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FL-Based Charity Judged Worst

Douglas R. Clifford
Tampa Bay Times

An investigation by the Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting found the Kids Wish Network spends only about 3 cents of every dollar it takes in on helping dying children and their families. That much money going to professional solicitation companies to get donations is why the Florida-based charity is at the top of the list of America's 50 worst charities. 

The Times points out that many charities rely on corporations to solicit money, but the ones that made the list spent the lion’s share of their money on those types of solicitors. A review of IRS filings shows Kids Wish Network spent about 90 percent of the $27 million it raised over the past decade on corporate solicitation.

Critics of professional solicitors say they can use unethical approaches; for example, telemarketers persuaded a 72-year-old woman with dementia to give $15,000 to three of the worst charities in the country.

Part two of the investigation by shows how easy it is for phony charities to rake in millions of dollars that were intended to help the sick or needy.  No agency regulates it, and penalties are barely a drop in the bucket for the professional telemarketers.

Lottie Watts was our Florida Matters producer from 2012 to 2016. She also covers health and health policy for WUSF's Health News Florida .
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