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% 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
IRS 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.