Oregon’s 20 Worst Charities: 2011

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Attorney General John Kroger has issued the annual list of Oregon’s 20 Worst Charities.

“Most charities in Oregon do important work, helping the needy and supporting worthy causes,” said Attorney General Kroger. “But generous Oregon donors should be aware that some non-profits are little more than scams that provide little if any help to the causes they claim to support.”

In order to avoid being duped by unscrupulous non-profits, donors should review the Department of Justice Tips for Charitable Giving.

State law requires charities to file periodic financial reports with the Oregon Department of Justice disclosing how much money the organization raised and how the funds were spent. The Department’s Charitable Activities Section has identified 20 organizations that spent more than 70% of the donations they collected on administrative costs and professional fundraising.

While guidelines issued by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) suggest that charitable organizations should spend at least 65 percent of their funds on charitable programs, every charity on the Department of Justice’s list devoted less than 30% of their expenditures on charitable program activities.

The Department of Justice previously identified the state’s 20 Worst Charities in 2010 and 2009.

For the second year in a row, Shiloh International Ministries topped the list. Shiloh International Ministries claims to solicit money to provide medical necessities and moral support for needy children and to provide assistance to the homeless. According to its most recent financial filings, the California-based non-profit spent an average of $846,340 per year, 96.8% of which went towards management and fundraising.

No. 2 on the list is American Medical Research Organization, which claims that it raises money to support medical research on the cause, cure and treatment of macular degeneration. The Florida-based non-profit spent an annual average of $783,217, just 4.2% of which went towards its charitable purpose.

There are currently more than 17,000 charities registered with the Oregon Department of Justice, and many of them are actively seeking donations. By law Attorney General Kroger cannot dictate how charities spend your money, but he is arming Oregonians with some basic advice to ensure your gifts go to a worthy cause.

Before donating to a charity, it is important to make sure the organization is registered with the Attorney General’s Office by searching the Department’s online database or by calling 971-673-1880. You can also visit www.guidestar.org, a national clearinghouse of information on charities and their performance.

Attorney General Kroger also cautions Oregonians to watch out for charities that send solicitations thanking you for your previous support or invoices claiming you made a recent pledge when you didn’t. These methods are intentionally confusing and dishonest ways to obtain donations.

Consumers are advised against giving out their personal information over the phone. Legitimate charities will accept contributions by check, which should always be made payable to the organization and never the individual collecting the donation.

The Oregon Department of Justice Charitable Activities Section is responsible for ensuring that organizations soliciting funds in Oregon register and file periodic financial reports showing how donations are spent. The section also protects the public against organizations that attempt to mislead Oregon donors or that misuse charitable assets.

Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department’s mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.

Oregon’s 20 Worst Charities 2011

Charities are required to file periodic financial reports with the Oregon Department

of Justice documenting their national fundraising and expenditures and explaining

how donations were spent. Under guidelines issued by the Better Business Bureau

(BBB), organizations should dedicate at least 65% of their funds to charitable

programs, with no more than 35% toward administrative and fundraising costs. The

following charities registered to do business in Oregon failed to meet that standard

based on a three‐year average of annual expenditures. This is not an exclusive list,

but represents the 20 charities that fell farthest from the BBB guidelines. For more

information, visit www.oregonattorneygeneral.gov.

Organization / Average Annual Percent Spent On Expenditures Charitable Cause

Shiloh International $846,340 3.2%

Ministries

La Verne, CA

Purpose: Provide medical necessities and moral support to needy children and

assistance to the homeless.

American Medical $783,217 4.2%

Research Organization

Sarasota, FL

Purpose: Support medical research on the cause, cure and treatment of macular

degeneration.

Law Enforcement $2,152,628 4.6%

Education Program

Troy, MI

Purpose: Support efforts to educate young adults about law enforcement, safety

issues and the misuse of alcohol.

Firefighters Charitable $6,245,150 8.8%

Foundation

Farmingdale, NY

Purpose: Provide financial assistance to individuals affected by a fire or disaster.

Disabled Police $1,197,948 9.9%

Officers of America

Niceville, FL

Purpose: Educational Programs for Police Officers.

The Wishing Well $1,249,566 10.0%

Foundation

Metairie, LA

Purpose: Fulfill the fondest wish for any terminally ill child not expected to reach

18 years of age.

National Vietnam $4,152,636 10.4%

Veterans Foundation

Alexandria, VA

Purpose: Support veterans’ organizations

Foundation for $5,401,519 10.9%

American Veterans

West Bloomfield, MI

Purpose: Promote the social and recreational welfare of current and past U.S.

Armed Forces members, dependents, widows, widowers and others.

Dogs Against Drugs/ $1,042,284 11.1%

Dogs Against Crime

Anderson, IN

Purpose: Drug Education and Crime Prevention

Operation Lookout $1,589,751 11.5%

National Center for

Missing Youth

Everett, WA

Purpose: Provide free services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week regarding missing

youth.

Making Memories $1,159,654 11.8%

Breast Cancer

Foundation of American

Milwaukie, OR

Purpose: Grant wishes for terminally ill breast cancer patients, advance

awareness of breast cancer and educate the public about available resources.

Disabled Police Officers $588,683 12.7%

Counseling Center 

Niceville, FL

Purpose: Assist disabled police officers

Committee for Missing $2,539,893 12.7%

Children

Lawrenceville, GA

Purpose: Locate missing children

Law Enforcement $3,257,209 14.5%

Legal Defense Fund

Arlington, VA

Purpose: Provide legal assistance to law enforcement officers when it is

necessary to defend actions taken in the line of duty.

Caring for Our $618,658 15.3%

Children Foundation

Everett, WA

Purpose: Provide administrative assistance to other non‐profits and give small

grants to underfunded nonprofits that help victimized and missing children.

National Veterans $8,782,946 18.9%

Service Fund

Darien, CT

Purpose: Inform and educate in conjunction with service‐related illnesses and

work to raise public awareness of the contributions of veterans to our society.

Children’s Leukemia $1,400,320 21.2%

Research Association

Garden City, NJ

Purpose: Support research efforts into the causes and cure of leukemia and to

provide assistance in meeting expenses incurred in treatment.

Dakota Indian $1,255,942 21.7%

Foundation

Chamberlain, SD

Purpose: Assist in education of Indian people and preservation of Native

American culture.

Project Cure $4,833,111 23.3%

Bradenton, FL

Purpose: Increase public and professional awareness about the prevention,

detection and treatment of various chronic diseases.

Korean War Veterans $1,732,895 26.1%

National Museum and

Library

Rantoul, IL

Purpose: Preserve a record of participation in the Korean War, educate the public

and promote friendship among vets.

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