Allegations came out recently that Wyclef Jean's charity "Yele Haiti" has been misappropriating funds. The accusations are that donations are being used to pay for rent on a sound studio, video and audio production costs, and air time. Wyclef, of course denied that he had in anyway personally benefited from the money and said that these are normal expenses from an organization like his to have.
The catch here is that Wyclef is personally a controlling partner in all of the companies that were paid for these services. It may or may not be legal, but it is most certainly a misrepresentation and misleading to those that donate money. Additionally, the charity only puts 69% of the money towards actual programs. The rest is spent on "administrative" costs. So people are donating money to this Haitian charity fund, but only 69% of it is actually being spent on anything worthwhile, the rest is going to feed Wyclef's business. What's up with that?
Of course, most charities do have overhead just like any business because it takes admin cost to fund raise. But the reputable ones have closer to a 15/85 split, not 30/70. The legitimate ones also post this information on their website so that they aren't hiding or misrepresenting anything.
Bottom line, why don't all of these stupid celebrities write a blank check instead of trying to squeeze pennies out of middle America ? I mean, seriously? Wyclef Jean can write million dollar checks and not even flinch. I don't have problems with celebrities hosting concerts or fundraisers as long as the celebrities themselves are writing fat checks for the cause. Not just donating their "services" (as if singing or playing a guitar is a service) and then skimming off the top and putting a guilt trip on everyone else to donate money. The only thing worse than people hosting benefit concerts are celebrities like Sean Penn who actually try and go "do good" in person (Katrina). Who needs Sean Penn in a canoe trying to rescue people on his own and how in the hell is that helping the situation? To me, it just seems like one more person that has to be rescued when he gets stuck under a bridge or something. If he really wanted to do good during Katrina, he would have rented/bought 20 helicopters and pilots and given them all of the financial resources they need to help people. I think the problem is the celebrities actually start to believe they are the characters they play. I know Kung Fu!?
They would all do well to take a chapter from Sandra Bullock's book. Every time a tragedy like this happens, she writes a check. That's it. She doesn't host a stupid event trying to get other people to do what she can do better (give money) and she certainly doesn't try to fly to the disaster site and gum up the works by trying to personally help people, she leaves it to the experts and gives what they need most to fix the situation, money.
So the second bottom line, give what you can, but give it to reputable organizations that have a history of helping people and are qualified to get the job done. Why would you give money to Wyclef Jean when you could give to the Red Cross? And to the celebrities that read this blog (you know who you are), stop being stupid, dish out the cash, and then go away.