Senator Grassley sends letter to Wounded Warrior Project asking for more information

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Yesterday Sen. Grassley sent another information request to Wounded Warrior Project. The request went by electronic mail, which means a couple of hours later it appeared in public.

The full letter is visible here.

The letter was discussed in an article at  Senator questions Wounded Warrior Project spending.

First few comments are looking at donated ads. Letter asserts that backing out about $80M of donated ads drops the program service percentage from 80.6% down to 66.6%.

I tried recalculating the 66% number in half a dozen different ways but can’t figure out how the calculation was made.

Fourth paragraph repeats the criticism of watchdog organizations who exclude SOP 98-2 allocations from program. Paragraph suggests that $41M of joint cost allocations should be removed from program.

Take your pick on how to account for long-term care support

Fifth paragraph opens up a very confusing discussion of funding for the Long-Term Support Trust. Since the letter is a public document I will quote it: (more…)

Discussions on the WWP financial statements I would like to see

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

As I’ve watched coverage of the Wounded Warrior Project financial statements in recent months, I have been surprised by the shallowness of the coverage. Minor issues draw heavy focus while major issues remain unaddressed.

Majoring on the minors


Deeper coverage of Wounded Warrior Project – 5/10

I’ve noticed a number of articles lately that dive deeper into the WWP issues that the first round of coverage. These articles are discussing substance.

4/24 – Wounded Warrior Project – Statement by interim COO Charlie Fletcher – Interim COO promised to continue mission to serve wounded warriors and make the changes need to move organization forward.

5/4 – Florida Times Union at – First Coast News: Wounded Warrior Project executive resigns – The WWP Chief Programs Officer resigned, citing personal reasons.

Article gives no more detail.

The webpage listing the executive staff shows the CPO position as second of nineteen. My paraphrase is this looks like a strategic planning position with additional emphasis on managing and directing programs. His most recent experience was in development. He is a ’93 West Point grad.

Following article gives some speculation of what might be behind the resignation.


Portion of churches with revenue greater than expenses

Superb infograph shows percentage of churches whose income is greater than their expenses.

Lesson I draw from the graph:  Recovery from the Great Recession has been slow for churches. Many churches are still struggling. Those are the results I would expect to see.

Visit Church Law & Tax extract from their March 2015 edition of Church Finance Today: Percentage of Churches with Income Exceeding Expenses their analysis is broken out into nine different regions of the United States.

A few pieces of information:


More coverage of Wounded Warrior Project – 4/21

Seems like the coverage of the WWP financial situation is slowing down. A few interesting articles for your consideration:

4/9 – David Bauerlein at Florida Times-Union – Ousted Wounded Warrior Project executives defend in their leadership of Jacksonville-based charity – This is the original article that generated the AP story I mentioned earlier. The Times-Union article is far better.

Note to the public relations, financial, and executive leadership of charities: pay attention to this article. The reporter not only understands joint cost allocation rules, he can explain the issues. Check out the section of the report titled How much really goes to veterans?

Perhaps it is just a function that I don’t get out very much, but I have noticed over the last couple of years that there are several reporters around the country who have a solid understanding of nonprofit accounting. There are quite a few reporters who are skilled at reading a 990. Keep that in mind as you interact with media.

More clearly than I have read anywhere else, this article explains Mr. Nardizzi’s regrets.  He wishes the 2014 conference had not been held at the Broadmoor. It doesn’t matter that WWP got discounts on room rates, food, and meeting space. He also wishes he had not rappelled down the side of the building.

Both of those things have given an impression the organization is wasteful.


More coverage of Wounded Warrior Project. Former CEO and COO talking to media. 4/12

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Stephen Nardizzi and Al Giordano are talking to a variety of media outlets. They are defending the organization and their work. We hearing their side of the story.

Here are a few articles of interest in the last week or so. One odd tidbit is the major report received as part of the board’s investigation was provided in oral form only – the AP article says the board says there was no written report.

Another surprising tidbit – In the Chronicle of Philanthropy interview, Mr. Nardizzi indicates he was told not to speak to the media when the story broke.

One more observation after reading these articles – none of the following reports address the issue of whether WWP does or does not have a broken corporate culture.

4/10 – AP – 2 ousted executives defend work at Wounded Warrior Project – Mr. Nardizzi has repeated his comments on the things he regrets. Previous comments were not clear to me. In this article he is quoted as saying in a different interview that wishes the conference drawing so much attention has been located somewhere other than a luxury hotel. He also wishes he had not rappelled down the side of the building.

Those things allowed others (read that as media) to misrepresent the organization. His regret is allowing things to happen which would be  misrepresented.

His previous comments were confusing to me.


Lots of news about Wounded Warrior Project controversy in last few days – 4/1

Lots of things in the news this week. Here are a few things that caught my eye, including Steve Nardizzi and Al Giordano starting to speak out on public platforms.

Public service announcement ads – You can find the Youtube feed of the WWP PSAs here. Brian Mittendorf asked to see the PSAs and WWP provided the link.

Ponder ads in light of ASC 958-720-45 requirements. There is huge room for discussion here. As a tip for enterprising reporters, here are my two tweets:

wwp joint cost alloc


  • ASC 958-720-45-35 – call to action
  • -48 – audience
  • -50 – content (oops, I mentioned -48 in the tweet)

Former CEO and COO speak up – Mr. Nardizzi and Mr. Giordano started a twitter account: TheWoundedTruth, @WoundedTruth. If you have a twitter account and have been reading my articles, you might want to follow @WoundedTruth.

They also started a blog: The Wounded Truth. If you are interested enough to still be reading, you might want to add the blog to your RSS feed.

3/30 – Stars and Stripes – Feud erupts at Wounded Warrior Project between board and founder – WWP founder John Melia has publicly called for the resignation of WWP board chair Anthony Odierno. Reason for the call for resignation is that a meeting which had been scheduled on April 4 between the board and Mr. Melia was cancelled by the board. (more…)

News reports in the last week about Wounded Warrior Project – 3/30

Here are a few articles I found interesting about WWP in the last week, including an interview with the departed CEO and COO.

3/28 – News 4 Jax – Wounded Warrior Project names interim COO – The WWP board appointed retired Major General Charlie Fletcher as interim COO beginning April 11.  He has 30 years experience on active duty. He currently is one of the people on the advisory board.

3/28 –Board Source – Wounded Warrior Project-A Classic Case Study – Author is paying close attention to the WWP story. Real, current situations are wonderful teaching tools. Responses to Sen. Grassley’s inquiry letter will provide lots of insight.


More Wounded Warrior coverage – 3/24

Here are a few articles in the last few days that caught my eye which follow-up on the media firestorm surrounding Wounded Warrior Project.

3/21 – Charity Defense Council – Letter to Senator Grassley The letter from the Charity Defense Council (CDC) to Senator Grassley is in response to the senator’s information request to WWP. The Senator asked for an explanation of the relationship between CDC and WWP along with an explanation of how a donation to CDC furthers WWP’s mission.

The letter provides CDC’s explanation.

Let me try to boil it down to a few sentences …


Wounded Warrior Project fiasco moves into the political realm. Other comments over the weekend.

Stars and Stripes has a good article summarizing the current story and looking forward a few steps. Senator Grassley pulls the WWP story into the political realm.

3/18 – Stars and Stripes – New project for Wounded Warrior charity: Regain trust. Article discusses the dangers facing WWP in terms of public perception and the impact on donations.

Article summarizes a number of recent articles, which makes this a good survey to catch up on what’s happened lately.

I recommend the article for you because of the great way it brings together a number of different threads of the story.


More coverage of Wounded Warrior Project – First defenses of WWP – 3/18

Lots more discussion of Wounded Warrior Project in the last few days, including a major defense of WWP and the first public comments I’ve seen from the former CEO and COO.

3/17 – Charity Defense Council – Preliminary Media Advisory – Material Errors and Omissions Uncovered in Media Reporting on Wounded Warrior Project – This is a major discussion of the media coverage of WWP’s spending and programming.

I don’t have time to summarize the comments. Hope to do so this weekend.

If you have been reading any of my discussion of the media firestorm, you will definitely want to read this discussion. There is a large volume of information that hasn’t been mentioned in public and a large amount of interpretive comments on how to look at financial statements.

In fact, I’ll suggest you read that article before you read the rest of this post.

3/18 – Fox and Friends on Fox News – Executives fired from Wounded Warrior Project speak out – Departed CEO and COO go on camera. The segment is 7 1/2 minutes. Actual interview is only a two or three minutes since there is an intro, extro, and the headline accusations were repeated.


How to notify California Secretary of State of a change in your charity’s articles of incorporation

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Image courtesy of

If your charity makes a change to the articles of incorporation, you need to notify the Secretary of State. I had opportunity to look at the process in California for filing such a notice.

There are comparable filing requirements in your state. Explore your Secretary of State’s website to find instructions. To help others here’s what I found for California.


More coverage of Wounded Warrior Project – 3/16

I’ve seen a few more articles of substance in the last two days on the WWP board firing their CEO and COO. Will discuss three articles to see what we can learn about this fiasco and how to deal with a crisis.

Balancing act

The board is in a delicate balancing act.

The media and likely some major donors want the juicy details on why the two execs were let go. I’m interested, too.

The board needs to be careful on how much information they release because of legal exposures, HR issues, and the possibility of causing additional harm to the organization and constituents.


More coverage of Wounded Warrior Project

Last week, the WWP board fired their CEO and COO.

Most of the articles I’ve glanced at in the last few days are merely a rewrite of the board’s comments on the WWP website and the initial articles from CBS and NYT.

Some substance in the last few days for your consideration:

3/14 – Prof. Brian Mittendorf at Counting on Charity – Four Unsolicited Suggestions for the Wounded Warrior Project Board – Opening line highlights the challenges for all charities of being dependent on public perceptions:

When it comes to popular charities, I am of the opinion that the general public largely believes they can do no wrong, but once the public feels they have done something wrong it’s almost as if they can do no right.

The professor’s four suggestions with a couple of comments from me. (more…)

First day coverage of WWP firing its CEO and COO

Major news yesterday was the CEO and COO of Wounded Warrior Project getting fired by the board of directors. Here are a few articles on the story. Also, my rant on the long-running pattern of media articles that focus on trivialities.

3/10 – CBS News – Wounded Warrior Project execs fired – CBS is reporting that on 3/10 WWP fired Steven Nardizzi, CEO, and Al Diordano, COO. CBS reports preliminary results from a financial audit have been received and reviewed by the board.

3/10 – Chronicle of Philanthropy – Wounded Warrior Project Fires Top Officials After Query Into Spending Practices – Article points to CBS coverage above.  The board initiated a financial and policy audit.

In the hour since CBS broke the story, I saw several dozen articles hit the ‘net that report the story with merely a rewrite of the CBS coverage.

3/10 – Wounded Warrior Project – Board of Directors of Wounded Warrior Project Addresses Independent Review – Very tactful press release says the CEO and COO are no longer with the organization.

The independent review refuted the headline accusations against the organization and tactfully found room for improvement.