Monday, January 5, 2009

Gordon Gartrelle Says: Black NBA Players, Your Charities Are Raggedy.

The Salt Lake Tribune recently featured a disheartening article about the failure of most NBA players’ charities.

I’ve included the most cringe-worthy excerpts below:

Among the findings of The Tribune's analysis of 89 stand-alone NBA player charities: Together, they reported revenue of at least $31 million between 2005 and 2007, but only about 44 cents of every dollar raised -- or $14 million of that $31 million -- actually reached needy causes. The average NBA player foundation put just 51 cents of each dollar it spent toward charitable programs, well below the 65 cents most philanthropic watchdog groups view as acceptable. Tax records show budgets are quickly eaten up by poor planning and administrative costs.

The Tribune's analysis also found that players commonly rely on family members instead of independent experts to staff their boards, in many cases, violating IRS rules intended to ensure adequate oversight. More than two-thirds of player-run foundations filing IRS forms between 2005 and 2007 had family members, friends or past sports associates on their boards. In several cases, the boards were made up entirely of family members. ''They are all illegal,'' said Marc Pollick, of the Giving Back Fund. ''The IRS just doesn't have the arms to go after everybody.

Player charities often hold annual lavish fundraising events that lose money or barely break even. Pollick at the Giving Back Foundation said these galas can turn into "fun-raisers instead of fundraisers.'' NBA free agent Robert Horry's Big Shot Foundation reported $206,086 in fundraising expenses for 2005, its first year of operation, but, according to tax returns, the efforts raised nothing. The year's tab included $38,000 in artist's fees; a total of $38,120 in building and venue rental; a $27,486 expenditure on an unitemized "commission"; $23,005 in food; $25,000 in golf course fees; $17,368 on hotels; along with other four-figure expenditures on a disc jockey, sound and lighting, trophies, video rental, logo shirts and security.

Retired NBA power forward Chris Webber's Foundation holds an annual star-studded poker and golf extravaganza at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, called C-Webb's Bada Bling. Now in its fourth year, the party is billed as "a celebrity weekend'' with a 56-star guest list including comedian Jamie Foxx and singer Gladys Knight. In 2006, the first year the event was held, party organizers reported spending $243,000 on catering and $327,561 on event production. The foundation also reported losing $530,590 on special events for the same year, tax returns show.

Though shining examples of NBA charity work abound --including noteworthy efforts by the five Jazz players, all of whom run effective charities -- player foundations' noble motives often go awry, as even the league acknowledges.

Why do the charities run by the Utah Jazz players have to be the most professionally run ones? (For those who don’t watch basketball, the Jazz has the reputation for being the whitest team in the league).

It’s not even that these players’ charities are failing—that can happen to the noblest, best run charities; it’s that they’re failing in stereotypically ign’ant black folk fashion.

Throwing lavish, flashy celebrity-centered parties that cost more than they make? Hiring unqualified family members to run what could be multi-million dollar organizations?

It’s one thing for degenerate black people to be raggedy, but when those who claim to be uplifting their communities—those aspiring to or living respectable negro lives—are raggedy, it’s just depressing.

Black ballers, tighten the fuck up.


Anonymous said...

I don't want to discourage anyone from donating anywhere. I don't feel that a charity has to be popular or well known. I hope that players donate just as much as the next guy, but I also expect that they have bills to pay, just larger ones!

Spinster said...

I agree with this entire entry. In addition, it never ceases to amaze me that these charities aren't even really doing anything for the good of our people. Some of them focus on athletics, but for what? It's bad enough that many of our youth today only aspire to be entertainers and athletes..... but to make it a little worse by starting a charity or cause focused on athletics is retarded, in my opinion.

I don't know...... I just think that we need more charities and foundations like Tiger Woods Foundation to help our youth, not the bullshit discussed in the article.

Thanks for posting.

MartiniCocoa said...

Thank you for this post. I want to add how hard it is to even approach organizations such as this if you are a competent non-profit/event consultant professional.

There is something off about any professional who values connections over competency.