Military Wire: Is Wounded Warrior Project worthy of your donations?

Michael Schindler
Michael Schindler

During the past right years or so, I have often been pulled aside and asked my thoughts on WWP — otherwise known as The Wounded Warrior Project. Their mission is sound, “To honor and empower wounded warriors.” BUT their motives have led some to believe they are less then honorable.

Did the organization that started out of homes and quickly grow into massive square footage, raising more than $300 million, lose sight of its mission at hand?

Some say yes.

It’s not often I get an email from Lance Frank of CBSNews Investigations bringing to my attention a piece on the “rest of the story” regarding the Wounded Warrior Project.

I’ll forego my take on this piece, which originally aired on Jan. 26, until you get a chance to dive in and determine for yourself what this is:

Is it good journalism? Is it a hit piece brought to the attention from some 40 disgruntled veterans? Is it poor stewardship by a veteran organization?

Take a look — then let’s dialogue. The key is to ensure that our veterans who are in need are not exploited, but rather helped, when government fails them. Is this organization part of the problem or part of a solution?

In a CBS News investigation, more than 40 former employees of the Wounded Warrior Project accuse the charity of wasting millions of donated dollars on luxury hotels, lavish conferences and expensive meals for staff.

“It’s what the military calls fraud, waste and abuse,” says an Iraq war veteran and former Wounded Warrior Project employee.

These former employees, many of whom also served in the military and are wounded veterans themselves, told CBS News Correspondent Chip Reid they are concerned that Wounded Warrior Project is straying from its mission of helping veterans.

The multi-part investigative series began on Jan. 26 on the CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley and continued on Jan. 27 on CBS This Morning. Additional reporting will also continue throughout the week on both broadcasts.

Click here to watch both previously aired reports.

Bottom line: There are many charities that do good work. WWP may still be one of them. But are their local charities in your home town that you can invest in and see local impact? This may be worth exploring.

– By Michael Schindler

Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.” He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs


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