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. 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.

  2. Editorial: Florida needs to toughen charity laws

    Editorials

    This week's arrest of four Florida men accused of hiring felons to solicit donations for a dubious charity in the name of fallen police officers is a step in the right direction toward protecting donors and reputable charities. But the minimal penalty the suspects will face if convicted is a reminder of just how much …

  3. Investigators say police charity hired felons to raise donations

    News

    Police Protective Fund raises millions of dollars each year in the name of fallen officers.

    Investigators with the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services gather Tuesday outside the Police Protective Fund location at 1080 Kapp Drive in Clearwater.
  4. Putnam's plan to stop bad charities in Florida

    Editorials

    Florida is home to 11 of the worst 50 charities in the country, which too often take people's money, then enrich their executives and fundraisers but spend little on the charity's ostensible cause. It is a multimillion dollar legal fleecing that Adam Putnam, Florida's commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, …

    Adam Putnam called a bad charity a “black eye on the state.”
  5. Let It Ring: When the phone rings and a dubious charity asks for money, you can thank free-speech lawyer Errol Copilevitz for the call

    News

    Errol Copilevitz started his legal career representing strip clubs and porn shops on the seedy side of Kansas City.

    “I think people understand that there’s a cost (to raising money),” Errol Copilevitz says of complaints that charities use telemarketers. “How long do you have to be telling them that?”