ATLANTA -- Eleven charities that raised more than $9.7 million in Georgia fund-raisers over the past year used only a small portion of that money for charitable programs, Secretary of State Cathy Cox said Friday.
Cox's "Uncharitable Charities" list consists of registered charitable groups that use a paid solicitor to raise money. An organization ended up on the list if it raised more than $100,000 in the campaign yet only gave 15 percent or less of the total proceeds to charity.
Georgia donors should take time to make sure where their donations are going, Cox said in a statement.
Solicitation campaigns are just one part of a registered charity's financial picture. In some cases, charities with low operational expenses can participate in costly solicitation campaigns, Cox added.
At least one group on the list said they ended up on Cox's list because of differences in the Secretary of State's database and their records.
The Georgia State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police is said to have provided only 13.5 percent of their $2.47 million in fund-raising proceeds for charity programs, according to Cox's office.
A final accounting for the fund-raiser in March will show the group, based in Ellijay, has allocated more than 20 percent of the proceeds, said Marlin Humphrey, group secretary.
"What's reported in 2004 will show a big jump," Humphrey said. "There's nothing we can do until next year - next year will show we will do more than" provide 13.5 percent for the group's programs.
The group raises money to provide police officers across the state with bulletproof vests.
Topping Cox's list was The Heritage Foundation, which raised more than $713,000 yet only provided less than 5 percent of the proceeds to charity.
Other groups on the list were: the Catholic Medical Mission Board, Southeastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, National Association of Police Athletic Leagues, Committee for Missing Children, American Association of University Women, Georgia Junior Chamber of Commerce, Vietnam Veterans Foundation of Georgia, Little Heroes Foundation and Professional Fire Fighters of Georgia.
The five groups on the list with the lowest fund-raising expense percentages, with 90 percent or more of the funds retained by the charity, were Groundspring.org, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the American Red Cross, the Defenders of Wildlife and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.
On the Net:
Georgia charities database: www.sos.state.ga.us/securities/charitysearch.htm