February 21, 2012; Source: The Daily
Hip Hop superstar Kanye West’s now defunct foundation, The Kanye West Foundation, spent over half a million dollars in 2010, but apparently none of that was in the form of grants to nonprofits. 2009 wasn’t a blockbuster giving year either, with only $581 donated to charities despite expenses totaling $553,826.
The bulk of the Kanye West Foundation’s dollars went to salaries and benefits. The other big line items were “professional fees” and “other expenses,” according to The Daily, which examined the foundation’s 990s for 2009 and 2010. You can see the breakdown of the foundation’s 2009 and 2010 income and expenses here.
While West himself donated $5,000 in 2009 and $88,501 in 2010, it’s clear that his money did nothing charitable. West did not speak publicly about his foundation’s lack of programming when The New York Times inquired about the rationale behind the foundation’s closing in April of 2011. Perhaps West’s charitable advisors should have taken a look at Fast Company’s five myths about celebrity charity, which NPQ has previously covered. The first myth listed was that “as long as you get someone famous, you’re golden.” In the case of Kanye West’s seemingly useless foundation, it seems that notion is indeed just a myth. –Kristin Barrali