Donors often ask CharityWatch if a particular charity is "legitimate." While this is a worthwhile question, it is only one step in ensuring that any donation you are considering making to charity will be used the way you intend and truly make an impact in supporting causes important to you.
Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) is registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a 501(c)(3) public charity. However, there are no federal laws in place requiring charities to spend the majority of the donations they receive on their programs. For this reason, donors cannot assume that just because a charity is "legitimate" by virtue of being registered with the IRS that it is also operating efficiently and effectively.
CharityWatch has been rating Paralyzed Veterans of America for more than fifteen years and has consistently assigned a failing grade to the organization for its low program spending and high fundraising costs. These "F" ratings were assigned based on our in-depth financial analysis of PVA's audited financial statements and tax filings for the following fiscal years: 2006; 2009; 2010; 2011; 2012; 2014; 2015; 2016; 2018; 2021.
CharityWatch's most current letter grade rating, program %, Cost to Raise $100 fundraising metric, governance and transparency benchmarks, executive compensation packages, and analyst's notes for Paralyzed Veterans of America can be viewed on our PVA profile page.
What Did CharityWatch Analyze?
For CharityWatch's fiscal year ended 6/30/2021 rating of Paralyzed Veterans of America, we conducted an analysis of the following documents. Due to the in-depth nature of our financial analysis, CharityWatch's rating may be different than what is found in online databases that largely automate their ratings using the face value of what charities report about themselves in their tax filings. CharityWatch's rating may also contradict the "impact" scores found in online databases that crowdsource data directly from charities and their marketing materials.
- Paralyzed Veterans of America Consolidated Audited Financial Statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021
- Paralyzed Veterans of America IRS Tax Form 990 (EIN#13-1946868), including all schedules & attachments, for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021
- Paralyzed Veterans of America Spinal Cord Injury Education & Training Foundation IRS Tax Form 990 (EIN#94-2733585), including all schedules & attachments, for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021
- Paralyzed Veterans of America Spinal Cord Research Foundation IRS Tax Form 990 (EIN#52-1064398), including all schedules & attachments, for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021
Paralyzed Veterans of America uses or has used the following names:
PVA Education Foundation
PVA Research Foundation
PVA Spinal Cord Injury Education and Training Foundation
PVA Spinal Cord Research Foundation
To be the leading advocate for: quality healthcare for PVA members; research and education addressing spinal cord injury & dysfunction; benefits available as a result of members' military service; civil rights & opportunities that maximize the independence of members.
CharityWatch's rating of Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) also includes the financial activities of PVA Spinal Cord Research Foundation and PVA Spinal Cord Injury Education & Training Foundation, which are consolidated in the PVA audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021. Each entity is a 501(c)(3) public charity. All material intercompany transactions and accounts have been eliminated in the audit consolidation.
Not included in CharityWatch's rating of PVA are PVA's 33 remaining chapters. As stated in the PVA fiscal 2021 consolidated audit (Note 1 re: Organization): "PVA's 33 remaining chapters are not consolidated [in the audited financial statements] since PVA is not involved with the election of each chapter's officers or appointments and has no role in local chapter management or Board governance."
In-Kind Goods & Services
According to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) consolidated audit of June 30, 2021 (Note 13, Contributed Services and In-Kind Contributions), PVA reports receiving contributed services and in-kind contributions in fiscal 2021 on which it placed a total value of $57,519,823. Of this amount, $56,550,480 consisted of donated public service announcements.
[Note: CharityWatch generally excludes the value of in-kind (non-cash) donations of goods and services from its calculations of Program % and Cost to Raise $100. More information on how grades are calculated and the treatment of in-kind donations can be found on the Our Process page.]
Related Party Transactions
According to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) consolidated audit of June 30, 2021 (Note 20, Related Parties):
"During the years ended June 30, 2021 and 2020, PVA paid $54,000 to a company owned by one of the [PVA] Research Foundation's directors for consulting services. In addition, PVA paid $862,876 and $169,372, respectively, to a university for research in which one of the Research Foundation's directors is a professor."
According to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) consolidated audit of June 30, 2021 (Note 17, Concentration):
"Approximately 80% and 70%, respectively of PVA's consolidated public contribution revenue was processed was [sic] by two vendors for the years ended June 30, 2021 and 2020. Additionally, PVA has contracts with several other service providers that are collectively owned by a single parent company. PVA has no reason to believe that relationships with these service providers will be discontinued in the foreseeable future. However, any interruption of these relationships (i.e., the failure to renew the contract or withholding of funds) would adversely affect PVA's ability to finance ongoing operations."
According to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) consolidated audit of June 30, 2021 (Note 19, Commitments):
"PVA is committed under agreements for conference space through the year 2023. The total commitments under the agreements are not determinable as it depends upon attendance and other unknown factors. There are cancellation penalties that would be due if the agreements were cancelled prior to the event date. The amount of the cancellation penalties increase through the date of the event. As of June 30, 2021 and 2020, the potential liability to PVA for terminating all such conference contracts is $696,749 and $739,421, respectively. At the present time, PVA has no intention of terminating any of these contracts."
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