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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Paralyzed Veterans of America

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Military & Veterans Organizations, Mutual & Membership Benefit, Nerve, Muscle & Bone Diseases Research, Veterans

Mission: Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), a congressionally chartered veterans service organization founded in 1946, has developed a unique expertise on a wide variety of issues involving the special needs of our members? veterans of the armed forces who have experienced spinal cord injury or dysfunction. PVA will use that expertise to be the leading advocate for: - Quality health care for our members, - Research and education addressing spinal cord injury and dysfunction, - Benefits available as a result of our members? military service, - Civil rights and opportunities which maximize the independence of our members and all people with disabilities. For more than 60 years, PVA has fought for our veterans who answered the call when our nation asked for their service . . . and in return, they have given up their freedoms to protect ours. For more information visit www.SupportVeterans.org or www.pva.org.

Programs: Founded in 1946 by veterans of World War II, PVA started out as a small organization - a group of individuals committed to helping each other, sharing their hard-learned strategies for living with spinal cord injury (SCI), and working to improve their communities. Sixty years ago PVA was there to help our paralyzed heroes, and now continues a long legacy of commitment to providing hope for all individuals with disabilities. Beyond our broad scope of SCI research & education, PVA continues to respond to the needs of our members ? veterans of the armed forces with spinal cord injury or dysfunction ? though pro bono legal representation, veterans benefits services, legislation & advocacy, access to quality healthcare, architecture and accessibility, and sports & recreational activities to 21,000 paralyzed members, their families and friends. PVA has awarded more than $40 million in SCI research and education grants, filed hundreds of thousands claims on behalf of our members with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and served millions of individuals with disabilities. And we want to do more in 2006 and beyond. Through the generosity of more than 18 million friends nationwide and a network of 34 Chapters across America, we hope to further educate all individuals to prevent more injuries from occurring, and ultimately to find a cure.

Community Stories

182 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Donor

Rating: 4

As a child born during WWII in Napoli (Italy) suffered of proper medical care.Got ill as manyother children being taken in humid recovers every time the alarm went on when bombers flying around. I was then taken to the American field hospital where I was seen by a doctor.I was then given some medication and vitamins, for my eyes affected by conjunctivitis. I was told by my mother later in the years the ordeal we went trough, and always thinkingof the generosity and gratitude of the American Army.Living now in the USA, I feel is my partto help the PVA.

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Their left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. They are soliciting me under the name of another family member who doesn't live with me, and never has. Communicating with this organization has done no good - yet. Money is being wasted that could otherwise be used to help the Veterans they are raising money for.

Review from Guidestar

13

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

I just received a letter in the mail from PVA asking for a donation. Since my husband is a disabled vet, I immediately went for my checkbook, but my prudent nature forced me to do a little research first. Yes, I discovered that the CEO makes a bundle, and that this organization spends a decent amount on fundraising, but the testimonies here on this site of the actual vets it helps have convinced me to make out that check. Good job, vets, for telling your story!

9

Donor

Rating: 1

I wrote this charity, explaining that I could not contribute in the near future and suggested that they could try again in two years. It had no effect. Well, I tried. If they persist, I will keep any gifts received and throw everything else away.

22 Gina14

Donor

Rating: 1

After reviewing this charity, on charitynavigator. org, I have made my one and only contribution to this organization. From now on, I will keep the nickels they send. I cannot believe that "Paralyzed Veterans of America" would have $111,579,401 in revenues (2010) and expenses totaling $110,639,918 (2010). How much is actually spent on these wonderful men and women who served in our Armed Forces? As the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran, I am appalled! Never again will this organization get a dime from me.

Review from CharityNavigator

6 Gunny46

Donor

Rating: 1

PVA keeps sending my wife more junk mail and she does not donate to them. Any one know how to stop their junk mail? I am a disable Veteran and get my support from the VA.

The US Government should put a stop to these people.

7

Donor

Rating: 1

This charity does not respect its donors and will flood your mail with solicitations. I wouldn't recommend them to anybody. I've asked to be removed from their mailing list three times in the last six months and am still receiving mail. Also, they give out too many free gifts. (I gave money to them once a year and a half ago and am still receiving all kinds of junk. Last year, they sent me at least two 2012 calendars!) I have no confidence that they actually put my donation to good use. Too much "fundraising"...

3

Donor

Rating: 3

The only Issue I have is that only 60% of the funds go to programs for Veterans with around 32% of the funds used for fund raising activities. That leaves 8 or 9% for administration. The concern I have is the fund raising. If this includes the veterans providing the support (in order words Jobs for Veterans) that I am all for this. If not, we and they are spending too much for fund raising.

Review from Guidestar

13

Donor

Rating: 1

I have always donated to veteran's organizations who support our troops. PVA sent me nice looking literature and represented their efforts. I sent them a generous donation. I prefer to choose my own charities, so I advised them that I would continue support, but only if my name was not proliferated elsewhere. In case you were not aware, mailing list companies will pay for valid names and addresses. Inconsiderate and greedy charities will collect money from you and then double collect by selling your name and address. About a month after my donation, I was bombarded with non-profit mailings from over a dozen charities per week. One day alone, I received six "gifts" stuffed in my mailbox. A few weeks later, I started getting follow-up letters from these same charities wanting to know where the money was from the "free" gifts that they had sent to me. Also they were reminding me that these "gifts" were costing them money, and I wasn't doing my part in donating to them. I wrote another letter to PVA asking them to stop disseminating my name and address. I continued to be barraged with mailers. So then I had to resort to "Return to sender" on all of the junk mail that I was getting. The mail slowed down, but didn't stop, because they started omitting return addresses on their mailers so I couldn't return them. My latest effort is to write, "Refused. Return to sender or scrap." on the envelope and put it back in the mailbox. We'll see what happens next. Next I will tear up and toss away anything that doesn't have a preferred return address without even looking at it. If this is what you want, then donate to PVA.

7

Donor

Rating: 4

Those complaining about the salaries listed need to do some homework on the market. A family doctor averages $186,000. A salary for top executives of a national, million dollar organization at $200,000 is very modest. This is a large organization that has signicant clut at the DC level; like AARP. It's expenses and mission are different than smaller organizations - so it's numbers are different. If you want the most direct contribution, had a vet in need some money. If you want to pool money and have a wider imprint - this organization has good testimonials and impressive transparency. I will continue to donate.

9

Donor

Rating: 2

I've looked at CN's overview and read all of the submitted reviews and find it interesting to note that those who have been served by PVA rate it very highly. Yet, those who are potential donors give it a very low rating. In consideration of all this, it appears as though this organization does a good job helping those vets with whom they are in contact. Yet, at the same time, they're helping themselves to some very generous salaries. Administrative and fund-raising costs, if I remember correctly, total over 40% of gross revenue. As a Vietnam veteran and a regular charitable cause donor, I must admit that I believe there are many organizations out there, which would spend a considerably greater portion of my dollars helping needy veterans.

Review from CharityNavigator

6

Client Served

Rating: 4

The PVA service representatives have been very helpful assisting me with my claim. If it were not for the PVA I don't know where I would be with my peculiar situation; the Minneapolis/St. Paul office and staff has really come through assisting with my claim. I am a PVA member and have been for over two decades, I donate to the National and South Dakota State organizations twice a year and will continue to do so. Our state North Central Chapter provides numerous outdoor activities for wheelchair-bound veterans like me. They do good work.

Review from Guidestar

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I think the PVA has done more for our veterans who have become paralyzed or have MS than any other org. Millions are spent annually on research to find a cure for paralysis, and the funding to assist vets get back in the everyday experiences we all enjoy in amazing. Please be accomodating when someone contacts you to assist them. Thanks.

Review from CharityNavigator

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

The PVA help me with my claim. I would never have gotten though the red tape of the VA if it was for the help of the PVA. This is a very fine organiztion. I own the PVA a lot more than words can say.

Review from Guidestar

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our PVA Service Officer helped with claims and promtly seeing that I received the proper medical advice and care after diagnosis on 4 different occasions starting in 1999. Before his actions a 6 to 8 week waitng period before appointments and after his phone calls it was less than 1 week before I saw the doctor. The local Sioux Falls Chapter has provided me with oppurtunities to participate is several outdoor activities that I wouldn't have been able to participate in without their help and organization of the activities. Hats off to the staff at the office for their caring and hard work.

Review from Guidestar

4

Donor

Rating: 1

Received slick looking label mailer and decided to research. Very high expenses. Don't like that. I'll give elsewhere.

Review from Guidestar

7

Donor

Rating: 1

Disappointed with the ranking for this organization I have been supporting over 20 years. I found this out when I submitted to my corporation this year for the first time to match my funds and found out they were not qualified--because they failed to respond to my corporation reaching out to them for key information needed to include them in their very generous matching program. Wow....time to move on to another organization supporting our veterans.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

ripping off people while pretending to help vets! pretty bad. High salaries little over half of the money going to programs. nasty people with no morales.

Review from CharityNavigator

8

Donor

Rating: 1

After reading the reviews I will no longer give to the PVA, If the people in charge really think they need such a large salarie then they can get it from somewhere else NOT ME!!! I never understood why people at the top of charitys like PVA, RED CROSS, UNITED WAYand so on feel they need to take so much from a CHAIRTY. come on people, Thats stealing in my opinio.

12

Donor

Rating: 1



















I have sent the pva several hundred dollars, as a disabled vet myself I know my brothers need my help. But I am being bombed with requests from charitys I have never heard, all from the east coast. The pva is the only charity I have ever given to.
Someone is giving or selling my info to other charitys, wonder if they are owned by Nigeria, lol.


























5

Donor

Rating: 1

Excessive and duplicative solicitation which has to be costly to the charity. I have also received unsolicited tote bags, pens, and paper pads. My greatest concern is high salaries to administrative staff and vague outcome statistics. There are so many charities that are far more financially forthright than Paralyzed Veterans of America that I've decided to limit my contributions to those organizations.

12

Donor

Rating: 2

I am choosing to no longer donate to this organization due the salaries/compensations of its leadership personnel . The CFO , General Counsel, and Director of Development all make more than $200,000.00 per year ! Now that is just the top 3 listed, and I assume that there are probably many other positions that were not listed making near that salary. Is it really necessary for these salaries to be so much? Its very hard for me to donate my hard earned money to a charity when many of its leadership personnel are making 4 times what I make. They need to keep their nickels and postage labels that they give out, lower the compensation of these people , and THEN I will continue to donate

Review from CharityNavigator

29 Michelle234567

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It saddens me to read the negative comments people like to share on sites such as this one. People are so quick to judge an organization before ever asking one of its members what their opinion is of the organization. Personally, the veterans served by the organization are the only opinions that matter when it comes to judging the worthiness of the organization as a whole.

My husband is a life member of the PVA. He broke his neck while serving his country in the Air Force. The PVA has provided many invaluable services to him. The PVA serves as our paralyzed veterans' voice to Congress. They provide assistance with obtaining benefits from the Dept. of Veteran Affairs, which has a lot of red-tape involved. They cut through that tape faster than any individual has ever been able to. They provide countless adaptive sporting events throughout the year that gives the veterans a chance to live again. They have provided millions to research & development for new therapies and treatments for spinal cord injury. The list goes on and on, but hopefully you see the point I'm trying to make. My husband sacrificed so much while serving his country and is still paying that price today. How could you honestly post a comment on here complaining about the fundraising tactics and "nickels" wasted when that very same fundraising campaign not only brings in valuable donations but heightens the community's awareness of the organization.

Before you criticize an organization based solely on their "fundraising tactics," salaries, etc., please speak directly to one of the hundreds of thousands of paralyzed veterans in America and get their opinion.

Review from CharityNavigator

13

Donor

Rating: 1

They send out way to many "gifts" and appear to spend a less than stellar amount of the funds they do receive on their actual stated cause.

25

Donor

Rating: 1

My 76-year old father donated $20.00 to this organization last winter upon receiving a solicitation with several sheets of address labels and a nickel in the envelope. Since then we have received at least one packet every other week, sometimes once a week, full of address labels and with a nickel in the envelope. I'm sure in less than a year the $20.00 my dad gave them will be long used up in postage, labels and nickels to try to get him to give them more. He won't because he quickly figured out that his fellow veterans couldn't be receiving much benefit from this organization.

Review from CharityNavigator

12

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

This organization frequently sends me "gifts" that I do not want or need, but which must be expensive to mail out with their solicitations. What a waste. Today I received a solicitation with a cloth tote bag included. I'll donate it to another charity rather than throw it away, but it seems like a very inefficient way to collect funds.

Review from CharityNavigator

41

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

What a scam this is. In 2008, they took in 101 million dollars in contributions. They paid out 26 million in salaries and employee benefits, another 4 million for conferences and meetings, and a whopping 59 million for fund raising. So what are the paralyzed veterans getting?

Review from Guidestar