.

The whole thing sounded kinda fishy to me.

Just had to look it up for myself.

I know of several organizations who need our support and concern.

May 18, 2014
Follow Up Report 2014??
by: Retired Service Member

Under new CEO David Walker, they have turned the corner and headed in a positive direction, as I have personally witnessed CSAH help 1000's of Veterans in need.

I would be interested in an independent follow up report on CSAH.
It would have been very easy to assume a new organizational name or identity. Mr. Walker quoted to me; "Why, we have nothing to hide," "the past is the past, we can't change the reports," and "I can't answer for Mr. Chapin."

Let's see if CSAH have improved? Or better yet, let's open an independent investigation on our trusted Government and Veterans Affairs.

Jan 23, 2014
Charitable? For Whom?
by: Carl Hevert

Like at least two other "charities" on which I have reviewed available financial data, I was very disappointed to learn how donations are spent.

Thanks to the internet, by investing a few minutes to check this one out, I will not give my hard-earned money to an organization that gives such a low percentage of donations to the people that I would want to help.

Jan 16, 2014
Where is the IRS?
by: Anonymous

What is the IRS doing about this situation?

Maybe they are too busy screwing the individual taxpayer!!!!pebble

Oct 16, 2013
Get Up To Date
by: Anonymous

The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes is NOT what it used to be. The founder (Roger Chapin), was convicted and replaced and now has passed away.

There is new management and all of their financials and approaches are on their website. They are doing great things, please before you write this group off, take another look.

Thank you.

Anon, thank you for letting us know there are changes being made at CSAH (I'm surprised one of them wasn't changing the name because of the bad press associated with the old one). We will try to update our review soon.

Oct 14, 2013
Borderline Scam
by: Perry Eisenhower

Thanks to Charity Navigator I did not donate to this questionable organization.

According to CN, less than a quarter of the total revenue for FY 2011 ($16,556,845), was used for program expenses. Roger Chapin's compensation was $362,500.

Aug 31, 2013
Stopped Supporting
by: Anonymous

After supporting CSAH, I will no longer do so.

Chapin should be listed as an "American Greed" person!

Aug 16, 2012
by: Susan Maurer



Oct 24, 2011
Who IS honest?
by: Anonymous

Any suggestions for an honest charity to help vets / their families?

Anon, see our list of highly-rated, honorable veterans charities.

Sep 13, 2011
Retired Military Officers newest hi-paid "ho's"
by: Helen Cooper

My dad, an Army veteran of the Korean "conflict" and WWII received a solicitation from Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub (U.S.Army, retired) to send money for a Thanksgiving "Thank You" Meal Project.

Pop wanted me to send a check right then but I begged off, wanting to check it out. And I was correct about the stench coming from the propaganda of the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes. Bunch of "ho's" looking to cash in.

Don't go there! Donate locally so that you will know where your money goes.

Signed, Daddy's little girl with a suspicious mind

Aug 22, 2011
Fraud ???
by: Dennis Oakley

Can not understand how this is allowed to go on in USA!! I was about to send them some money!

How can this not be fraud ?

Apr 11, 2011
by: Cliff

Thanks for the info on the CSAH!

No longer will I be tempted to send them any of my fixed income!

Apr 01, 2011
Stop the Mailings from CSAH
by: Nancy

Their incessant mail solicitations are invading my privacy, and I need to know how to stop them.

When I call the contact phone numbers, there is never a human to talk to, and no option to leave a message regarding donor issues.

I've sent repeated written requests to remove our name from the list, but they still keep coming!

Is there an agency that I can contact to get these despicable people out of my mailbox?

Nancy, you may want to see our page on How to Get Removed from Charity Mailing Lists.

Although you've made several written requests, if you didn't include the code that would let them know which mailing list your name is on, they may not be able to remove it if they don't own the mailing list (it was "rented").

See the detailed instructions on that page, and try again. If the solicitations continue after that, you may want to file a complaint with the office in your state that regulates charity solicitations. In many states, that's the state's Attorney General, but check to see who's in charge in your state.

Good luck!

Mar 18, 2011
thank you
by: Anonymous

Thank you for the information. I am happy to help our military, but this is terrible.

I agree with the previous comments that these people should be in jail for fraud.

Mar 09, 2011
by: Sgt. Rusty

Investigated by Congress? Why wasn't Chapin charged with "conspiricy to defraud"?

Chapin is just another Bernie Madoff, except he's hiding under the cloak of "helping veterans" while helping himself to the charitable contributions provided by the unsuspecting public.

What's the difference? Has some smart attorney insulated him from prosecution by taking advantage of the "Congressional approval" aspects of the Charities Act?

As said previously, Chapin should spend the rest of his avaricious life sitting behind bars and those like him should enjoy the same justice.

Dec 19, 2010
John Singlelaub
by: Anonymous

Major General John Singlaub, who they claim is actively involved in helping them DIED in 1977. I suspect the Major General would love to have a little time one on one with the leaders of this tawdry organization. CSAH is absolutely shameless and shows how bad some people truly are.

We think we found the source of your confusion. Wikipedia reports that Major General Singlaub served until 1977. The General's official site, however, indicates that he retired in June 1978.

We just wonder if he did any research about this organization prior to allowing them to use his name.

Dec 03, 2010
Clarify name of this charity, please
by: Anonymous

On another site and in your review of the
vets charity the name of Coalition to SUPPORT
America's Heroes is used, as is the name the
Coalition to SALUTE America's Heroes. The other site listings seem to indicate that they are two separate organizations. PLEASE CLARIFY.

Thank you so much for pointing out our error! The reader who asked about it used Coalition to Support America's Heroes, and we just didn't catch it. I've gone back and corrected the article, although I did not change its title, because doing so would result in broken links from any page that links to it. We appreciate your calling it to our attention.

Sep 23, 2010
Stay away from CSAH and HHV!
by: Anonymous

After making a donation to CSAH (Major General John Singlaub), I investigated them, and immediately contacted them to take my name off any and all lists that they may have.....

I still, 2 years later, receive constant requests for more money....

I used to send the $1 bill back, but no more....

I'll take their money and give it to The Wounded Warrior Foundation and Fisher House.

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