ESPN – An “Outside the Lines” investigation of 115 charities founded by high-profile, top-earning male and female athletes has found that most of their charities don’t measure up to what charity experts would say is an efficient, effective use of money.
Using guidelines set by nonprofit watchdogs Charity Navigator, the Better Business Bureau and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, “Outside the Lines” found that 74 percent of the nonprofits fell short of one or more acceptable nonprofit operating standards. The standards cover all sorts of aspects, such as how much money a nonprofit actually spends on charitable work as opposed to administrative expenses and whether there are enough board members overseeing the organization.
Among the “Outside the Lines” findings:
• Many athlete charities fail the effectiveness test for a variety of reasons, ranging from the deceptive and unethical — if not illegal — to the simply neglectful and ignorant. Some athletes set up foundations as tax-planning vehicles. Others dispute the nonprofit standards overall, saying as long as they spend at least some money on actual charity they should not be criticized.
• In many cases, OTL had a hard time measuring a charity’s actual effectiveness because it was behind on filing its IRS tax returns or the returns were filled with errors and omissions. Problems can go unnoticed for years as the main agencies that oversee charities — the Internal Revenue Service and states’ attorney general offices — don’t audit every return.
• Even though the athlete charities often are named in honor of wealthy sports icons, only about a third of them had total assets of $500,000 or more. Multimillion-dollar charities that actually run programs, such as those founded by Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Andre Agassi and Richard and Kyle Petty, are rare.
Some specific examples of what “Outside the Lines” found after conducting interviews and examining documents: NBA forward Lamar Odom’s charity that promised money for cancer research has not given a dime in grant money to any cancer entity in its eight-year history. Phone numbers listed for NFL receiver Randy Moss’ charities ring to a private residence in the Canadian province of Manitoba. New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez’s two foundations stopped filing tax returns about five years ago, leaving almost $300,000 from a fundraiser unaccounted for.
Am I surprised that athletes are scamming people with their fake charities? Absolutely not. I don’t know why. I’m just not surprised. Its probably the reason why I don’t donate to charities. For some reason in the back of my head this is what I always thought everyone did. They use people’s good hearted intentions to line the inside of their pockets. And I’m absolutely not surprised a Kardashian has their handprints in on this. If you would have asked me before reading this article to name someone I thought was stealing from their charity, 100% I would have said a Kardashian. I mean the mom went as far as to prostitute her own daughter to make her famous. That’s desperation. So stealing from a fake cancer charity doesn’t surprise me at all.
What does surprise me constantly is that as much hate as Tiger Woods gets for cheating on his wife, and yet that’s the worst thing he’s done. His charity is one of few that actually does what it’s supposed to and has a total asset of $500,000 or more, he’s stays out of headlines except for that one ordeal, and his play on the field made his sport what it is today, and continues to make it what it is today. He’s given kids a reason to golf and for the the most part he’s given them a role model to look up to. Everyone wants to put him down for one mistake he made. A mistake over 51% of Americans make.
PS, Yes, I just turned a “Athletes Scamming People With Fake Charities” blog into a “How Much I Love Tiger Woods” blog. Sue me.
PSS, Also not surprised A-Rod has had his hands in the pot. That man just oozes poor ethics these days. From steroids to stealing charity money, A-Rod does it all.