Which charities spend the least on charitable programs? - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Which charities spend the least on charitable programs?

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Each year South Carolina's secretary of state releases a list of charities that spend the most and least on their stated purposes.

The intent is to make sure the public is educated on where their money is going.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mark Hammond released the 18th annual Scrooges and Angels list.

The ten "Angels" were recognized at a news conference and honored with a reception in the Secretary of State's Office following the announcement.

The "Angels" honored represent organizations that exemplify charitable giving in South Carolina. The Angels recognized, with the percentage of their expenditures that went toward their program services, are listed here:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia, Inc., Columbia, SC    85.6%
Camp Pee Dee Pride, Florence, SC    96.6%
Debi's Kids, Inc., Charleston, SC    90.3%
Fort Mill Care Center, Inc.,  Fort Mill, SC    97.6%
Healthy Smiles of Spartanburg, Inc., Spartanburg, SC    83.1%
Hitchcock Woods Foundation, Aiken, SC    88.2%
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society,  Parris Island, SC    88.3%
Second Helpings, Hilton Head Island, SC    80.2%
Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc., Palmetto, FL    84.6%
Tamassee DAR School, Inc., Tamassee, SC    81.8%

The "Angels" were selected by review of financial reports submitted annually to the Secretary of State's Office, as well as by nominations from the public. To be selected as an Angel, the charity must have devoted 80 percent or more of its total expenditures to charitable programs; the charity must have been in existence for three or more years; the charity must make good use of volunteer services; the charity must receive minimal funding from grants; and the charity must be registered with the Secretary of State to solicit funds in the state of South Carolina.  Each year the Secretary of State's Office attempts to showcase Angels with diverse missions, from across South Carolina and outside the state.

The designation of "Scrooge" is based upon a charitable organization's failure to spend a high percentage of its total expenditures on charitable programs. The organizations designated as this year's "Scrooges" are listed here:

Army Historical Foundation Inc., Alexandria, VA                16.4%
Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation, Inc., Aventura, FL    19.3%
Feed Our Veterans, New Hartford, NY    25.6%
Firefighters Charitable Foundation, Inc., Farmingdale, NY    7.0%
Gaffney Elks Lodge BPOE #1305,  Gaffney, SC     11.9%
International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO,  Sarasota, FL    16.8%
Law Enforcement Officers Relief Fund, Sarasota, FL   0.9%
Louis D. Simmons American Legion Post 215, Inc., Columbia, SC    3.2%
Roger Wyburn-Mason & Jack M. Blount Foundation for the Eradication of
Rheumatoid Disease,  Fairview, TN    34.7%
Walker Cancer Research Institute, Inc., Aberdeen, MD    32.4%

The following criteria were considered in selecting Scrooges: the charity had devoted 40 percent or less of its total expenditures to charitable programs; the charity had spent a significant amount of revenue on fundraising expenses; and the charity had registered with the Secretary of State to solicit funds in the state of South Carolina.

"As Secretary of State, I have the duty of enforcing the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act, and of protecting the public against "Scrooge" organizations that contribute small amounts of money to their charitable purpose," said Hammond. "South Carolinians continue to be among the most generous people in the nation; however, we must guard against those who want take advantage of our generosity.  I ask you to research charitable organizations before you give to make sure high percentages are going to the organization's program services." 

Charitable donors may research organizations registered in South Carolina by visiting the Secretary of State's website at www.sos.sc.gov.  To review an organization, select the Charity Search button to learn a charity's total revenue, program expenses, total expenses, net assets, and fundraiser costs.  The website even calculates the percentage of total expenses that the charity has devoted to its program services. You can also call our Division of Public Charities at 1-888-CHARITI (242-7484) for more information.

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