6 Reputable Veterans Charities to Donate to this Memorial Day

By Shaun Kahmann | Carlsbad Patch News | Carlsbad.Patch.com | May 24, 2012

With Memorial Day on the horizon, many kind folks will be opening their wallets to charities that claim to help ailing veterans and their families. Unfortunately, more than a few will get taken for a ride by organizations with less than scrupulous business practices. A 2-year CNN investigation revealed a disabled veterans charity may only be giving 2 percent of the millions of dollars it’s received in donations to veterans.

Thankfully, watchdog organizations like the American Institute of Philanthropy (A.I.P.) are attempting to curb fraudulent practices by rating charities and publishing their findings. Grading is based on the percentage of funds charities actually use to provide aid and grades them from A-to-F. To receive the highest rating, charitable organizations must use 75 percent or more of their revenue for charitable purposes. Here are four charities for veterans that are among highest rated by A.I.P. And for those who prefer to give locally, local charities for veterans are also included.

Homes for Our Troops

A.I.P. Rating: A

Founded in 2004, Homes for Our Troops raises donations to build houses that can accommodate troops who have suffered catastrophic injuries that prevent them from navigating a normal home. Homes for Our Troops supplements Veterans Administration grants to ensure homes are provided to troops free of charge.

Armed Services YMCA

A.I.P. Rating: A

Since the Civil War, the Armed services YMCA have provided comfort and aid to military children as they cope with the absence of a parent who has been deployed.

Among the many charitable programs the YMCA offers, most are designed to help military children who are struggling socially or academically as a result of having a parent deployed overseas. The YMCA runs holiday gift drives and hosts summer camps nationwide for military children.

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society

A.I.P. Rating: A +

Sponsored by the Department of the Navy, the Society runs close to 250 offices on and offshore and provides financial assistance in the form of grants and loans to veterans, families and survivors.

The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund

A.I.P. Rating: A +

Since 2004, the Semper Fi Fund has provided immediate aid to U.S. Marines who are suffering from ongoing injuries and gives financial assistance to those with perpetual needs and illnesses. The fund helps relieve the cost burden of hospitalization and related expenses, including childcare.

Local Charities (Not rated by A.I.S.)

Care Packages from Home

Started in 2007 by veterans from Carlsbad, this all-volunteer organization sends food and other comforts to troops stationed abroad. The website allows you to request a care package for a family or service member of your choice as well.

Hire Patriots

“Hire Patriots” provides former service members with job listings for business who that are specifically looking to hire veterans. The service provides listings throughout California, including the Carlsbad area and allows veterans to post resumes that local businesses can find using a search feature.

Remember, always do some research before donating. Look for reviews and if watchdog organizations like A.I.P. or CharityWatch.org don’t have information on a charity you are considering giving money to, check with the Better Business Bureau. Generosity is a beautiful thing, but only if you do it right.

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