To say that not all charities are created equal is an understatement. Some charities do really good work, helping the poor or the sick or whoever they’ve dedicated themselves to serving.  In the ultimate “slap in the face” to donors, however, it appears that some charities exist solely to fund themselves.

A study done by the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting, dug into the tax filings of American charities to find what they’re calling ‘America’s Worst Charities’.  Specifically, the study looks at the money that charities raise by solicitors and how much they then pay those solicitors. They also looked at the amount of direct cash aid an organization spent.

At first glance the list seems to indicate that there is little hope for humanity.  Charities with names like ‘Kids Wish Network’ and the ‘National Caregiving Foundation’ seem to take all they can from hardworking American families and then blow all the cash on themselves. What sort of horrible human beings would band together to beg for millions of dollars from unsuspecting Americans to help the needy, and then divvy up the profits between themselves?

Of course it’s not that cut and dry.  Some of the charities don’t seem to have sinister intentions at all, they appear to just be really poorly run.  Other charities on the list used to be more efficient with their proceeds, then their costs got out of hand.  Most, however, seem to be black holes for donated cash that ends up mostly in the hands of greedy charity workers.

The Cancer Fund of America (CFA), a group that claims to be on the front lines of fighting cancer, apparently collects millions of dollars in fundraisers and then ships shampoo, DVDs and air fresheners to patients dying of cancer.  Meanwhile, the founder of the organization and 12 of his family members all earn $1 million dollar salaries.

“I can’t help it that some things are costly,” CFA’s founder, James T. Reynolds Sr., told the Tampa Bay Times.  Indeed he can’t, and buying back his soul from the devil is going to cost him a pretty penny. “We can only help others with the funds we net, whether it be 90 or 20 percent.”  Which is also true, though he certainly had no problem helping himself first.  And for the record,  the CFA spent just .9% on direct cash aid, and spent $80.4 million of the $98 million it has raised to pay solicitors.  Nothing classy about getting rich off cancer.

At any rate, you can find the full list here, with details on each of the organizations.  Also, in case you were wondering, we did a little digging and while it seems a disproportionate number of these charities are located in Florida, the following organizations are located in our own backyard:

  • National Caregiving Foundation – Alexandria, VA
  • Circle of Friends For American Veterans – Falls Church, VA
  • American Breast Cancer Foundation – Towson, MD
  • American Association of the Deaf & Blind – Kensington, MD