An article in the September 3, 2007, Forbes Magazine was pointed out to me, a follow-up to an article last December. Both were about Roger Chapin, a self-described "nonprofit entrepreneur" who runs, and has run, a large number of nonprofit organizations. And it appears they're not quite the charitable organizations they claim to be.
There's a strong hint of this early in the December article:
Chapin's biggest venture is Help Hospitalized Veterans, a Winchester, Calif. charity that hauled in donations of $71 million for the year ended in July. HHV's primary mission, as stated on its Web home page: providing free therapeutic arts-and-crafts kits to GIs recovering from injuries. The hobby sets are evidently much appreciated by these veterans. But of every dollar spent in the fiscal year only nine cents went for the kits, plus another five cents for associated overhead and for counselors to visit hospitals and nursing homes.47¢ out of every $1 Help Hospitalized Veterans raised went to sending junk mail asking for donations.
Another Chapin nonprofit, the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes Foundation, says its function is "to help our severely wounded and disabled" soldiers from Middle East strife "rebuild their lives." Yet nearly 80% of the $26 million spent in 2006 by the Coalition "represented the purported value of 1.5 million calling cards given to uninjured soldiers serving in the Middle East. These cards allowed the soldiers to check sports scores back home but couldn't be used to call, say, family. The cards were donated by ez Scores, of Silver Spring, Md." [emphasis added]
Those calling cards highlight another problem in these linked nonprofits one that could be considered an issue of creative accounting. When ez Scores contributed the calling cards to Help Hospitalized Veterans, they were counted as a contribution there. When HHV passed them to the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes Foundation, they were counted as supporting HHV's mission and as a contribution to the Coalition, thus improving the statistics for both groups with a paper transfer between groups controlled by the same individual. If the calling cards are counted only for the Coalition, who actually gave them to (uninjured) soldiers, then HHV had contributions of $51 million and that 47¢ out of every $1 that went to junk mail advertising (mentioned above) is really 67¢ out of every $1 raised.
The one thing Roger Chapin's nonprofit organizations are good at is supporting Roger Chapin. He and his wife got just under a half million dollars in total compensation from Help Hospitalized Veterans in 2005, and well over that in 2006. And that's not counting hundreds of thousands of dollars in "unreimbursed expenses" and a $445,000 condo near Washington, DC. And Lord knows what else. That means what Help Hospitalized Veterans has really done is (1) generate lots of junk mail, (2) support Roger Chapin's lavish lifestyle, and (3) mask these with a lot of creative accounting and pseudo-legal manipulations.
I don't like going with something based on a single source, even a good source like Forbes Magazine, but it looks to me like this is a man who is using America's soldiers including severely wounded soldiers for his own profit.