Zero-Rated American Vietnam Veterans Charity Shuts Down

World War II fighter pilot and US veteran, salutes the crowd during a Veterans Day Parade. Wikipedia / Public Domain

The National Vietnam Veterans Foundation has shut down for good, according to vice president David Kaufman.

The zero-rated charity “has severed all ties” with the president of the organization, Thomas Burch. Burch also has a full-time job working as a government lawyer with the Veterans Affair agency in Washington.

“Tom Burch has resigned from the Foundation and National Vietnam Veterans Foundation is shutting down completely, and all fundraising has ceased. The only thing being done is the distribution of blankets, personal care kits, and related items in the warehouse,” Kaufman wrote in an email to CNN.

The watchdog group Charity Navigator had rated the Foundation zero out of a possible four stars. The Foundation’s tax returns, known as 990s, show that the organization received $29 million over a four-year period. Almost all of that money went to telemarketers and fundraisers. The organization also had a one-year parking garage bill of almost $8000.

Michael Thatcher is the CEO of Charity Navigator. He says that the charity deserved the zero rating. “If one really cared about Vietnam veterans, is this an effective way of making a difference? I don’t think so. I can’t justify it. I can’t explain it.”

CNN sent reporter Drew Griffin to Burch’s home to ask him some questions. When she approached his home, he sped away in his Rolls Royce rather than speak to her.

The VA claims that it had no awareness of Burch’s involvement with the Foundation. According to VA spokesman James Hutton, Burch is currently employed as a staff attorney. An internal investigation is being conducted by the agency’s Officer of Inspector General.

Burch was unreachable for comment by phone or email.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE