Firefighters Charitable Foundation

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THE WORST CHARITIES, RANKED BY MONEY BLOWN ON SOLICITING COSTS

The article goes on to say:

Firefighters Charitable Foundation was created to provide financial assistance to people who have been affected by a fire or disaster.

Over the past decade, its professional solicitors have been the biggest beneficiaries. From 2002 to 2011, it raised $64 million in donations and paid $55 million of that to its solicitors. The charity spent less than 10 cents of every dollar raised on direct financial assistance to those in need.

The charity’s founder, Louis Pelico, left the organization in 2006. He said he couldn’t reduce fundraising costs and decided he had had enough. “I tried for years to get it down. I figured if I hadn’t gotten it down by now that I wasn’t going to,” he said. “It’s a sword that really cuts you. It helps you and then it cuts. It’s doubled-edged.”

Frank Tepedino, who became president of the charity after Pelico, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinelin 2007 that he planned to slowly change the way the charity raised money. That hasn’t happened.

Today, the charity pays its for-profit solicitors 90 cents of every dollar raised.

Some of that money goes to a broker who arranged contracts between Firefighters Charitable Foundation and some of its telemarketers. The broker earns about 4 percent of any donations collected by the telemarketers, records show.

Some industry experts say it is absurd for charities to use brokers. Lists of telemarketers are readily available and using brokers just wastes more money.

Tepedino said he is trying to raise money from other sources, such as fundraising dinners and golf outings. “If you have a better way of helping us, I’m open,” he said.