When our soldiers and sailors return from war, they have to face a lot of hardships ahead. Many suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, physical injuries, and other traumatic medical and mental health issues. But there are causes out there trying to change the heart-breaking statistics. One of those excellent causes is the Wounded Warrior Project.
Families can be torn apart by these issues, and men and women of the armed forces often wind up wandering the streets, incapable of caring for themselves anymore because of the lack of care they’ve received post-combat.
What is the Wounded Warrior Project?
The Wounded Warrior Project, or the WWP, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that was founded in 2003, by John Melia. In an interview with CNN, Mr. Melia said that he started the Wounded Warrior Project because he knew that many military personnel wounded in battle weren’t receiving the full care they needed.
Some of the programs and projects that the WWP provides include:
- Mental health support through Combat Stress Recovery Program, Warrior Care Network®, WWP Talk, Project Odyssey®, and Independence Program
- Health and wellness support through their physical health and wellness program, and Soldier Ride®
- Career and VA benefits counseling through their benefits service and Warriors to Work®
- Personal and family support through alumni connections, family support programs, Operation Outreach, Policy and Government Affairs, peer support, and the WWP Resource Center
- Christmas programs for families of veterans
- The Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team
The Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team
One of the programs that we find most interesting from the Wounded Warrior Project is their amputee football team. Recently, the WWP got together with football legends from the Vikings to play a flag football game for a real purpose: losing a limb doesn’t mean losing your life and career.
Various veterans with limbs lost to war were out on the field, playing with Vikings alumni like quarterback Rich Gannon, running back Robert Smith, and quarterback Todd Bouman, to name a few.
Proceeds from the game went to support the Wounded Warriors Amputee Football team, the Service Dog Network for Veterans, Sierra Delta, and various other organizations that support veterans and their families post-combat.
How Does the Wounded Warrior Project Fund Their Events and Programs?
Like most non-profit organizations, the Wounded Warrior Project receives funds by the generosity and caring of donors across the country. Events, like the football game against NFL players, assist in the funding by calling donors to action over specific needs. They hold other fundraisers throughout the year as well, including fundraisers hosted by regular men and women who don’t work for WWP.
Non-profit watchdog site Charity Navigator rated the Wounded Warrior Project three out of four stars. They awarded an overall rating of 86.02 out of 100, with 80.46 awarded for fiscal management and 97.00 out of 100 for accountability and transparency.
Wounded Warrior Project’s financial record
Tax-exempt organizations, nonexempt charitable trusts, and section 527 political organizations must file a Form 990 or 990EZ with the IRS.
The Wounded Warrior Project’s most recent IRS Form 990 available is for 2017. We extracted the following financial data from the organization’s most recent publicly available tax return for the fiscal year ending September 2017. This financial statement can give you a better idea if they’re a worthwhile charity.
Percentage of donations spent on services
- Total donations and grants: $211,476,891
- Spent on services and grants: $165,835,429
- Percentage of donations toward grants and services: 78.41 percent
Percentage of revenue spent on fundraising
- Total revenue: $226,764,438
- Fundraising expenses: $53,010,250
- Paid to professional fundraisers: $6,189,776
- Percentage of total revenue spent on Fundraising: 23.37 percent
Administrative and overhead costs
- Overhead expenses: $12,981,666
- Property assets: $11,911,779
- Investment assets: $245,953,423
- Paid to officers/directors: $3,644,244
- Highest paid officer/director: Former Strategy Chief $366,866 (through 9/16)
- Percentage of total revenue spent on Officers/Directors Salaries: 1.60 percent
What are Other Groups that Help Veterans?
While the Wounded Warriors Project is a great nonprofit for assisting veterans all over the country, there are other great groups that do similar work. Some of those groups include:
- The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society – Helps active duty marines and sailors, and veterans in various areas, including financial education and family assistance
- XSports4Vets – A group of current combat warriors who reach out to veterans through extreme sports
- Veteran Expeditions – A group that funds trips for veterans for the purpose of helping with recovery post-war
- Hope for the Warriors – An organization that uses a variety of activities and programs to help veterans with physical health and wellness, and interpersonal health
- Pets for Vets – Unites veterans in need with pets in need
- Heal Our Heroes – Primarily counseling-focused outreach for veterans recovering from the traumas of combat
- Reel American Heroes Foundation – Provides recreational therapy for wounded soldiers
- Soldiers’ Angels – A volunteer-led organization that provides aid and comfort to military men and women and their families
How you can help
There are a lot of ways you can help, but a few of them include these simple actions.
- Donate your frequent flyer miles to family members visiting injured soldiers in far-off hospitals.
- Sponsor a pet or companion dog for military personnel suffering from PTSD.
- Send a care package overseas to military personnel in combat zones.
- Sponsor a trip, recreational therapy program, the Wounded Warriors Amputee Football team, or other groups that helps veterans gain mental and emotional healing from trauma on the frontlines.
- Say a simple thank you to any veteran or active duty soldier you know.
- Help build a home for an injured veteran designed to make life easier for those in wheelchairs or with other physical disabilities
- Participate in a Stand Down program designed to get veterans off the streets for a few days to start getting some help
You Can Make a Difference
Whether it’s football with NFL linebackers or fishing with a local expert on one of the many beautiful rivers out West, our veterans need our help with physical and mental healing. Use your skills, give a simple thank you, or donate money to one of the many causes, like the Wounded Warrior Project, that help our veterans find rest and peace after war.