CharityWatch REPORT
Issued December 2016

CharityWatch Articles & Donor Alerts

CharityWatch conducts research and publishes articles on charities. Current and archived articles we have written about this charity are posted here, as are select articles we have published with topics related to this charity or its cause. Visit our Articles page to view CharityWatch's entire library of posted articles.

CharityWatch Articles

 
WonderWork Co-Founder is No Mr. Wonderful

Brian Mullaney, the man who for charities like Smile Train and WonderWork, popularized the dubious fundraising advertising claim of "100% to Program," may face legal action and tax penalties, potentially for unjust enrichment, self-dealing, tax avoidance, and other claims related to his tenure as WonderWork co-founder, president, and CEO from 2011 to 2017. As part of WonderWork's bankruptcy proceedings, a Final Report of Examiner, filed in November 2017 by the court-appointed Examiner, detailed Mullaney's history of employing questionable fundraising practices to play on the emotions of empathetic donors, using most of the funds raised to pay for more fundraising while also enriching himself.

16 Million Dollar Award Against WonderWork May Force It to Cease Operations

Two charities, HelpMeSee and WonderWork, remain embattled in a lengthy legal dispute over a services agreement that has resulted in a $16 million arbitration award against WonderWork that includes compensatory damages, attorneys' fees, and arbitration costs. The dispute may be ongoing, but what may not be ongoing for much longer is WonderWork, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on December 29, 2016. "Enforcement of the Arbitration Award would, for all intents and purposes, put [WonderWork] out of business," WonderWork's CEO, Brian Mullaney, stated in court filings.

Have You Been Wondering About WonderWork?

Many CharityWatch members have recently been receiving a deluge of similar-looking direct mail solicitations from several charities with different, unfamiliar names: BurnRescue, FirstStep, and 20/20/20. The solicitations of these charities look similar to one another because all three are actually programs of a single charity, WonderWork, Inc.

CharityWatch Hall of Shame

The most important lesson to be learned from the following colorful stories of charity scoundrels is that regardless of how distinguished, well-connected and honored a charity leader is, he is only human and may be tempted to use the power and influence of his position to abuse the public's trust and thusly become the next member of the CharityWatch Hall of Shame.

Hot Topics & Donor Alerts

 
WonderWork CEO Resigns; Independent Bankruptcy Trustee to Take Over Management of the Charity

About 11 months after WonderWork filed for bankruptcy in the wake of an arbitrator’s decision that it pay HelpMeSee a $16 million award (see Donor Alert posted on 2/2/2017), WonderWork’s co-founder and CEO, Brian Mullaney, has resigned from the charity amid “allegations of fraud and misdeeds,” according to a November 9, 2017 report by The Wall Street Journal. The news of Mullaney’s resignation came on the same day that a judge tasked a U.S. bankruptcy trustee with finding an independent trustee to take over management of WonderWork.

Donor Alert: $16 Million Award Against WonderWork May Force It to Cease Operations

Two charities, HelpMeSee and WonderWork, remain embattled in a lengthy legal dispute over a services agreement that has resulted in a $16 million arbitration award against WonderWork that includes compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees, and arbitration costs. 

While the dispute may be ongoing, what may not be ongoing for much longer is WonderWork, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on December 29, 2016. This protects the charity, at least temporarily, from paying creditors, including HelpMeSee. “Enforcement of the Arbitration Award would, for all intents and purposes, put [WonderWork] out of business,” WonderWork’s CEO, Brian Mullaney, stated in court filings.

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