Surely, no one was shocked when Hip Hop mogul Jay Z announced that he’ll take a “leadership role” on the “disturbing” issue of recent racial profiling accusations at Barney’s in NYC by continuing his partnership deal with the luxury store and having all the proceeds go to the Shawn Carter Foundation.
I will say that the whole thing has people taking a closer look at just how ‘good’ the Foundation actually is. Enter the Washington Post.
In a report released earlier this week, WP put the charity on blast.
The paper reports that the charity, founded in 2003 and is dedicated to helping low-income students “further their education at institutions of higher learning,” has since its inception, given over 750 students awards totaling over $1.3 million in individual grants of $1,500 to $2,500.
The foundation is run by his mother, Gloria Carter, who takes no salary from the part-time job. In the most recent IRS 990 records for 2011, the foundation lists $802,425 in revenue, $132,819 in expenses and $141,357 given out in grants and services, leaving a reserve of $528,249
The Washington Post sourced Erica Harris, an assistant professor at Rutgers who specializes in celebrity charity accounting, recently co-authored “The Relationship of Celebrity Affiliation to Nonprofit Contributions” with colleague Julie Ruth. The two found that both for-profits (such as Barneys) and non-profits did better when aligned with a popular star. In their study of 514 charities, donors gave 1.4 percent more to the charities, which averaged $100,000 per year.
That holds true whether the celebrity endorsed an outside charity or established their own. And only large donors ($10,000 or more) looked closely at executive compensation or the amount actually spent for the charity’s stated purpose.
The top 15 celebrity charities rated by efficiency, meaning the ratio of money spent on the mission of the nonprofit to its total expenses, don’t include Jay. The top name: champion surfer Kelly Slater’s foundation, along with the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS foundation, Larry King’s cardiac foundation, the Jane Goodall Institute, Elton John’s AIDS foundation and charities headed by Boomer Esiason, Andre Agassi and Michael J. Fox.
But what does he care? His very presence is philanthropic enough.