One nonprofit is in hot water following the dismissal of its top leadership. The Wounded Warrior Project – a charity whose mission is to provide care for injured veterans – is facing scrutiny following reports that personnel grossly mismanaged organizational funding and directed few resources to its charitable programs.

The group’s board jettisoned Chief Executive Steven Nardizzi and Chief Operating Officer Al Giordano, while attempting to reassure the public that the nonprofit has done nothing wrong. A press release from the group claims that statistics on organizational spending cited by the charity watchdog group Charity Navigator as well as The New York Times are misleading.

Critical reports cited extravagant galas and meetings – one of which cost $1 million dollars and featured histrionics including Nardizzi rappelling from the ceiling. The overall picture is further darkened by first-hand accounts from former employees, one of which described the organization’s operations as “frat party.”  The former staffer – Erick Millette, a veteran himself – continued by remarking that “there was heavy drinking, dancing, inappropriate sexual behaviors. There was everything. It was just totally out of control.”

Long a topic of debate in the world of philanthropy, the ratio of programmatic spending versus spending directed to fundraising is not set in stone. Many in the field – including Wounded Warrior ally and vocal apologist for the organization Dan Pallotta – believe that spending a lion’s share of fundraising on further fundraising is ultimately the best way to achieve results.

Key Elements Group will have more as event unfold at the Wounded Warrior Project.


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