Veterans Assistance Foundation

Listed #24 on


The article goes on to say:

Veterans Assistance Foundation raises about $2.5 million a year and spends about half of that providing temporary housing and job training to struggling veterans.

Although the foundation gets nearly half its revenue through a federal government grant, it came in at No. 26 on the Times/CIR list because it has paid $11 million to for-profit solicitation companies over the past decade.

For at least the past 10 years, the foundation has signed contracts with telemarketers allowing the companies to keep 90 cents of every dollar raised.

The founder of the charity, Robert Piaro, said that all the federal money he receives must be spent on specific programs. To provide other services, the charity needed additional income, Piaro said. He said he believes hiring professional fundraisers is wasteful, but the money allowed his charity to buy several houses in California and Wisconsin to shelter veterans.

Piaro, who does not receive a salary from the charity, said when the charity’s current solicitation contract ends, he plans to stop using professional fundraisers because of the high cost.

“It’s terrible. I’ve tried for years to find someone better,” he said.

Piaro said the organization was recently flagged for an audit by the IRS because of its fundraising costs. The IRS has not yet reported back.