Remember last month when the Lady Gaga-founded Born This Way Foundation didn’t get any applause? The Bernie Mac Foundation has now joined the increasingly long list of badly run celebrity charities.
The Bernie Mac Foundation was established by the comedy star prior to his death to help fellow sufferers of sarcoidosis, a disease that disproportionately affects black people in the U.S. The Foundation did well, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But reports now show that the Foundation only directed 13% of its spending to charitable programs between 2007 to 2012. Where did the money go? A large portion went to firms associated with the lawyer who serves as the Foundation’s Treasurer and to salaries paid to the sisters of Bernie Mac’s widow, who serves as the Foundation’s President.
The Foundation’s board originally included a number of unrelated directors, but they left the board shortly after Mac’s death in 2008. Even Mac’s daughter resigned from the board, explaining that the Foundation lacked focus and direction since her father’s death.
The Illinois Attorney General’s office has now asked the Foundation “to provide additional documentation to address [its] concerns,” said a spokeswoman for the office.
Unfortunately, celebrity charities often are run improperly, resulting in bad publicity, embarrassment, and sometimes loss of tax exemption. The Law Firm for Non-Profits works with many celebrity-funded charities. If you have concerns about your charity, or want to ensure your charity is run right, we are happy to help.