Bono's ONE foundation under fire for giving little over 1% of funds to charity
BONO CHARITY SPENDS MORE ON WAGES THAN GOOD CAUSES
By Eliswa Roche
Thursday September 23,2010
By Elisa Roche
By Elisa Roche
Bono's charity gave away freebies
SINGER Bono’s Aids charity is under fire for spending more on its staff’s wages than it does on its own cause.
According to a report in the US the global charity took in £9.6million in public donations in 2008, the latest year for which US public tax records are available.
A meagre £118,000 was split between three charities – while more than £5million was spent on executive and employee salaries.
The figures come after the charity fielded criticism for sending pricey goodie bags to media outlets to highlight its latest campaign against world poverty.
The £10million ONE Campaign to wipe out Aids and poverty “bombarded” New York newspapers with the freebies this week.
Packed in four shoe boxes by staff from the charity, the gifts included a £10 bag of Starbucks coffee, a £10 Moleskine leather notebook, a £13 water bottle and a plastic ruler.
Also included was a small tin of Band-Aid plasters and two syringe-style pens – along with a letter urging President Obama to give almost £4billion to the UN’s Swiss-based Global Fund to fight Aids, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa.
Another container held an oversized cookie and water bottle with a letter calling for funds for clean water and “sustainable sources of food.”
In one of the letters the charity claims that it took no money from the public and that most of its funding came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Spokesman Oliver Buston said: “We don’t provide programmes on the ground. We’re an advocacy and campaigning organisation.
“There is a rich and vibrant debate in the UK media about aid that doesn’t happen in the US media. [Ron: Really?!?]
“This was an attempt, perhaps in hindsight not the best way, to get our message across.”
Mr Buston added that One employs nearly 120 people worldwide and so the £5.1million spent on wages would result in an average salary of about £42,500.
ONE spokeswoman Kimberly Hunter confirmed that the accounts figures were correct but declined to say how much the charity was spending in general.
She said: “Sometimes it’s pretty hard to get through to reporters with the information about the lives of the world’s poorest people. We think it’s important enough to try and break through the clutter. That’s why we sent the boxes.”
Millions of African children live on less than £1 a day – “about the cost of the cookie in this box,” according to ONE’s press release.
Charity watchdog Daniel Borochoff of the American Institute of Philanthropy called the PR stunt a “risk.”
He said: “There could be recipients – or donors – who might think that the money they spent could have instead been donated to help their cause.”
Bono’s rock group U2 is one of the highest-earning bands on the planet, with each tour stop bringing in over £6million in gross ticket sales.
Bono and his bandmates Adam Clayton, the Edge and Larry Mullen first got together while at school in Dublin 30 years ago.