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Sting and The Police perform at the Tokyo
Dome in Tokyo, Japan, 2008.
AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

Celebrity Charities: Good Will or Good PR?

May 25, 2008 06:00 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Critics slam Sting’s rainforest charity, saying too little of the money raised goes to the forests he professes to save.

30-Second Summary

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According to the New York Post, Sting’s 2006 Carnegie Hall charity concert raised over $2 million to save the world’s rainforests, but less than half of that—$887,374—actually funded “tree-saving programs.”

Sandra Minuitti, a spokeswoman for charity evaluator Charity Navi, said that compared to other charities, Sting’s Rainforest Foundation "would fall to the bottom of the bucket.”

With Sting’s next fundraising concert scheduled for this Thursday, there’s no doubt critics will be watching to see where the money goes.

However, Sting is not the only celebrity to have charity trouble.

Sammy Sosa started a foundation in 1998 to help victims of Hurricane George in his native Dominican Republic. But the athlete was heavily criticized for the foundation’s poor organization. A year and a half after its inception, the Sosa Foundation went broke.

In addition, Al Gore and Arnold Schwarzenegger have been criticized for advocating environmentally friendly lifestyles while at the same time leaving large carbon footprints. Gore has been slammed for living in a large home, and Schwarzenegger has been lambasted for driving a Hummer.

However, charities can benefit from celebrity endorsements. According to The New York Times Magazine, stars can bring publicity to a cause that non-celebrities cannot.

“Stars—movie stars, rock stars, sports stars—exercise a ludicrous influence over the public consciousness … stars have learned that their intense presentness in people’s daily lives and their access to the uppermost realms of politics, business and the media offer them a peculiar kind of moral position, should they care to use it,” writes the Times.

Headline Link: ‘It's a Charity Pall: Sting’s “Waste Forest”’

Related Topics: Celebrity criticism and success stories

The problem with celebrity causes
Stars who take advocacy seriously

Opinion & Analysis: Not so ‘green’

Reference: How to find a worthwhile cause

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