By Jackie Devereaux
The old saying, “That charity begins at home,” is truer now than ever before. If you’re going to give money to charitable organizations this holiday season there are some harsh facts and figures you need to know about who’s profiting from those in need.
After some fact checking I became very disturbed about how much of my hard-earned money actually goes to those in need. Turns out that some of the biggest and most popular charities are the most egregious when it comes to dispensing funds.
The president of The United Way, Brian Gallagher receives a $375,000 base salary along with numerous yearly expense benefits. If Gallagher’s salary doesn’t raise an eyebrow, than how about the $1.2 million salary that CEO Caryl M. Stern of UNICEF receives plus all expenses including a Rolls Royce vehicle! Allegedly less than five cents of your donated dollar goes to this international cause. So don’t get teary-eyed when you see those UNICEF television commercials of emaciated children in Africa with flies on their faces dying from starvation and disease.
Then we have a man who may be the worst charity offender of all. Goodwill CEO and owner Mark Curran profits more than $2.3 million each year from his stores. Remember that when you donate clothing, shoes, furniture, appliances, bicycles or anything to his business, he sells those items for a profit. Curran pays nothing for his products, pays his workers minimum wage and zero dollars go to help anyone. If you want to donate discarded goods, then give them to Angel View Crippled Children’s Foundation, a charity that actually helps local children in the Valley.
I also examined the great institution of the American Red Cross. My husband, Tom, and I wanted to send money to the Red Cross after super Hurricane Sandy hit back East, but when I found out that their President and CEO Marshal J. Evans receives a salary of $651,957 plus all expenses and perks, we changed our minds and sent money to directly family members in New Jersey hit hard by the storm. Charity always should begin at home.
More research unveiled that the famous March of Dimes may be called that because allegedly only a dime from every dollar goes to the needy. Instead of giving to these cash cow charities listed above, give your money and belongings to the many deserving charities listed below to make sure your hard earned money will do some good.
The Salvation Army Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a small salary of only $13,000 per year plus housing for managing this $2 billion dollar organization. More than 96 percent of every donated dollar goes to the cause.
The American Legion National Commander receives a zero salary.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander receives a zero salary.
The Disabled American Veterans National Commander receives a zero salary.
The Military Order of Purple Hearts National Commander receives a zero salary.
The Vietnam Veterans Association National Commander receives a zero salary.
Make a Wish Foundation gives 100 percent of their funding for trips or special wishes for a dying child.
St. Jude Research Hospital dedicates 100 percent of their money towards helping children with cancer who have no insurance.
Ronald McDonald Houses gives 100 percent of all monies to running the houses for critical children in the hospital or rehabilitation centers.
Lions Club International pledges 100 percent of their donations to help the blind, buy hearing aids and support medical missions around the world. Their latest undertaking is providing measles vaccinations which cost $1 per shot.
Angel View Crippled Children’s Foundation is arguably among the most deserving of all charities in the Coachella Valley. And let’s not forget our furry friends. Animals do not have a voice and need humans to defend and protect them. However, do not give any money to Lend-A-Paw because according to a 2010 IRS federal tax return the charity allegedly lost $409,763 to embezzlement from its former director who police let slip through their hands due to some fancy talking on his part. Today, this defunct charity only takes messages and won’t talk on the record about the embezzlement.
If you want to give to an animal charity, these are my two top choices: The Orphan Pet Oasis in North Palm Springs is run by La Quinta resident Malinda Bustos and is the only no-kill animal sanctuary in Southern California that houses dogs, cat and horses. And please give to the Feral Alley Cats and Friends of Desert Hot Springs run by Jackie Martin who has worked tirelessly to combat the explosive overpopulation of feral and abandoned cats. Both Bustos and Martin are animal advocates who operate well-run and deserving charities.
No matter what charity you choose, remember that “charity begins at home,” then give to charities that have a good track record.
Have a happy holiday and give something to those in need.