America's worst charities

Our ranking based on cash paid to solicitors in the past decade

In detail#40: Circle of Friends For American Veterans

Also doing business as: American Homeless Veterans

When Brian Hampton started Circle of Friends for American Veterans in 1993, the charity ran a homeless shelter for 70 men. Hampton said he soon decided the group could have more impact if it promoted awareness of the needs of homeless veterans, instead of actually housing them.

Now the charity and an affiliate, Center for American Homeless Veterans, hold rallies around the country, getting politicians to speak and inviting the media. “Building a crowd is by far the hardest part,” said Hampton, who said his group has held 196 such rallies over the years.

A retired Army major who himself was once a professional fundraiser, Hampton defends telemarketing, even with its high cost.

“It’s a godsend,” he said. “I could have four full-time development people and they would cost me more than what these call centers cost. And those people would not have time to do anything else.”

Nor is he disappointed that after 20 years, Circle of Friends still relies on for-profit fundraisers that took 85 percent of every dollar raised, according to the group's most recent IRS filing.

The money that reaches the charity goes mostly toward salaries. Hampton received a combined salary of $188,000 in 2010 from Circle of Friends and Center for American Homeless Veterans.

That year, less than $3,000 was spent on direct assistance to veterans, the charity's tax filing shows. About $5,300 was donated to Hampton's other charity.


In their own words: the Charity's mission

We are a 501c3 advocacy group for homeless veterans

Unedited mission statements provided by the Colorado Secretary of State


Circle of Friends For American Veterans

Known state disciplinary actions

Find out more about the actions in our database

States bringing actions Number of known actions Outcomes Total fines
Colorado, Utah 2 Consent/settlement, Suspension 0

Fundraising and spending history

For years prior to 2008, cash raised from other sources might be included in the "cash raised by solicitors" column.

Year 990
form
Cash
raised by
solicitors
Solicitor
was paid
Cash to
the charity
Charity
salaries
Cash to
direct aid
% cash to
direct aid
Reported
totals to
programs
2010 pdf $2,096,981 $1,787,482 $309,499 $341,138 $8,301 0.40% $268,660
2009 pdf $2,246,432 $2,210,445 $35,987 $193,744 $4,650 0.21% $188,120
2008 pdf $1,993,578 $1,710,774 $282,804 $151,133 $0 0.00% $165,829
2007 pdf $446,990 $446,990 $0 $0 0.00% $419,124
2006 pdf $214,105 $214,105 $0 $151,702 70.85% $186,627
2005 pdf $193,653 $193,653 $0 $81,070 41.86% $149,599
2004 pdf $163,915 $163,915 $0 $71,931 43.88% $122,883
2003 pdf $141,431 $141,431 $0 $55,856 39.49% $103,561
2002 pdf $125,369 $125,369 $0 $38,572 30.77% $100,141
2001 pdf $172,107 $172,107 $0 $98,046 56.97% $147,288
zTOTALS $7,794,561 $5,708,701 $2,085,860 $686,015 $510,128 6.5% $1,851,832

Who raised the money

Year Solicitor Cash raised Cash to solicitor Cash to charity % to charity Activity
2009 Precision Performance Marketing $328,415 $307,117 $21,298 6.49% soliciatation
2009 Community Development Group $118,671 $104,430 $14,241 12.00% soliciatation
2009 Charitable Resource Foundation $1,799,346 $1,798,898 $448 0.02% soliciatation
2010 Charitable Resource Foundation $1,721,717 $1,473,371 $248,346 14.40% telephone solicitation
2010 Associated Community Services (Southfield, MI) $375,264 $314,111 $61,153 16.30% telephone solicitation