Smith's foundation raised a total of $839,244 between 2008 and 2010, according to IRS documents reviewed by the Globe. During that same time period, The Carmelo Anthony Foundation raised $3.3 million, donating 87 percent, and the Forever Young Foundation for Children run by ESPN analyst Steve Young raised $6.2 million, passing along 75 percent to charity.
Conversely, the foundation started by New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez gave only 1 percent of its proceeds to charity in 2006. The foundation then stopped submitting mandatory financial reports to the government and was stripped of its tax-exempt status by the IRS.
The A-Rod Family Foundation raised $403,862 in 2006, but very little of that amount found its way to charity. The foundation gave $5,000 to Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund and $90 to a Little League Baseball club in Miami, according to the report.
Generally, nonprofit foundations are expected to donate 65 to 75 percent of their total revenue. However, overhead costs — including large salaries paid to foundation employees and expensive fundraisers — cut into the total donation money given to charitable causes.
Smith has been able to keep costs down by sponsoring a large number of smaller, low-cost fundraisers, such as Growing Mustaches for Foster Kids, instead of hosting one or two high-cost fundraisers a year.
Anthony personally bankrolls most of his foundation, donating $2.9 million between 2008 and 2010, allowing more of the donations received to be passed along to charity.
“Athletes’ charities are subject to many pitfalls because most of them are not trained in how to raise and distribute money, and it’s difficult,” said Greg Johnson, executive director of the Sports Philanthropy Project in Boston, in an interview with the Globe. “A lot of them get into expensive golf tournaments and that kind of crap. They can be self-serving.”