You might recently have been seeing the ads for the charity Wreaths Across America as their annual seasonal push begins to get a green Maine balsam wreath laid on the grave of every American veteran.
They ask fifteen dollars for each wreath. This information is given on their offical website under their “Financials: “Each sponsored wreath costs $15, with $5 being allowed to the fundraising program that is paid back to our many fundraising partners including Legion Posts, VFW’s and Auxiliaries, Civil Air Patrol Squadrons, school groups, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and other national non-profits like Easter Seals.”
So if those other beneficiaries of your donation are entities you would like to help foster, there’s a plus.
People who would prefer the entirety of their donations to benefit living U.S. veterans might want to consider donating to charities such as Wounded Warriors Family Support or some of the other worthy causes listed here: https://www.cnbc.com/2014/11/14/top-10-charities-that-support-veterans.html
I’m certainly not knocking the gesture of remembering someone’s service with a memorial wreath, but Americans should not forget that an average of twenty American veterans a day commit suicide, and many of these deaths can be attributable to P.T.S.D. and other problems with which former military personnel struggle. Many of the charities linked above work directly with living veterans and their families on these issues.
Also, there are some causes for concern with Wreaths Across America. The Wall Street Journal and others have pointed out that WAA has a conflict of interest; the company that provides the wreaths used by this charity is owned by the same family which runs the charity. In six years, from 2011 to 2017, the charity’s revenues increased seventy-fold. Revenues in 2017 exceeded fourteen million dollars. NPQ fleshed out the troubling nature of the conflict of interest in an article last year: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/wreaths-across-america-is-a-nonprofit-built-on-conflict-of-interest-still-a-nonprofit/
So, Wreaths Across America gives out information stating that eighty-six cents on the dollar goes to the charity. But this is misleading. Because how much of that eighty-six cents is then turned back into the family coffers? It’s a little disturbing and makes me question how they can function as a non-profit.
It’s good to be aware of the worst veterans’ charities as well as the best-rated. Here is a list that breaks that down: https://clark.com/military/best-worst-veterans-military-charities/
Lastly, if you look into the relationship Fox News cultivates with this charity, there seems to be an inordinate amount of interest on the part of the network in promoting the annual program. President Trump has even linked his name to this charity with a troubling profile: https://www.foxnews.com/us/trump-joins-wreaths-across-america-in-laying-wreaths-at-arlington-national-cemetery One can’t help but wonder if there are any hidden ties between Fox, Trump and WAA; that is, is there a funding connection hidden out of public view?