JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The chairman of the board of directors of the Wounded Warrior Project emailed the organization's alumni following recent reports by the I-Team and national media organizations on the spending and the culture within the organization. The investigation had led to the firings of its two top executives.
In the email, Chairman Anthony Odierno introduces himself as a WWP alumnus who was injured while on a combat mission in Baghdad in 2004. Odierno states he was so inspired by the organization's mission that he eventually volunteered to serve on its board.
Odierno writes that the WWP, "Has been the subject of some unflattering media coverage," which led the board to hire outside independent advisers to look into the allegations of lavish spending.
Odierno reiterated that according to the WWP's most recent audited financial statement, the organization spends approximately 80.6 percent of its donations on programs.Two charity watchdog groups that had analyzed WWP financials had found much lower percentages spent programs.
Last week, the organization's chief executive officer, Steven Nardizzi, and chief operating officer, Al Giordano, were both ousted following the independent review ordered by the board. The WWP board has since created an Office of the CEO to oversee the organization on an interim basis. Odierno is leading that office.
Odierno's email to alumni concludes by saying the organization's leaders are grateful for the lessons learned through the process, and states they are moving as quickly as they can to address concerns and make changes.