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Wounded Warrior Project ®


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Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans of the military actions following September 11, 2001. It operates as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.[2]

As of June 1, 2015, WWP served 71,866 registered alumni and 11,494 registered members.[3] The organization has partnered with several other charities, including the American Red Cross, Resounding Joy, a music therapy group in California, and Operation Homefront.  WWP has also provided a year-long Track program, which helps veterans transition to college and the workplace.


Wounded Warrior Project was founded in 2003[1] in Roanoke, Virginia,[6] by John Melia.[7][8] Melia had been severely wounded in a helicopter crash while serving in Somalia in 1992.[6]

Melia assembled backpacks distributed to injured veterans at the former Bethesda Naval Hospital (Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) and Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The WWP Backpacks program continues to remain a central activity of WWP, evidenced by the 16,992 backpacks they had distributed as of August 1, 2013.[9]

Wounded Warrior Project initially operated as a division of the United Spinal Association of New York,[7][10] which adopted WWP as a program in November 2003. The WWP continued to support injured service members by providing them with free WWP Backpacks filled with comfort items

In September 2005, The United Spinal Association granted $2.7 million to WWP to "develop into a stand-alone charity with its own identity and programs," with the intent to expand its services from providing immediate comfort items to providing longer-term support for returning wounded veterans via compensation, education, health care, insurance, housing, employment, etc.[11]

In 2016 WWP's CEO, Steven Nardizzi, and its COO, Al Giordano, were fired after they had been revealed as spending massive amounts of the company's money on lavish things for themselves and company retreats.[12][13][14] Several former employees alleged that they were fired because they raised concerns over the mismanagement.[15]


Wounded Warrior Project registered for incorporation on February 23, 2005. WWP was granted accreditation as of September 10, 2008 by the Veterans Affairs Secretary as a Veterans Service Organization (VSO) "recognized by the Secretary for the purpose of preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims under laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs." [16] The Veterans Administration's online List of Representatives for Accredited Organizations includes contact information for WWP's accredited service officers.[17] as well as a search tool to access information about other VSOs.[18]

In July 2006, WWP's headquarters were moved to Jacksonville, Florida. WWP Founder John Melia cited a strong local veteran community, access to Jacksonville International Airport, and support from the local business community, specifically the PGA Tour, as the reason for the move. The WWP headquarters will be undergoing a major $1.3 million renovation according to the Jacksonville Business Journal.[19]