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Foundation fumbles – Payout low for Harbaugh fund

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A charity set up by San Diego Chargers quarterback Jim Harbaugh paid only 21 cents out of every dollar it raised to charity from 1995 to 1998, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on June 1.

The Harbaugh Foundation raised $528,000 in that period, 47 percent of which went to expenses and 32 percent of which went into the foundation’s investment account.

Peter J. Savarino, vice president, secretary and treasurer of the foundation, told the Chronicle that giving appears low because money is being saved for the endowment. The endowment fund, Savarino said, has grown to more than $330,000 so far.

Foundation grants include $28,000 to the St. Francis of Assisi school, where Harbaugh went to elementary school and whose church his family attends.

The foundation gave $14,765 to Best Seat in the House, an Ann Arbor for-profit that is run by Harbough’s childhood friend. Savarino said was misled that the youth basketball league was a charity.

Neither Savarino nor Harbaugh earns any money from the foundation.

A well-run charity gives at least 60 cents out of every dollar it raises to charitable efforts, according to the National Charities Information Bureau. The best charities limit expenses to as little as 1 to 5 percent of donations, said Marc Pollick, president of the Giving Back Fund in Boston.

For full text, go to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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