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By John Boch, reprinted here with permission.

Steven Nardizzi, the $319k/year Executive Director of Wounded Warrior Project, fumbled badly out of the gate in his efforts to diffuse the brouhaha over his group’s refusal to participate on Gun Talk Radio last weekend on Veteran’s Day. The whole disaster was spurred when their communications director declined the invitation to promote WWP on Gun Talk Radio because of the gun-related content of the nationally syndicated radio show . . .

Late last week, WWP announced their executive director would appear on Gresham’s show to clarify the WWP position, in addition to offering some weaselese language that they respected everyone’s right to their rights to gun ownership – sorta like President Obama begins his self-description.  “I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but…”

Nardizzi, for being so well-paid, utterly fumbled.

He tried to spin his way out of the mess but only managed to spin himself in deeper, offering all sorts of weak excuses why WWP couldn’t partner with gun-related sponsors.  He cited sponsorships with cyclists and how WWP had cut back on those sponsorships because of some sort of inferior return on investment.

Gresham pressed Nardizzi, saying that WWP had even changed language on their website from firearms to the more incendiary word “weapon”.

Nardizzi offered every excuse imaginable, but in the end Gresham pinned him down as saying that while gun owners are absolutely welcome to send money to WWP, they could not use the logo.

Gresham said that sounds an awful lot like WWP not wanting to associate with gun owners.  “We’ll take your money, but we don’t want to be seen with you,” Gresham said, paraphrasing him.

Nardizzi tried to deny this, but it was a lost cause to anyone with half a lick of common sense and intelligence.

“We’ll take your money and you can do fundraisers for us, but we won’t let you use our logo!” Tom says, mocking Nardizzi’s attempts to spin the truth.

John Boch is president of Guns Save Life.

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  1. In the past I contributed to WWP. Not any more. My cashish will go where it is welcomed. Sad, because I did like the WWP.

  2. Yep, it sounds like it is time to kick Nardizzi to the curb and start over. 319k a year to sit on his ass and be stupid!!
    What a waste of money. Until they get rid of Nardumbass WWP won’t be getting anymore of my money. I fully support our veterans(am a vet myself) but this guy getting paid that much to be as stupid as he is, and running the WWP like he is has caused me to divert funds somewhere else.
    Hell I would rather give it to a homeless or wounded vet that I found on the street than to Nardizzi.

    • 319k. Thats alot of scratch. Most in military are gun enthusiasts. Is he a liberal? Maybe he blames guns for those wounded and thinks they should be banned…..because it REALLY was not the fault of the terrorist jihad scum, but the guns….and Bush.

      • Yea the Jihadist aren’t to blame!! It was them mean old nasty guns that just jumped up and wounded and killed our soldiers!!
        Nardoofus needs to be fired and no severance pay. Give it to the vets who really new it and quit wasting it on someone’s private yatch,mansion,etc.
        What a dweeb!!

  3. I would say a push for the resignation of this man be the focus. The simple answer would seem to be to stop giving the WWP money.

    But who feels the hurt in the end? The veterans.

    While we are on it, we should call for a lower salary.

    Over $300,000 a year? Jesus Christ…

    • The veterans will not be hurt. Others can help care for them, including the VA, which we all already pay for. Clearly, judging from Nardizzi’s purported salary, this is an organization existing to make people money by pushing a logo out there and making people support them. Lots of other organizations have been helping, they are not the only ones. No need to favor them at all.

  4. Like the Watergate saying goes…”follow the money”.

    I don’t want to bust anyone’s bubble but charities are a big business. People get rich on charities. Yes they become millionaires as professional criers. I in no way want to denigrate the vets or their service. But there is an eco-system around the vets. Both selfless and selfish folks get attracted to them. It only took a few minutes to see that the founders of the WWP are what in analogy to another context the Kennedy family was described as…”professional Irish”. The folks have formed a half dozen “help the vets organizations”. They are on the boards of more. Officers in others. My red flag is going up….

    A word of advice to readers from an old guy who grew up on the streets of New York City. Just cause someone sitting on the sidewalk has a sign saying he is out of work, has nine children to feed and is dying of cancer don’t mean he is a trustworthy soul and you should drop some coin in his cup….

  5. It’s a shame when people put their politics before their mission. This is no better than the electrician unions turning non-union help away after Sandy. I think this shows very clearly that what may have started out as an organization to help people is now a business out for its own well being.

  6. What kind of a conscienceless mercenary would ACCEPT such a salary to run a charitible outfit when the cash should be going to the wounded heroes?

    Get a millionaire who has no need for the bucks who’ll do it for nothing. But make sure he’s got the sense not to offend half the possible contributors. While you’re at it WWP, how about firing the the idiot directors who dreamed up this suicidal policy?

    • The same kind that would take just under $1Million dollars a year for being the director of a Red Cross Chapter.

      Keep these facts in mind when “donating”. As you open your pockets for yet another natural disaster, keep the following facts in mind; we have listed them from the highest (worse paid offender) to the lowest (least paid offender).

      The worst offender was yet again for the 11th year in a row is, UNICEF – CEO, receives $1,200,000 per year, (plus use of a Royal Royce for his exclusive use where ever he goes, and an expense account that is rumoured to be well over $150,000.) Only pennies from the actual donations goes to the UNICEF cause (less than $0.14 per dollar of income).

      The second worst offender this year is Marsha J. Evans, President and CEO of the American Red Cross… for her salary for the year ending in 2009 was $651,957 plus expenses. Enjoys 6 weeks – fully paid holidays including all related expenses during the holiday trip for her and her husband and kids. including 100% fully paid health & dental plan for her and her family, for life. This means out of every dollar they bring in, about $0.39 goes to related charity causes.

      The third worst offender was again for the 7th time was, Brian Gallagher, President of the United Way receives a $375,000 base salary (U.S. funds), plus so many numerous expense benefits it’s hard to keep track as to what it is all worth, including a fully paid lifetime membership for 2 golf courses (1 in Canada, and 1 in the U.S.A.), 2 luxury vehicles, a yacht club membership, 3 major company gold credit cards for his personal expenses…and so on. This equates to about $0.51 per dollar of income goes to charity causes.
      Seems like Nardizzi isn’t the only shithead in the turd pile!!!

        • Although it is a few years old(data and income figures from 2004 to 2009) the actual purpose was to bring to light the fact that a lot, not all, of charities do indeed pad their individual pockets before any other monies are doled out, distributed or put to their original purpose.
          The income figures today are even more exorbitant and as soon as I can compile them I will post them. Was not intending to construe them as modern day or this years salaries but as an idea about where a lot of the “donations” are put to use before the people who it is actually for ever see a penny of it!!
          I apologize for the confusion.

  7. Wounded Warrior just happened to pick a good name. Like Purple Heart they have a cool name and a cool logo, but they are poorly run and have massive overhead. Give to Fisher House or the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

  8. I gotta be honest, I think what Nardizzi was saying made sense. Tom went after him hard, but the hard reality is that things he said about ROI and due diligence with attorneys and such is a fact of life. It does cost charities money to get money back, so they have to focus their efforts and funds where it get them the best return. The fact is the WWP actually does quite a bit of marketing that involves firearms, with their hunts and such, but that doesn’t mean they will (or can) do every bit of firearm-related marketing that comes their way. As an example of co-branding that they might pass up — the type of stuff Nardizzi is referring as “low ROI” — is if a gun manufacturer wanted to laser etch WWP’s logo onto the slide of one of their 9mm models and then sell it as the “WWP edition.” In their view, the cost of doing the due diligence, getting the attorneys involved, etc., would be too high compared to the expected return from the percentage they would get of the sales of that item. It’s a very low margin proposition, and they’d rather put their money toward something that will get them more in return.

    The firearm vs. weapon change on their website is almost certainly due to someone editing the language, by which I mean editing for clarity and consistency. The fact is they don’t want to (for whatever reason) do co-branding with manufacturers of firearms, knives, arrows, crossbows, etc. So instead of listing all of those individual items in their statement, someone decided to simply use the word “weapons” because that word (absent the emotional connotation) neatly encompasses everything on that list, plus other similar items that weren’t specifically listed. It’s a Venn diagram situation; using “firearms” doesn’t cover all the bases that using “weapons” does. The only other option would be to individually list every single item they don’t want to co-brand with, and their previously pithy statement suddenly ends up looking like an iTunes User Agreement.

    All that said, based on what I’ve read here and elsewhere, I’m still not sure that WWP is the best use of your charity giving dollars. From the CEO salary thing to the poor grades given to WWP by several of the “charity grading” websites, it seems as if, even absent this specific (in my opinion, tempest in a teapot) issue, there are still better places to put your money.

    • Listen, I have a MBA and I can tell you the whole ROI argument is not true. If a charity organization is putting out their logo, they are licensing it, not manufacturing it. The liability would rest with the manufacturer of the firearms. I’m going to listen to the podcast but unless I hear something else, this organization will never see a dime from me. As a veteran, I’m pissed.

      • You are not wrong. But, there are always contractual details regarding the license, other possible legal liabilities involved with having your logo on things, etc., that must be vetted through. Paying legal staff who are required for every single license agreement costs money. Some may not find this to be worth it for every agreement. Not saying I agree at all with Nardizzi but just dont let your MBA get in the way of recognizing the work of JDM’s.

    • I agree with you. This reminds me of the issue with the Komen Breast Cancer/Planned Parenthood controversy, where the former cut contributions to the latter, and everyone in the choice movement was up in arms. I personally prefer that charities focus on getting the maximum amount of help to those in need rather than satisfying my political leanings. My understanding has always been WWP does veterans right, and until someone demonstrates otherwise they’ll likley continue to reside on my Christmas charity list.

  9. A pro-veteran group that is either itself anti-2A or anti-gun, or simply afraid of losing support from people who are anti-gun by associating with the pro 2A community. I’m assuming (I really don’t like to ass-u-me) that most contributers or supporters of his group would lean more conservative than liberal.

    Yesterday we had PETA and now WWP.

      • Not sure.

        Isn’t the rule: either/or and neither/nor? Wouldn’t using ‘neither’ while still using the negating prefix ‘anti-‘ suggest the group is pro 2A and pro guns? I haven’t had my breakfast yet so my brain is still protein deficient this morning.

        • Nevermind. I read it at least 3x before questioning you, and my brain still screwed it up by editing out the “or.”

          I was interpreting it as, “A pro-veteran group that is either itself anti-2A or anti-gun, simply afraid of losing support from people who are anti-gun by associating with the pro 2A community,” in which case my “neither” question makes sense.

          I got you now.

        • Did you say cheesecake?? Where?? What kind? Where I live getting really good fresh cheesecake is almost impossible unless you make it yourself.
          Prefer the chocolate cheesecake or New York style. Turtle isn’t bad either(pecans and caramel on top)!!!!

        • speedracer,

          Oh, you didn’t see the link Matt in FL posted yesterday to his killer cheesecake recipe? I can’t wait to make it. It would make for a delicious desert following the Thanksgiving Day meal of turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes, and oh yeah cornbread stuffing with sage. I wonder where we can get a great recipe for the last one?

  10. Tom Gresham is a guy who’s made a career out of being a famous outdoorsman’s affable son, so I was pleased and surprised that he was able to rear up on his hind legs the way he did. I always thought that his dad Grits was great. Now I’m starting to think, “like father, like son.”

    • Speaking of Grits, I just made myself some yellow corn grits and have added a little salt, some butter, brown sugar, and shredded cheddar cheese. Now I’m going to go eat the first bite. Any other recipe just ask. Bye Ralph.

    • Well, Nardizzi did say they had done co-branding in the past, just like his example of doing cycling sponsorships last year but not anymore.

  11. I participated in a match that supported WWP last Sept. Now I’m regretting gluing that patch to my gun box. Don’t worry, I won’t make you feel ashamed to be associated with gun owners by taking my money.

  12. I won’t be giving them any money. If my money is good enough for them to take, but they don’t want to be seen in Public with me, they can go find other sources. Gun Owners get treated like pariahs in enough places in this Country for free and don’t need to pay for abuse.
    As for Steven Nardizzi’s $319k salary (and probably ample expense account), that’s just obscene given the national average household income reported by the US Census Bureau was $50,054 in 2011.

    • It is very high! Years ago when I researched charities I came across the industry suggestion to avoid giving to charities that give less than about 75-80%(?) of their received donations to the groups they claim to serve. Therefore the WWP seems to have only 45% left for the wounded warriors. My suggestion would be for people to give directly to any wounded warrior they want to help.

  13. Tom just released a bonus podcast about an hour ago, to give a position on this issue. Says he won’t have any dealings with WWP from here on out.

  14. Irrespective of WWP’s policy on guns, they were a poor charity to give money to if you wanted the money to actually go to the guys who needed it.

    Before you give to any charity, you should check out a site like They will give you a snapshot of how effective the charity is at getting money to the targeted recipients. Ignore the star rating and instead look at the Financial Performance Metrics. WWP only spend .55 of every dollar raised on the actual soldiers. .36 is spent on advertising and .08 on admin expenses.

    Contrast this with the Special Operations Warrior foundation that spends almost .84 on programs and only .068 and .092 on admin and advertising respectively. Or even better, how about Homes for Our Troops that spends .88 per dollar received on the programs.

    Everyone has heard about WWP because of their big advertising budget, but the cost is that more than a third of your donation goes to feed that budget, not to the guys you are actually trying to help.

    When I’m getting ready to donate, I check the charity out on Charity Navigator and if I don’t like what I see, I choose one of the “Charities Performing Similar Kinds of Work” listed at the bottom.

  15. Wait a minute…. So you are telling me that you dont support 2A but you will take money from federal cartidge company? Federal Top Gun Wounded Warrior 12 Gauge ammo for sale is a new production ammo that features 8 shot shell. These Federal shells feature clean-burning powder, eight segment crimps and hard, high-quality shot. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this product will go directly to support Wounded Warriors.

    Well if that isn’t just a slap in the face i don’t know what is…..hypocrites. I’ll be donating to special ops warrior foundation from now on.

  16. I have not donated to charities like the Red Cross or United Way for exactly the same reason – I fundamentally disagree with charity CEOs making $300 K plus a year, as well as high operating costs. My church gives about .84 cents on the dollar, and they post their annual income and expenditures publicly. I know all of the pastors, and can personally see that they live in a frugal manner.

    As far as anti-2A goes, the WWP is not the only game in town. I’m a veteran, and do not appreciate anti-2A sentiments. Veterans, cops, firefighters, and others who see gruesome sights on a regular basis have committed suicide by firearm, but they can and do use other means. I have too much wit and I’ve seen too much shit to blame inanimate objects for suicide.

    Therefore I am finished with WWP.

  17. I am a little confused. Dosnt WWP advertise in gun magazines? I swear the first time I heard of them was in an ad in American Handgunner. That is a little contradictive of a possible Anti-2A stance is it not?

    Oh well, maybe this guy and the former publisher of RECOIL can start a business together.

  18. WWP seems like a ‘bad’ charity, given the expenses:donations ratio, but a high CEO salary is not necessarily a red flag. Running a large non-profit/charity is somewhat like running a large business – the ability to manage, network, etc. – and someone doing the job would have opportunities in the business world. Some high salaries might be warranted, if the CEO has skills or abilities that help bring in donations.

    In this case, not so much.

  19. Dammit. I’ve been writing them checks once a year for a while now. I wish I had looked at the charity rating before. Hell, I just recently bought a very handsome Under Armor co-branded sweatshirt with their logo on it. Maybe it can be a shop rag now.
    I sincerely hope that WWP can find a new CEO, curb this clown, and conduct themselves with even just a fraction of the honor and dignity of the people they claim to help. They’ve done a great job turning their name into an easily recognized one, now maybe they can make it a respectable one. They can start by recognizing just how many of us crazy gun owners have big hearts to go with our big magazines and ammo caches. There’s many of us who’ve buried friends and family in flag-covered coffins, and since there’s nothing left we can do for them, we’re all too ready and willing to help those still with us. Too bad they, like our re-elected president, seem far too concerned with the “guns and bayonets” than what’s actually behind them.

    • +1000!!! A lot of us have written those checks a lot of times. Seen too many flag draped coffins in 15yrs.
      Heck I would take Nardoofus’es job for 1/4 what he is making and donate a portion of it back to charity every month or quarter.
      Hell I could live a lot better than I do now on $79,000+ a year and still donate more than I do now!! Would be better than letting him keep running WWP into the ground, and screwing our vets, like he is!!!


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