As Jerry Jones prepares to host two teams playing for a Super Bowl title, the Dallas Morning News does God's work in declaring that local stars aren't as philanthropic as they'd have you believe.
While there's no denying players' generosity – their fame and community work help raise millions each year – some pro athletes fumble opportunities when it comes to their own charities, according to industry guidelines and other measures.
A Dallas Morning News review of tax records for 22 local sports-driven nonprofits found a series of shortcomings among some of the charities. Some spent more on overhead than on charity. Others collected contributions but sat dormant. Still others squirreled funds away for years.
Also from the story:
• Cowboys cornerback [Terence] Newman's Rising Stars Foundation paid a percentage of donations to a company that helps convert good deeds – and good publicity – into endorsement opportunities.
• Former Dallas Maverick Josh Howard's foundation used nearly half of its contributions on employee salaries, including that of his best friend, because, Howard said, "I take that as me being charitable."
• The charity of [Marcus] Spears, a Cowboys defensive end, promotes fundraisers on Facebook – and accepts credit card donations on its website – even though the state revoked his nonprofit's charter in 2009. "We are doing good work but we can not do this without your support," says a solicitation on marcusspears96.com. "You can help by sending a check or money order."
• Motives in creating charities often are mixed. Some start nonprofits not only to do good work but also to improve their public image and endorsement income. Others promote their work online but spend little or no money.
It's the first of two parts. There's even a nifty sidebar titled, "Troy Aikman Foundation funds for hospital playrooms sit unused." This will probably go over well in Dallas.