Don’t write the check to charities without veterans’ input


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A few years ago, I did an investigative report that helped to drive out at least two organizations that were collecting money at local stores, saying it was for veterans.

Those two companies were using people that implied they were veterans when in fact they were hired to collect money in Brevard County that was not benefiting anyone here.

Occasionally, I check online to see who is out there asking for donations in the name of helping veterans. I do this because I think that Brevard residents should know to whom they are giving and where and how their money is being spent.

My advice is to investigate before you give or volunteer.

There are several ways, and I don’t pretend to know them all. But here are a couple of websites that might be helpful in deciding whether to give to a charity: charitynavigator.org and charitywatch.org.

One of the first things I look at that would make me want to investigate further before I give are charity websites that are vague about what they do.

The conclusion is that there are many red flags that you should look for. Ask questions. Ask a local veterans organization. The Brevard Veterans Resource Network helps to direct veterans to services.

The Community Foundation for Brevard, one of the founding members of the Brevard Veterans Resource Network, could be a good source to check with regarding local organizations that help veterans. Check with them before you decide to give. Better yet, if it’s an ongoing giving or volunteering, then maybe you should attend one of the foundation’s forums. There you can learn about activities in which it is involved and be able to hear from people from the different participating organizations.

“We have quarterly forums,” said Theresa Grimison, chief operating officer of the foundation. “They are open to the public.”

The next forum is at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 17 at the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center at 400 S. Sykes Creek Parkway on Merritt Island.

You also can check with some of the leadership organizations that are part of the Brevard Veterans Resource Network. For information, go to 211brevard.org/brevard-veterans-resource-network/

The bottom line is to know the organization to which you are giving your money or your time and how your money is being used.