In the News
From advice on giving in a crisis to expert analysis on complex charity finances, CharityWatch is a valuable resource for the media and general public alike. Here is a sampling of our many contributions to news stories.
"Laurie Styron, executive director of the watchdog group CharityWatch, said the apparent lack of progress in achieving onePULSE's mission raises questions about its use of aid funds to boost the pay of top officials."
"'If an organization is languishing, not accomplishing its goals under its existing leadership over a period of many years, I question if using ERTC money to retain those executives is the best use of taxpayer dollars,' she said."
"With pay cuts accounted for, tax documents reviewed by the Orlando Sentinel show Poma and most key officials were getting paid more than $100,000 a year during the coronavirus outbreak--a time when nonprofits, including the onePULSE Foundation, were grappling with negative financial impacts brought on by the pandemic."
"'If the organization is comparing the compensation only based on the job title this isn't a fair comparison since job titles can be assigned to anyone,' Styron said. 'The bottom line is that compensation should be determined based on the education, skills and experience necessary to be effective in the job. That is the industry standard.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, provides her perspectives on the onePULSE Foundation's use of ERTC funds to boost executive pay amid ongoing setbacks.
Orlando Sentinel, 09/08/2023
"The organization should be more forthcoming, particularly with programs that send money to for-profit businesses, Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, told the Sentinel."
"'Although it's not unusual for funds to remain unallocated months after disaster strikes, charities shouldn't cling to their 'purse strings' if people are in need, she said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on Hurricane Ian disaster relief distributed by Volunteer Florida.
Tampa Bay Times, 08/13/2023
"'Maintaining the programming and security necessary to process transactions safely and to protect a donor's data is expensive, so charging reasonable fees to provide such services is justified,' Styron said."
"Styron said people should ask themselves the following questions when donating to a crowdfunding campaign:
- What are the transaction fees and are they reasonable based on what other platforms are charging as well as my comfort level?
- If the fundraiser is a registered public charity, can I avoid donating through the crowdfunder and donate directly to the charity instead?
- Does the end recipient of my donation have control over when they receive the funds, or does the platform control this? How long will my donation be held before the intended recipient receives my donation?
- Am I sure this is a legitimate fundraising campaign? Do I know the victim or other intended recipient personally, and do I trust them and their story? Did I do a reverse image search to see if the images or language being used for the crowdfunding campaign have been lifted from a legitimate campaign by a scammer?"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, provides tips for donating safely to crowdfunding campaigns.
"Styron told the Orlando Sentinel, 'Those funds can end up benefiting private individuals. The public needs to know who are those private individuals...'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, urges Volunteer Florida to provide more disclosure and transparency about how donations for Hurricane Ian relief efforts were used.
"'People who donate in response to a natural disaster want to ease the suffering of the people affected,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch."
"'That's why they donate. So if you still have people who are unhoused, buried in debt as a result of disaster losses, or otherwise not back on their feet, it is safe to say that the intentions of donors are not being honored.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on unspent Hurricane Ian donations.
"'Laurie Styron, executive director of Charity Watch [sic], an American Institute of Philanthropy charity watchdog, reviewed the Tommy Tuberville Foundation filings for The Fact Checker. She said that because of the postcard filings there was an 'accountability black hole' about the charity that made it difficult 'to understand if promises were fulfilled, or monitor a charity's grants relative to its overhead spending.' The main reason the IRS permits small charities to file such limited data is so they can report they are still operating, she said."
"'With respect to the $174k per year specifically, the 2021 990 Schedule A reflects that the charity didn't report receiving contributions even close to this amount in any of the past 5 years,' Styron said in an email. 'In fact, the charity reports receiving only $218k in contributions for the past 5 years combined. If he promised to donate his salary to vets, he certainly isn't fulfilling this promise by donating to this particular charity.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, sharing her analysis of the Tommy Tuberville Foundation's recent tax filings with The Washington Post.
The Washington Post, 07/19/2023
"'The death of George Floyd sparked a flood of donations at a level typically only seen in response to large-scale national or international disasters like hurricanes and tsunamis,' Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, which rates nonprofit groups on their level of disclosure, told the Washington Examiner."
"'The difference is that when the Red Cross or other large and established nonprofits receive tens of millions of dollars in donations very quickly, they are generally staffed with experienced and highly competent professionals who are operating within a functioning system of checks and balances and internal controls,' Styron added. 'One person isn't making unilateral decisions about how millions of dollars are spent.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, provides commentary for an article about the steep drop in donations to Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
Washington Examiner, 05/26/2023
"'You don't hear [of] too many situations, especially of a very famous, well-known store being accused of something like this,' Styron said. 'It is unusual...but it is certainly a cautionary tale.'"
"'Instead of waiting to be asked for a donation, go out there and find the causes that are important to you and then make a gift once you have taken the time to vet a particular organization,' Styron said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, explaining that while charity fraud in store check out lines is uncommon, it is better for donors to cut out the middleman and give directly.
KPAX News, 05/22/2023
"'People are very sympathetic towards victims of gun violence, so any tragedy that plays on human empathy creates fertile ground for scammers to siphon donations away from real victims to fill their own pockets,' Styron said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on fake crowdfunding campaigns that often emerge after gun violence.
"'These state solicitation filings are critical for maintaining transparency over how public dollars are being used and for disclosing who is responsible for the governance of a charity,' said Laurie Styron, the executive director of CharityWatch, an independent watchdog group."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, weighing in on fiscal sponsor Impact Philanthropy Group's reporting compliance and accounting issues, including a "delinquent" filing status with the Office of the California Attorney General.
The Arizona Republic, 04/27/2023
"Some scammers are experts who make full-time jobs out of lying in wait for the next tragedy so they can strike again with fake profiles, stories and fund-raising campaigns,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of the nonprofit group CharityWatch."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, warns of the dangers of being duped by scammers who abuse crowdfunding and other fundraising methods in the wake of gun violence and other tragedies.
The New York Times, 03/04/2023
"'This is why it's so important for people buying tickets to understand the history of the organization, and really what the fine print is,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch."
"'To expect the public to be able to really read through the fine print and understand it is not a reasonable expectation for a charity to have,' Styron said."
"Raffles are very expensive for charities to run. They take marketing dollars, staff time, they take legal advice,' Styron said."
"Ask yourself if it's really worth it? Or if maybe you should just make a donation to a particular charity that you want to support instead?' Styron said"
9News Denver, 02/28/2023
"'This can be a very efficient way to raise a lot of money very cheaply,' Laurie Styron, the executive director of CharityWatch said."
"CharityWatch is the only independent charity watchdog organization in the country. Styron says [donating to] charity at the checkout can be a double-edged sword for customers."
"'Let's face it, inflation is very high. People are already very stretched and it's really not fair to put people in that position where they have to make such an impulsive decision and feel pressured to donate before they've had time to research the organization,' Styron said."
"Styron says don't feel pressured into giving. You can research organizations on CharityWatch's website to see where your donation is going. You'll find A through F ratings on each organization."
"It can vary widely how much of your donation really ends up being spent on charitable work. Generally speaking all the money that's donated does get to the charity but the charity, depending on which charity it is, might have very high overhead', Styron said."
"Styron says charities [should] spend at least 75% of your donation on their programs and keep their fundraising ratio to about $25 or less to raise each hundred dollars of public support."
"If you aren't sure where your donation is going, Styron says don't donate impulsively."
WBRC FOX6 News, 02/22/2023
"Well I think there are a couple of things going on. First, I think there is a halo effect. If a fan really likes a particular athlete, and also if there's a level of sincerity where that athlete probably is trying to accomplish something good—there doesn't seem to be anything off about that—then people do want to believe that what you see is what you get. The other issue is that I think people do have this assumption that there is this really tight regulation by the government of nonprofit organizations. But, in fact, it's perfectly legal for charities to spend as little as 1% of their budgets on programs without violating any laws..."
- As a guest on the sports podcast Mitch Unfiltered, CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, talks with host Mitch Levy (MARKER 1:06:00) about issues at The Russell Wilson Charitable Foundation, advising that there are better ways for athletes to accomplish their charitable goals than starting up their own charities.
Mitch Unfiltered, 02/20/2023
"CharityWatch, the only independent charity watchdog group in the country, said top executives' salaries do not align with how much Why Not You generates. 'An important part of how a nonprofit justifies its existence is by quantifying what it is accomplishing relative to the resources it receives,' Laurie Styron, the executive director said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on Russell Wilson's Why Not You Foundation after an analysis of its tax filings.
KIRO 7 News, 02/09/2023
"You know, it's a real missed opportunity here, because there's all the elements here for this to be a great success and a win-win-win for everybody...We have athletes, most of whom genuinely care about making the world a better place and doing some good charitable work. We've got people who are famous, who have the ability to amplify the work of charities and leverage their fame to raise money for existing organizations."
"The win-win-win is that, if this was done correctly, if this was done in a way where you eliminated a lot of these smaller, individual organizations...and [instead supported] existing charities...It's a win for donors who want their donations spent efficiently and responsibly. It's a win for the athletes who can look back and say, wow, I really did accomplish something. This wasn't just lip service or an award I got. I actually can look and see that I helped 3,000 kids get educated, or I helped clean up the water in a city that was contaminated in a struggling area. And most importantly, last but not least, it's a win for charities. It's a win for the causes."
"Because if what you're really trying to do with your charitable efforts is make an impact in the world--a positive impact--an award is not going to do that. What's going to do that is making sure, however it's done, that you get the most money that you possibly can, to the best charities that you possibly can, that can accomplish the most good. And that's a win-win-win for everybody. All the elements are there, and it's not too late to make that happen."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, discusses the high overhead spending by the charities of some Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award winners and other NFL players.
The Arizona Republic via MSN, 02/08/2023
"A board can't do its job if it's not independent. If someone is being paid too much relative to the value they are bringing to the organization, there is no independent governing body at this charity to stop this from happening, It's a virtual free-for-all."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, provides analysis and commentary to The Arizona Republic as part of its 6-month investigation into charities founded by Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award winners and other NFL players.
The Arizona Republic, 02/08/2023
"'Sometimes a cause starts out very small and one major tragedy can propel a $2,500 organization into an $8 million one practically overnight,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of nonprofit charity watchdog CharityWatch."
"'Even with the best of intentions and good faith commitment to manage donations ethically and responsibly, the people capable of running a very small organization may be out of their depth trying to run a big one,' she said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on the atmospheric rise in donations to Damar Hamlin's charity, Chasing M's Foundation, in the aftermath of the athlete's serious injury.
The Buffalo News, 01/11/2023
"'There are so many red flags here, it's hard to keep score,' said CharityWatch's executive director Laurie Styron. 'Taxpayers who subsidize the existence of public charities also have a stake in knowing that nonprofits aren't being used to forward the personal interests of the people running it.'"
"'One person can't govern themselves. There is no board. There is no independence. There are no checks and balances against conflict or competing interests.'"
"'The reporting guidance is both rules-based and principles-based, and in some cases requires the governing body of a charity to make judgement calls in good faith with respect to whether or not the charity truly has the ability to make decisions independently of for-profit interests -- particularly when a charity has a small board and there is shared governance between the nonprofit and the for-profit,' Styron said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on concerns about the Washington Commanders Charitable Foundation.
"'Well anytime there's a middle person in between your donation and the charity there is a little bit more of a risk that your donation won't get to the organization or that it won't get to the organization [in] a timely manner,' said Laurie Styron, Executive Director, CharityWatch."
"If everything's above board that store [is] really just acting like an agent,' said Styron."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, warns that while charity checkout donations can create windfalls for some charities, they are not without dangers for donors.
KPRC2/Click2Houston NBC, 12/19/2022
“'A nonprofit, in theory, should determine appropriate compensation for an organization's leader by researching the market rate for someone with the relevant education, skills and experience needed to competently perform the job at hand,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of Charity Watch, a charity watchdog."
“'In some cases, there is circular reasoning applied where a nonprofit working in a particular cause may look at the compensation levels of the leaders at other nonprofits working in that same cause to justify higher pay for its own leader,' Styron said. 'This is often done even in cases where someone competent could be found to do the job for far less.'”
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, comments on how some nonprofits cherry pick data as a means of justifying high salaries and compensation packages.
USA TODAY, 12/16/2022
"'Giving Tuesday serves as a reminder to balance our individual needs with the needs of the people and causes that most need our help,' said CharityWatch Executive Director Laurie Styron. 'But in reality, every day is a good day to turn our thoughts and words into actions by identifying efficient and effective charities to support and making donations.'"
"While our giving is often driven by a desire for connection to humanity, a sense a duty to help others by sharing our resources, a feeling of gratitude for our good fortune relative to so many others, or a desire to make positive impact on the world around us, in order for our donations to accomplish what we most want, we need to be thoughtful about how we give."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, encourages people who are driven to be generous to be thoughtful when making their donating decisions throughout the year.
ABC Action News, 12/01/2022
"Styron says the best advice she can give to avoid charity scams, especially during the holidays, is to be proactive. 'Be proactive because when we're reactive, we make mistakes. The number one reason people donate is because they're asked. But when you're asked and you're put on the spot, a lot of us have trouble saying no,' said Styron."
"We have a list of Top-Rated charities organized by cause. If you want to support animals or veterans or breast cancer research, you can come to our site and find an efficient organization working in a cause that's important to you and direct your donation there,' said Styron. 'If you're going to hand over money that could otherwise be spent on a fancy vacation or presents for your kids or grandkids, if you're going to hand that over to a charity instead, you want it to actually accomplish something,' Styron added."
"Styron recommends doing some homework by checking the rating of a charity to ensure your donation will go where it should."
"'All charities, even the best organizations, are going to be under some strain to cover increasing overhead costs and even more expensive program cost,' said Styron. If you are someone who is in a position to give a little bit more this year, I would encourage you to be generous because there is a lot more need out there than there are resources to fulfill them,' she added."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, is consulted by Erie News Now for her advice on avoiding scams and inefficient charities on Giving Tuesday and throughout the holiday giving season.
Erie News Now, 11/30/2022
"’The elevator pitch that I always give people is to be proactive. Most people, the number one reason they donate is because they're asked. But a lot of us have a lot of trouble saying 'no.' Especially here in the Midwest, we have a lot of trouble saying 'no.' So the best way to avoid scams is really to just be proactive. Ask yourself what causes are the most important to me [and] identify efficient charities working in those causes. Now you've whittled it down to probably three or four. Dig into the programs, you know. Some charities focus on raising awareness for a cause. Other ones provide direct grants, direct support, more active types of programs. So, you as the donor are in control as long as you are more proactive rather than reactive.’"
"’Well, there are over 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States. It's really tough to dig into all of them because it's very time-intensive to really dig into all the audits and the tax filings and all the documentation. And it's pretty easy for charities to...use creative accounting to make themselves appear more efficient than they really are. But there are some general tips you can follow...’"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, appears on PBS station WTTW's Chicago Tonight program to provide Giving Tuesday and holiday giving tips to help donors identify efficient charities to support.
WTTW's Chicago Tonight program, 11/29/2022
"This is peak time for scammers, some of them being professionals who do scamming as a full-time job. This means that all of us have to be on extra alert this time of year."
"We [CharityWatch] have a list of Top-Rated charities organized by cause."
"A charity could spend $1 of your $100 donation on its programs and be operating perfectly within the law. It's not enough to know if a charity is 'legitimate.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, encourages donors to avoid charity scams this holiday season by referring to CharityWatch's list of Top-Rated charities by cause.
WENY News, 11/29/2022
"'There are a lot of very 'scammy' charities out there that sort of exist just to enrich fundraising companies, and they will target causes that are really popular,' says Laurie Styron, the executive director of CharityWatch..."
"According to Styron, there is a big difference between being a 'good' non-profit and a 'legitimate' one. To be 'legitimate,' a charity just has to be registered and in good standing with the IRS. 'There are no laws mandating that a charity has to spend a minimum percentage of your donation on their programs, so the difference between an outright fraud--a scammer--and a legitimate, but highly inefficient charity might only be the difference between none of your donation being spent on programs and 1% or 2% of your donation being spent on programs,' she said."
"It's also important to avoid making decisions on a tight deadline or under pressure. 'Instead of waiting to be asked and then having to react and try to understand if that's a worthy cause or a worthy person to help, be proactive,' Styron suggested. 'Think about what's important to you. Find a good charity working in that cause and support that organization.'"
Arizona's Family CBS 5 & 3 TV, 11/29/2022
"We see so many people, they get taken in by emotional appeals of sad photos of...injured animals, or homeless veterans, or children with cancer. And these images are extremely compelling. And, you know, to quell that emotional discomfort, a lot of us, we make a donation and we feel like we've done something good. But, in fact, the most predatory people, they're going to target those highly popular causes."
"Just make sure that you trust the person running [the charity]...understand how many people are on the board of directors. Make sure that it's not a one person operation and that there are some checks and balances in place and some oversight. And, definitely ask, how is my money going to be spent? Because, you know, you do, all of us, right? We want most of our donation to be spent really funding the programs and we want charities to keep their overhead costs in check--reasonable, but not outrageous."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, is interviewed by KOAA 5's Patrick Nelson about how to find the best charities while avoiding scams this Giving Tuesday and throughout the holiday giving season. Don't waste your donations!
KOAA News5, 11/29/2022
"'Public charities are not supposed to be engaging in substantial lobbying activities, and they risk their tax-exempt status when they don't follow the rules,' Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, told the Washington Examiner."
"'When charities do engage in small amounts of lobbying activities, they are required to report these to the public in their annual tax filings so that donors know what types of activities they are funding and so that taxpayers know what types of activities they are subsidizing,' Styron said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, discusses reporting requirements and limits on lobbying for 501(c)(3) public charities, including Alianza Americas.
Washington Examiner, 11/22/2022
“Sometimes, charities will market matching gift campaigns that involve a deadline that’s fast approaching.”
“’It encourages you to give without giving you time to research whether the charity will use your donation efficiently or not,’ said Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch.”
“’It’s much better to step back and think about the causes you care about … and target those charities,’ Styron said. ‘If it’s high pressure, it’s usually not a good charity,’ she said.”
“In those cases, you’d need to know whether the person definitely is going to pass on the money raised to the charity.”
“’Even if it’s a legitimate middle person or donation processor, they might be taking significant administrative or processing fees out of your donation,’ Styron said.”
“’A lot of times, scammy charities will leverage a familiar-sounding name to try to scam you out of your money,’ she said. For instance, they might add ‘foundation’ at the end of a charity’s name or ‘American’ in front of the name to make it sound like a charity that is broadly trusted.”
-CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, provides giving tips for Giving Tuesday and the 2022 holiday season to help donors target the best charities to support.
"'A charity's board members have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the charity at all times,' Styron added. 'Doing so becomes more complicated when there are competing interests between nonprofit and for-profit legal entities, particularly when the two organizations share key staff who have to balance their fiduciary duties between the two. It has the potential to get tricky if there aren't adequate safeguards in place.'"
"'If the charity is granting or reimbursing funds to the for-profit entity, and the for-profit is then paying money to other companies or individuals, there is a danger that charitable dollars are indirectly subsidizing the expenses of the for-profit,' she added. 'Money is fungible.'"
"'Charities have pretty wide latitude to decide what programs they want to conduct without breaking any laws or hard rules,' Styron told The Daily Beast. 'But there is still a question of whether or not it is ethical for a charity to focus so much of its resources on programs that provide publicity for its founder. The answer really depends on how much public good is being provided and whether or not this publicity is what is driving the charity's decisions about what programs to conduct.'"
"'A lot of philanthropy is some combination of providing public good while garnering public goodwill for a charity's funders,' Styron said. 'But in this case, the person who appears to be benefiting from the public goodwill isn't providing significant funding to the organization.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on the relationship between Tom Brady's charitable foundation and for-profit company, TB12, Inc.
The Daily Beast, 11/17/2022
"'Any reasonable person who visits this site will immediately assume it's a nonprofit based on the presentation and all the nonprofit and social justice buzzwords that are incorporated throughout its content,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, a nonprofit watchdog group. 'If it is a for-profit, or if it is an aspiring nonprofit in the process of applying for tax-exempt status, it should explicitly communicate this information on its website so that people can make an informed decision about whether or not they want to fund it.'"
"It's a problem that the public has to guess, dig, or invest time in researching the legal status of an organization that is soliciting funding for social justice or other charitable causes,' said Styron. 'Just tell us.'"
- With respect to Race2Dinner, CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, urges those raising money in the name of social justice causes to be transparent about their non-profit or for-profit status.
The New York Post, 11/10/2022
"Still, the MPTF's boards of directors and governors — the former focused on its administration, the latter on fundraising — also have a fiduciary duty to 'act in the best interest of the nonprofit that they're overseeing,' says Laurie Styron, executive director of nonprofit watchdog CharityWatch."
"A concerning aspect of the MPTF's predicament, notes Styron, is that it 'has made some pretty serious operations obligations for ongoing care of people,' and that retracting any services in the face of financial difficulties would be tricky."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, comments on money troubles at the Motion Picture Television Fund.
The Hollywood Reporter, 11/08/2022
"But using charitable donations for personal benefit is still wrong, she said. 'A foundation is not a personal piggy bank for someone who's running it, no matter how hard-working they are.'"
"Styron lamented that state agencies such as the Attorney General's office and Arizona Corporation Commission did not do more to investigate and hold RecFX Foundation accountable if the allegations were confirmed. 'For the state to basically shrug its shoulders is pretty obnoxious,' she said. 'This is really a shame.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, weighing in on Arizona charity CEO who lied about military service and conned veterans out of thousands of dollars, according to the charity's former supporters.
Arizona Republic, 10/24/2022
"'You can't say you're raising money for one purpose and then spend it on something totally different,' Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, told The Athletic. 'Charities have an ethical obligation, and in some cases a legal obligation, to fulfill the intentions of its donors in the way funds are spent.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, comments on the Brett Favre charity scandal.
E! Entertainment News, 10/15/2022
"One of the reasons that crowdfunding is so incredibly appealing is that it typically centers on one individual or one family,' said Laurie Styron, with the watchdog organization CharityWatch. 'It gives us that very personal, emotional connection, and it makes us feel like when we give money, it really will make an impact and help the person.'"
"But Styron says who you're helping may not be who you think it is. 'You don't really know if the person you're donating to could be located 6,000 miles away on a computer farm somewhere. There are people at the ready in any disaster to exploit it as a fundraising opportunity to scam you,' Styron said."
"'If you insist on donating through a crowdfunding campaign - at a minimum - do a reverse image search,' Styron said. 'Make sure that the images you're seeing or the story that you're hearing hasn't been repeated in multiple places across a lot of platforms. That's usually one sign that it could be a highly sophisticated type of scam.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, warns donors about the dangers of donating through crowdfunding websites in response to natural disasters.
"'Meaning, that if this charity decided that it wanted to help past grant recipients rectify some of these issues that they're having with their housing,' said Styron, ' I don't see anything in the financial reporting that would prevent them from doing that.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, says that affordable housing nonprofit with many years' worth of assets on hand could choose to help past participants of its housing program if it wanted to.
CBS KUTV News, 10/03/2022
"'Resist the urge to give impulsively,' says CharityWatch executive director, Laurie Styron. 'If you donate to a charity and don't know how it's going to be used that's not a great way to give. That's not a great way to ensure that your donation will actually make an impact,' she says."
"Many people like to help many charities, rather than donating to only one or two. Styron encourages donors to rethink this approach. 'When you donate very small amounts of money to a lot of different charities, less of your donation is available for programs because ... much of it gets eaten up in these administrative fees,' Styron told DC News Now."
"'One particular victim of a disaster can end up with $1 million or more, whereas people in the exact same situation, affected negatively by the exact same tragedy, sometimes have no help at all,' Styron warned. 'This can occur when the tragic story of one individual or family goes viral or is highly publicized by media, resulting in an outpouring of donations directed to only a few victims via a crowdfunding campaign or other medium. A better way to ensure that your donation is used not only efficiently and effectively, but also equitably, is to identify a worthy charity to support that is equipped to provide boots-on-the-ground aid to all of the victims of a disaster.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, talks to D.C. News Now about Hurricane Ian giving, what to avoid, and how to make sure your donation makes a real impact.
D.C. News Now, 09/29/2022
"'If the charity told donors it was raising money for breast cancer but then spends the resulting donations on an athletic facility, the people running the organization are not fulfilling their obligations to spend the nonprofit's donations the way its donors intended,' she said."
"'Charities are not personal piggy banks for their founders to tap into for pet projects. Celebrity athletes don't get a free pass, and if anything, should feel more of a personal obligation to set a good example by operating not only legally within the rules, but ethically so.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, communicates to ESPN that celebrity athletes like Brett Favre should hold themselves to high ethical standards in their charitable endeavors.
"'You can't say you're raising money for one purpose and then spend it on something totally different. Charities have an ethical obligation, and in some cases a legal obligation, to fulfill the intentions of [their] donors in the way funds are spent.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, reacts to news that Brett Favre's charity, Favre 4 Hope, which has a stated mission to support disadvantaged children and cancer patients, made grants over three years to help fund the University of Southern Mississippi's volleyball facility.
The Athletic, 09/28/2022
"The BLM Global Network Foundation is 'like a giant ghost ship full of treasure drifting in the night with no captain, no discernible crew, and no clear direction,' CharityWatch Executive Director Laurie Styron previously told the Washington Examiner in January ."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on governance and transparency issues at Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
"'A charity isn't a cookie jar for its officers and directors to raid,' said Styron. 'The people running charities are not owners, they are stewards. That's the job. Charities are not vehicles for personal benefit.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on a would-be fallen officers charity that reported a long-deceased relative as being on the board.
WGCU PBS & NPR, 08/26/2022
"There's...a slew of private charity raters, such as BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, and GuideStar. These groups confer a sheen of credibility on nonprofits through numerical ratings and gold stars. And yet a large number of problematic nonprofits enjoy high ratings on these sites."
"These ratings are routinely called out by CharityWatch, the only real aggressive watchdog. The organization helps journalists interpret IRS nonprofit disclosures while revealing how the documents themselves can be easily gamed to understate executive compensation and overstate impact. 'The whole system is propped up on false assumptions and flawed automated methods,' said Laurie Styron, CharityWatch's leader."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, contributing commentary to The New Republic's August 2022 article, "There's Never Been A Better Time to Be a Scammy Nonprofit".
The New Republic, 08/12/2022
"Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, a Chicago-based watchdog group, wrote in an email Wednesday that she hoped the postponement 'is a sign that those who are mixing charity and politics have received the message that they would do well to tread very, very carefully.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, applauding the postponement of a charity event connected to lawmaker.
"Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, a Chicago-based watchdog group, said the event flyers and promotions...appear to be 'a clear violation of the spirit of' IRS regulations barring charities from engaging in political activity. 'But it's unclear if this constitutes a violation of the letter of the law,' citing the fact that the IRS, because of limited resources, might take 'more of a facts and circumstances approach when making a determination as to whether or not any thank you messages amount to an implied endorsement of a candidate.'"
"Styron noted that Caracappa's description of Freebird being a group that 'advocates [for] and supports 'domestic violence victims can mean almost anything, down to simple social media posts. They are using charity buzzwords without explicitly using the word charity,' Styron wrote in an email to Newsday, referring to Caracappa's flyers. 'This can easily give the public the impression that 'donations' are tax-deductible and that they are supporting charitable efforts, when in reality this may just be a group of people raising funds for their own purposes that they are not obligated to spend according to regulations governing actual charities.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on the dangers of blending charity and political activity and how this creates confusion for the donating public.
"'This issue of dark money, of course, is a broad problem across the political spectrum and influences organizations with both right and left leanings,' Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, a group probing nonprofit ethics, told the Daily Caller News Foundation."
"'Hopefully we can all agree in principle that the public has a right to know who is funding politics in our country so we have adequate information with which to understand biases influencing the messaging we collectively consume and any conflicts of interest that may be present,' Styron also said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, questioning the ethics of using nonprofit organizations as vehicles to fund political candidates with "dark money".
The Daily Caller, 08/03/2022
"'You have to stop before you open your wallet, and you really have to take a little extra time to check out the charity before you donate,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch."
"'Make sure that the nonprofit is operating efficiently, but even an efficient nonprofit might have a different idea about where your money is best spent,' Styron said."
"'At the end of the day, people out there need this money, and donors gave this money for emergency aid. That's really what it should be spent on,' Styron said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, advises donors to not give impulsively when donating to victims of a disaster such as the flooding in Kentucky, Tennessee, and other areas in 2021 and 2022.
WSMV NBC News 4, Nashville, 08/01/2022
"Laurie Styron is the executive director of Charity Watch [sic], a national group that investigates charities and how efficiently they raise and spend the money entrusted to them."
"'It's always a concern when the public asks for a reasonable amount of accountability about how their donations were spent and they don't get an adequate response,' Styron said."
"She added that it's best when charities are transparent."
"'If I give you X amount of money, what will you accomplish with it?' she said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, comments on an investigation into what happened to millions of dollars donated to a community foundation in response to devastating tornadoes in Tennessee in 2020.
NewsChannel 5 Nashville, 06/13/2022
"Experts said an organization with more than $1 million in revenue typically would have more employees and a larger board. 'These are public dollars, and the board members and officers of a charity have a fiduciary duty to ... spend all of the resources of the charity carrying out the mission of the organization to the best of their ability in ways that benefit the nonprofit,' Styron said. 'Not in ways that benefit them personally.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, expressing concerns about the financial reporting of the public charity True The Vote.
"CharityWatch Executive Director Laurie Styron said the public support BLM received from major corporations likely motivated small-dollar donors into giving to the group."
"'The death of George Floyd was treated as a global event. In the midst of this 24/7 news coverage, a lot of corporations may have jumped on the bandwagon and made a pledge or a donation without subjecting the charity or the people running it to normal due diligence procedures,' Styron told the Washington Examiner."
"'As we saw with Bernie Madoff, once a few well-respected people or institutions invest their money into something, this lends credibility to it,' Styron added. 'It can cause people to let down their guard and abandon routine due diligence. They reason that if this or that company is donating to this particular charity, then it must have already been thoroughly vetted, so it's a safe bet for my company or me as an individual to donate to it, too.'"
"'Relying on the wisdom of the crowd can sometimes have dire consequences, as we see here,' she said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on corporate donations made to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Washington Examiner, 06/03/2022
"'There are fake crowdfunding campaigns that pop up all the time. And there's a lot of copycat crowdfunding campaigns that pop up all the time because people swoop in immediately after a tragedy and try to cash in and then they're gone as quickly as they arrived,' she said."
"For those still seeking to donate, Styron said when she is moved by events happening in the country and the world around her, 'my heart is sort of the inspiration for my donation but then I use my head when I actually discern where my money should really go where it can do the most good.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, gives tips for donating in the wake of a disaster or other tragedy such as the shooting in Uvalde, Texas or the war in Ukraine.
NBC News, 06/02/2022
"'A grant from a charity's U.S. entity to its Canadian one isn't in and of itself a suspicious transaction,' Styron of CharityWatch said. 'The concern here is that this transaction occurred in a financial reporting year in which the charity reports having only one member of its governing body. And that member just so happens to have made an $8 million financial decision involving a related party with no independent oversight of this transaction.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, expressing concern over an $8 million international grant made by Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation to a related organization.
The Washington Examiner, 05/20/2022
"'However, ... the IRS considers other factors aside from reported lobbying expenses relative to total expenses when deciding whether or not resources spent on lobbying are 'excessive,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, a non-profit that analyzes charities. 'There is still much we don't know about significant portions of this charity's resources.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, reacting to the reported lobbying expenses included in this week's public disclosure of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation's fiscal 2021 IRS tax Form 990.
The New York Post, 05/17/2022
"'The charity had no whistleblower policy, no document destruction and retention policy, and only one board member during the financial reporting period,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, a nonprofit that monitors charities. 'It reports having and regularly monitoring and enforcing a written conflict of interest policy, but ... one person can't monitor and enforce a conflict of interest policy over themselves. It's frightening, isn't it, to consider that this much taxpayer-subsidized public money was being overseen by only one person?'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, reacting to governance issues she identified in this week's release of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation's fiscal 2021 IRS tax Form 990.
The New York Post, 05/17/2022
"Hopefully the priorities of the person chosen to lead this effort are closely aligned with public opinion and interest. Of course, we have no way to judge that if they refuse to tell us who this person is."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, bemoaning the lack of transparency related to oversight of the multi-billion pound charitable pledge made by Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich, pending his sale of the UK-based Chelsea Football Club.
Financial Times, 05/13/2022
"[Laurie Styron] noted that the records show SHARE does not have the most 'basic governing policies, such as policies addressing conflict of interest, document destruction or whistleblowers.'"
"'This tax filing is just rife with red flags,' said Styron, an accountant whose organization investigates nonprofits. 'It's like having a puzzle where 80 percent of the pieces are missing.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, shares her concerns about the lack of accountability and transparency at SHARE Village, a Las Vegas nonprofit funded by public and private donations, tenant rent, and taxpayer-funded loans, that provides housing to low-income veterans.
Las Vegas Review-Journal, 05/08/2022
"'Thrift stores,' says Laurie Styron of CharityWatch, based in Chicago, 'should be required to open their books for the public to verify any claims they are making about purchases supporting a charitable cause.'
"Laws need to change, too, she adds, 'to close the loopholes that allow for so much gray area in marketing language' of thrift stores and other for-profit companies using a charitable cause to sell products. 'The language needs to be clear enough that you don't need to be a contract lawyer or CPA to understand it.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, criticizing the lack of transparency by thrift stores that claim to donate a percentage of their sales to charity.
The Herald, 05/01/2022
"'It didn't actually have any financial activity until 2020 when it received over $60 million from its former fiscal sponsor,' said Laurie Styron, Executive Director of CharityWatch.org. 'That was in October 2020 and the public is still waiting for any kind of accountability of that money in an official document like a tax filing or an audit.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, bemoaning the delay of the public's access to reliable information about how more than $60 million in Black Lives Matter donations were used.
Fox News, Houston, TX, 04/28/2022
"'A 58 percent program ratio does not reflect a high level of financial efficiency,' said Laurie Styron, the executive director of CharityWatch."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, saying that while The Beau Biden Foundation For The Protection of Children is a highly efficient fundraiser, its program spending reflects room for improvement.
The New York Post, 03/26/2022
"'That is a danger, is that, you know, the new, shiny crisis is often where the attention is directed, so then people do shift their donations from one crisis to another.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, shares her concern that two of the worst humanitarian crises in the world in Yemen and Afghanistan are losing public attention, and vital donations, as attention has shifted to the war in Ukraine.
Global News, 03/23/2022
"'One concern we have is that some charities, even financially efficient ones, are using this as a fundraising opportunity without a clear idea of how they intend to spend the money, and possibly without any real-world experience in operating in a crisis situation or a disaster or conflict zone,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of Charity Watch [sic]."
"'Doctors Without Borders is probably my No. 1 pick,' Styron said. The nonprofit got back to her group 'telling us in very, very specific terms what they're doing right now in Ukraine and in the surrounding countries for the refugees fleeing the conflict.' She also recommends CARE USA and Direct Relief.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, giving her opinion on the best charities to donate to for Ukraine relief efforts.
"Laurie Styron, the executive director of CharityWatch, points out that, often, someone with a highly publicized story ends up getting flooded with more donations than they could ever reasonably use while thousands of others in similarly dire situations go without."
"'People who are injured or elderly, who have mental health issues, or who are not tech-savvy would be left behind if most of us donated directly to victims' bank accounts rather than to efficient charities working in the region that are more equipped to provide help equitably to everyone who needs it,' Styron says."
"'If you have friends or relatives in Ukraine or bordering countries and want to donate directly,' Styron says, 'by all means, go ahead.' Send money through a reliable crowdfunding site or ask your bank about the most secure way to initiate a transfer to your loved ones."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, advises donors supporting Ukrainian humanitarian relief efforts to be wary of the unintended consequences of donating directly to individuals.
"'You need to donate to an organization that has experience either in the region, or has international experience with aiding victims of a crisis or a disaster because I've seen many highly rated charities are kind of getting into this fundraising [for the] crisis without really having a clear plan of what they're going to do with the money,' said Styron."
"'Just avoid the gimmicks,' said Styron. 'If you see things online like buy a digital Ukrainian flag and we will donate a certain amount of money to something.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, advising donors on how to avoid scams related to providing aid to victims of violence in Ukraine.
"'Don't donate to the first crowdfunding campaign or charity that asks.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, warning donors against impulsivity when making donations to help people fleeing the violence in Ukraine.
The New York Times, 03/02/2022
"Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, says charity organizations are typically better to donate to than crowdfunding campaigns or individuals because they make sure no one person gets all of the aid for themselves."
"'Nonprofit organizations are just much better equipped to make sure that when you donate, those resources are distributed equitably to the people and to the needs that are most important for emergency aid in that moment,' Styron said. 'The only exception to that might be if you personally know someone in the region, or you have someone who can vouch for that person,' Styron said. 'In that case, the crowdfunding site can be a very convenient, easy way to get resources to someone in the region. If you don't know the person, it's really not the best way to give — you're really kind of taking a big risk.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, warns donors of the dangers of crowdfunding campaigns claiming to help victims of violence in Ukraine.
"'When people open their hearts and wallets to make donations in response to tragic events like those currently happening in Ukraine, they want their donations to be used now, to ease suffering now,' she told MarketWatch. The organization has compiled its own list of charities that can address those needs."
"Organizations sometimes take in money during crises and use the funding to build up their cash reserves. Now is not the time for that type of strategy, Styron said."
"'The fact is, when people see people suffering, they feel empathy and feel compelled to do something now to help end that suffering now.' Charities need to honor those intentions,' Styron said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, emphasizes the need for funds to be used by charities now to address the immediate needs of Ukrainians.
"'Taking advantage of filing extensions and changing its fiscal year is already leaving the public in the dark about what happened to more than $60 million in funds intended to forward social justice causes,' Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, which rates non-profits across the country, told The Post Thursday. 'It would be interesting to understand if this change in fiscal year was a good faith effort on the part of whoever is in charge to better manage its operations and staff resources, or was rather a delay tactic to buy more time.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, questioning Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation's decision to change its fiscal year, delaying its tax filing in the process.
The New York Post, 2/17/2022
"'Given the money involved here, this is really unbelievable,' CharityWatch Executive Director Laurie Styron told the Washington Examiner. 'To not know who is in charge of $60+ million collected by the national charity arm of arguably the most prominent social justice movement in the country is the worst transparency issue I have seen in my 18 years as a charity watchdog.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, expressing concern about transparency issues at the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
CharityWatch Executive Director Laurie Styron told the Washington Examiner that donors need to be careful not to conflate BLM's "subjective and flattering self-reported 'impact' data" with its form 990 tax return and independently audited financial statements, records that BLM has yet to provide for its 2020 fiscal year despite a mid-November 2021 deadline.
"'Charity 'Impact' reports rarely amount to anything more than an extension of a charity's marketing or fundraising strategies,' Styron said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, warning donors do not conflate a charity's "impact" reports and other marketing materials with independent audited financial statements.
Colorado Springs Gazette, 02/10/2022
"'Like a giant ghost ship full of treasure drifting in the night with no captain, no discernible crew, and no clear direction,' CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron said of BLM [Global Network Foundation]."
"Styron, the CharityWatch executive director, said Form 990s are matters of public record and that BLM should have completed its 2020 form by now. 'Irrespective of where any person falls on the political spectrum or what their position is on any social justice issue, hopefully, we can all agree that tax-subsidized public charities have an ethical responsibility to be transparent with the public about how they are operating and how the donations they receive are being used,' Styron said. 'The amount of money involved here is not insignificant.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on governance and transparency issues at Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
"'When too many family members are in positions of authority at a charity, the independent oversight needed to ensure that donations will be used the way donors intend is significantly eroded,' said Laurie Styron, who has spent nearly two decades examining nonprofits and is now the executive of the group Charity Watch [sic]."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, comments on red flags at the Patriot Freedom Fund, a group that claims to have raised close to $900,000 in donations to provide legal aid and cash grants to Capitol riot defendants and their families.
"'Highly efficient nonprofits are generally able to spend at least 75 percent of their cash budgets directly on their programs and they spend no more than 25 dollars to raise every 100 dollars of cash,' said Laurie."
"'Because [highly popular] causes are easier to raise money for, they also attract a lot of predatory people. So when you encounter a solicitation that is very emotionally charged, has very [evocative] imagery designed to make you feel guilty if you don't give, be extra careful to check out that charity before you donate,' said Laurie Styron, Executive Director of Charity Watch [sic]."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, recommends to donors that they seek out efficient charities to support and be extra careful when donating to highly popular causes like veterans, children with cancer, sick and injured animals, and others.
NBC KOAA News5, Southern Colorado, 12/07/21
"It [CharityWatch] was founded in 1992 when there was no place to research [charities.]...'now we have the opposite problem' says Executive Director, Laurie Styron."
"Now there is almost too much information out there about charities and a lot of it is unfortunately, from industry and trade associations or from the charities themselves."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, explaining on CBS News 11 (Dallas) how large, online charity databases confuse donors by functioning more like charity trade associations than independent raters or watchdogs.
CBS News 11, Dallas, 11/30/21
"Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, a group that monitors charities for governance and transparency issues, reviewed the leaked documents and said they troubled her. 'They're relying on the good grace of donors to just not ask too many questions? That's just wrong. It's a breach of trust,' she said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on an investigation into WE Charity, which alleges that the charity misled its donors by raising money from them to each fully fund the same projects to build schools in Kenya.
CBC News The Fifth Estate, 11/18/2021
"There's just a huge chasm at times between what a charity is saying about itself and what the finances reveal it is really doing."
"For the most part there are a lot of really great charities out there. The way to maintain a level playing field for nonprofits is to make sure that when we see some of these predatory people who know how to stay just on the right side of the law to be able to continue to exploit people's generosity and play on their emotions...we need to be able to expose people like that so that the rest of the nonprofit sector can continue to operate efficiently and effectively, and not be competing for donations with some of these really predatory people who are siphoning money away from really important causes."
"Professional fundraisers have a lot of different clients. Depending on the contract a charity has with its fundraiser, once you donate to one of its charity clients, that professional fundraiser might then put your name on a list so that they start to contact you for all of their other clients. So, you donate $50 to a cancer research charity, and suddenly over the next month you're getting donation requests from a veterans organization, from an animal organization, from an environmental organization, police and firefighters...and you ask yourself, 'how did this happen?' Well what happened is that your name is now on a list as someone who is an active donor."
AARP Perfect Scam Podcast, 10/29/2021
"'The government isn't actually allowed to demand a charity spend a minimum percentage of your donations on their programs,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of Charity Watch [sic]."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, citing limitations on the government's ability to regulate spending by breast cancer charities and other nonprofits.
"Laurie Styron, executive director of the American Institute of Philanthropy [CharityWatch], described crowdfunding campaigns as the 'Wild West of charity fundraising' and said that influencers should instead urge their followers to support nonprofits with experience and expertise. 'Good intentions mixed with hubris is a dangerous combination,' Styron said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on an online influencer's $7.2 million "Operation Flyaway" crowdfunding campaign that failed to use donations to evacuate even one Afghan civilian on its chartered flights.
The Washington Post, 09/29/2021
"Laurie Styron, executive director of the group CharityWatch, called the close financial arrangement between the NCLU and Pierce 'quite bold.'"
"'Most nonprofits don't do things this way,' Styron said. 'The optics are just terrible.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on the nonprofit National Constitutional Law Union's (NCLU) plans to pay the law firm of its founder and president, John Pierce, substantial funds from the donations it collected.
"'$15,000 is not a lot of money in the nonprofit sector on the whole, but that's a lot of money to people who have unmet needs,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, a national organization that monitors and rates charities for the public."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on Larry Elder's failed charity and questions surrounding where the money went.
Los Angeles Times, 08/27/2021
"When we're asked to separate the art from the artist, what we're really saying is that it's fine to sacrifice certain vulnerable classes of people in service to a higher cause as defined by that philanthropic leader."
- In a letter to the editor, CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, talks about our collective ethical responsibility to hold philanthropic leaders accountable.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 08/26/2021
"Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, says 'there's clearly a disconnect' between how SPCAI markets its services and 'what they're spending most of their money on.' Her organization has evaluated SPCAI seven times since 2009 and each time has given it an 'F,' the lowest rating possible."
"'Donors may as well just skip the donation to SPCAI and put the money directly into the pockets of its professional fundraisers,' Styron told me. 'It would make little difference.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on the disconnect between one animal charity's marketing claims versus its low spending on charitable programs.
Mother Jones, 08/11/2021
"Laurie Styron, the executive director of CharityWatch, described as nuanced the matter of rising costs and executive pay at nonprofits. Despite their public-benefit missions, she said, nonprofits generally have to pay enough to attract and keep executives who keep their organizations performing well, competing for talent not only with nonprofits but also for-profit corporations."
"'It's not such a black-and-white thing where high pay is bad and low pay is good,' she said. 'It's very contextual.' Still, Styron said, donors — or those who would be — might question particularly highly paid nonprofit leaders or hesitate if executives are paid in less-than-transparent ways."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, urging donors to consider the larger context when judging whether or not a nonprofit executive's pay is appropriate.
Boston Business Journal, 08/03/2021
"'It's not unusual to see the professional fundraiser under contract be allowed to keep 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, of what you donate before whatever is left of your donation ever even gets to the charity,' Styron said."
"'You really need to before the fact, before you hand your money over, do a little research and make sure the charity you are donating to is going to use your contribution efficiently and effectively,' said Styron."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, talks with KOAA News5 Colorado reporter, Patrick Nelson, about the risks of donating to charity in response to a telemarketing call.
KOAA News5, 07/23/2021
"'Scammers are particularly active during a crisis like this because it's easy to play into people's emotions and create a sense of urgency that prevents the average person from asking too many questions before donating,' Styron said."
"'If one charity can vaccinate 10 people with your donation while another charity can only vaccinate two, it's easy to understand how taking a little extra time to do your research before giving will allow you to maximize your impact,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, warning donors to do their research before giving in a crisis in order to avoid scams and maximize the impact of their donations.
"'If you really, really want to help just take an extra 10 or 20 minutes and do a little bit of research to make sure whatever you want to give whether that's $10 or $2,000, if you just take a little extra time you can make sure the donation you give is going to have some kind of an impact.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, speaking with reporter Patrick Nelson of KOAA News5 Colorado (E.W. Scripps) on the importance of doing research before donating in the wake of a tragedy.
NBC News Southern Colorado, 05/10/2021
"'To maintain public trust, it is vital that leaders not only avoid any impropriety in practice, but also avoid the appearance of it,' Styron said. 'In other words, even if the consultant or vendor hired is the best one for the job, if that vendor has a personal relationship with the leader who hired them, additional steps should be taken to prove to the public that this arrangement is in the best interest of the charity and was made at arm's length.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting generally on the importance of avoiding nepotism in the selection of charity vendors.
The Daily Caller, 05/06/2021
"Laurie Styron, executive director at the philanthropy watchdog group CharityWatch, told the Daily Beast that Americans have historically donated 3 percent of their annual income to charity. But even as the affluent's share of wealth grows, the poor and middle classes give a higher percentage of their income on average, though the wealthy may not be impacted by the loss of resources in any tangible way."
"'I think this is why the general public is becoming less impressed with these types of giving pledges,' Styron said. '[They] have become the public's baseline expectation of the wealthy, as opposed to being thought of as acts worthy of undying gratitude and praise.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, contributes her thoughts on public reaction to giving pledges announced by wealthy donors.
The Daily Beast, 04/15/2021
"Allowing billionaires to skip out on their taxes or pay less through legal tactics like subsidies, loopholes, or rare legal arrangements like NPAs has clear and direct consequences, said Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch. 'We lose the collective ability to manage our society's resources equitably,' she explained. 'Even if all of these resources were to hypothetically be shifted from tax payments to philanthropic gifts, the public still loses out for a few reasons.'"
"For one, Styron said, wealthy philanthropists often make their most significant gifts late in life. The taxes they might have paid throughout their careers are substituted with lump-sum gifts targeted at solving problems years later, rather than preventing them along the way. For another, they tend to favor a few charities working on pet causes important to them. 'The public loses the power to participate in the decision-making process of how, where, and in what amounts those resources should be distributed,' Styron said. 'These decisions are instead being made by one wealthy person or a handful of people working for that person's foundation.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on the alleged tax evasion scandal involving billionaire philanthropist Robert F. Smith.
The Daily Beast, 03/22/2021
"'Charities could certainly be part of an incestuous collection of legal entities that make it very difficult to follow the money,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of Charity Watch [sic]. If the DOJ's lawsuits against Korf and Laber succeed, the charities may be forced to return the cash, even if the organizations did nothing wrong themselves, said Styron."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on an alleged Ukrainian money laundering scheme connected to millions in donations to dozens of New York charities.
The New York Post, 03/06/2021
"Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, said fixed assets on nonprofits' balance sheets are based on historical costs. If the Scouts own property sold or donated to the organization many decades ago, those values may not match current fair market value."
"Styron said real estate valuations can be complicated for a number of reasons, including whether easements or mineral rights are attached or because of local and state ordinances."
"Nonprofit organizations are often bound by restrictions in how donations can be used, experts say. For example, if a donor gives money to a program for direct aide to veterans, 'the charity is not allowed to use it on buying new software for their website,' Styron said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, providing commentary on the financial complexities impacting the ability of sexual abuse victims to collect on legal claims against Boy Scouts of America.
USA Today, 03/02/2021
"'The reactions we get from donors are negative when they hear that they, as a middle-class working person, sent in what they could toward a charitable cause and then they find out that someone is making millions of dollars,' she said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, conveying how small dollar donors react to the seven figure compensation packages of nonprofit executives.
The New York Times, 12/22/2020
"'A nonprofit acting as a pass-through organization for political funds is not only strictly prohibited by the IRS, it is a slap in the face to the public in cases where that same nonprofit is holding its hand out for tax-subsidized federal grants,' Styron said. 'If a nonprofit has the money to violate IRS rules by playing around in political campaigns, it's not in an ethical position to hold its hand out to taxpayers for government subsidized funding.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on Kansas elected officials who allegedly used a charity to funnel money into political campaigns and to apply for taxpayer funded grants under the CARES Act.
The Wichita Eagle, 12/13/2020
"'The financial situation for charities is analogous to what's occurring in the economy at large and the misleading way in which stock market gains are often cited as being symbolic of how the economy is doing overall,' Styron says, even as the average worker is under- or unemployed or facing wage freezes amid rising living costs."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, explaining that while overall charitable giving may be up compared to last year, larger charities have been the primary beneficiaries, while smaller charities have seen recent revenue declines of 17-18%.
"Laurie Styron, executive director of Charity Watch [sic], a non-profit charity watchdog, said social media influencers can better leverage their fame by encouraging people to donate directly to a charity with experience in helping victims of tragedies."
"'Cutting out the unnecessary middleman will improve the chances that your donation will get where it's supposed to go and will really help people,' she said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, advising donors to give directly.
CBC News, 12/09/2020
In her interview with The Global Thinking Foundation, CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, advises donors with tips on wise giving to charity, and on avoiding common charity accounting tricks that inflate perceived program accomplishments. The takeaway? It is possible to maintain optimism and generosity in our giving habits while also being proactive and discerning so our donations to charity can have a real impact each time we give.
The Global Thinking Foundation, 12/03/2020
"'There are a lot of nonprofits with their hands out right now, and most of them are great,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, a watchdog group. 'But there are some that will take advantage of a crisis.'"
"'With a big crisis, some charities try to get in on the action because they don't want to miss out on fundraising opportunities.' said Styron at CharityWatch."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, advising donors to direct their donations to charities with an established track record in a particular cause, and to avoid those that take advantage of a crisis for fundraising opportunities.
"Compensation to close family members of an organization's trustees or key employees must be disclosed on the tax filing, said Laurie Styron, the director of CharityWatch, a watchdog group."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, discussing public disclosure rules for charities that install close family members in key positions.
The New York Post, 11/21/2020
"Few donors have the time or inclination to deeply research this...If a business is ethical, it needs to say to what degree it's really helping the charity."
- CharityWatch encourages for-profit thrift stores to operate ethically by disclosing specific amounts of purchases that will go to charity.
"'Charities need to be spending money on the activities that they're soliciting donations for, they need to be honoring donors' intent,' Styron said. 'If making these kinds of payments is in line with how they've been raising money from donors and the donors who gave money to them are okay with this type of grant or dues or payment then, in and of itself, this transaction isn't necessarily problematic.'"
"'Where this would be problematic is if the charity is not being forthcoming with its donors about these payments and these types of payments are something the donors might have a problem with,' Styron said. 'It gets into a little bit of a gray area here, it's not so cut and dry.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, emphasizing the importance of understanding donor intent when determining whether or not certain charity grants or payments are reasonable.
Yankee Institute for Public Policy, 10/19/2020
"Meanwhile, CharityWatch — which in the past has awarded the MDA an 'A' grade — rated the MDA a 'D' based on its 2019 numbers. CharityWatch points to several areas of concern, observing that the MDA spent only 51 percent of its budget on programs last year, that it costs the organization $49 to raise each $100 in cash support from the public, and that its fundraising expenses have increased 152 percent since 2016 while contributions have decreased 16 percent in that time. By the end of last year, the organization had a deficit fund balance of more than $700,000, meaning it owed more to outside parties than the value of its assets. While not significant relative to the MDA's annual budget — more than $112 million — there was, in essence, nothing saved for a rainy day."
- CharityWatch provides an updated financial analysis of Muscular Dystrophy Association as it prepares to relaunch its popular telethon with new host, Kevin Hart.
The Hollywood Reporter, 10/16/2020
"'The purpose of a tax-subsidized public charity is not to support one person's speaking events or golf tournaments. A charity needs to be able to show the public that it is delivering on its mission. The 2015 through 2018 tax filings don't reflect that. Most expenses have gone towards covering the expenses of golf tournaments and overhead costs,' Styron wrote in an email after reviewing the tax forms."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, assessing the financial activities of the Tommy Tuberville Foundation.
The Associated Press, 10/12/2020
"'In 2016 the charity (VARC) reports paying its president over $1 million in base compensation, bonuses, and other reportable compensation without justifying why this level of compensation was necessary, what it consisted of, or how it was computed,' Styron said."
"She added, 'The bottom line is this: Could the charity recruit and retain a leader with the necessary skills, education, expertise, and experience for substantially less, or is what they are paying this executive representative of market rate?'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, providing insight into what variables should be considered when determining if high executive compensation is reasonable and justified.
The LaCrosse Independent, 09/09/2020
"Laurie Styron, executive director at CharityWatch, noted the IRS deemed the organization to be a private foundation, not a public charity. The foundation should have completed a Form 990-PF, instead of a Form 990. That form would still require the organization to provide an accounting of its revenues and expenses. And the form would still have to be made available to the public. But it would not have included the same questions about relationships between board members."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, contributing financial analysis and research into Arizona-based charity, American Sheriff Foundation, founded by Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb.
The Arizona Republic, 08/31/2020
"'Opportunists swoop in on the coattails of legitimate tragedies to capitalize on emotionally charged moments at their most viral peaks,' Styron told The News & Observer in an email. 'They often disappear just as quickly before anyone has a chance to scrutinize their legitimacy or reasonableness.'"
"'A few individuals whose stories are highly publicized are sometimes flooded with more resources than they could earn in ten lifetimes, while leaving most others in similarly dire situations to fend for themselves,' Styron said. She said the platforms are 'not equipped to distribute funding in a way that will improve the lives of entire communities.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, encouraging donors to consider the downsides of donating through crowdfunding platforms in response to a tragedy.
The Charlotte Observer, 08/28/2020
"'Donors, whatever programs or projects they choose to support, need to be vigilant and proactive in thinking about whether or not the people promising certain outcomes in exchange for their donations are equipped to deliver on them, have a track record of delivering on similar projects, and are transparent enough to ensure donations will be used for the intended purposes,' Styron said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on We Build the Wall's $25 million crowdfunding campaign and the subsequent arrests of those alleged to have diverted funds for personal use.
"'For a charity that was already holding onto more than two-and-a-half years' worth of donations before its cash influx, it's unclear if this organization is prepared to spend donations within a timeframe that most donors would find reasonable,' Styron said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, questioning the spending practices of celebrity funded charity Chicago Community Bail Fund.
The Washington Free Beacon, 08/12/2020
"'With Karfunkel having one foot firmly planted in both Kodak and in the religious organization receiving the stock donation, it's unclear if enough board independence existed for this donation to be properly vetted and approved at arm's length prior to being accepted,' Styron said."
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on alleged improprieties related to a stock donation worth more than $100 million between a board member of a for-profit company and the religious charity for which he serves as president.
"'Donors may get a 'false sense of security' when seeing that a charity's officers are all volunteer or low-paid,' said Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, a nonprofit watchdog group...'They equate this with thinking that more of their donation is supporting direct programs rather than overhead, when this is not necessarily the case,' Styron said. 'Donors can end up feeling duped when they discover that a charity executive is raking in big cash while simultaneously finding convenient and often perfectly legal ways to avoid including these payments in their other reported compensation.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, warning donors to not assume a nonprofit is operating efficiently just because it reports low executive compensation.
The Houston Chronicle, 08/03/2020
"'Once fixed assets like land, building, and equipment are excluded, this charity is sitting on more than 18 years worth of its annual spending, based on 2018 reporting... That's too much. At current spending levels, this charity has enough assets to continue operating until the year 2036 without raising another penny from government contracts or other revenue.'"
"'In 2018 the president's (Barnard's) bonus makes up over 40% of her total compensation, yet the charity hasn't disclosed to the public how this bonus was computed and what metrics were used to justify it,' Styron said. 'We aren't talking about a $500 bonus here. This is $327,000. Her bonus, alone, is many times the annual compensation of what many nonprofit leaders earn to run an organization. The public deserves more disclosure from the nonprofit's board justifying on what basis this high level of compensation is appropriate and necessary.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, comments on operations of a Wisconsin charity with high executive compensation and nearly two decades of assets in reserve.
The La Crosse Independent, 07/31/2020
"'I have seen a number of examples over the years of Private Foundations starting out strong, ebbing and flowing, and eventually petering out,' she said. 'An athlete, actor, musician, or other celebrity in their quest to support charitable causes, whether out of genuine interest, good public relations and image, or some combination of the two, sometimes will start and actively support a private foundation for a number of years before gradually losing interest and letting it peter out.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on the financial reporting of Original Americans Foundation and other private foundations.
Yahoo! Sports, 07/08/2020
"'What this tells us is that, at least for 2018, this organization appears to have largely been funded by a small group of people.'"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on concentrations in funding sources of anti-discrimination charity TIME'S UP Now.
The Hollywood Reporter, 06/05/2020
"'When you have these highly inefficient charities siphoning all the resources away from efficient ones, that's not in anyone's best interest.' said Laurie Styron. [...]"
- CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, commenting on high fundraising costs at law enforcement charities.
The Oklahoman, 05/31/2020
"'A lot of people are very sympathetic, so they give unknowingly. A fundraiser can take advantage of that fact...If people actually knew what's going on with these groups they wouldn't give to them.'"
- Daniel Borochoff, CharityWatch president, on F ratings issued to Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF) for exorbitant fundraising costs and meager spending on veterans.
Mother Jones, 03/09/2020
"...CharityWatch still give[s] Livestrong good marks for being financially healthy overall and transparent in how it spends."
The Associated Press, 02/11/2020
"Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy [CharityWatch], said Sekulow appears to be mixing his defense of Trump with his charitable endeavors. ... 'Charities are not supposed to be taking sides in partisan political activities, such as providing legal services to benefit a politician in an impeachment trial,' Borochoff said. 'Regulators should investigate whether or not charitable resources, such as office, labor, equipment, etc., are being wrongly utilized to benefit Sekulow's for-profit law firm.'"
The Associated Press, 01/30/2020
"Borochoff said it is fair to ask whether Burning Man's tax status as a nonprofit is appropriate. 'One could make the argument, should they even be a nonprofit? (Burning Man Project) would argue they're promoting the arts, but it's not black and white. They probably like the tax benefits,' said Borochoff. 'Are they a public benefit? I'm sure that people -- I've met some of them -- they say, "It's mind expanding. Wow," but is this a benefit to the public ? [That] [t]hey don't pay taxes because it improves the spirit of the world?'"
Reno Gazette Journal, 01/09/2020
"People need confidence, and if they know there's a tough watchdog like CharityWatch out there, they're going to be more willing to give." [CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff]
Long Beach Business Journal, 11/04/2019
"It's expensive for charities to hire telemarketers to call you and ask for money. Your dollars might better serve these groups if you give directly to the charity of your choice, not the one that slipped past your usual call screening. Borochoff [CharityWatch president] also notes that with cold calls, most money typically goes to fund-raising expenses rather than the cause."
Better Homes & Gardens, 10/30/2019
"'People in a hurry and who are concerned about how others in line judge their generosity are irritated with being asked to give at point of purchase. It's not a smart way to give because one should research a charity before donating.'"
- Daniel Borochoff, CharityWatch president, on retail store checkout charity giving.
NBC Atlanta, 10/22/2019
"But Daniel Borochoff, president and founder of CharityWatch...said Miracle Flights shouldn't be asking for money when it has about 15 years' worth of reserves in the bank... 'It's a poor basis to ask for money when they've already got so much money,' Borochoff said. 'My question would be, "You've got this balance of $44 million. Couldn't you spend some of that before you take my hard-earned money?"'"
Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/12/2019
"'The way the rules are set up now it's so easy for charities to trick the readers of their statements,' said Daniel Borochoff, president and founder of CharityWatch. 'A state like California—with outsized influence—changing regulations could prompt broader improvements in accounting,' he said."
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, commenting on California legislation that would encourage charities to stop wildly inflating their program expenses by requiring them to value donated drugs and medical supplies bound for overseas distribution based on their costs in those foreign markets rather than what they would cost in the U.S.
Bloomberg Law, 10/08/2019
"'We don't believe that charities like Southwest Key Programs should grant loans to for-profit companies,' says Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch. 'Charitable organizations, unlike banks, are not in a position to have a large and diversified loan portfolio that can serve as protection against bad loans or an economic recession.'"
- Translated from BBC World News, Spanish language edition.
BBC World News, 09/06/2019
"CharityWatch, a reputable and independent watchdog for more than 25 years, offers a list of trustworthy charities you can consider at charitywatch.org...If you plan to donate, use CharityWatch as a clearinghouse to ensure it benefits Hurricane Dorian's survivors they [sic] way you intend."
- From the Editorial Staff of the Houma Courier.
Houma Courier, 09/06/2019
"'Some of these organizations are very sophisticated, complex groups that require a very sophisticated background in order to run well,' Borochoff said. 'I always ask the question, if they were to pay less, could they (get) an equally qualified individual for that position.'"
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, on the overcompensation of nonprofit executives.
Detroit Free Press, 08/23/2019
"'There [are] a lot of mishaps, a lot of problems, that can occur if there's not adequate oversight,' said Daniel Borochoff, who advocates for more accountability as the head of CharityWatch."
"'It's like walking through a minefield, donating to an efficient veterans charity,' he said. 'I find it frustrating when you see these solicitations, and they ask you to help a needy veteran, and you look into the finance and see most of the money is actually being spent educating the public that injured veterans have needs, rather than meeting the needs.'"
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, commenting on the issues that donors face when donating to a veteran's charity.
"'Philanthropy has a long history of turning bad money into good deeds...Do you want children not to get adequate health care because you want to take the moral high ground?' Borochoff says that it wouldn't make sense for an organization to accept funding from a donor whose controversial behavior was in direct contradiction to the group's mission, such as a women's shelter receiving money from a convicted abuser."
The Hollywood Reporter, 07/11/2019
"'In relation to other nonprofit organizations, he is paid more than just about anybody else in the field,' said Daniel Borochoff, president of Charity Watch [sic], a nonprofit watchdog. 'Do they need to pay him this in order to operate well? Or are there other executives that they would be able to hire that would be able to do the job as well at a lower cost?'"
- Mr. Borochoff on NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre's $1.4+ million annual compensation and benefits.
"Regarding the [$17 million] sale of the Livestrong headquarters, Daniel Borochoff, president of Chicago-based CharityWatch, which rates and evaluates charities for donors, said that 'a lot of groups sell their building when it appreciates — it's not odd or unusual. It may very well be the prudent thing for them to do if they can find more economical office space that suits their needs... As a charity, they don't necessarily need a super deluxe office. It's better that they're able to direct more resources to their cause...'"
Austin American-Statesman, 04/19/2019
"The president of Chicago-based watchdog group 'Charity Watch' [sic] told Newschannel 3 any nonprofit that hires a family member needs to justify that it's in the best interest of the organization and not nepotism. 'A lot of scandals in the nonprofit field take place when family gets involved because internal controls break down and collusion is too easy to take place when family is working together,' Charity Watch [sic] President Daniel Borochoff said."
CBS West Michigan, 03/04/2019
"'I don't want to pat them on the back too much for, basically, not pulling a bait-and-switch [as the charity had done for over a decade] and being up front about what the prize actually is...'"
- Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch, on San Diego Ronald McDonald House finally offering the highly advertised dream house to its raffle winner.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, 02/18/2019
"'It looks like a CEO takeover of the organization,' Daniel Borochoff, president of Chicago-based CharityWatch, said when The [Buffalo] News described the situation to him. 'The board needs to be deciding who's voted in and who's voted out. They did make that decision, and he's still operating as if he's the CEO. There's enough money involved that regulators would be interested in this.'"
- Mr. Borochoff on the governance scandal at Buffalo's $50 million/year Community Action Organization where the board unsuccessfully attempted to fire the CEO and instead got many of its own members fired.
The Buffalo News, 02/17/2019
"... He [CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff] wishes it [Salvation Army] would be more transparent. 'It would increase the integrity of the Salvation Army if they...[disclosed] the compensation of their top people, as other charities do,' Borochoff said."
[Note: CharityWatch rates the Salvation Army-Central Territory and its other three Territories, based on their audited financial statements and other factors.]
CBS Minnesota, 02/11/2019
"'People should give right to the organization that they want to support. Why are they [We Build The Wall, Inc.] directing money to some other entity?' Borochoff said. 'This money could get stolen or misdirected to be used for another purpose.'"
- Daniel Borochoff commenting on how the new nonprofit organization started by the founder of the border wall GoFundMe campaign raises a "huge red flag" for directing check donations to a separate organization with a different name.
The Daily Caller News Foundation, 01/14/2019
"'Violating the intention of those donors, raising (money) for purpose x then distributing it as purpose y, that's wrong,' he said."
- Daniel Borochoff commenting on seeing federal super PACs masquerade as charities to potential donors.
The Cap Times, 01/09/2019
"'People really need to be careful that they're giving to legitimate organizations or people and not just scammers,' says Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch."
"... [T]here's no way of guaranteeing crowdfunding campaigns are legitimate or will use donated funds for stated purposes. Unlike nonprofit charities, online fund-raisers are not subject to financial reporting requirements or other regulations... [D]onors should contribute only to online campaigns run by people they know or by public charities."
- CharityWatch analyst, Stephanie Kalivas, commenting on the GoFundMe homeless veteran Johnny Bobbit "scam".
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/15/2018
"'Philanthropy has a long history of accepting gifts from people that aren't model citizens,' he said in an interview with CP. 'If there's a concern that he might be a racist, then by putting his money to programs that discourage racism and show how wrong and horrible racism is, then that can very well be worth it.'"
- Daniel Borochoff commenting on The International African-American Museum accepting a $5 million donation from Rosalind and Jerry Richardson. Jerry Richardson has been accused of a years-long pattern of racial and sexual misconduct.
Charleston City Paper, 11/02/2018
"CharityWatch, a nonprofit watchdog group in Chicago, gives the national Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and Foundation an F rating, primarily because less than half of the organization's proceeds go to non-fundraising activities."
Chicago Tribune, 09/19/2018
"The problem [with crowdfunding]...is 'there's so much stuff that goes up on their site [GoFundMe], there is no way to realistically vet everything,' [Stephanie] Kalivas [CharityWatch analyst] said. 'And even if the money goes to the right person, there's no follow-up. You don't know how the money was spent.'"
The Columbus Dispatch, 09/16/2018
"The 30-day window to file a claim [with GoFundMe] is restrictive, said Daniel Borochoff, president of the watchdog group CharityWatch. 'Typically, you wouldn't even know the money was misspent because there wouldn't be all of this reporting,' he said. To Borochoff, the Bobbitt case is an example of why donors are better off contributing to nonprofits that are subject to regulations and financial reporting requirements. 'GoFundMe is a business,' Borochoff said. 'Their biggest concern is not overseeing the legitimacy of all of these campaigns they're conducting, so there's very little in the way of regulations. It's easy pickings for a scammer.'"
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 09/06/2018
"'This is outrageous,' Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch, stated. Charity Watch [sic] is a nationally acclaimed non-profit watchdog. 'I would tell him to get out of the charity field because he's taking money away that could go to actually helping veterans,' said Borochoff. '... think about it, $5 million over the last three years, that could be benefiting veterans who really need help,' said Borochoff."
NBC News Tampa, 09/04/2018
"'I'm glad that government regulators are shutting down some scam charities that have been ripping off donors for years. But we must remain vigilant; there are still far too many unethical or poorly performing charities still actively soliciting our dollars. This is particularly true with veterans and military charities,' said CharityWatch President Daniel Borochoff."
"Daniel Borochoff, founder and president of Chicago-based CharityWatch, has criticized the raffles over the years because it is unlikely the main advertised prize would ever be given away. 'It should be called 'The Castle in the Sky Raffle' with a disclaimer that it is constructed with pipe dreams,' he said. Borochoff said it could be a step in the right direction that the Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego has parted ways with a for-profit consultant [to run the raffle], because it probably means more raffle money could go to the charity. However, he said it would be better if a house were actually given away in the next raffle. 'They could just do a less costly house based on the amount of tickets they can reasonably expect to sell,' Borochoff said."
- Daniel Borochoff commenting on dream house raffles.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, 06/19/2018
"... [T]he payment structure for [CEO] Young is problematic, partially because it could chase away future donors. 'One thing that really bothers me with this setup is, if he's the CEO, it's part of his job,' Borochoff said. 'And the organization is a team, it's not an individual. You could have staffers or board members or volunteers cultivate donors, and then he's going to claim he deserves this percentage [of a donation] because he's brought in at some point in the process?' [...] Borochoff said 'another thing that's crazy about this arrangement is that he could decide to spend all his time raising money and neglect the operations of the clinic.'"
- Daniel Borochoff commenting on why a Baton Rouge nonprofit leader requesting a 'finder's fee' for donations is problematic.
The Advocate, 05/23/2018
"While the NRA Foundation has an A-plus rating from Charity Watch [sic], the watchdog group says organizations that receive NRA money should be transparent about it. 'If you had a program on gun safety you'd want to know if it was funded by the NRA or an anti-gun control group,' said Charity Watch [sic] president Daniel Borochoff. 'Just as if you had a program on nutrition and health you'd want to know if it was funded by McDonald's or Philip Morris.'"
Fox News, Charlotte, NC, 05/03/2018
"Daniel Borochoff, president and founder of CharityWatch, a nonprofit watchdog group, said a trend of board members becoming staff members is unusual. 'Something doesn't seem right there, to have that many people moving from the board to the staff,' he said. 'The key concern is: Did these people have an unfair advantage as former board members?' Borochoff said it would be important for an organization to show that it had interviewed multiple candidates and done a thorough job search before deciding to hire a board member."
The Virginian-Pilot, 04/20/2018
"Daniel Borochoff, president and founder of the watchdog CharityWatch, says if you're not careful, you could end up giving to the wrong group. ... [An] example, he says, is the New York-based American Foundation for the Blind, which gets a rating of B- from CharityWatch, and the Virginia-based American Council of the Blind, which gets a rating of F from the watchdog."
Consumer Reports, 03/22/2018
"Daniel Borochoff, founder and president of Chicago-based CharityWatch, has been critical of dream house raffles in the past but acknowledged it could be the easiest way for some charities to make cash for a good cause. "If the charity feels this is the most cost-efficient way for it to raise money, without misleading people ... then it is a good thing," he said. "Charities need to be concerned about appearances and trust," he said. "If I was running that charity, I would say, 'We need to give away a house. I don't want to be associated with something where you are giving the impression you are giving away a house to people, and you're not doing it year after year after year.'"
- Daniel Borochoff commenting on why all charities must always practice transparency in their solicitation of donations.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, 03/18/2018
"Circle of Friends for American Veterans and the Center for American Homeless Veterans, received 'Fs' from CharityWatch, a nonprofit organization that uses an A+ to F scale to rate nonprofits based on their financial transparency and spending habits. 'It's somewhat of a minefield for donors to locate a high-performing veterans charity,' said Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch."
The Center for Public Integrity, 12/13/2017
"CharityWatch, a Chicago-based watchdog group, gives the Salvation Army's four regional headquarters financial efficiency ratings ranging from B-plus to A-minus. 'It's great that they run their kettle campaign ... with staff or volunteers rather than professional fund-raising companies that may give the charity only a small percentage of the donations collected,' CharityWatch President Daniel Borochoff said in an email."
Religion News Service, 12/02/2017
"If you have a group of charities you regularly support, don't shortchange them because you donated to hurricane victims, says Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch, a watchdog organization. 'There are times in this life when you need to step up and do more, and this is one of them.'"
Kiplinger's Personal Finance, 12/2017
"'This type of impulse donation [giving to charity in the check-out line] is okay if its [sic] just a small amount,' he [CharityWatch's president, Daniel Borochoff] said, 'but if you're making a more significant donation you really ought to do some research and find the charity of your choice who can do the most with your donation.'"
Great Falls Tribune, 11/20/2017
"Borochoff [president of CharityWatch] said donors should only contribute to a crowdfunding campaign if they trust the organizer, such as if it is someone they personally know or a respected community leader. If donors want to contribute to a non-profit organization, they should do so directly through the organization itself rather than through a crowdfunding website, which may collect its own fees from donations, he said."
"Use crowdfunding websites cautiously. While you can turn to a site such as GoFundMe or GiveForward to make donations to people you know, [CharityWatch president, Daniel] Borochoff says that with others, it can be difficult to know whether a fundraising campaign is legitimate and whether the money will be used as represented."
Consumer Reports, 10/19/2017
"Cultural affinity reasons may resonate, but they shouldn't get in the way of helping fellow human beings who fly the same flag, says Daniel Borochoff of the relief organization rating group CharityWatch. 'It's a humanitarian crisis down there and they are U.S. citizens,' he says. 'It would be like helping people in Hawaii.'"
- CharityWatch's president on why Americans donating $100s of millions to hurricane victims in Texas and Florida should also help Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico.
USA Today, 10/05/2017
"'We don't just accept what the charity reports, we actually do a deep dive [analysis] to figure out how your money is really being spent,' he [Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch] says."
Houston Public Media, 09/18/2017
"'[Donors should] not give solely based on the celebrity connection, but give based on...the charity's plan to help, and this group [J.J. Watt Foundation] has not been that specific on what they're going to do [with the $33 million raised in response to hurricane Harvey].'"
Houston Press, 09/14/2017
"Indeed, knowing how your dollars or donations will be used during and beyond an event is important before you give, [CharityWatch president, Daniel] Borochoff said. 'Sometimes a charity will raise more money than is needed for the cause, which could open the door for the charity to take advantage of having the overflow money,' he said. 'Find out how the money will be used and earmark your donation for a specific disaster so it's clear how you want your money allocated.'"
"We don't have infinite charitable resources. We have to accomplish as much as we can with the limited charitable resources we have," said Daniel Borochoff, president of the watchdog group CharityWatch. "So if groups decide to stockpile it, then that money is not freely available. It is not available to groups that would be using it to help people in need that are not receiving help, particularly with the government cutbacks."
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 07/26/2017
"'This is all highly unusual, and it gives an appearance of conflicts of interest that any nonprofit should want to avoid...'"
- Daniel Borochoff on the excessive amount of related party transactions at Jay Sekulow's charity, Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism / ACLJ.
The Guardian, 06/27/2017
"...[T]here have been instances of what Daniel Borochoff, head of the charity watchdog group CharityWatch, terms crowd-thieving: people taking advantage of others' good will."
Consumer Reports, 05/20/2017
"CharityWatch, a Chicago-based nonprofit that evaluates and rates other nonprofits, gives Kars4Kids a D grade. 'They ought to [say] you are helping proselytize to secular Jews so they can become orthodox,' said Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch, who said he is Jewish. 'What's even worse is their ad makes it out that they are helping kids in general.'"
Star Tribune, 05/04/2017
"Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch, a watchdog group based in Chicago, noted Livestrong's decline in revenue but said the foundation had a net fund balance of $75.9 million at the end of 2015. 'They have breathing room. They can ride it out. It's the risk of being so closely associated with an individual. But on the good side, it never would have been such a big charity if it had not been for Lance's celebrity,' he said."
Houston Chronicle, 04/30/2017
"Charities are not required to publicize their compensation to celebrities, although failing to do so may not reflect the highest standards of philanthropy. 'Sometimes the compensation is hard to find, and a celebrity gets credit for caring about something when the reason he actually cares about it is because he or his foundation is getting paid,' Borochoff [CharityWatch's president] said."
The Boston Globe, 04/22/2017
"Individually, people can contribute to the agencies whose private relief efforts will relieve hunger in the areas that are suffering. CharityWatch.org has a list of top-rated charities on its website — Africare, the American Refugee Committee, Catholic Relief Services and the International Rescue Committee all receive an A-plus."
Santa Fe New Mexican, 04/08/2017
"'If a celebrity product marketer comes to them, they will probably be tempted to accept terms that maybe aren't as good as they could be.' he says. 'But I do think they have an obligation to their supporters to be clear about how it helps the cause.'"
- Daniel Borochoff on how donors are not aware that charities frequently "get the short end of the stick" when it comes to promotional deals with marketing businesses.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 04/04/2017
"Daniel Borochoff, president of Charity Watch, an independent watchdog group, said Colorado's [tax form] checkoff list appeared to be 'a random grouping of whatever the pet interests or contacts of the legislators are.' ...'If they're on the official state form, probably a lot of people are thinking that it's been vetted or checked out,' Borochoff added. 'That doesn't appear to be the case.'"
The Denver Post, 02/28/2017
"Borochoff [CharityWatch's President] said charities have an even higher standard to be seen as fair and 'above board' because of their status as a nonprofit."
The San Diego Union-Tribune, 01/23/2017
"'The fundraiser might be keeping 75 to 90 percent of the money,' says Borochoff of CharityWatch. Sometimes, he says, charities may end up paying fundraisers more than they take in, leaving the group with a loss."
Consumer Reports, 12/14/2016
"Just because a charity sends a gift, there's no obligation to donate and no need to feel guilty if you use the item — 'it's being done to manipulate you,' [CharityWatch's] Borochoff said."
Tampa Bay Times, 12/12/2016
"That swirl of cash, intense interest in supporting those returning from the wars, and a lack of long-established organizations to serve as models for best practices have conspired to create what...Daniel Borochoff, the president of CharityWatch, called a 'minefield' for potential donors [to veterans charities]."
The New York Times, 11/04/2016
"Over all, it seems that 'people don't understand charities,' Mr. Borochoff says. The differences that distinguish the institutions— in size, scope, and mission — seem lost on the public and many reporters."
- CharityWatch president on the vast differences between the Donald J. Trump Foundation and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 09/29/2016
"The charity needs to make a good faith effort to be as accurate and clear in their solicitations or fundraising...Only if you read the fine print, do you see they have a big loophole, a big out."
- CharityWatch president on why Ronald McDonald House Charities should not use a fine print loophole to avoid giving away the dream house in its "Dream House Raffle"
The San Diego Union-Tribune, 08/31/2016
"'It's a public charity, and you have a board of directors with one independent board member,' he said. 'That means that he [Dwayne Wade] and his sister can make all the decisions for a public charity, so it would be better to broaden the board to represent the public's interest.'"
- Daniel Borochoff on governance concerns at Wade's World Foundation, founded by NBA star, Dwayne Wade
Chicago Tribune, 07/24/2016
"Very few donors would agree to that high of a fundraising cost. You're talking about other people's money. You're ripping off the donating public...(and) when it's a hot button issue like veterans, they'll give."
- Mr. Borochoff on Veterans Assistance Foundation's 83% fundraising cost.
The Capital Times, 07/12/2016
"'Our charitable resources are getting locked away,' Borochoff said. 'Particularly with the way the economy is, where a portion of the population is really struggling, really suffering and in dire need of charitable aid, it's problematic for us to be taking $15 billion off the table for later.'"
- CharityWatch's president, Daniel Borochoff on the huge amount of charitable dollars that are annually being placed in donor-advised funds for use sometime in the future.
The Washington Post, 06/21/2016
"One of the charities that Donald Trump selected to receive a donation from his veterans' fundraiser [Foundation for American Veterans] with a rating of "F" from CharityWatch..."
-Article on the presidential candidate's questionable vetting of charities.
The Washington Post, 06/01/2016
"Livestrong officials have had to 'redesign their revenue generation based on what their programs are rather than Lance's celebrity,' said Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch, a watchdog group."
- Mr. Borochoff on how a shrunken Livestrong survives and prospers after disassociating itself from its tainted founder, Lance Armstrong.
USA Today, 5/04/2016
"Groups that hold fundraisers for charities should distribute the funds to those charities as rapidly as possible. By not doing so it delays aid or assistance to people in need of help and increases the risk that these funds get diverted to something other than their intended use."
-Mr. Borochoff on the controversy surrounding what happened to millions of dollars that Donald Trump generated at his fundraiser for veterans charities.
The Daily Beast, 4/22/2016
"Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch, a Chicago organization that monitors nonprofits, said he believes Wounded Warrrior Project began to operate more like a major business than a charity as it grew. 'The public are not OK with people in charities staying in five-star hotels...or spending on first-class travel,' he said."
The Wall Street Journal, 3/11/2016
"Sites like GoFundMe don't guarantee that everything is above-board," said Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch. "We have limited charitable dollars and it's important that they not be wasted through fraudulent or well-intentioned but incompetent efforts."
- Mr. Borochoff on the pitfalls of utilizing crowd sourcing sites to donate to individuals who say they are helping with the Flint Michigan water crisis.
Detroit Free Press, 2/18/2016
“Even with those declines, the charity remains strong financially based on $92 million in reported assets, said Daniel Borochoff, founder of CharityWatch. ‘They have a lot of time to rebuild their reputation and regain donor and public support,’ Borochoff said. ‘They have significant reserves. People don't need to be panicky this group will be folding.’”
- Mr. Borochoff commenting on the unexpected resignation of LiveStrong's new CEO and the continued fall-off in revenue years after the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.
The Associated Press, 1/19/2016
“‘Often, donors want to get rid of their cars without hassle, get a tax-deduction and move on,’ Borochoff said. ‘This allows questionable actors to get involved because people aren’t being careful,’ he said.”
- Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch, a nonprofit watchdog group, said that the car donation charity industry is particularly ripe for abuse because donors are often less thoughtful about where the proceeds from their cars end up than where their donated cash goes.
Los Angeles Times, 12/1/2015
“Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch, said charities sold information as a form of fund-raising, which can be positive. By allowing a group to sell your contact information, you're in effect increasing the impact of your donation: ‘It's an important revenue stream for the charity.’
But, he said, charities should make their policies clear, so donors can make an informed decision. ‘It's very much a personal preference,’ he said.”
The New York Times, 12/1/2015
“‘It can get kind of funny,’ says Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch. A charity might ‘say the fund-raising that interrupted your dinner is a program service because they ask you to pray for people who are suffering in the Sudan, or ask you to fly a flag and show you’re patriotic. Then they can magically turn the cost of that solicitation call into a program service.’”
Readers Digest, 12/2015
And once you are on their radar, charities typically will start spending marketing dollars to chase you for more donations.
"It's like you're teasing the charities. They think: 'They gave us a little; maybe if we ask, they'll give us a lot.'"
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, on why it's better to give larger donations to a few charities rather than smaller gifts to lots of groups.
"If people read the fine print, they would probably not be that impressed with it ... People should be careful not to feel too good, because you're helping in a very miniscule way."
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, commenting on how charity affinity credit cards may contribute a tiny portion of a transaction to charity.
Chicago Tribune, 11/09/2015
“If Jared really was interested in helping children through his foundation, he could have gotten more money... As with a lot of celebrities, the charity appears to be more about image-enhancement than charitable deeds.”
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, commenting on how the now-scandalized Subway spokesman raised very little money toward his proclaimed goal of spending $2 million to fight childhood obesity.
USA Today, 8/23/2015
“‘I wish [Senator] Grassley would take this broader and not just be focusing on the Red Cross [with regard to Haiti] but focusing on all international aid and development groups and require they disclose who their grantees are … It’s basic information that donors ought to have access to.’”
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, on the American Red Cross withholding information about their international grantees.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 7/24/2015
“‘They’ll itemize how much was spent on office supplies and then it’ll be $15m in unidentified stuff sent to Africa or the Pacific islands. Can’t you get more specific? Can’t you describe it?’”
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, on the quality of charity self reported information.
The Guardian, 6/5/2015
“[CharityWatch president Daniel Borochoff] said if a charity does not have its financial statements audited, donors should be cautious. ‘People don’t look as closely at charities as they do public companies, ... can you imagine what would happen to a company’s stock if it didn’t get audited? But Charities can choose to do that.’”
“Be on the lookout for innocuous-sounding advice that comes with a fund-raising appeal. If a group advises you to buckle your seatbelt, check your breast for lumps, fly the flag on July 4 or pray for victims of a disaster, this could signal that the charity is disguising some of its fund-raising costs as ‘public education,’ … ‘we see such attempts all the time.’”
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff
The Wall Street Journal, 5/26/2015
“‘I’m glad to see our government regulators are putting a stop to these four outfits that for too long have been misleading the public and wasting millions of our charitable dollars ... This is a significant action, but it’s the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of other problems like this out there. … I hope they continue to go after some of these questionable operators.’”
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, on the FTC and State AG’s fraud suit against four cancer charities for bilking over $187 million from donors.
The Washington Post, 5/19/2015
“‘They have made some improvements, but there are still serious concerns … We don’t feel confident about this organization as a good target for donors.’”
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, on Central Asia Institute’s continued “?” rating.
The Associated Press, 5/8/2015
“‘Spending just a little time on research can exponentially increase the good works accomplished by a donation.’”
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, on giving wisely.
The Wall Street Journal, 5/8/2015
“‘Regardless of whether you like [Hillary Clinton's] politics or not, this is a good charity.’”
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, on the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation
The Washington Post, 4/27/2015
“‘We believe groups shouldn't raise significantly more money than what they need because we have limited charitable resources in this country, and that's money that could be spent on other needs,’ said Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch, which issued the flunking grade [to Navy SEAL Foundation for stockpiling over 5 years worth of its annual budget].”
The Virginian-Pilot, 4/9/2015
“Daniel Borochoff, president of the nonprofit watchdog CharityWatch, said that generally it's not a good idea for nonprofit leaders to hire family members. 'Internal controls break down when there's collusion,' Borochoff said, 'and family members are more likely to collude beacuse they already have those close personal relationships.'"
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/14/2015
“‘It might be a lot better to sell a car yourself and donate the proceeds to charity,’ ... But if you don't want the hassle and prefer using a car donation agency, he said, you should demand to know what all the processing and overhead costs are and how much of the sale price will be forwarded to the chosen charity.”
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, on donating cars to charity
Los Angeles Times, 2/28/2015
“‘Rotten charities that waste money...[say] 'Don't look at overhead. It's not important. It does't matter,'" Borochoff said. 'But it does matter, because it's really hard for a charity to accomplish much if so little of its proceeds are going in the direction of programs and services.'"
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, on the importance of looking at overhead
Boston Globe, 1/15/2015
“CharityWatch delves a bit deeper into an organization's fundraising and other accounting practices, including how much is spent to raise each $100 of funds that are collected.”
“‘Some of these groups don't really do anything,’… ‘They just send out a bunch of mailings or make calls telling us that veterans have needs and they give this false indication that they're providing substantial aid.’… ‘The donors don't understand what's going on and the wool is being pulled over their eyes[.]’”
- CharityWatch president, Daniel Borochoff, on the disconnect between what some veteran charities actually do and what they say they do in their solicitations
Darien News (Connecticut), 6/16/2014