Purple Heart Veterans Foundation

Patriotism, or profiteering?

In August, the Journal-World discovered that a Tonganoxie-based charity, the Purple Heart veterans Foundation, was operating under some suspicious circumstances. Initially, our investigation revealed that the organization, started in 2010 by Andrew Gruber, was only donating 11 cents for every dollar donated to support veterans. The majority of the rest of more than $400,000 in 2010 went to a fundraising company, operated by the director's brother, Scott Gruber.

Through anonymous tips, the Journal-World further unravelled the workings of the group, including the criminal records of the Gruber brothers. In September, it appeared a lawsuit finally shut the group down.

Concerns raised about overhead costs of Tonganoxie-based nonprofit Purple Heart Veterans Foundation
August 7, 2011
Fundraisers for the Tonganoxie-based Purple Heart Veterans Foundation have been spotted at booths in front of several local stores recently, collecting donations to “support the troops.” But for every dollar you might have given them, only 11 cents would actually make it to a veteran or a member of the armed services, according to a Journal-World investigation.
Tonganoxie’s Purple Heart Veterans Foundation founder and brother have checkered pasts
August 21, 2011
A felony theft conviction, multiple arrests and a police report about assaulting an employee. The more you dig into the Tonganoxie-based Purple Heart Veterans Foundation and its fundraising contractor, the worse it looks for the charity that’s been collecting donations in front of local businesses.
‘Stop deceiving the public’: Lawyer for national Purple Heart organization talks about lawsuit against local charity
September 6, 2011
A lawyer for the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, Inc., said the organization wants the Tonganoxie-based Purple Heart Veterans Foundation to “stop deceiving the public,” with the use of the name “Purple Heart.”
Tonganoxie nonprofit agrees not to use term ‘Purple Heart’ and will pay official organization $5,000
September 8, 2011
The Tonganoxie-based nonprofit Purple Heart Veterans Foundation can no longer use the term “Purple Heart,” according to a Consent Decree and Order filed in federal court Thursday.
Purple Heart veterans charity dissolved
10:05 p.m., December 29, 2011 Updated 12:00 a.m.
A Tonganoxie-based charity that was the focus of a Journal-World investigation has “been dissolved in all states” and is no longer in operation, said Andrew Gruber, director of the Purple Heart Veterans Foundation.

Contact Shaun Hittle