Wounded Warrior Project Lays Off Half of Executive Staff, Begins Restructuring
Wounded Warrior Project, the embattled veterans charity, last month announced it expected staff cuts as part of its restructuring process following its very public spending controversy. At the time, CEO Michael Linnington was unsure of the extent of the cuts.
Now, we have a better idea.
Linnington, who replaced ousted CEO Steve Nardizzi, on Wednesday told Stars and Stripes the charity cut 50 percent of its executives and laid off 15 percent of its 600-person staff—90 employees. He also said Wounded Warrior Project would close nine of its national offices, transferring staff at those locations to local U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals.
In a press release, Wounded Warrior Project said the layoffs are the first step in an ongoing review and reorganization process. The charity said it would focus on three main areas of improvement—increasing investments in mental health for veterans, more engagement with national and local community organizations, and more accountability and transparency.
“We are strengthening our programs to better serve our warriors and their families, and will strengthen relationships with community partners in caring for our military community, as well as facilitating partnerships with organizations and businesses doing great work in the civilian sector," Linnington said in a statement. "We owe it to our donors, and our service members, veterans and their families, who have supported us throughout the years, to demonstrate the benefits their generous contributions make in the lives of our nation’s heroes."
The changes earned Wounded Warrior Project high marks from GuideStar, according to the press release, but the charity is far from in the clear. Nardizzi last month told the Florida Times-Union he expected Wounded Warrior Project to make about $200 million this year, a 50 percent drop in revenue from the prior year. And while we won't know the exact numbers until the charity makes its financials available, Linnington confirmed that things weren't looking good.
“I will be very clear: We’ve taken a hit in revenue,” he told Stars and Stripes. “Our resources are down. The fact of the matter is, we have to figure out ways to be as effective and efficient as we can possibly be.”