Widespread Problems Found With Sports Stars’ Charities

Charities launched by star athletes frequently fall short of good standards for efficiency, effectiveness, and governance, according to an ESPN investigation.

The network’s “Outside the Lines” program looked at 115 organizations founded by high-profile sports figures and said 74 percent did not meet one or more criteria set by watchdog groups Charity Navigator, the Better Business Bureau, and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.

The charities often spend little money on programs or donations related to their stated missions, and many were behind on Internal Revenue Services filings or submitted returns riddled with errors and omissions, ESPN found.

Charity Navigator President Ken Berger said a similar proportion of charities over all have like problems but that athletes and other celebrities should be held to a higher standard because they have the resources to do better. “They can have a tremendous positive influence rather than doing so-so or average, rather than like everybody else,” he said.

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