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Sting's charity under fire

By M&C People May 5, 2008, 4:13 GMT

Sting's charity under fire

British musician Sting, of the rock band The Police EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Police leadman Sting and his wife Trudie Styler fronted a charity to save the world's rainforests, and so far it has raked in millions, but less than half the riches actually funded tree-saving programs, according to charity watchdogs and a New York Post review of tax records.

The charity was founded in 1989 by Sting, his wife, Trudie Styler, and Belgian photographer Jean Pierre Dutilleux.

Charity Navigator, a watchdog group, has rated it one of the worst for percentage of actual monies used for the purported charity.

The next annual Carnegie concert takes place Thursday; it is an ongoing concert series that raises money for Sting's international charity, the Rainforest Foundation, and its US affiliate, Rainforest Foundation Inc., based in New York City.

The 2006 concert - according to the New York Post - raised $2,156,989, per the latest available IRS tax filing.

The Post claims that $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.

Not good enough says Charity watchdogs.

The approved ratio is 75 percent of total revenues on programs, per the Post.

The watchdog group has given Rainforest Foundation Inc. a zero rating for each of the last four years.

The Post claims the Charity "hoards" cash reserves of donations.  Something watchdog groups frown upon, saying a bona fide organization would not bank more than a year's expenses.

The Post also brings up discrepancies with the allowable ticket face value, and what people can legally write off as a donation versus the face value they are charged.

"The charity sold the tickets for between $100 and $600 but estimated the fair market value at a mere $45 per ticket. This allowed buyers to write off most of the ticket price as a donation," writes The Post.

"If the receipts are wrong, donors could face IRS audits," said James Dellinger, an analyst for Capital Research, a watchdog group based in Washington to the Post

Now Charity co-founder Dutilleux, who is no longer involved, has joined the watchdogs with his own criticisms.

"I have kept quiet for almost 20 years, hoping for improvement," he told The Post, referring to the allegations. "But enough is enough. Everything is true or worse."



Further Reading on M&C

Sting Biography - - Sting Movies -

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