Local charity makes “worst” list

PHILADELPHIA – The founder of the performing group Re-Creation has made the list of America’s Worst Charities. The Veterans Fund was started fifteen years ago by Hugh Brooks. He started the fund as a way to entertain America’s hospitalized veterans.

The report on America’s Worst Charities, featured today at www.philly.com, says Brooks originally planned to rely on volunteer performers, but quickly realized his charity needed cash to put on shows. The 81-year-old turned to professional solicitors to raise the needed funds. The report indicates he paid the companies more than 80 percent of donations raised for the Veterans Fund.

Brooks founded Re-Creation U.S.A, based in Port Trevorton, four years before he started The Veterans Fund in 1998. In 2010, Re-Creation received more than $11,000 in cash assistance from the Veterans Fund. Brooks also gave himself a $40,000-a-year salary from the money raised.

The Veterans Fund was closed at the end of 2012 when a $30,000 penalty was levied on the charity to settle allegations of wrongdoing against a telemarketer in Oregon. Brooks told a reporter he now regrets using professional fundraisers. Re-Creation continues to entertain at VA medical centers nationwide.  (Ali Stevens)

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