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Attorney General's News Release

December 21, 2010

Attorney General Koster issues warning: “Missouri’s 15 Worst Charities” --AG also provides tips for charitable giving this holiday season--

Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster today cautioned Missourians to do their homework before giving to charities this holiday season to make sure their donations are used to help others, and not diverted toward exorbitant telemarketing and administration fees. In conjunction with the reminder, Koster released a list of "Missouri's 15 Worst Charities" that have operated or are operating in Missouri.

Ranking number one on "Missouri's 15 Worst Charities" list is the Missouri Chapter of the United States Navy Veterans Association, which is no longer in operation. The organization once collected charitable donations to provide assistance to disabled and needy war veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Koster said of the $5.9 million the charity collected over the reporting period, only 1 percent was used for the charitable cause. Number two on the list - still in operation - is Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), which collects donations to educate teenagers on the effects of alcohol. LEEP collected $1.8 million in the reporting period and used only 2.22 percent for charitable services. View the complete 15 Worst Charities list.

Koster said charities are required to file periodic financial reports with his office and the IRS explaining how they spend donations. Under guidelines developed by the Better Business Bureau, at least 65 percent of funds collected by charities should go to charitable programs. The list developed by the Attorney General's Office represents the 15 charities that fell farthest from those guidelines.

"Missourians are by nature very generous," Koster said. "And although most charities do wonderful work, some actually do very little to help those they claim to support. Before giving, go to our website at http://www.ago.mo.gov/ and click on Check-a-Charity to make sure the charity you are considering uses at least 65 percent of its donations for charitable programs."

 

Koster also said consumers should never make a decision on giving during a telemarketing call. Insist on written information by mail; and don't give out personal information such as credit card, bank account, or Social Security number, to anyone who contacts you by phone or e-mail. In addition, don't give in to pressure or guilt. Give only when you are comfortable and when all of your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.

Below are "Missouri's 15 Worst Charities:"

 

Organization

Total Expenditures

Amount Used for Charitable Cause

1.

Missouri Chapter of the United States Navy Veterans Association

Washington, DC

Purpose: To provide assistance to disabled and needy war veterans and members of US Armed Forces.

 

$5,892,646

1.00%

2.

Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP)

Troy, Michigan

Purpose: Educate teenagers on the effects of alcohol.

 

$1,853,144

2.22%

3.

Cancer Survivors' Fund

Missouri City, Texas

Purpose: Provide counseling, scholarships and prosthetic appliances to cancer survivors.

 

$2,402,824

3.13%

4.

Wishing Well Foundation

Metairie, Louisiana

Purpose: Fulfill the fondest wish for any terminally ill child not expected to reach the age of 18.

 

$1,307,437

4.43%

5.

Firefighters Charitable Foundation

Farmingdale, New York

Purpose: To provide much needed financial assistance to individuals who have been affected by a fire or disaster.

 

$6,082,790

4.95%

6.

Children's Charity Fund dba Child's Wish Association of America

Sarasota, Florida

Purpose: Provide aid to disabled and terminally ill children.

 

$1,296,970

5.78%

7.

Multiple Sclerosis Fund, Inc.

Green Bay, Wisconsin

Purpose: Promotion of awareness of multiple sclerosis and funding research.

 

$182,645

7.90%

 

8.

Reserve Police Officers Association

Yonkers, New York

Purpose: Provide assistance to law enforcement by providing equipment assistance, education, and training for law enforcement officers.

 

$745,371

8.21%

9.

The Veteran's Fund

Chesapeake, Virginia

Purpose: Develop and support programs that undergird veterans' mental, physical, and emotional recovery.

 

$1,466,500

8.44%

 

10.

Foundation for American Veterans, Inc.

West Bloomfield, Michigan

Purpose: Promote social and recreational welfare for current and past U.S. Armed Forces members, dependents, widows, widowers, and others.

 

$5,141,472

8.98%

11.

United Breast Cancer Foundation

Huntington, New York

Purpose: To make a positive difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer.

 

$2,428,818

9.13%

 

12.

Firefighters Support Services, Inc.

Wyandotte, Michigan

Purpose: To aid burn victims and provide tracking/locator equipment to firefighters.

 

$1,477,393

10.26%

13.

Big Hope, Inc.

Anderson, South Carolina

Purpose: To bring relief to orphans, sick children, and families in need.

 

$3,722,051

10.39%

14.

The Committee for Missing Children

Lawrenceville, Georgia

Purpose: To assist in the search and recovery of missing children and educate on safety and prevention.

 

$2,644,646

11.20%

15.

Disabled Police Officers of America

Niceville, Florida

Purpose: To provide educational programs for police officers.

 

$1,056,899

11.33%

 



 
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