Disabled Veterans National Foundation
by M. Worden
I could not find a rating for Disabled Veterans National Foundation, Inc. Is this veterans charity providing valuable assistance to our nation's veterans?
Disabled Veterans National Foundation, Inc., describes itself as a veterans charity that is working "tirelessly every day to help ensure that the men and women who served our country are getting the proper services they are entitled to . . . (such as) veterans benefits, counseling, and direct care."
But it doesn't give us any idea how they're doing that. There is very little information on the web site other than a donation form and a few videos.
Disabled Veterans National Foundation was not listed by Charity Navigator or Charity Watch when we first wrote this report, but is now. (You can read the Charity Watch report here. Charity Navigator has issued a Donor Advisory, which you can read here.)
The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance reports that DVNF did not provide the requested documentation to permit an analysis of whether the organization meets BBB's 20 standards for charity accountability.
GuideStar reports that Disabled Veterans National Foundation was granted tax-exempt status by the IRS in 2008, so that may explain why the big charity watchdogs don't yet have a report about this group. (DVNF has now been around long enough that there are plenty of reviews about them, and they're not pretty.)
But that doesn't mean they're not pulling donations! GuideStar reports, based on IRS documents, that as of December 2008, DVNF had income of $7,784,935. Unfortunately, there are no details about how that money was spent, so we have e-mailed DVNF and asked them to provide us with their most recently filed Form 990 (tax return).
Once we receive their response, we will update this page, so please bookmark the page and check back in a few days.
Thank you for your interest in veterans charities.
June 8, 2010
Despite passage of more than a month, we never received a response from Disabled Veterans National Foundation, and we think we know why!
GuideStar.org has now posted DVNF's IRS Form 990 for the 2008 calendar year (their first year). We think it'll blow your socks off!
Disabled Veterans National Foundation lists its state of legal domicile as Louisiana, although the web site lists a Washington, DC, post office box to request financial documents, and the CPA who prepared the tax return lists a New York City address. It is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.
The tax return lists six officers, directors, and trustees, all female (perhaps all female veterans?). It indicates they each are unpaid volunteers, and each expends roughly 2 hours per week on DVNF business. That's a total of 12 hours per week devoted to this organization by all of them combined.Its Mission
, according to the IRS documents:
"Identify issues of concern to veterans and to work with likeminded organizations to address those concerns through programmatic and outreach activities; work to improve the quality of life for America's disabled veterans and women veterans."
Is that enough feel-good non-information gobbledy-gook for you? What exactly does it mean?
Hang onto your hat. Total revenue: $7,784,935
In calendar year 2008, the brand-spanking-new Disabled Veterans National Foundation managed to rake in a whopping $7,784,935 in donations
. That's an incredible amount of money for a brand-new, heretofore unheard-of organization, charitable or otherwise.
How did it do that? Take a look at Cheryle's comment below. This is one person reporting that from this one organization, she received, unsolicited, a tee shirt, a shopping bag, and a calculator and planner set. Those are some expensive goodies! How did a brand new organization afford them?
Simple. They hired a fundraising organization, which typically assumes the risk that the money they raise will be sufficient to pay their fees. How did that work out for DVNF? Take a look. You'll find it VERY interesting.Expenses:
Legal fees: $15,374
Information technology: $98,350
Donor Services: $1,000
Advertising and Promotion: $11,169,016Total Expenses: $14,773,062
But wait, you say, they only had $7,784,935 in income. That's right. They posted a net loss of $6,988,127
for the year.
Of those expenses, the following was allocated to "program expenses":
Donor Services: $1,000
Advertising and promotion: $3,909,155
Total Program Expenses: $5,130,673 (35% of total expenses)
And the allocation to "fundraising expenses":
Information technology: $98,350
Advertising and promotion: $7,259,861
Total Fundraising Expenses: $9,824,887 (65% of total expenses)
But when you take a closer look at those numbers and their allocation, you realize that not one dime actually went to provide services for any veterans!
It was ALL basically PR, except for the legal expenses to set them up (and that number is not too far out of line for what it would cost to have a reputable law firm properly set up a 501(c)(3), according to our experience).
How did DVNF explain their $5,130,673 in "program expenses"? They said it was used to "raise awareness of the concerns of veterans." In other words, PR (public relations).
Part VII, Section B requires them to list the five highest-compensated independent contractors who received more than $100,000. It lists Quadriga Art, Inc., of NYC as receiving $11,267,366 for "printing and related services." Quadriga is the same company that did such a bang-up job for National Veterans Foundation
But here's the part that will really make your blood boil:
Schedule G has more details about professional fundraising activities. It indicates the following:
Fundraiser: Quadriga Art, Inc.
Activity: Printing and Mail Services
Did fundraiser have custody or control of contributions? Yes
Gross receipts from activity: $7,784,936Amount paid to (or retained by) fundraiser: $15,450,171
Amount paid to (or retained by) charity: $-7,665,236
Unless DVNF's contract with Quadriga requires Quadriga to eat the loss, that means that DVNF started 2009 with more than $7.6 million of 2009's donations already mortgaged to Quadriga, almost as much as they raised in 2008.
This is BY FAR the most egregious example we've seen in all the veterans charities we've reviewed to date, and we urge you to help us get the word out to stop any further donations to this group.
You can do that by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on the links there to post this information on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Or you can just e-mail a link to your friends, and ask them to do the same.
In fact, we found it so unbelievable that we've uploaded the DVNF Form 990
for you to review yourself.
Shame on you, ladies, and if you're veterans, even more shame on you for fleecing Americans out of more than $7.7 million intended to assist other veterans, and not spending one dime of it to do so.
And if that $98,350 for "information technology" went to build your web site, YOU got fleeced! We could introduce you to a number of web designers who would have built you a site that looked just as good and actually ranked in the search engines for far less money.
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