Sting's Tree Saving Charity Keeps Most of the Donations
In last week's installment of "Sting's Eco-hypocrisy," we learned that the frontman for the rock band the Police, though supposedly an environmentalist, has a bigger carbon footprint than most third world nations.
In Sunday's episode, we found out that Sting's charity, the Rainforest Foundation, gives only 41 percent of the money raised to the programs it supports, and, as a result, "is rated one of New York City's worst charities, according to Charity Navigator."
Honestly, you can't make this stuff up!
As reported by the New York Post Sunday (emphasis added throughout):
Rock star Sting's celebrity-studded Carnegie Hall charity concert in 2006 to save the world's rainforests raked in millions, but less than half the riches actually funded tree-saving programs, according to charity watchdogs and a Post review of tax records.
It's one of the prime reasons the local arm of Sting's Rainforest Foundation is rated one of New York City's worst charities, according to Charity Navigator.
Just how bad is it? I'm glad you asked:
The 2006 concert - which drew Lenny Kravitz, Sheryl Crow and Will Ferrell to the landmark stage - raised $2,156,989, according to the latest available IRS tax filing.
Yet only $887,374 of the money raised, 41 percent, was divided among the charity's eight programs that support native-land claims and forest preservation in Latin America and Africa - a paltry percentage, according to agencies that monitor nonprofits.
A well-run charity, they said, typically spends 75 percent of revenues on programs.
"This one would fall to the bottom of the bucket," said Sandra Miniutti, a spokeswoman for Charity Navigator.
The watchdog - which rates 5,000 charities nationally based on management and fund-raising-to-giving ratios - has slapped Rainforest Foundation Inc. with a zero rating for each of the last four years.
Nice. Yet, there's more:
Another problem is the charity's apparent hoarding of donations. In 2006, it reported $10 million in net assets - including nearly $5 million in cash - to the IRS.
Efficient charities, the watchdogs said, rarely bank more than what is needed to pay a year's expenses.
"What are they doing with the money?" said Bennett Weiner, the director of the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, after examining the fund's tax forms. "They have more than five times what they would normally spend in a year in reserves."
Amazing, wouldn't you agree?
Of course, with this year's concert just days away, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg declaring "the month of May 'Rainforest Awareness Month'" as well as having instructed that "the Empire State Building will glow green in tribute on the evening of the benefit," it seems a metaphysical certitude this will get all kinds of attention from sycophantic green media.
Alas, it also seems highly-doubtful any of the charity's financial issues will be part of such reports.
Party on, Sting!