Podcast on turmoil involving Wounded Warrior Project

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com
Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

If you’ve been following the media turmoil surrounding Wounded Warrior Project, you will want to check out a podcast from The Contributing Factor (that is Bill O’Reilly’s website):  Podcast: Ousted Wounded Warrior Project Executives Speak Out.

There are interviews with the two departed senior executives.

That page also has written responses from the board denying the specifics in the Doug White report.

The board asserts that giving dropped as soon as the media reports surfaced. Mr. Nardizzi asserts that he was watching the giving until the day he was released and noticed the giving was only 1.7% below the projected income.

Check out the podcast. I’ll try to have more comments later.

A completely different perspective on the crisis surrounding Wounded Warrior Project.

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

Here are a few articles which will give you a different way of looking at the recent publicity surrounding Wounded Warrior Project. I’ve been swamped by several major projects so haven’t had much time to write recently. Those projects are still not done so I won’t be able to spend as much time on this post as I would like, yet I want to get some comments online for those who have been following the story.

The biggest article is The First Casualty: A report addressing the allegations made against the Wounded Warrior Project in January 2016 by Doug White, published September 6, 2016.

There is a lot of information about the entire story which has received minuscule coverage. Here is my quick recap of his major points:


Layoffs underway at Wounded Warrior Project

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

Layoffs of about 15% of the staff are in progress at WWP, according to an article at Chronicle of Philanthropy by Timothy Sandoval: Wounded Warrior Announces Layoffs and Program Cuts. That would be a reduction of something in the range of 90 people out of the roughly 600 on staff.


Restructuring underway at Wounded Warrior Project

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

Some of the recent news regarding WWP. Much more to say, not enough time today.

Wounded Warrior Project released their financial statements for fiscal year ending September 30, 2015. One sentence summary is they have continued the accounting practices in place for 2014, which have drawn lots of criticism. At first glance, looks to me like functional allocation of expense methodology is unchanged from 2014. Much more discussion is needed on the issue.

Tim Sandoval describes the issue on 8/17 at Chronicle of Philanthropy (behind paywall):  Wounded Warrior Sticks With Accounting Rules That Drew Fire.

Layoffs and restructuring have begun:

8/30 – News 4 Jax – I-Team: Executives laid off, reassigned at Wounded Warrior Project – Article says several executive vice presidents have been let go or reassigned. More changes at the EVP level are expected.


Wounded Warrior Project releases financial statements and 990 for year ending September 30, 2015.

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

WWP has released their fiscal year 2015 990 information tax return and audited financial statements.

Keep in mind these are for the year ended September 30, 2015, which is well before the media firestorm erupted in January 2016. Thus, there will be no impact visible in these reports from any turmoil in calendar year 2016, other than a brief comment in subsequent events note.

You can find the front page of the financial section of their website here.

The archived financial reports from 2015 back through 2006 are here.

The 990 for 9/30/15 is here.

The audited financial statement for 9/30/15 is here.

A few initial observations:


Minor updates on Wounded Warrior Project – 8/5

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com
Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Not a lot of news about WWP lately, or at least that I’ve noticed. Expect lots more coverage in about two weeks.

Mark Hrywna (@mhrywna) posted a Twitter comment on July 28 that WWP will file their 990 on the deadline of August 15. I asked if he some indication when the 990 will be available on their website. He hasn’t heard, but noted they tend to post quickly after the return is filed. So perhaps this month we will see the 990. Hopefully see the audited financial statements about the same time.

In some older news:


Initial reactions to Sen. Grassley’s letter to Wounded Warrior Project

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com
Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Here are a few of the first reactions I’ve seen to the letter that was released to the media by the Senator’s staff on Monday.

Professor Brian Mittendorf describes what he sees as The Fundamental Issue in the Wounded Warrior Project Inquiry. The underlying issue in the letter from Senator Grassley to WWP is just a different way to look at the core issues in the discussion. The issue: (more…)

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 News4Jax.com:  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 jacksonvile.com – 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.


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 DollarPhotoClub.com
Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

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 …