The 10 Worst Charities in America

If you choose to make a charity donation, make sure to check out the organization you’re supporting.

Ideally, a charity should spend less than 10 cents per dollar on its administrative needs — the remaining percentage should go directly to its projects. Many charities in America today don’t abide by this rule, and instead spend an unnecessary amount on things like bonuses for management, swanky offices, and parties. A few charities cross the line entirely and have been caught up in scandals involving theft, bribery, and misuse of funds.

Check out a few of the worst charities in America below:

The Salvation Army

Everyone knows The Salvation Army — they’re the people you see ringing bells at the entrance of a mall or store, collecting money during the month of December. While many of the individuals who work as bell ringers for the Salvation Army are lovely, open-minded people, the organization has shown itself to be a nest for intolerant bigots. The Salvation Army has actively campaigned against LGBT rights, and as recently as 2012, its website had links to “pray the gay away” conversion therapy websites as part of its Resources section.

Although the organization has been trying to shed its anti-gay image in the last few years by insisting its services are used by many LGBT people, its internal policies are still very discriminatory against LGBT individuals and families.

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Foundation for New Era Philanthropy

An organization founded by John G. Bennett Jr., the Foundation for New Era Philanthropy, turned out to be nothing more than a Ponzi scheme designed to raise money to fill his own pockets. The Foundation was operating for six years, and in all that time, no government oversight caught the fact that the organization was basically just a way for Bennett to collect donations from his wealthy friends. He tempted them by saying that other “secret” donors would match their contribution, promising them that they could double their money by investing in his Foundation.

g-stockstudio / Shutterstock.com

g-stockstudio / Shutterstock.com

By the time Bennett’s lie was exposed, he had raised $354 million from 1,400 individual donors, including a former US Treasury Secretary. This story goes to show you can never do enough research when donating your hard earned money.

United Way of America

A few years ago, the massive conglomerate charity United Way of America announced it would no longer be using its considerable income to support small charities. According to a 2012 press release, it would be focusing its efforts on charities that are at least three years old, and that bring in more than $50,000 per year. This has left many smaller charities with more unique missions out in the cold.

Another Believer / Own Work

Another Believer / Own Work

To make matters worse, many long term partners of United Way that support minorities and low-income families say they were not consulted at all in this decision. Many community leaders, including a former United Way executive director, say the decision will drastically limit new growth within the non-profit community.

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