WWL>Topics>>6-18-14 1pm 50 Worst Charities

6-18-14 1pm 50 Worst Charities

Jun 18, 2014|

Every charity has salary, overhead and fund-raising costs but some spend little to NOTHING on charity endeavors. These are the worst of the worst and after a year of investigation, the Tampa Bay Times along with the Center for Investigative Reporting and CNN have put out a list of America’s 50 worst charities. When you give to a charity, do stop to consider how much of that donation will go to supporting the cause? In the case of the worst charity on the list, Kids Wish, less than 3 cents of every dollar donated goes to helping kids.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Happy Wednesday everybody. You can only three hours I know I'm very excited about them. Our first is going to be without question one of the most interesting investigations. I've heard in the long time. And that is the fifteenth worst charities in America done by an incredible group that spent the whole year on it and you're gonna wanna hear this. Our second program. Unbelievable to a two -- Scientists doctors are doing phenomenal research in something that is so applicable sadly -- -- area and it is. Is the violence -- stress and chaos in the home and in our community. Impacting. Essentially the lives of babies who were born. Biologically. We know that a -- psychologically. They are affected but what there were search may be showing is that from birth. And that first year. That violence etc. can impact. The life of a child so stay with us for that one and then you're going to end up with rough field going 98 was present at the match -- crime commission. Is going to come in and are going to be talking about when everybody's talking about witches the police. Deciding along with civil service to change. Allowing people who have had a drug issue in the long in the past. To be eligible to be a candidate for police officer so I think will be very interesting. But we are going to begin -- When you donate money to charity you probably assume the majority of each dollar you give goes to that -- -- And in most cases that is the case but there are many charities out there that are pretty much in the business. Just to raise money. Giving pennies on the dollar to the com. The senate or investigative reporting and the newspaper the Tampa Bay times did a monumental. Investigative report. On the fifty worst charities. Kendall Taggart a reporter with the center for investigative reporting. Is our guest today to tell us what they found and later we're going to be joined by some local charities who will have some strong input into this discussion. But let's begin with Kendall first of all thank you so much for being with -- I have to tell you this this was -- opening. Not that I didn't think things like this existed I I guess I was shocked by the extent. Of which it existed the millions and millions of dollars raised and then just a pittance going to the charity if at all. Yeah that's what really surprised at the violent means. Started researching it split how how long -- -- operating Q and how much money had been squandered and spent on things that they had nothing to do with the cot that they were claiming helped like terminally ill children. People suffering from cancer. The number one -- kinda wanna jump to the chase here. The number one was called kids wish network. Tell us about that how much money they raised and how much they actually gave. Two kids wish. Sure it -- network has been operating for many years from Florida and their mission is to help terminally ill children and grant green and wishes. Ranging from kids to Disney were around Q anything else that count my dream match. And they've great credit that they had received -- 110 million dollars over the last decade that was donated -- way. People like you're listeners heard the children back all of that Cuba for profit -- company. And on top of that part practice on Wednesday evening which current account activity sometimes hear from saint. That additional indictment directly to the charities around there he ran that consulting firm that was doing work for the charity. At the end of the day army three cents at every died it was going directly helping kids. And they've been in business how long. They do business there I believe over twenty years. And every -- -- mean act -- a lot like a cat and other -- organization can't make a list. Yeah everyone present they electric concept -- and a neighbor -- technical and change their names to English. Did anyone ever at a and challenge what they were doing. There have certainly been frustrated owners. And news reports I think -- Atlanta beginning. But in terms of actually being stopped by. Regulators now they aren't an investigation town. Okay well let's go to another one the second one was the cancer fund of America. Yeah that's that an interesting nonprofit that I'll have been around for many years that founders actually started working pretty American to enter society and broke Iraq. I think it was back in 1991 -- and it times Mary. Saying that he intended to repeat attack on everything -- but he stopped and the other organizations. But at the end of the decade means -- received my 89 dollars and spent a believer in 2% content directly helping people with cancer. The part of that group cheered at camp securities that are on -- that one family that Reynolds had I had different insecurities ala pat admire. Way operating. I guess it's just. It's startling in the sense that. You know they are investigated perhaps there -- been news stories on them and yet people continue to give. Yeah I think that's -- -- -- unfortunate -- that to heart that the charities have become many very good team and names. Both libel -- Condit. There are indications that he may have heard that before he go when he gets on crying baby in the middle of dinner. He may not realize that you're donating to groups that that's not actually reputable organization. I wanna jump over to the one that it is based in New Orleans the breast cancer relief fund. And I had never heard of this but to have that doesn't mean anything it's been around awhile. Yet -- it started by add a guy named Donald harbor and he had been accused by the -- -- many years ago. -- Q Matt Steve hit on -- What in that inning knowing that adding that it needs to carry -- can get relief fund and then immediately and hired the same professional operator. -- -- packet delay and it now run by his brother and sister. Our baby -- with a larger organization that's not based in north island. But entity they have. You know remind members to that we can -- and about 64 million dollars reed army about 2% went directly cute how people are camping. Is the common thread among all of these. These aggressive telemarketers. Yet that was our spoke -- we started looking at nonprofit universe and bear you know over a million. Non profit at -- so. We have to figure a way that we had Downey you know and take out of their work that actors that there leapt consistently taking advantage of people's generosity. And one red -- that we heard about from regulators and for a charity Blackstone Group. Where at least for profit. Marketers and direct mail company stolen -- went about identifying -- back -- really dance. Direct -- that we eased. And so again tell me he's spent a year on this which is in the world of journalism as a gift. -- it really is but which obviously did it right how did you began. We started in the summer that state regulatory opposite where they capture information about how much security. Have to pass from our pain to have these outside companies and I would add that the that the mom's pregnant and then on top -- one -- only 4% charity correctly. He used these kind of companies to raise money can get very expensive way of getting it. And fairly quietly eating through databases pen and paper documents and pulling together as many years market information advocate fine. It really try and I guess I pattern my techniques -- you're looking at charities that technique in high cops on everything no way of life. -- on contemporary yourself. Let me ask some of these charities are legit and that this is just the way they chose to raise money. I heard that if they got a little money was more than they had before. He played a lot of net groups that we talked to and -- kind of split. What people who started out it would. Aspirations. They wanted to see exactly how -- -- -- -- cleaner our friend who suffered from cancer. But -- -- -- raising money. And they got. Locked into one of these contacts where I come market after taking. Eighty or ninety cents for every dollar raised the department there relaxed -- like you're saying is more than before. And so one way these are legitimate telemarketing companies Simmons is a for profit company and you're so. There's no way of shutting them down because they're just doing business. I agree that that is true although one -- One of the things that telemarketers cannot view is lie to people in their effort to raise money funds. And a lot of people they were hearing it on the intense sense of what they're -- kids. He can make it said that -- at the captain helping it wouldn't. A lot of phone -- it hurt any telemarketing companies really trying to hide that fact. It's so little and go to the current. And they aggregate tactic and actions in monkeys that about 38 state back together. To view one marketing confirmed because they record it on crop I think that they -- repeated the -- and potential donors about how much of that money was gonna help. And they did shut them down. Well sort of it was it was a case where and he sat there. The company effectively and they -- 200000 -- -- But that organization would bring in -- and -- died the year. And within a year and they had that it happened near the top marketing company under a different name and that and still working with many of the same -- client today. Stay with us everyone we're gonna continue our conversation with Kendall Taggart who is a reporter with the center for investigative reporting. Who did this phenomenal report on the fifteenth worst charities in America. And we're going to be joined by some of the best charities America stay with us we'll be right back on Angela on WW well. Well the title of the investigation was America's worst charities it was put together by. The center for investigative reporting and also the Tampa Bay times and newspapers spent a year on it. Looking at. All of the millions if not billions of dollars raised in the last decade. And actually how much of that money went to the charities and not to the people who were raising money. Kendall tiger to a reporter with that team has been our guest we appreciate you always spending your time with this because it is. It's just it's just very very interesting and we need to know about it. I'm curious what you thought were some of the most egregious. Things that you found. I think. One of the things that was -- fresh eating and can really expect electric on -- -- Howell little transparency there isn't sector. Half of that carry that we can't do it on silent and for each of these -- -- charities to meet content and -- and letters and -- -- didn't answer any questions. And it seems like for organization that's. That receiving tactic that -- ten and supposed to be helping people should really have much more open door policy different public. That was the ticket pricing for a I think that the Bryant thank -- and -- -- Adam. But -- but we got into their carry children to college police are charities that refused to open the doors to opposite. And so it was definitely not act. Not a crime and that was looking for any kind of found my comment. Well we are now joined by Michael Williamson who -- the president and CEO of the united way of southeast Louisiana. And Cynthia Albert who's the vice president of the Better Business Bureau. And I appreciate both of you joining us as well you'd read these reports and you. You kind of live the life what you're doing it right so I just want -- reaction when you hear something like this. Well -- thanks Angela thanks ravenous interestingly enough I just left the finance committee meeting where we're talking about their controlling costs and keeping. Expenses down we put more money to missions sorrow. In these kind of new situations are very disturbing Isp because that put a cloud over the great organizations of her great work. Tom I think it's also kind of a call for us to -- uncover. You know what we do is an organization. And an. -- how they're gonna place their philanthropy so it's disturbing and sad you know arguments in the word we're off Mike Iraq agreed. -- agree is kind of taken over and some of these places but I can tell you here in southeast Louisiana. Are you know in a way you know. Reid doesn't end the conversation. It's all about service above self and as in my you know way is not as a staff as volunteers are driving these conversations for us. And and you all are very open and and I do have to bring up that years ago there wasn't an issue with united -- nationally had nothing to do with locally and people will remember that. But the the important thing is is that you do have a public board who -- looking at you all the time. Shore and you know actually recall that year the year of the great unpleasantness. I'm definitely able -- -- many folks in our system but. But it was also call for everybody -- -- -- looked inside and make sure that we have all levels of transparency and accountability I think now we're in southeast resilient and has a model. -- for that you're right you know we have a board we have -- -- finance committee that overlooks you know this work for us and overlooks our finances. -- how standards both nationally about our our national organization and also tomorrow important volunteers. The percentage of what does it cost for you to raise the funds that you were so we we -- about seventeen point 3%. Roughly did changes year to year that she's in the -- -- -- 17%. That covers our fundraising. Marketing and administration. So of the campaign every year about 17% goes to. Their paper you know our building and -- -- cost some benefits from those kind of things but down. Here's some incidents and -- resource -- used actually raised that the funds -- and we do have a portion of our budget the supports kind of programming -- -- -- there where the rubber meets the road but. When comparing that it counterparts that may -- that maybe not soon as well you know a group are very proud of that number. And the agencies that you are the umbrella group for. How do you select them and to know that they are legit. There is less a great question you know when folks it does so much information out there about you know don't need and and what people should give to the nice thing about you know a way as when you give to united way and so you're -- and designate a particular you know cause or issue or an agency. You are volunteers and our staff vet that. There we look at -- -- and as we look at their financial. Reports they're statements eccentric. We try to make sure that they're. Is equally transparent and accountable as we are so lots of lots of work goes in the making sure that's done right well. So as a donor you don't have to do it and -- can speak for myself as a Boehner I'm so busy doing my job day today and and raise my children. To have an organization like to now and can help me target my giving away this can be efficiently effectively use is very very. I want to get to our caller Jake is I think it brings up a very good point -- -- Not a problem. Which was about twenty years ago for an -- and -- The pro sport shop locally there at all they collected for -- preacher. All reputable charity which built these cherries are -- very small percentage of what they actually collect it. All of that and get by name that the charities are wrapping up. Object portable was the fraternal order -- police should. They got about -- Five percent to what these people elected the next one waters. Ball. Believed it was the humane society of America -- -- for sure but -- ridiculous you know it will activism. And I think they've received two or 3% of what collected in a third was the Vietnam veterans of America and people 1% of what these elected. Child think you know the practical charities that are out there like you got the united way in the American Q a just society in America are charged originally would. -- volunteers do their work. You can always spiritual web site in detonate correctly to a charity execute it give the money somebody over RO -- can achieve its epic. Very little reaching organization. And Cynthia Albert with the better business they are shaking her head -- your great thank you for calling. That is a great statement today. And you know I always say. -- with trust and you can do that by checking with -- BBB wise giving alliance. And this was set up actually too. Actually to assist donors in two knowing more about the chaired. But 'cause there's so many different charities and scandals said that don't disclose any information. Out of the list that she provide about a fifty check the mall 27. Did not disclose any information at all to the wise giving. To -- reviewed and there were pulled within review. Three the standards did not meet at all. And we didn't have any information. On some of them whatsoever. So the thing I think the first thing to do is to check. Wins give -- work it's very easy to get in there. And it'll it'll -- -- alpha bitch you just click on the alphabet the first letter of the organization. And you can go through any number in just a few minutes so that's very important. We're gonna have to go to the newsroom but we're gonna pick it up there but what can do. And -- Kendall learned from all of this as well stay with this will be right back I'm Angela on the that you well while our guest has been. Kendall attackers I'm sorry who is with the a center for investigative reporting and her team along with the newspaper in Tampa Bay did a yearlong study. On what turned out to be the fifty worst charities in America. Now we have also been joined by Michael Williamson who heads up our area united way and Cynthia Albert who is vice president of the Better Business Bureau. Also joined by and I really wanted to hear from these people -- -- Felton who was the head of the firefighters union victory there. It all of it and it would get them. Thank you for joining and I just thought it would be interesting to hear. From organizations like yours who do do some fund raising. That three of those fifty. Of the worst -- in America have the word firefighter in. And it's it's just a trigger for people people love firemen that helped firemen and have you ever had an issue where. Somebody said oh yes I donated to sell and sell and it wasn't -- -- absolutely. Well. Op -- are truly evil brought. Organized. Groups are as. -- just -- in the name. -- All. Consoles. It is not a -- in. This. It. As he can try. It. Changed it. Now that that is a heartbreak because you'll do wonderful work and you do that legitimately and then to have somebody. To bet. On so when you find something out like that have you ever said let me look back and try to find -- in tournament. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- So -- You know. Don't -- Out. Of school unscrupulous. I really appreciate you calling -- Kendall it just down is reminds me of is I'm looking -- your list of fifty. Again the three fire it was firefighters -- so assistance on firefighters burn -- firefighters charitable foundation. They all sound great. They need a bail out games left and ten cents of every diet that was donated to them actually helped firefighters. So like -- that he and I typically hurt groups that are trying to keep it where Clinton when -- -- extracted them and. There -- couple who gave nothing. -- that survivors and victims empower it. And it was they raise money and there was no charity or they gave no money to charity. They don't -- that Lee is because -- a kind of fun and pigeons we -- hearing where people are claiming that they are directly helping. I can't expect them with a look at how much cash a charity was giving out directly to people in terms of grants. And in some cases like predicted that hard to explain to these other kind of educational programs that would be captured -- Netgear and her. But let me get common path cocaine said he claiming to provide a guide for victims of the Houston and other issues that by. We have a copy of making means people -- of never responded to -- crop -- Atlantic athletic and making them. Did you literally call each and every one of these and try to communicate with them. That we we definitely did and it's something that. We've we really try and hold on to the candidate to get people ample time can't respond then but now we got something -- about a publication. So on the month leading -- to publishing -- it. We called but we sent email because I answered it -- that -- to every -- -- for the carried -- fine. Everyone stay with -- we're gonna continue this conversation and Lisa plunk it who's the director of the Susan G. Komen. A breast cancer organizations going to be up next stay with this I'm Angela under the W well again the name of the report was the fifty worst charities they are probably others -- We have to keep in mind that the majority of charities are superb. You just have to do your homework. We have been talking with Kendall -- who was one of the reporters on this investigative report. And it is very interesting to read the names of these top charities because they all sound wonderful. Lisa pocket who was head of the Susan G komen. Foundation here in New Orleans. Not so many of these were considered Lisa breast cancer even one locally. That. Kendall has explained to us is no longer based locally. But it ruins the breast cancer relief fund and I'm I'm sure that it's that your organization. Must get some. Issues and all I donated to actually donated wine you know it's funny. And the first implement let me say so wonderful you're -- -- -- well I think -- pray. We you know we we have a -- -- Boring and Susan G komen for the shore because every thing that we deal is -- or Oprah cancer here in our area and globally. We have -- theory. Strong message that we are you are volunteers are survivors. Orders are. Our third it's a little bit a bit easier for us and that we are -- our brand is there. And that we lap and the fact earlier it was the battered beaten a year ago you can battle it out about the charity that you would think about it. Because that -- important to where he went on every dollar go and where you end of that community. And that. Well I'm glad to hear that you all haven't had a whole lot of -- you're absolutely correct. But I think there is such sensitivity today and certainly in the last ten or twelve years about breast cancer -- people are people know people who have suffered from a and so it's very easy when you get that phone call breast cancer that's the trigger. What can I -- -- -- to see that you know as sun -- Kendall we'll tell you that some of the breast cancer once pennies on the dollar. -- that that they are all mean and and our they're the ones that. But the real lightning speed. Find that -- that people would. Not investigate where -- dollar account and -- that so many like he had been on the dollar were going to the act. Charity help. On her arm when it actually going -- can't or are the temperature. -- It is truly. It's a horrible. And that's why we're so proud I was becoming. Eighty every color actually -- you're barking -- connection program to restart or creature. And then locally 88 and every color one Q and what his breath and her. Screening treatment and educate children and locally here in the -- -- here it's been. Lot of Archimedes and helped with different things -- becoming. You know -- beat her work. We're here can't you make are that app and whether it be allowed in or are. Think particular. It's an amazing leader think fear that. People are still donating line and that -- or are you weren't in their -- could be -- eating and practically need to. In their in the community that are there. No it's wonderful geared to the numbers you just gave on on not. What goes toward your mission Lisa blanket thank you very very much Lisa is talking about what we have been talking about is we have to be smarter and there are. Whether it's Better Business Bureau you're talking give dot org Michael just said guide star dot org we'll show you everything about. An organization. Oh I had 100 to a line to mention of America. We did not the cup charity -- which includes the BBC got -- giving standard charity navigators standard and -- Darren can't debate that current practice charity checker and it gave you that -- Perhaps what are they reading -- -- bank. -- -- Terrific thank you -- she can -- sort of bottom line what do you think. Has come out of this incredible report. -- -- Really can't double taxed like patents in be launching investigations. And then Carrey who were previously getting money from -- we've gotten. Phone calls that are saying you know I'll never -- again and talent going and I think where it left to the end and haven't yet seen it. More action on wire act and the federal regulators could really. Parents take us understand -- these groups and and that clear standards for nonprofit about. How much money they need and a program it and that's how much they can spend our other kind of administered. There really isn't that her per -- -- account. Well I'll tell you did all the work for them they should certainly appreciate it Kendall thank you very much Kendall Taggart again a reporter with the center for investigative reporting. Back over to Michael and Cynthia. Again just your important thoughts on. How people should feel confident about their giving. Well you know the relic get in the way we look at it in -- -- as you know people work hard for their money and when you go to invest your life savings. You work with reputable. You know advisors to help you determine where the best places. Pitcher resources to get the return you're looking for there's always a Bernie Madoff affair he had always in this is that these are these are examples and so. I'd just bankers and has just be thoughtful you know and we as a resource to the community we're here we've been around for a long long time. Doing great work. Tom now is a resource of them but be thoughtful about it the great thing about you know what Kendall and mentioned and got star and all the various tools that are out there investigative tools you use your own. Is all about transparency and accountability if if we can now stand for greater transparency and accountability across the nonprofit sector across all attorneys. Then we will together root out. Those that aren't doing you know good work. In lift up the ones that are and I think if that happens and you you have evidence that. Tens of millions. Of dollars connects ago to help people get the services -- programs and. And that's what it's now. I mean really that is what it's now. BB BY skipping -- line states and at least 60%. Should go to the activities. No more than thirty. Should go to fund raising expenses. If you go to give died war in if there is a report in here and there is so well that the inflammation. It's how they -- in Iraq organization in the ways to expand their money. The thoughtfulness of their representatives. Yeah and that transparency. Which -- speaking on the net so very important. So we have different sources here don't just check line check them all you can contact your attorney general's office that they do use of -- racer. They have to register. So you wanna make sure that you give your money to the right organization and it is a good -- and essentially if it. Charity uses a telemarketer fund raiser yes. They have to register register with the attorney general's office and Louise. Okay I thought it was interesting -- is saying is that perhaps the next step has to be looking at that the IRS yes like that. To even make it tougher round I applaud all that you do I really do with the united way does beautiful reputation. Thank god for the BBB thank you and you. Cynthia that's -- -- and I appreciate this very much and I truly applaud what the investigative journalism group did because. -- to commit to a year yeah is extraordinary and to have done it is beautifully as they do it. I hope they'll continue to do great things but everyone stay with this will be right. I'm hoping -- to hear this because I just it really is a heartbreak when when the good charities worked so hard to help in in the east. Other charities listen to some of these names children's cancer fund of America children's charity fund. Committee for missing children. Disabled police offers counseling center they all sound legit they're not the money that you sent to them. 9598%. Of it goes to the fund raiser not to the cause you want to avoid that and the message we all got now is to check them out. Actually just go to with people that you know and that's the bottom line. Appreciate you joining us and I hope you'll stay for the next hour I cannot wait to meet these two women. They are two doctors scientist at Tulane they are coming up with incredible were searched. About what violence is doing from them literally the moment of birth. It's going to be its pioneering work. And I cannot wait to hear what they have to say stay with this we'll be back financial -- -- -- -- well.