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October 28, 2022

Where Does $100 to Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Go (2021)?

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 1,200 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 2021, DAV reported total revenue of $171 million ( compared too $154 million in 2020 and $145 million in 2019) although only $4 million (about 2% of revenue; compared to $9 million in 2020) came from membership fees.  $139 million (81% of revenue) came from contributions. $27 million (16% 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 $138 million (not including $2 million in depreciation) in 2021 with expenses categorized as follows:

  • $53 million (31% of revenue): Compensation
  • $53 million (31% of revenue): Office-Related Expenses
  • $11  million (6% of revenue): Advertising, Promotion, and Royalties
  • $ 8   million (5% of revenue): Grants
  • $ 8    million (5% of revenue): Fees for Services (primarily other with no detail provided)
  • $ 5    million (3% of revenue): Travel and Conferences and Other Expenses

As illustrated above, the two largest expenses (that used 62% of revenue) were compensation and office-related expenses. $11 million or 6% of revenue was spent primarily on advertising and promotion while $8 million was spent on grants – primarily to veterans services in state governments and camps for children of veterans. $8 million was spent on fees for independent contractors – primarily other “professional” marketing and fundraising fees , and $5 million was spent on travel and conferences and other expenses.

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

-$ 31: Office-Related Expenses

-$ 31: Compensation

-$ 6: Advertising, Promotion, Royalties

-$ 5: Fees for Services

-$ 3: Travel and Conferences and Other Expenses

-$ 76: Subtotal: Office, Compensation, Advertising, Fees, Travel

  $ 24: Revenue Remaining

-$  5: Grants

$ 19: Revenue Remaining: To General Fund

As illustrated above, most revenue is spent on office-related expenses and compensation for the 661 employees who received an average compensation of $80,000 in 2021 (compared to 654 employees who received an average compensation of $83,000 each in 2020).  64 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 $591,176 (compared to $603,396 in 2020 and $585,906 in 2019).

At year-end 2021, DAV reported total net assets of $499 million (compared to $415 million in 2020, $365 million in 2019 and $313 million in 2018.  The growth of nearly $200 million in three years is due to unrealized gains on investments and spending less than the organization raised.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2021), click here.

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