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America's Worst Charities: Five of top 50 named based in Maryland, Virginia

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Five of the 50 charities identified in a Tampa Bay Times/Center for Investigative Reporting investigation into just how little money they actually give to the needy are based in Maryland or Virginia.

The entire investigation, which was published on Friday, concluded that the 50 named on their list of America as a whole actually donated just 4 percent of funds raised to those they say they serve. Six of them never actually gave any money at all to the people they say they're serving.

Many of the charities included in the list are based in Florida, but out of the 50, five them are based in Towson, Silver Spring, Alexandria, Ashburn and Falls Church.

Of the five, the investigation concluded that the American Association for the Deaf and Blind, a Silver Spring-based outfit that the Times and CIR report has raised at least $1 million every year since 1984, committed just 0.1 percent of that money into direct cash aid.

The locally-based charities on the list include:

Rank Charity Headquarters Direct Cash Aid
4 American Breast Cancer Foundation Towson 5.3 percent
16 National Caregiving Foundation Alexandria 3.5 percent
18 United States Deputy Sheriffs' Association Ashburn 0.6 percent
32 American Association for the Deaf and Blind Silver Spring 0.1 percent
40 Circle of Friends for American Veterans Falls Church 6.5 percent

The two former representatives of the American Breast Cancer Foundation who are blamed for much of the organizations problems, Phyllis Wolf and her son Joseph Wolf, did not respond to the Tampa Bay Times' questions. However, the organization has gone through a great deal of expense trying to get out from under contracts to telemarketers who solicited funds, said Jacky Loube, Chief Operating Officer of the American Breast Cancer Foundation.

"I don't believe in telephone solicitations," says Loube. "Our donations may be low, but I can guarantee that the donations will not come from direct marketing and telemarketing."

The executive director of National Caregiving Foundation did not respond to inquiries by the Tampa Bay Times.

The president of the United States Deputy Sheriffs' Association did not return numerous phone calls made by the Tampa Bay Times.

The American Association for the Deaf and Blind did not respond for comment.

Circle of Friends for American Veterans' founder Brian Hampton defended the charity, saying he believes the organization is more effective by promoting awareness of homelessness than housing homeless vets. He also defended the organizations' use of telemarketers because he says telemarketing call centers are cost-effective.

READ MORE at tampabay.com.

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