In detail#24: The Veterans Fund
Also doing business as: Veterans Fund Inc.
When Hugh Brooks started The Veterans Fund 15 years ago, he wanted to entertain America's hospitalized veterans. He said he originally planned to rely on volunteer performers but quickly realized his charity needed cash to put on shows. Brooks, now 81, turned to professional solicitors.
The decision meant Brooks would not have to spend time raising donations, but it came with a cost. He would have to pay the companies more than 80 percent of donations raised for his cause.
Brooks said there was no negotiating with solicitors, who had their choice of veterans groups for clients. "It was a 'take it or leave it deal,'" he said.
Over the past decade, Veterans Fund raised $15.7 million and paid for-profit fundraising companies 82 cents of every dollar raised. An additional $1 million went to pay salaries at the charity, including about $40,000 a year to Brooks.
The charity's next biggest payments went to a non-profit entertainment company Brooks had founded. Brooks said he left the entertainment company, Re-Creation U.S.A., four years before he started his charity in 1998.
Veterans Fund also has given grants to a California veterans group, Help Hospitalized Veterans. California's attorney general sued that charity in 2012, accusing it of fraud and financial mismanagement. The case is pending.
In an interview in February, Brooks told a reporter he decided to close Veterans Fund at the end of 2012. The final straw was a $30,000 penalty the charity had to pay to settle allegations of wrongdoing against its telemarketer in Oregon.
Though he doesn't know how his charity would have raised money without outside help, Brooks said he now regrets using professional fundraisers after dealing with complaints about telemarketers from regulators and the public.
"I'd advise charities not to fool with it," he said. "The damage it does to some individuals, especially senior citizens who can't remember, is a greater burden than a charity should take on for the purposes of growing."
In their own words: the Charity's mission
The purpose of the Veterans Fund, Inc. is to enrich the quality of life for America's veterans in VA medical centers and state veterans homes. The fund develops and supports programs that undergird their mental, physical, and emotional recovery, and encourages all Americans to become regularly involved in helping bring them a daily sense of worth, joy, and hope.
Unedited mission statements provided by the Colorado Secretary of State
The Veterans Fund
Known state disciplinary actions
|States bringing actions||Number of known actions||Outcomes||Total fines|
Fundraising and spending history
For years prior to 2008, cash raised from other sources might be included in the "cash raised by solicitors" column.
|% cash to
Who raised the money
|Year||Solicitor||Cash raised||Cash to solicitor||Cash to charity||% to charity||Activity|
|2008||Center Stage Attractions (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)||$1,452,119||$1,175,936||$276,183||19.00%||conduct joint fundraising/ed|
|2009||Center Stage Attractions (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)||$1,322,295||$1,052,220||$270,075||20.40%||conduct joint fundraising/ed|
|2010||Center Stage Attractions (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)||$436,379||$347,663||$88,716||20.33%||conduct joint fundraising/ed|
|2011||Tele-Response Center||$104,637||$67,904||$36,733||35.10%||conduct joint fundraising/ed|
Who got direct cash aid
|2010||Re-Creation Usa||$11,125||Port Trevorton PA|
|2010||Help Hospitalized Veterans (Hhv)||$100||Winchester CA|
|2010||Va Creative Arts Festival||$5,000||Washington DC|