|Report: Mixed results from NBA player charities|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 28 December 2008 10:02|
The analysis was made by The Salt Lake Tribune, which studied tax records filed by NBA player charities. It analyzed 89 stand-alone NBA player charities and published the results in a series of stories Sunday.
Together, the charities reported revenue of at least $31 million between 2005 and 2007. But only about 44 cents of every dollar raised - or just $14 million - actually reached needy causes, far below the 65 cents most philanthropic groups view as acceptable. The newspaper found that many organizations were left in the inexperienced hands of a friend or relative.
About a dozen of the NBA's biggest names - Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz's Carlos Boozer among them - have foundations run by the Giving Back Fund, according to the Tribune. Giving Back had $1.1 million in revenue in 2007 and gave $824,092 to charitable causes.
se on player foundations, but with limited success, senior vice president Kathy Behrens told the Tribune.
Foundations allow players a chance to give back. The charities can also be a nice tax break and a good public relations move, but experts say for most players it's a genuine philanthropic effort. That message doesn't always get through as events are hyped with superstar names, which don't necessarily make fundraising a cinch.
``You're always having to give credibility and justify, when it's a sports celebrity, because people are skeptical,'' said Susan Johnson, director of former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo's foundation.
Mutombo's foundation is one of several with an annual budget of $1 million or more. Reaching that level can take years as the foundations slowly build on public donations. About a third of NBA player charities analyzed by The Tribune remain funded by the athletes' own wealth and many close for lack of support or because athletes move on.
The newspaper also found that few of the players' charities hire full-time management and often place relatives, friends and former sports associates on their boards. As much as the players mean to lend their names to a good cause, sometimes the lavish fundraising galas can cost more than they make.
oney to various charities. Players often choose to entrust foundation operations to professionals who manage charities full-time.
Jazz point guard Deron Williams said it's sometimes difficult to decide how to distribute the money because there is so much need. Williams' Point of Hope Foundation donated $28,500 to a school for autistic children, money raised from Williams' annual summer golf tournament.
``Maybe in the future, we'll narrow it down to one thing, but right now, I just think there's so many areas that need to be touched that you just spread the love,'' he told the newspaper.
The NBA and the NBA Players Association discuss foundations during rookie orientation, hoping to let the young players know there is more to effective charity work than lending their name or writing a check.
``It's a lot to take on and we really encourage the guys to just do it intelligently,'' Behrens said. ``It's like starting your own business and sometimes people forget that.''