Sports donors – Good intentions

Charities created by sports celebrities drive more than $57 million to charitable causes each year but often fall below par on record-keeping and accountability, USA Today reported July 20.

Based on an analysis of 248 charities and private foundations started by or named for athletes, the newspaper found:

Three of 10 athletes’ public charities spend more on administrative costs than recommended by watchdog groups, which suggest 60 percent of expenses should go to activities that donors believe they are supporting, and no more than 40 percent to management and fundraising.

Half of the charities surveyed allocate 75 percent or more of their expenses to charitable work.

Nearly 60 of the groups are private foundations that don’t depend on public donations and give $5.3 million more a year to charitable activity.

Most of the charities are small, with roughly one in three taking in less than $100,000 a year, nearly half with no paid employees and one-fifth employing only one person.

Record-keeping and accountability often fall short of expectations for groups that solicit money from the public.

Industry experts told USA Today that most sports celebrities mean well in starting their charities but that the charities sometimes focus on image-building and are managed by people with little or no nonprofit experience.

Tennis star Andre Agassi’s charitable foundation, with $5.4 million in revenue, is the biggest, while the foundation of Roy Campanella, the late Brooklyn Dodger catcher and Hall of Famer, is the smallest, losing $1,753 in its most recent fiscal year.

For full story, go to USA Today.

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