The Washington Commanders Charitable Foundation, which receives upward of 75% of its donations from fans and the public, is operating in a manner that calls into question whether it is upholding its charitable mission responsibly, according to two independent watchdog groups and an ESPN analysis of financial documents.

The nonprofit watchdog groups, CharityWatch and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, examined the charity's tax filings and said there are enough apparent red flags to warrant attention from attorneys general in the two states where it operates, Maryland and Virginia. Attorneys general regulate nonprofits on the state level and have authority to levy civil penalties.

The Commanders' charity, whose stated mission is to help needy children in the D.C. area, raised $2.1 million in contributions and grants in fiscal 2020, giving away more than $697,000. In fiscal year 2021, during the height of the pandemic, it raised $927,992 and gave away more than $471,000.

ESPN began examining the foundation's finances after it cut a bad $14,822 check to a recent winner of its 50/50 raffle. The Commanders cited a "bank error" and said the team wired the ticket holder his winnings. The foundation had a little less than $1.7 million cash on hand as of March 31, 2021, according to its most recent filings, with an average of $2.1 million in the bank in five previous years.

In a statement to ESPN, Commanders spokesperson Jean Medina said, "The Washington Commander owners, players, donors, alumni, and staff have dedicated time and resources to helping others and we are very proud of the work that has been accomplished, while becoming even more integrated as a community partner in the Washington region."