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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. Here's where Cancer Fund of America donations went while dying kids got Little Debbie snack cakes


    In its pitch to donors, Cancer Fund of America touted "direct patient aid'' as one of the many ways it helped tens of thousands of Americans struggling with deadly disease.

     Cancer Fund of America president James Reynolds, Sr., in his office in Powell, Tenn., Dec. 29, 2009. [ADAM BRIMER, Knoxville News Journal ]
  2. Federal report says IRS could do more to regulate charities


    The IRS doesn't have the manpower to go after charities that flout the law, and it could do more to help state regulators target crooked operators, according to a federal watchdog report made public today.

    Isolated hundred dollar cancer ribbon on a white background.
  3. Charity fundraiser Quadriga Art agrees to $25 million settlement


    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.

  4. New law will give regulators more oversight of charities


    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.
  5. Lawmakers agree on legislation to crack down on fraud by Florida charities


    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.