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Despite donations, charities spend little on vets

Matthew Kauffman of The Hartford Courant conducted a computer-assisted analysis of federal financial records for nearly 300 veterans' charities across the country to show that veterans' charities, whose donations have increased since the start of the Iraqi War, lag well behind other charities when it comes to the percentage of money that goes directly to services for those in need. The report identified some charities that raised millions of dollars but provided no services to veterans. Among them are the American Veterans Coalition, a Seattle-based charity that raised $1 million in 2003 and spent nothing on veterans, and the American Veterans Relief Foundation of Santa Ana, Calif., which raised $3.6 million and spent less than 1 percent on veterans. "A handful of veterans' groups spend almost nothing on veterans' causes, diverting 90 percent or more of their money to administrative and fundraising costs. Scores of others claim hefty spending on charitable programs, but only by including a large portion of the cost of their fundraising drives as charitable expenses"

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