Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fraud Charities May Not Be What You Think

Fraud Charities May Not Be What You Think
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 19, 2014

Having posted about a lawsuit from Wounded Warrior Project Help Indiana Vets Responds to Wounded Warrior Project lawsuit against them I started to think that it is a good time to think about what the word "fraud" actually should mean to us when it involves charities.

I am State Coordinator of Point Man International Ministries for Florida. We are a non-profit started in 1984 in Washington to help Vietnam veterans. Since then we have been helping all veterans and their families.
“ To connect the hurting veteran as well as their families and friends with others who have already begun the transition home after war. With Jesus Christ as our focal point it is our desire is to provide spiritual and emotional healing through our existing Outpost and Home Front system.”
PMIM is run by veterans from all conflicts, nationalities and backgrounds. Although, the primary focus of Point Man has always been to offer spiritual healing from PTSD, Point Man today is involved in group meetings, publishing, hospital visits, conferences, supplying speakers for churches and veteran groups, welcome home projects and community support. Just about any where there are Vets there is a Point Man presence. All services offered by Point Man are free of charge.

Its ok that most of us operate out of our pockets and the kindness of someone with a building to allow us to hold meetings. Frankly we don't do much fundraising simply because what we do does is not expensive. How much does it cost to talk to someone in crisis on the phone? How much does it cost to have a cup of coffee or a sandwich with someone needing to talk? Or send emails? Or offer a hug at an event? It doesn't even cost much at all for us to buy Bibles written for combat veterans.

I work temp jobs because I have to cover my cell phone, travel and paying back student loans is hard. I went to Valencia College for Digital Media to be able to film local events and put them up on YouTube because the press wasn't interested most of the time. What I do is done out of love and everyday you read some of it here but most of the time, you won't ever hear about the veterans and family members I help all the time because that is private. It is up to them to talk or not and I will not betray that trust.

Our charity is one that has been out there for 30 years doing the work we claim to do but most people never heard of us. It is all word of mouth.

Some charities have become huge operations but do not spend money on professional fundraisers. One of them close to my heart is Patriot Guard Riders

Our Mission

“The Patriot Guard Riders is a 100% Volunteer, Federally registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization which ensures dignity and respect at memorial services honoring Fallen Military Heroes, First Responders and Honorably Discharged Veterans.”
Our Vision
The Patriot Guard Riders is a diverse amalgamation of riders from across the nation. We have one thing in common besides motorcycles. We have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security including Fallen Military Heroes, First Responders and Honorably Discharged Veterans. If you share this respect, please join us.

We don’t care what you ride or if you ride, what your political views are, or whether you’re a hawk or a dove. It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn't matter where you’re from or what your income is; you don’t even have to ride. The only prerequisite is Respect.

Our main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives:
1. Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.
2. Shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.
We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.

To those of you who are currently serving and fighting for the freedoms of others, at home and abroad, please know that we are backing you. We honor and support you with every mission we carry out, and we are praying for a safe return home for all.

There are some others doing what they say they are doing as well. Nothing is really free and someone always has to pay something besides their time. There is always some kind of bill to pay, so charities need to raise some funds to cover expenses. Then there are others that never say what they are doing. Some folks seem to think that makes them a "fraud" but that word gets misused a lot.

If a charity says they are raising funds to buy cars for veterans, but you discover they are the only ones getting the cars, is that fraud? No. If they are all veterans, then they didn't lie. You just didn't ask how they decide which veterans get the cars bought with the money you gave.

If a charity says they are supplying transportation for homeless veterans and you discover they were buying bikes with the money, that doesn't mean it was fraud. You just didn't ask what kind of transportation they were talking about.

If they said they were buying cars for homeless veterans but gave a bike or kept the cars for themselves, then that would in fact be a fraud. They did not do what they said they were going to do with the money you gave.

It is always up to us to find out what the truth is before we give any money to them. Don't just assume you know or that they are truthful. If you discover they were not what you thought they were, it could be their fault and they lied or your fault because you didn't check them out first.

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