By Debbie Gregory.
Although it is a sad commentary on society, charitable people are finding themselves forced to do their due diligence before making a contribution to any charity.
Case in point: Circle of Friends for American Veterans.
CEO and retired Army Maj. Brian Arthur Hampton retained telemarketers and freelance fundraisers to grow contribution from a few hundred thousands dollars to millions. But an investigation has revealed that the only ones to truly benefit from the massive increase in donations were Hampton and his fundraisers.
The Center for Public Integrity’s report has revealed that telemarketing company Outreach Calling kept $7.9 million of the $8.7 million it raised on behalf of the non-profit Circle of Friends for American Veterans between 2011 and 2015! Another telemarketing group, Charitable Resource Foundation, retained $6.4 million of the $7.5 million they raised during the same four-year period!
The Center for American Homeless Veterans, another nonprofit run by Hampton received just $35,000 of the $350,000 raised by telemarketers.
According to IRS documents, the remaining funds raised for Circle of Friends for American Veterans was spent on “overhead”, Hampton’s generous salary, which amounted to just over $340,000 between Circle of Friends for American Veterans and another nonprofit.
So it seems incredulous that the 74-year-old Hampton could profess to having started these non-profits because he was “steamed about veterans getting left behind.”
Even if it is true that, as Hampton claimed, the increase in his salary reflected back pay from the non-profits’ less financially stable years, how can he pay himself for a job so poorly done?
So in the spirit of the holiday, we would like to award Outreach Calling and Maj. Hampton the “BAH! Humbug Award” for their despicable rip-off of those who were trying to do the right thing for our nation’s veterans. Perhaps you will get a visit from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.