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A Times Investigation with CIR and CNN
America's Worst Charities

They never let up

One telemarketing company's aggressive tactics show how wasteful charities make millions from easy targets.

She's a fundraising machine

When Amanda Thomas calls for charity, she never stutters. She never deviates from the script. Here's why.

Dirty secrets of the worst charities

The 50 worst have raised more than $1 billion in the past 10 years, but only a fraction went to anyone other than the charities’ operators and professional solicitors.





A failure of regulation

Unscrupulous operators collect hundreds of millions of dollars each year while fooling donors. When they get caught, they have little to fear even if regulators try to shut them down.





June 13: The Reynolds family empire

Operating in multiple states, one family has created a lucrative network of bad charities. In a recent year, family members took nearly $1 million in salaries while giving away a pittance in cash.



Our list of the 50 worst charities

Use our interactive database to see who really benefits from the 50 worst charities in America.



Charities in trouble

Explore our one-of-a-kind national database of charities and fundraisers that have been cited by state regulators.



Report a charity

Have you received a solicitation from a questionable charity? Fill out our online form and we’ll investigate.



  1. Charity fundraiser Quadriga Art agrees to $25 million settlement

    Civil

    A fundraiser for some of America's worst charities has agreed to a $25 million settlement with New York regulators to resolve allegations that the company misled potential donors and failed to disclose conflicts of interest.

  2. New law will give regulators more oversight of charities

    Business

    Telemarketers with criminal backgrounds will no longer be able to call Floridians for charitable donations.

    This telephone line in the Iowa Attorney General’s office is answered by a staff member who records telemarketers’ pitches. The recordings can later be used to bring lawsuits against charities and telemarketers for making misleading statements.
  3. Lawmakers agree on legislation to crack down on fraud by Florida charities

    Gubernatorial

    TALLAHASSEE — The Senate and House struck agreement Tuesday on legislation to crack down on fraud by Florida charities after agreeing to drop a proposed $50 application fee for criminal background checks on solicitors.

  4. Newspaper report triggers investigation and fine for charity consultant

    Business

    New York regulators fined a telemarketing consultant for some of America's worst charities $50,000 on Wednesday after officials determined he had violated a lifetime ban on raising money there.

    Telemarketing consultant Mark Gelvan was fined $50,000 for violating a ban on fundraising.
  5. Overhaul of Florida charities law seems headed for passage

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A sweeping charities reform package is breezing through the Legislature despite earlier concerns that legitimate philanthropies might be harmed by new rules.