Official TPI Response to the Firing of Two Top Executives at the Wounded Warrior Project
Statement by Greg Hillgren, Chairman of The Patriots Initiative
San Diego, California– March 10, 2016– As reported by CBS News, the New York Times, Fox News and other media, the Wounded Warrior Project's CEO, Steven Nardizzi, and COO, Al Giordano, were fired today by that charity's board amidst growing criticisms about how it spends more than $800 million raised in donations in recent years. The Patriots Initiative, an independent nonprofit that evaluates the effectiveness, impact and reliability of charities supporting America’s armed forces communities nationwide had found WWP seriously lacking in several key performance metrics for four consecutive years and last month invoked its “Four Strikes” rule, permanently disqualifying WWP from accreditation and inclusion in TPI’s DIRECTORY, which lists America’s ‘finest nonprofits doing the best work’ to improve the lives of Americas armed forces members, veterans and their families.
The Patriots Initiative commends today’s decisive actions taken by the Wounded Warrior Project’s board to redirect their charity’s work towards enhanced performance and best practices. While it may take several years before WWP’s mission is again trusted and donor confidence can be restored, this is a good, welcome first step in that important effort.
Our nation’s armed forces members, veterans and families sacrifice much; some give all, in the defense of America’s freedoms and way of life. They have earned and deserve the best we can give them, and nonprofits serving them must excel at their work; Americans trust that they will do so. The Patriots Initiative recognizes there are many dedicated, well-intentioned and capable people working at the Wounded Warrior Project, and we trust they will now redouble their efforts to fulfill WWP’s important mission. When thoughtful donors’ gifts are effectively directed to the cause, WWP has made important differences in the lives of affected veterans. But now, they must do much better.
In the coming years we will continue to monitor WWP’s work, and if we determine that their direction has significantly changed – proven by consistent, measurable metrics over time – and that their organization’s original culture of accountability and transparency is fully restored, then TPI will someday consider them for re-evaluation and possible inclusion in the DIRECTORY.
Today, we strongly urge America’s donors who wish to be thoughtful and impactful with their gifts to continue to become fully informed and stay engaged. There are many wonderful and capable nonprofits serving the nation’s armed forces communities, and specifically America’s wounded and fallen warriors, which deserve support. We hope donors will recognize the exceptionally good work being done by these many other charities and service providers. To help that process, The Patriots Initiative continues to be a ‘clearinghouse’ for facts and information. Any donor can simply visit TPI’s website and review the DIRECTORY, which lists those nonprofits that have successfully completed our thorough evaluation and have achieved a score sufficient to be accredited by TPI as amongst ‘the finest nonprofits doing the best work’ to serve America’s 21st century armed forces members, veterans and their families.
On behalf of the staff, board and stakeholders of The Patriots Initiative,
Gregory R. Hillgren
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