Madonna’s planned academy for girls in the African country of Malawi has been abandoned, despite the foundation behind it, “Raising Malawi,” raising a reported $18 million in donations since 2006 and spending $3.8 million on the school itself. Newsweek combed through the numbers and is asking why only $850,000 of that was paid out in Malawi and nearly $3 million was spent by the L.A. office of Kabbalah Centre International, one of the project’s partners.
However, a report released to the press by the Centre pinned blame instead on Raising Malawi’s former directors, whose expenditures included a golf membership and a reconditioned 1996 Toyota.
“I realize that the plans we had in place for the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls simply would not serve enough children. My original vision is now on a much bigger scale. I want to reach thousands not hundreds of girls. I want to do more and I want to do it better,” said Madonna in a statement posted on the Raising Malawi website. “We are in the process of implementing several changes and additions to the management of Raising Malawi in both the US and Malawi.”
If you want to get the best value for your charity dollar, make sure to donate to foundations with proven track records and transparent accounting practices, and not just ones with a marquee name. A good place to get started checking out charities is CharityNavigator.org.