An investigation by USA Today found that only 24.3% of the proceeds from NFL star Russell Wilson's charity were directed toward charitable activities.
The USA Today investigation, which initially looked into the operations of nonprofits run by recipients of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, revealed that only 24.3 percent of the proceeds from star quarterback Russell Wilson's charity went towards charitable endeavors. The award recognizes players who exhibit qualities such as respect, integrity, resiliency, and responsibility both on and off the field.
The investigation by USA Today centered on Russell Wilson after surprising information was uncovered regarding the operations of his charity.
Russell Wilson describes what giving $2.7M with his Why Not You Foundation & Safeway/Albertsons means to him, and why his connections to Seattle run deeper than Seahawks football. @thenewstribune pic.twitter.com/pp04SbNlQb
— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) January 3, 2022
As reported by USA Today based on federal tax records, the Why Not You Foundation, run by Russell Wilson, spent nearly $1.1 million on employee salaries and benefits, twice the amount spent on charitable activities during 2020 and 2021.
In 2020, the Why Not You Foundation, run by Russell Wilson, reported expenses totaling $1.2 million. However, a large portion of that amount, $548,000, went towards employee salaries and benefits, while only $257,000 was spent on charitable activities.
According to Forbes, charity watchdog organizations recommend that a minimum of 65 percent of a nonprofit's expenses should go directly towards funding its charitable programs. However, in 2021, Wilson's Why Not You Foundation only spent 21.3 percent of its $1.7 million revenue, or $365,147, on charitable services.
According to USA Today's reporting, the Why Not You Foundation paid a six-figure salary to an executive who works for both Wilson and his wife, singer Ciara, in a personal capacity. This has raised further concerns among investigators.
Russell Wilson and Ciara's charity, the Why Not You Foundation, spends just 24.3 cents of every dollar on charitable causes, according to @USATODAY.
An investigation revealed that nearly half of its money raised goes to salaries — including to several employees making $100K+. pic.twitter.com/1OO4cpP6pr
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) February 9, 2023
The foundation described its mission on its website as “student access to equal education opportunities, children’s health and food security initiatives.”
In response to the report by USA Today, Shayla Tait, the head of the Why Not You Foundation, issued a statement defending the charity's efforts.
“Since founding the Why Not You Foundation in 2014, we’ve been blessed and fortunate to partner with incredible organizations to maximize our impact,” the statement reads. “We’ve successfully partnered to deliver over $13,000,000 benefitting education, pediatric cancer research and hunger prevention.”
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