By Debbie Gregory.
On the heels of a lot of bad press, the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is making a number of changes, including firing former executives, closing offices, and redirecting funds to counter the previous spending scandal.
After an internal investigation, the foundation’s board of directors fired CEO Stephen Nardizzi, who often made flamboyant entrances at staff parties, for focusing too much on fundraising rather than veterans’ programs.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Linnington, who took over as CEO earlier this year, said that changes are being made in order to provide the best resources possible to veterans.
The moves come months after the 13-year-old organization came under attack for accusations of reckless spending: exorbitant staff salaries, lavish staff parties and corporate retreats, expensive dinners and alcohol.
Linnington acknowledged that the recent scandals have hurt fundraising totals this year, but change is on the way.
The non-profit is boosting support for programs such as the Long-Term Support Trust initiative, and ending others such as the Transition Training Academy.
“We had to look at the programs that are the most essential to who we serve, and make sure we’re providing the greatest assistance to those in the greatest need,” Linnington said.
While trimming the fat from the payroll, the non-profit is planning to add staff to mental health programs, long-term home-based support services, and helping veterans engage with each other in community activities.
Linnington said the group is planning to continue its support of veterans’ charities. In fiscal 2015, Wounded Warrior Project handed out about $11 million in grants to outside groups.
Hopefully, the changes made at the WWP will be able to change public perception of the organization. Linnington is confident they will.
“We are strengthening our programs to better serve our warriors and their families, and will strengthen relationships with community partners in caring for our military community, as well as facilitating partnerships with organizations and businesses doing great work in the civilian sector,” he said in a statement.