Monthly Archives: August 2012

Selfless of Selfish: Determining a Charity’s Legitimacy

Attorney general sues veterans’ charity, alleging deceptive fund-raising practices

Calif. sues major veterans charity for millions, alleges fraud and self-dealing

Murray, Blumenthal, Nelson Call on Departments of Justice, Treasury to Investigate Charitable Organizations Exploiting Veterans for Own Financial Gain

Charities accused of overvaluing donations

It seems as though a lot of instances of fraudulent and deceiving Veteran charities are coming to light and we just want to help you make informed decisions. Below you will find a few different areas that you should look into before donating to an organization in order to ensure the legitimacy and trustworthiness of any charity.

#1 Local Hands, Local Dollars, Local Stories 

Keeping your dollars local is always a good thing – support your community! By staying local with your donations you have the luxury of being able to know the organization personally. Visit their office and take some mental notes: Is it a building full of closed doors? Are there clients present? Do they display what they do? Meet the people that work there: Are they friendly and helpful? Do they seem enthusiastic about their cause? And ask about their local impact: What have they done for the community? How many people have they helped? And compare that to how long they’ve been in business.

With local organizations you can get a feel for what they do and how they do it but you should still dig a little deeper and see how they work internally. Also, what if you want to give to an organization that isn’t local? It’s time to take a peek at their financials.

#2 On the Dollar Percentage

One of the first things you want to find out is how much of the donated dollar is being put towards their programs or charitable purposes. 60% is decent (60 cents on the dollar) but most efficient charities can allocate 75% or more towards their programs (75 cents on the dollar).

But how do you find out? There’s two ways, you can call and ask or most organizations have it posted somewhere on their site, or you can take a look for yourself by investigating their 990. You will want to look at Page 10, Line 25, Column B “Total Program Service Expenses” and divide it by Page 10, Line 25, Column A “Total Expenses” then multiply by 100. This figure will give you an idea of the on the dollar percentage.

Click here for an example using our own 2011 990.

#3 Overhead Percentage

Another way to determine a charity’s legitimacy is to figure their overhead by looking at their 990; it should be accessible to the public. Overhead refers to ratio of revenue to various costs. This number should typically be 25% or less, usually less.

To compute, find or request the organization’s 990 and look at Page 1 and Page 10. The formula looks like this:

(Part I, Line 18 “Total Expenses”) – (Part I, Line 13 “Grants Paid”) – (Part I, Line 14 “Benefits to or for   _______Members”) – (Part IX, Line 25, Column B “Total Program Service Expenses”)________

Part I, Line 12 “Total Revenue”

Click here to see an example using our own 2011 990.

Overall, we want you to be able to choose with confidence a charity that will put your donations to work and we used our own information to show you that it can be done – there are hardworking charities out there. We hope you use this information every time you are considering donating. These are simple tasks that can provide you with the data needed to decide if a charity is using your donations wisely as well as a great insight on where an organization’s mission is coming from: their wallet or their heart?

For more information on this topic or to see lists of rated charities feel free to visit any of these sites:

(link presence does not imply endorsement)

Charity Navigator (Top 10)

Charity Watch Top-Rated

Independent Charities of America

Best of CFC

BBB Charity Ratings & Reviews



Upcoming Events: Late August

Below is the link to our Events Release for late August and beyond. Some events include:

  • Various Job Fairs
  • Huntsville & Madison Senior Expo
  • 7th Annual SSV Golf Tournament
  • Aerotek Interviews

Free Childcare for Vets

Academy for Learning Character Development is offering free Daycare for Veteranschildren while the Veteran is looking for employment. The Academy is a non-profitable organization located at 3807 Telstar Circle Huntsville, Alabama by Gate 9. Click here for a map.

“We strive to provide parents with a peace of mind by providing an environment for students to grow academically, socially, and spirituality,” says the Academy for Learning Character Development.

Their hours are 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. with extended hours if needed. To jump on this offer of free childcare for Veterans seeking employment please call (256) 533-3300.

TRICARE Emergency Prescription Refills

At times during emergencies, TRICARE may authorize early refills for prescriptions. You will be notified the site below if early refills are authorized. Please remember that early refills are only authorized for beneficiaries who specifically indicate they are impacted by the emergency event.

When authorized, you may take your prescription bottle to any TRICARE retail network pharmacy. Contact Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303 or search the network pharmacy locator to find the nearest network pharmacy. If possible, you should visit the pharmacy where the prescription was filled. You can request assistance at another pharmacy; however, help provided is at the pharmacy’s discretion. If you use a retail chain, you can get medication from another store in that chain. If your primary care manager is available, he or she may call in a new prescription to any network pharmacy in the area.

One-Time-Per-Year Override

You are also able to use your one-time-per-year override. TRICARE pays for your additional refill when this override is used, and you are responsible for applicable co-pays. Additional provisions may be authorized if you have already used this benefit. Contact Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303 or visit for further assistance.

G.I. Dependents’ Scholarship from ADVA

The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs provides scholarships to dependents of many disabled veterans. However, some veterans do not meet all of the qualifications for their dependents to receive these scholarships. To address this issue, the ADVA has contracted with Southeast Research to determine the feasibility of expanding the program so more dependents could qualify for scholarships. This task will be accomplished in two phases:

1. They are asking all Alabama veterans opt-in to participate in their study by going to their website ( or calling Southeast Research toll-free at 888-270-2746 or 800-546-2969.

2. Southeast Research will then contact all veterans who opted-in to complete a short survey. This survey will be completely confidential. No personally identifiable information will be released as part of this study.

Wounded Warrior Fish Fry Fundraiser

Wounded Warriors are holding a Fish Fry fundraiser at the Madison Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on September 15th.

The menu consists of Hushpuppies, Fried Catfish, Tilapia, Cole-Slaw, and Iced Tea. The event starts at 4:00 p.m. and they are asking for an $8 donation per adult – kids get in free.

The church is located at 1400 Hughes Road in Madison, Alabama

Everyone is welcome!

Walmart Opening a Temp Hiring Center for New Store

Although the opening of the new Walmart on Hwy 72 near Madison is still a couple months down the road, the store is now hiring.

To speed up the process, the retailer will open a temporary hiring center on Monday, August 6th. It’s located at 7449C Highway 72 East in Madison.

The 300 job openings range from full and part-time associate positions to supervisory jobs.

Those interested can apply in person at the hiring center anytime between 9:00AM and 6:00PM Monday through Friday.

The new Walmart is scheduled to open in the fall.