The worst firefighter charity in the nation is Long Island’s Firefighters Charitable Foundation (FFCF). How do I know it’s the worst? Well, it seems pretty bad to me that a firefighter charity is number four on this month’s updated list of America’s Worst Charities put together by the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting. But, then again, what makes Dave Statter an expert on reading these lists? And who put the biased news media in charge of telling us where to spend our money?
If you feel that way, that’s okay. I encourage everyone to be skeptical of what they read these days and to check multiple sources to verify the accuracy of the news they are digesting. I did the same and checked out FFCF on Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. They put Firefighter Charitable Foundation at number three on the list of 10 Consistently Low Rated Charities.
That was good enough for me. But just in case you still aren’t certain that you shouldn’t give your hard earned money to this firefighter charity, I have a third source. Would you take the word of Frank Tepedino?
Not familiar with Frank Tepedino? Tepedino is a former Major League Baseball player. He spent eight years in the Braves, Brewers and Yankee organizations, playing his last game in 1975. It would not be inappropriate to ask at this point what a former first basemen and right fielder knows about firefighter charities. The answer is that for the past eight years Frank Tepedino has been the president of the Firefighters Charitable Foundation. And, amazingly, it seems Tepedino agrees with all the bad things everyone else is saying about his charity.
Tepedino told WPIX-TV, “You know, it’s not a good way of people giving their money.” Still don’t believe it? You can hear Tepedino say those very words in the video above.
Tepedino’s blunt comments would seem to indicate that he is going to change the way FFCF does business. But Frank has been frank about his charity before and nothing good happened. Way back in 2007 he told the Milwaukee Sentinel that FFCF was going to change the way it raised money. It didn’t.
Sadly, four of the 48 organizations on the America’s Worst Charities list have the word “firefighters” in their name. And they all raise money the same way FFCF does.
Over the last 10 years the four charities have raised $94.5 million. That sounds wonderful, but it really sucks. That’s because only $5.6 million went to direct cash aid to the various firefighter related causes they are supposed to be supporting.
The large majority of the money goes to telemarketers and solicitors who actually raise the money. In the case of these four firefighter charities that’s $82,900,000. Much of the rest of the $6 million left over goes to salaries and other overhead.
In case you are wondering, the other three firefighter charities on the America’s Worst Charities list are Association for Firefighters and Paramedics (number 14), Firefighters Assistance Fund (number 42) and Firefighters Burn Fund (number 48).
By now, I hope most firefighters know about these organizations and are giving their money to the many firefighter charities that do good work for our nation’s firefighters and make sure the money gets to where it belongs. But your friends and neighbors may not know this and they may think they are helping out you and your fellow firefighters when the phone rings asking for money. Just share with them the words of Frank Tepedino, “You know, it’s not a good way of people giving their money.” It sure isn’t.