Are Florida Charities Actually Giving Back?

The Tampa Bay Times did a series on charities that raise millions but give little to the people they are supposed to serve.

The worst was the Kids Wish Network, based in Holiday Florida. It raised over 110 million over the past decade but vace less than three cents on the dollar to dying children for their final wish. One diabetes charity raised nearly 14 million in a decade. Only ten thousand dollars went to patients.

Fortunately there are some good chariries. The Gold Shield Foundation comes to mind. Started by the late yankees owner, George Stienbrenner, it resulted from Georges love and respect for police and firefighters. It was run from the yankees office in Tampa and was directly under former Tampa FBI agent in charge, Phil McNiff and Joe Voskerichian. Joe was with Bank of America prior to taking over the charity. Joe runs the gold shield foundation out of his home and says all he really needs is his computer.

Money raised goes to families of police and firefighters who lose their lives in the line of duty. It pays for college educations for spouses and children of the slain first responders. The foundation gives the family a $5000 dollar check immediately after the tragedy to assist them with immediate needs and then to provides for the higher education needs of the family. The only costs are a small salary for Joe, and minor office expenses.

There are a couple events to raise funds for the foundation to augment donations, one is a golf tournament sponsored by the secret sercice, andother was a concert by Paul, Mark and Patrick Wilson, the sons of Fox 13 News Anchor John Wilson.

This is the type of charity that should be on the best charity list. The worst ones make us want to give up on givin. But good ones, like Gold Shields, are the shining beacons of good that we should continue to support.


By Roger Schulman, AM 820 News