Troop-Support Group Added to 'Top-Rated' Charities

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2008 - After stringent review by one of the country's premier charity watchdogs, a Massachusetts-based troop-support group has been added to a list of top-rated charities.

The American Institute of Philanthropy has reviewed Homes for Our Troops' finances and included the group in their "Top-Rated Veterans & Military Charities" listing.

Homes for Our Troops is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

"Homes for Our Troops is proud to be included in [American Institute of Philanthropy's] list of top rated veterans and military charities," said Tom Benoit, vice president and chief financial officer of Homes for Our Troops. "Our dedicated staff has worked tirelessly to efficiently raise the funds needed to build homes across the country for severely injured veterans.

"The support we receive from our corporate partners and from individuals and companies across the country made it possible for Homes for Our Troops to spend only 7 percent on administration and fundraising in our fiscal year [ending] Sept. 30, 2007, and to complete 11 homes in 2007," he added. "Our goal is to complete 30 homes in 2008."

Founded in 2004, Homes for Our Troops is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing specially adapted homes to servicemembers severely injured while fighting in the global war on terrorism. The organization has provided 25 veterans and their families with homes suited to meet the each veteran's individual challenges. Over the next few years, Homes for Our Troops is committed to providing at least 100 additional homes for injured troops, organization officials said.

Only five of the 32 veterans charities listed in the American Institute of Philanthropy's most recent report are included in the top-rated category, according to institute officials.

The watchdog's review process focuses on the percent of costs spent on "program service costs" and the efficiency of organizations in raising funds.

Rather than just using figures reported by charities in financial disclosure forms, the institute adjusts for direct mail, telemarketing and solicitation costs that are sometimes allocated to program service costs. It also excludes the value of donated goods and services, which can be difficult to measure.

Because of their thorough review process, the institute was described as "the pit bull of watchdogs" by the New York Times. Newsweek said, "It's the toughest of the bunch. Because it disregards certain, potentially suspect, expenses and donations, it fails some nonprofits that the other raters approve."

*Related Sites:*
Homes for Our Troops [ ]
American Institute of Philanthropy  [ ]
Troop-Support Group Added to 'Top-Rated' Charities [ ]