Scandal over Wounded Warrior spending negatively impacting local charities

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A spending scandal at one of the most well-known charities for veterans has ended up hurting local groups.

By some estimates, just over 50% of donations to Wounded Warrior Project actually went to veterans.

A CBS news investigation revealed lavish parties and conferences, former employees said the spending was out of control.

Now, some local non-profits that help veterans say the national scandal has impacted their fund-raising efforts.

“Everywhere we go we have to let everyone know we’re not associated with the Wounded Warrior Project,” said Christina Shealy, the founder of Scents for Soldiers.

Scents for Soldiers is a non-profit that relies on donations to help injured active duty service members,” and our funds that what collect have dropped,” said Shealy.

Shealy said people don’t want to give because of the fallout at Wounded Warrior, “when there’s such a bad stigma that they won’t even look you in the face. That’s when it gets bad,” she said.

Scents for Soldiers held a fundraiser over the weekend, the group took in $485 dollars, down from $700-800 the group typically sees at this time of year.

“It’s sad to see that we’ll be suffering, but the people suffering the most is our military,” said Shealy.

Shealy goes so far as bringing her financial records with her to fund-raisers, “and we literally take it with us because people say show us your overhead.”

Scents for Soldiers isn’t the only group seeing the change.

“It impacts all of us,” said Kris Tourtellote, director of the Veteran’s Welcome Home and Resource Center.

The organization provides services for service members from all eras, including providing housing for homeless vets.

Tourtellote says wasteful spending is a subject that comes up often.

“People come and complain about other agencies and I say just go to the secretary of state, type in South Carolina charities and the name of the organization,” said Tourtellote.

South Carolina breaks down how much revenue a charity brings in, what they use it on, and the percentage of dollars going towards services.

“That gives the money to the right people, to do the right thing,” said Tourtellote.

Shealy said what happens nationally does have an impact locally, “the Wounded Warrior Project is not the only organization taking the hit.”

If you want to make sure your donation dollars are being used on actual programs, you can visit the South Carolina Secretary of State’s charity details page.

Click here for tips that will help you recognize when a charity may be acting unscrupulous.

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