Q. My family wishes to donate to the Chattanooga "Fallen Five" memorial. I weekly receive solicitation for donation and support of military and its families. How may I know that the "Fallen Five" and other military charities meet their mission objective?

A. Support of the "Fallen Five" memorial is generous and will be appreciated. The fund for the memorial is being managed by the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga. A charity or community foundation must meet established standards to achieve full accreditation. Keep in mind that the critical targeted standards are; transparency and accountability. The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga meets these critical standards. Donations for the "Fallen Five Memorial Fund" go to or visit .

The question is timely in that last week BBB and partners addressed Veteran and Military Charity donations for charities at a national level. This is important because there are many military/veteran charities who are misrepresented and do not meet standards. The media release is as the following:

BBB Wise Giving Alliance ( joined with the Federal Trade Commission, state Attorneys General, and state charity regulators to help the donating public avoid misleading charity appeals and find trustworthy veterans' organizations to support. The event was held on July 19 at the FTC's headquarters in Washington, DC to announce the latest enforcement actions against veterans' charities. Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance, was one of the speakers at the event.

Here are the charity reports on the six veterans' charities referenced by the FTC and the state officials. These charities did not disclose any of the requested information to BBB WGA.

-Foundation for American Veterans

-Healing American Heroes (aka Help Our Wounded)

-Healing Heroes Network

-Help the Vets

(aka American Disabled Veterans Foundation, Military Families of America, Veterans Fighting Breast Cancer)

-National Vietnam Veterans Foundation


BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers tips to potential donors when responding to appeals from such organizations, such as how to avoid sound alike charities, how to research a charity prior to giving, how to recognize potential fraud, etc. For more tips on giving to charities including mailing list removal, car donations, and sweepstakes appeals, visit our for giving guidance and tips page.

Below is a list of 26 nationally soliciting veterans and military service charities that meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability (i.e., BBB Accredited Charities). Donors can give to these charities with confidence knowing their money will be used as they intend.

1. America's Vet Dogs – The Veteran's K-9 Corps

2. Blinded Veterans Association

3. Boot Campaign

4. Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation

5. Coalition to Salute America's Heroes

6. Disabled American Veterans

7. EOD Warrior Foundation

8. Gary Sinise Foundation

9. Green Beret Foundation

10. Homes for Our Troops

11. Honor Flight Network

12. K9s for Warriors

13. Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation

14. Military Spouse Corporate Career Network

15. Operation Healing Forces

16. Operation Homefront

17. Soldier's Angels

18. Team Red, White & Blue

19. Travis Manion Foundation

20. USA Cares

21. USO

22. Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for Children

23. Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

24. VFW Foundation

25. Wounded Warrior Project

26. Wounded Warriors Family Support

Jim Winsett is president of the Better Business Bureau in Chattanooga. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the trustworthiness of nationally soliciting charities by completing rigorous evaluations based on 20 holistic standards that address charity governance, results reporting, finances, fundraising, appeal accuracy and other issues.