Charity watchdogs scrutinize Yele Haiti, Wyclef Jean group, questions arise
By April MacIntyre Jan 16, 2010, 16:30 GMT
US musician Wyclef Jean EPA/Sara Johannessen
In the race to save Haiti and alleviate the massive suffering, the American presidents, current leader President Obama, and past leaders President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton spoke together Saturday morning in conference revealing a collaborative fundraising push to restore order and aid to the earthquake stricken region.
President Bush noted that people wanted to send blankets, water and such but instead said, "send your cash," which many of you are doing. But questions on which agency is the best choice has revealed that some agencies may be doing a better job than others in turning that donated cash gift into real aid for Haiti.
The Washington Post reports that musician Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti Foundation is currently being examined for the usage of donations by the charity.
The Post reports that Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti Foundation had raised a substantial amount but their audited tax returns paint a picture that does not please those who monitor and rate charities for efficiency and administrative versus actual relief spending ratios.
The financial records of the group are being audited by non-profit specialist lawyer James Joseph, who found that Yele Haiti had spent more than a third of the money "to payments to related parties."
"It might be completely legitimate. But it's certainly something I would want to look into more carefully," Joseph said.
The Post writes:
"But an analysis of the charity's tax returns raises questions about how it has spent money in the past, with administrative expenses that appear to be higher than comparable charities and payments to businesses owned by the musician and a board member, including $100,000 for a performance by Jean at a 2006 benefit concert."
"It seems clear that a significant amount of the monies that this charity raises go for costs other than providing benefits to Haitians in need," said Dean Zerbe, national managing director of Alliant Group, a tax services company, and the former tax counsel to the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees charities.
"It brings real caution for donors that want to help in Haiti that they might want to take a harder look at this organization but also consider the significant number of charities that have been doing good work in Haiti that don't have these question marks," Zerbe said.
The Post reports that the charity, Yele Haiti, is adept and spending the donated monies for Haiti, and that based on Wyclef Jean's first-hand knowledge of the inner cities of Haiti, donors should not worry their contributions are being wasted.
Yele Haiti will also collaborate with MTV and George Clooney's telethon effort next Friday.
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FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CGeorge Clooney Biography -
George Clooney Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesWyclef Jean Biography -
Wyclef Jean Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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