Kids Wish Network “Wins” Worst Charity Designation

Saturday, June 08, 2013
Shelley Breiner, co-founder of Kids Wish (photo: Lingenfelter Collection)

What makes a charity terrible? Spending almost all of the money it raises on staff salaries and paying the companies it hires to do solicitations.


That’s the case with Kids Wish Network, located in Holiday, Florida.


Deemed the worst of America’s charities by the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting, Kids Wish spent less than 3% of the millions of dollars it received in donations actually helping dying children.


The media investigation found Kids Wish had channeled nearly $110 million to its corporate solicitors, in particular Brickmill Marketing Services, while almost $4.8 million went to its founders, Mark and Shelley Breiner, and Mark’s own consulting firms.


But Kids Wish wasn’t the only charity that the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting found that had paid solicitors to raise money. Nearly 6,000 other charities had employed the same tactic.


The 50 worst charities identified by the investigation raised about $1.4 billion in donations over the past 10 years, but paid $970 million of the total to for-profit companies that encouraged Americans to make donations. These 50 charities devoted less than 4% of donations to direct cash aid.


Defeat Diabetes Foundation of Madeira Beach, Florida, pulled in nearly $13.8 million, but gave only $10,605 to patients and their families. Half a dozen charities spent nothing at all on direct cash aid.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Dirty Secrets of the Worst Charities (by Kris Hundley, Tampa Bay Times and Kendall Taggart, Center for Investigative Reporting)

America’s Worst Charities (Tampa Bay Times and Center for Investigative Reporting)

Kids Charity Worker Turns Whistleblower (by Mark Douglas, (WFLA-Tampa Bay)

Half of Charitable Donations Solicited by Commercial Fundraisers Goes to Overhead (by Ken Broder, AllGov)

State Sues Major Charity to Protect Hospitalized Veterans from “Scam Artists” (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)


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