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June 12, 2021


Where Does $100 to Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Go (2019)?

by Anne Paddock

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization is a 501 (c) (4) – a social welfare organization – that was created by Congress in 1920 to assist disabled military veterans and their families.  Based in Cold Spring, Kentucky, DAV provides services nationwide to disabled veterans through staff, national service offices and more than 1,300 local chapters.

With more than a million members (who pay $0-$300 for a lifetime of assistance and benefits), DAV is the largest disabled veteran assistance organization in the country. In 2019, DAV reported total revenue of $145 million (compared to $151 million the prior year) although only $7 million (about 5% of revenue) came from membership fees.  $122 million (85% of revenue) came from contributions. $15 million (10% of revenue) came from investment income and the gain on the sale of assets while $1 million came from royalties and other sources.

Expenses totaled $142 million (not including $2 million in depreciation) in 2019 with expenses categorized as follows:

  • $60 million (41% of revenue): Office-Related Expenses
  • $55 million (38% of revenue): Compensation
  • $ 9 million (6% of revenue): Advertising, Promotion, and Royalties
  • $ 8 million (6% of revenue): Fees for Services (primarily other with no detail provided)
  • $ 6 million (4% of revenue): Grants
  • $ 4 million (3% of revenue): Travel and Conferences

As illustrated above, the two largest expenses (that used 79% of revenue) were office-related expenses and compensation. $9 million or 6% of revenue was spent primarily on advertising and promotion while $8 million was spent on fees for services with no detail provided. $6 million in grants were awarded – primarily to veterans services in state governments and camps for children of veterans. $4 million was spent on travel and conferences. DAV reported paying for first class or charter travel, travel for companions, and providing discretionary spending accounts (See the Form 990, Schedule J, Part III, Supplemental Information for more detail).

Using the above information, every $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100: Revenue

-$ 41: Office-Related Expenses

-$ 38: Compensation

-$ 6: Advertising, Promotion, Royalties

-$ 6: Fees for Services

-$ 3: Travel and Conferences

-$ 94: Subtotal: Office, Compensation, Advertising, Fees, Travel

$ 6: Revenue Remaining

-$ 4: Grants

$ 2: Revenue Remaining: To General Fund

As illustrated above, most revenue is spent on office-related expenses and compensation for the 712 employees, who received an average compensation of $77,000 each. 47 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the most highly compensated employee reported to be J Marc Burgess, the National Adjutant, CEO, and Secretary who received $585,906 in compensation in 2019.

At year-end 2019, DAV reported total net assets of $365 million, compared to $313 million at the beginning of the year. This $52 million dollar increase is primarily due to unrealized gains on investments.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2019), click here.

  1. john joseph sapp
    Mar 16 2022

    will no longer give to dva help vets my rear help only executives

  2. Willene Denney
    Feb 27 2022

    I just received a packet of address labels, bookmarks, a purse calendar and a little hang up calendar. Looking how all the money is dispensed, I didn’t see how much goes to the actual disabled veterans. I think they could save lots of money if they would quit sending all this stuff out. From you and every other charity I have enough address labels to last until I am 100 years old, that is if I don’t move. I’ve been here twenty years and the rent has gone up so much we may have to move but I don’t know where. I’m sorry I just don’t have the money to give to y’all if very little goes to the Veterans. I think there needs to be cut in the higher office salaries.

  3. Barbara Isaacson
    Sep 24 2021

    Non profit for who?
    It looks pretty profitable for the executives and other employees (who receive about 4X what I get).
    I am very frustrated these days with “non profits”. I want so desperately to help, but when I look up what the workers make, I am sick…and that includes Franklin Graham. Maybe he gives 50% of his income; I don’t know…but if that’s the case, why doesn’t he just accept a lower salary?
    I am disillusioned and disappointed in the whole “non profit” thing.
    Please remove me from your mailing list.

  4. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. ( retired) Carol McLean
    Aug 31 2021

    THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS!! ONLY 6% of our donation goes to the veterans. The other 94% goes into executives flying first class – with their sweetheart – and HUGE salaries.
    WHO APPROVED THIS AS A 502-c-3? Let’s get a congressional inquiry into this cheating.

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