Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation may sound great in theory, but it doesn’t look great on paper, according to BTWF’s latest federal tax report, which reveals most of the charity’s donations were pissed away on lawyers, publicity, and “other” in 2012.
According to the breakdown published exclusively by Showbiz 411, the Born This Way Foundation took in nearly $2.6 million in 2012 (it claimed $2.1 million in net assets) and only donated a measly $5,000 on “grants to organizations or individuals.” That’s less than 1 percent.
Gawker’s Rich Juzwiak provides a thorough breakdown of what, exactly, BTWF did beyond the scope of monetary donations that year. Aside from donating $5,000 in pocket change, the Foundation sponsored the Born Brave Tour Bus, described as a “roving tailgate party,” launched a line of “empowered” office supplies at Office Depot, and inspired Mother Monster herself to tweet half naked photos of herself to raise awareness for teenage eating disorders.
Here’s the full rundown of where BTWF’s funds ended up in 2012, conveniently laid out at Gawker:
$300,000 in strategic consulting
$62,836 on stage productions
$50,000 on social media
$50,000 on event coordination
$406,552 on legal
$150,000 on philanthropic consulting
$60,000 on research
$58,768 on publicity fees
$78,000 on travel
$72,000 on salaries
$808,661 on “other”
$5,000 on grants to organizations or individuals
It’s important to note that BTWF never officially claimed to provide a bulk of its donations for charitable grants, but it’s even more important to note that it spent $50,000 on “social media.” How the hell does one spend $50,000 on social media? Or $808,661 on “other,” for that matter? What even is “other”? Pepto-Bismol in bulk?
But we guess there’s some sort of silver lining. Showbiz 411’s Roger Friedman suspects most of BTWF’s donations came from Lady Gaga’s earnings (there’s no detailed list of contributors) and on top of that, she officially made a $10,000 donation to pay expenses.
Seems like a lot of trouble to go through just to donate $5,000 to a worthy cause.
Last night, Gaga’s mother, BTWF president Cynthia Germanotta, released a statement reaffirming that BTWF’s mission is not to provide grants:
“There is quite a bit of inaccurate information out there right now that misinterprets the essential mission and critical work of a very special organization that was founded several years ago by Stefani Germanotta, whom you all know as Lady Gaga. First and foremost, we are an organization that conducts our charitable activity directly, and we fund our own work. We are not a grant-maker that funds the work of other charities, and were never intended to be.”
Cool story, mom.