Donating for Dummies

Will Gaga’s $1 Million Donation To Gay Youth Actually Reach Gay Youth?

Not one to let a social media campaign escape her, Lady Gaga is letting her Facebook fans decide how she should donate a million dollars. Though she certainly could use a new creative director and better prosthetics, you can’t argue with Gaga for going the more charitable route with her gay-earned dollars. The artist better known for making awesome music videos to otherwise terrible pop songs has partnered with the Robin Hood Foundation in New York to give $1 million to five non-profits working with homeless or at-risk LGBT youth.

Those in the running? The DoorHetrick-Martin Institute, Lawyers for Children, Safe Horizon, SCO Family of Services.

Here’s the catch. The money will be distributed according to the number of votes each organization gets on Facebook: $500,000 for the most votes, then $200,000, $150,000, $100,000 and $50,000, respectively. So unlike Katy Perry at the Grammys, no one is walking home empty-handed when the winner is announced at a special benefit concert on May 9.

But how exactly will these non-profits use Mother Monster’s megabucks? We did a little investigating as to how the organizations were planning on funneling the donation money. Using their statement of functional expense, we found out the dollar figure that goes directly to programming rather than to administrative costs. Here’s how their efficiency breaks down…

Safe Horizon (watch their campaign video above) will funnel the money into their Streetwork program with a 24-bed emergency shelter and two drop-in centers with access to counseling, hot meals, clothing, showers and health services, according to Liz Roberts, chief programs officer. Safe Horizon’s non-profit efficiency ratio: 84 cents to the dollar.

Hetrick-Martin Institute will launch a new program, HMI-To-Go, according to executive director Thomas Klever. The program will offer training and other resources to smaller gay youth groups outside NYC and help make their organizations sustainable. HMI’s non-profit efficiency ratio: 74 cents to the dollar.

Lawyers For Children (watch their campaign video above) plans to increase legal staff to fund litigation and legislative advocacy on behalf of LGBT youth in foster care, according to spokesperson Lauren Kernan. The money will also be used to print and distribute a handbook informing gay youth of their rights and resources. LFC’s non-profit efficiency ratio: 86 cents to the dollar.

The Door will continue operating their 65-unit housing complex for disconnected youth (26% of which identifies as LGBT). Those aging out of the foster care system in New York City face a lack of resources from the government, according to spokesperson Amanda Peck. The Door’s non-profit efficiency ratio: 87 cents to the dollar.

SCO Family of Services (watch their campaign video above) has foster homes that replicate the family living experience for homeless youth and provide more than the minimum the government housing contracts, including mediation for severed biological families, according to executive director Gail Nayowith. SCO’s non-profit efficency ratio: 93 cents to the dollar.

Which organization do you think deserves Gaga’s money the most? Now that you’re a little more informed, let us know and go vote!