The dictionary defines charity as a ‘voluntary giving of help to those in need.’ However, based on these celebrities and their charity scams – one could assume that none of them actually own a dictionary, or are obliviously unaware of the meaning. Prepare to be infuriated with your favorite Hollywood stars, because here are the 10 biggest celebrity charity scandals.
10. Bristol Palin – Candie’s Foundation
Bristol Palin became pregnant at the age of seventeen and the news was made public because her mother, Sarah Palin, was running for Vice President at the time. In 2009, Bristol became the spokesperson for the Candie’s Foundation, which is a teen pregnancy prevention organization and a division of the Candie’s clothing brand. The charities mission is to educate America’s youth on the consequences of teen pregnancy. Bristol was paid a salary of $262,500 for her role, but the Candie’s Foundation only donated $35,000 to teen pregnancy health and counseling clinics. When Bristol was questioned about her pay, her reps responded that she had worked hard for the Candie’s Foundation and rightfully earned her salary.
9. Lamar Odom & Khloe Kardashian – Cathy’s Kids
In 2004, Los Angeles Laker’s star, Lamar Odom founded the charity, Cathy’s Kids. The charity’s mission is to fund cancer research and to help young people who are suffering from the disease. Since 2004, the charity has raised $2.2 million. Much of the money was raised with the help of his wife, Khloe Kardashian, who helped raise awareness of Cathy’s Kids. Of the $2.2 million raised, at least $1.3 million was used to finance two elite youth basketball travel teams. Despite Cathy’s Kids mission and the fact that the charity was created to honor Lamar’s late mother who died of stomach cancer – none of the money has gone to cancer-related causes. As of its 2011 tax return, the charity was $256,000 in debt.
8. Alex Rodriguez – The A-Rod Family Foundation
New York Yankees third baseman, Alex Rodriguez is the founder of the A-Rod Family Foundation. The charity’s mission is to help distressed families by funding and supporting educational and mental health programs. In 2006, A-Rod hosted a celebrity poker tournament and raised over $400,000 for his foundation. However, reports reveal that $5000 of the funds went to Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund, and $90 went to a Little League Baseball Club – equating to a donation of only 1% of its proceeds.
7. Lady Gaga – Born This Way Foundation
In 2011, Lady Gaga founded the Born This Way Foundation, with a mission to empower youth and inspire bravery. However, Gaga’s charity came under fire when a federal tax report revealed that the Born This Way Foundation took in $2.5 million, but only gave out one $5000 grant in 2012. The total expenses for 2012 reached $1.85 million and included, $406,552 in legal fees, $150,000 for philanthropic consulting, $50,000 for social media development, $300,000 for strategic development, $348,000 for bus production, $77,923 for travel, $60,000 for research, $62,836 for stage production, $58,678 for publicity and $47,825 for meeting and event coordination. Many have accused Lady Gaga of treating her charity as a vanity project and for using the Born This Way Foundation to promote her own career.
6. Lance Armstrong – Livestrong Foundation
Although Lance Armstrong severed ties from the Livestrong Foundation after his doping scandal, he is still the founder of the charity. In July 2013, a group of donors filed a lawsuit against Livestrong for the suspicious use of their raised funds. Reports from 2011 show that of the $103 million Livestrong raised, only $5 million was donated to cancer research. The group of donors that filed suit felt duped and mislead, when they discovered that Livestrong no longer funds cancer research. Instead, the charity offers free advice, counseling, referrals and other services.
5. Madonna – Raising Malawi
In 2009, Madonna had a dream to build a $15 million school for girls in Malawi and in 2010, over 200 residents were pushed off of their land to make room for the new school. However, by 2011, the $15 million in raised funds were reportedly gone before a brick was even laid. An audit revealed that the money was spent on buying cars for employees that didn’t work for the charity, salaries, office space, free housing and architect design fees. Additionally, $3.8 million was unaccounted for. Madonna abandoned the project and is pursuing other ways to help Malawi.
4. Bono – ONE Campaign
Bono, front man of the rock band U2, founded the charity ‘ONE’ in 2002 with a mission to fight extreme poverty and disease, primarily in Africa. In September 2010, it was revealed that only 1.2% of the ‘ONE’ funds were used for charitable causes. 2008 tax documents indicated ONE received $15 million in donations and only $190,000 of that amount was donated to charitable causes. The tax documents also revealed that over 50% of funds raised were used to pay salaries. Bono, you can’t fight poverty by padding your own pocket.
3. Kanye West – Kanye West Foundation
In 2007, Kanye West founded the self-titled charity, the Kanye West Foundation with a mission to significantly reduce high-school dropout rates. Four years later, the charity shutdown after it was discovered that, of the $570,000 raised in 2011, $0 went to charity. All of the money was used for “administrative costs.” The last reported charity contribution were grants for $563 in 2009, despite raising more than $200,000 that year.
2. Kim Kardashian – Ebay Giving Works Program
Kim Kardashian once said, “Giving comes from the heart.” Now, one can assume Kim also said, “Taking comes from the butt,” because Kim is scoring a much bigger cut than any of her charitable projects. Kim participates in Ebay’s Giving Works program, in which she auctions off her own items, such as clothing, shoes and accessories (most of which she receives for free). However, in 2012, it was discovered that Kim only donates 10% of her Ebay sales to charity. Tax documents from Ebay revealed that of the $399,500 Kim raised for Life Change Community Church, only $19,775 was donated to the church. After the auction management agency took their cut for handling Kim’s charity auctions and Ebay collected their fees, Kim walked away with $179,755. So, that’s how you ‘keep up with the Kardashians.’
1. Wyclef Jean – Yele
In 2004, hip hop artist Wyclef Jean founded Yele, a charity with a mission to help the singer’s homeland of Haiti. The charity started out small, but after the 2010 earthquake, donations increased substantially. Yele raised over $16 million after the devastating Haiti earthquake. Instead of using the money to help the people of Haiti, $9 million was reportedly spent on office space, salaries and food and beverages for employees. In addition, Wyclef paid himself $100,000 to perform at a Haiti charity concert, gave his family over $500,000 and used $37,000 on rent for his Manhattan studio. The charity also paid Wyclef’s mistress more than $100,000 for unspecified reasons. In 2012, the charity was shutdown.