By Jim O’Neill
In a period of little more than two days in January 2016, the outlook and public impression of the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), one of the nation’s most venerable charities, was transformed from substantially positive to substantially negative. During those two days – January 26 and 27, 2016 – CBS News and The New York Times aired and published reports that heavily criticized the way WWP conducted itself. …CBS News and The New York Times did the public no favors with [their] inadequate and unnecessarily damaging journalism.
“Great Job, Poor Optics” would be a good descriptive title for an article on the fall from grace of the veteran’s charity “Wounded Warrior Project” (WWP). By which I mean that WWP as run by its former Chief Executive Officer Steve Nardizzi and Chief Operations Officer Al Giordano, was wonderfully successful at helping many vets, but Nardizzi’s management style, while undeniably successful, left WWP open to charges of playing fast and loose with donor’s money.
As charity specialist Doug White puts it: “While Nardizzi led WWP as a modern, national charity, he overlooked a crucial, if cosmetic, aspect of any modern-day organization: how things look have a bearing on how things are.”
Which is to say that it behooves a charity organization to look like a charity organization, and not a glamorous and financially flush NGO. The thing is, under Nardizzi and Giordano’s leadership WWP was flush with funds, and if it was not a glamorous NGO, it was certainly one of the country’s most recognizable and successful charity brands. And then came tag-team exposes by the “The New York Times” and “CBS News” in early 2016.
As a result of the two exposes WWP’s board at the time put out a report denying any wrongdoing on the part of WWP – and then cut their own throat by firing Nardizzi and Giordano (if WWP was innocent of any wrongdoing why fire their CEO and COO?). If was after the firing of Nardizzi and Giordano that the real damage to WWP occurred, and contributions plummeted.
Firing Nardizzi and Giordano was a huge mistake IMO. By all accounts they did an excellent job of running WWP, and the charity is still suffering from their loss. As White puts it: “The tenor of the post-allegation and post-firing news reports smack of how things under Nardizzi and Giordano went terribly wrong, how it’s time to clean things up and become more efficient, and how to make WWP the charity it is supposed to be.” White continues:
A nice narrative if you can get away with it. The problem is that it’s untrue and, worse, cowardly. …The problem wasn’t the senior management…but the stature of two venerable news organizations that developed reports that were essentially incorrect and based on biased and incomplete perspectives of former WWP employees, many of whom had been fired, who took it upon themselves to blow a whistle that, in the end, was far more the screech of uninformed whining than a signal of any merit.
I will be the first to say that I am no expert on running charities, but Doug White is. In White’s opinion “it’s difficult to deconstruct things to put order to the reason, to explain why one of America’s most venerated and well-run charities, along with the authors of its success, have been so vilified without reason.” If you really want to get into the meat of the injustice done to Nardizzi, Giordano, and WWP as a whole then you can do no better than reading White’s report “Addressing the Allegations Made Against the Wounded Warrior Project”
[White] is the former director of Columbia University’s Master of Science in Fundraising Management program, where, in addition to his extensive management responsibilities, he taught board governance, ethics and fundraising. He is also the former academic director of New York University’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising. He has also been an advisor to BoardSource, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to “building exceptional nonprofit boards and inspiring board service.”
My purpose in writing this article is twofold: Most importantly I wish to help dissolve the injurious fog of doubt and skepticism that has surrounded WWP since it came under fire in 2016. It is, and always has been, an admirable organization dedicated to helping America’s wounded heroes. Also, I would like to help undo some of the unjustified damage done to the reputations of Steve Nardizzi and Al Giordano.
Let me close with a helpful hint to “The New York Times” and “CBS News.” If they wish to investigate some real, honest-to-goodness bona fide criminal charity activity then let me suggest looking into the “Clinton Foundation.” No need to thank me, it’s what I do. 🙂
Overall, I consider the Clinton Foundation to be a charity fraud network. I base this conclusion on my review of extensive data about its operations including the activities of the Clinton family and their friends in Haiti, a nation that has suffered many disasters, both natural and man-made.
What possesses powerful, wealthy, and educated persons to prey on the most desperately poor humans on earth as they posture as “philanthropists”? And why has there been no government oversight?
Most people are aware of the Clinton Foundation (CF), Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) and Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), but most are not aware of the other 47 foundations, funds, LLCs, and shell companies with non-existing addresses this crime family keeps hush about.
Corey Digs “Clinton Crime Family’s 50 Organizations: TICK TOCK”