A few weeks ago we made some waves when we republished a report from our friend Tony Oliva over at Bulletsfirst. His article showed that the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) was mismanaging the hard-earned money that wonderful and well meaning people had donated to them. We heard back from many of you who were upset – some were upset at us for republishing the piece because you support WWP and some were upset at WWP for their bad management of other people’s money. Either way – the general consensus was that people were upset.
Get ready to get upset again… we don’t mean to rock the boat, but Tony has published another piece that we thing you should see. In it he offers an alternative to the WWP and introduces us to the Phoenix Patriot Foundation. Unlike WWP, the Phoenix Patriot Foundation’s books show that 96% of money donated goes directly to programs to help our veterans…
As you may have recall I wrote an article at the end of last year exposing the Wounded Warrior Project for the minuscule amount of donations that actually go to programs meant to help veterans. I also highlighted a number of veterans who felt like props and fundraising tools rather than actually getting help.
Plus there’s the fact that the Wounded Warrior Project is against the 2nd Amendment.
You can read all about it here: Stop Donating to the Wounded Warrior Project – They’re a Fraud
Among the hundreds of comments from other veterans who agreed with the article and shared their own stories of being pawns in the WWP’s end game of making money, a number of people asked “what is an alternative organization I can give to in order to help vets?”
A reader emailed me directly and told me to look into the Phoenix Patriot Foundation. I looked into it and I REALLY liked what I found. And Phoenix isn’t in reference to the city (they’re based out of San Diego) but rather the legendary bird that rises from the ashes to live again. Ex Cinere Surgemus – Out of Ashes We will Rise. Poetically accurate.
First off, this is an organization for vets run by vets. That in itself lends a certain amount of understanding and intimate knowledge of what the people they are helping are going through.
The creator of the Phoenix Patriot Foundation is Jared Ogden, graduate of the US Naval Academy and SEAL officer.
During his second deployment to Afghanistan as a SEAL Officer, Jared’s teammate and friend was severely injured by an IED resulting in the amputation of both his legs and severe internal injuries. Returning from Afghanistan in the spring of 2010, Jared founded the Phoenix Patriot Foundation to give back to patriots who have been injured in combat and help them continue their service through non-military capacities reintegrating to civilian life.
Nearly every person associated with the foundation is a veteran with multiple deployments into hostile countries. I’m not saying that a civilian is unable to help veterans, but they will not have the same relatable experiences and know the challenges first hand as someone who has felt the heat.
For instance, one of the first initiatives that the PPF does is set up unit reunions for wounded vets.
Upon injury, the wounded veteran heads straight to a military facility to begin treatment and rehabilitation and may stay there for months to years. The remaining unit is still in combat overseas, and upon the end of their deployment, they return straight back to their duty station. These reunions will bring the wounded and their units together again, and will be customized to the interests of the injured patriot. In addition to promoting psychological and emotional well-being, these programs will also reinforce community, facilitate recovery, and welcome reintegration.
If you were never in the military then you wouldn’t know how such a simple thing as seeing your unit again could bring such immense benefits. A wounded veteran is ripped from his unit, men and women he has fought beside and faced death with, for years in some cases. To be pulled away from them and to be isolated in that way has a psychological toll. To see them again is a balm that can soothe the wounds that cannot be seen.
Of course…there’s also jet skiing! (Jared Ogden is the guy with the beard)
Be it helping vets reacclimate to civilian life, helping in their recovery, covering their moving expenses, bridging financial gaps, helping them find work or whatever they may need, the Phoenix Patriot Foundation is there. Unlike examples of the Wounded Warrior Project with their fly by model of helping then leaving, the PPF tailors what they do for every individual vets needs and to accomplish the vets short term and long term goals.
Now you may be thinking, “the ADMINISTRATIVE costs must be ASTRONOMICAL and a large chunk of my donation must go to cover that.”
That’s 8 thousand.
The nearly $200,000 that was donated to the Phoenix Patriot Foundation in 2013, $8,000 went to cover the administrative costs. That means 96 PERCENT of every dollar you give to the Phoenix Patriot Foundation will go directly to help wounded veterans.
You see, unlike money makers like the Wounded Warrior Project who pay their CEO and Board members collectively MILLIONS of dollars, the people who do the work for PPF basically volunteer their time. That’s THEIR donation. In stark contrast to the WWP, no one is getting rich by exploiting veterans at the Phoenix Patriot Foundation.
For veterans BY veterans.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com