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This Week In Athlete Charities Are A Sham

It seems like we've been through this before, and relatively recently, but Outside The Lines has done a thorough investigation and made the shocking discovery that most athlete-founded charities are a sham.


OTL conducted an investigation of 115 charitable organizations "founded by high-profile, top-earning male and female athletes" and learned 74 percent of those organizations "fell short of one or more acceptable nonprofit operating standards." An important point here that gets buried in the post on ESPN: these shortcomings were not with respect to IRS guidelines, but rather the standards imposed by charity organization watchdog groups. It's not really clarified, but it does not appear that any of the charities highlighted—except for Alex Rodriguez's charities, whose tax-exempt statuses were revoked for failure to file returns—ran afoul of the IRS's auditing.

Even Lamar Odom's organization, which sounds exactly like what you think of when you think of athlete and celebrity-run charities, survived an IRS audit. None of this is really news, it's just the reality of the world athletes live in. They are probably advised to start these charities because it's good publicity, it's good for tax purposes and also a way to help out your friends and family. The organization is founded and friends with exactly zero experience in anything other than being friends with Lamar Odom are put in charge of running a company compliant with the United States tax code while the athlete never thinks of it again until there is an event to attend. Then the charity is investigated for being poorly-run, if run at all.

The most enlightening (and entertaining) bit from the report is to see just how little effort is actually put into these charities. The details concerning Randy Moss's, in particular, are amazing.

The phone number listed on the IRS forms for each charity rings to a private residence in Manitoba, where a woman who answered the phone said, over dogs barking in the background, that she's never heard of Randy Moss. His agent did not return calls seeking comment, and an accountant who serves on the Foundation for Children board of directors declined to comment.


Athlete charities often lack standards [ESPN]

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