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Celebs like Gisele Bundchen, Martin Scorsese eager to form personal charities, but don’t dig too deep

(File photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)

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More and more, wealthy celebrities are opting to form their own charities but their actions don’t always match their commitment to the cause, as they contribute small fractions of their net worth.

That’s according to an analysis by the New York Post, which found major disparities among the rich and famous.

Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, an award-winning environmental activist, and her husband, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, were cited as one example.

Worth a combined $580 million, public filings show the celebrity couple “made only paltry contributions to environmental groups and a charity that helps the disabled last year through their joint charity,” the Post reported.

More from the newspaper:

In 2018, their private nonprofit, the Luz Foundation, gave out $36,455, most of it — $22,000 — to the Brazil Foundation, a charity that runs an annual star-studded fundraising gala in New York.

The couple’s foundation, which dates to 2009, doled out only $300 to Waterkeeper Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, a nonprofit that works to protect coastal waters in the Central American country where the couple has long owned a hilltop compound overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The couple married at the tropical retreat in 2009.

The couple’s foundation also gave out $900 to the World Wildlife Fund and $1,000 to the California-based Challenged Athletes Foundation in 2018, filings show.

 

Aside from their joint charity, Bundchen, a former Victoria’s Secret model who makes tens of millions in endorsements, said she donated a portion of profits she made with the Brazilian shoe company Grendene to charity. She has reportedly given millions in disaster relief also, including $1.5 million to the Red Cross after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

Brady, worth an estimated $180 million on his own, has his own Change the World Foundation and the Post noted that the same year a charity founded by a nephew of President John F. Kennedy, Anthony Shriver, donated $500,000 to Brady’s charity, the NFL player contributed just $134,294 to his foundation.

Of the $500,600 Change the World Foundation Trust doled out in 2017 to nonprofits, $50,000 went to Brady’s high school.

Another celebrity cited was director Martin Scorsese, whose latest film, “The Irishman,” is enjoying great success.

Worth more than $100 million, the director formed the Scorsese Family Foundation, but public filings show that in 2017 he contributed just $175,000, most of which went to pay the salary of a film archivist associated with Scorsese’s for-profit production company Sikelia Productions, the Post reported.

When at the height of his “House of Cards” fame, disgraced actor Kevin Spacey formed the Kevin Spacey Foundation America to mentor and provide grants to young actors.

Worth a cool $100 million, Spacey raised just $22 in 2018 after being fired from the series amid allegations of sexual assault, down from $133,722 in contributions in 2017.

Former “Today” host Matt Lauer, another disgraced celebrity, was also included in the article.

The former anchor who was making $28 million a year before he was fired over sexual misconduct allegations, formed a nonprofit foundation that he ran with his wife, who has since divorced him.

Citing the latest tax filings, the Post reported the Lauer Family Foundation “spent all of its contributions on accounting and legal fees and nothing on charity.”

Lauer donated $23,000 to the group, but almost all of it was for administrative fees.

Hip-hop billionaire Jay-Z’s Miami-based charity also “doled out small scholarships to needy kids that were barely enough to cover the cost of college textbooks,” the paper noted.

Meanwhile, Madonna was cited as a rare example of a star fixing a broken charity, as the nonprofit Raising Malawi, founded by the recording star in 2006 to support health and education for orphans in Africa, “managed to dig itself out of a $2 million hole last year.”

Tom Tillison

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