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Hold That Dime

With all the charities raising money for Haitian relief, one name has caught my ear: The William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation. And it set off alarm bells for me.

When Hurricane Katrina struck, President George W. Bush reached out to his two immediate predecessors and tasked them with heading up fundraising for relief. And last week, President Obama followed that example and talked Bill Clinton and George W. Bush into doing the same for Haiti.

No real problem, right?

The only concern I have is that about a month ago, I did a little research into charities for a completely unrelated story. And one tidbit of that research I discovered is that the Clinton Foundation is one of the most inefficient charities around -- about 2/3 of all the moneys it receives goes into overhead, not charity.

Maybe they're doing things differently with the Haiti effort. Maybe they've set it up so most -- if not all -- of the funds they get earmarked for Haiti go towards actually helping Haiti.

But I'd not recommend taking that chance.

And that's not a purely political opinion. Yeah, I'm not that fond of Bill Clinton, and that's probably why I both noted his foundation's inefficiency and why it stuck in my mind, but the facts speak for themselves.

There are plenty of other groups who are both helping the Haitians and have a far better record of making certain donations go towards the worthy causes. I have a bit of fondness for the American Red Cross (I'm a seven-gallon blood donor), but I wouldn't recommend using the text-message donation method -- from what I understand, the actual donation is tacked on to your cell phone bill, and not made until you pay that bill.

Snopes has a good roundup of the situation.

Just please, folks -- do your homework before you commit your hard-earned money towards a truly worthy cause.


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Comments (15)

If I recall correctly, non-... (Below threshold)

If I recall correctly, non-profit charities are allowed to keep up to 80% of monies collected for 'administrative costs'.

What you refer to euphamist... (Below threshold)
Don L:

What you refer to euphamistically as inefficiency, Bill would call efficient -the more green that sticks the better -a crisis is too good to waste!

By the way, Catholic relief... (Below threshold)
Don L:

By the way, Catholic relief only keeps 8% and their record of success in these things is long and successful. They've had staff in Haiti for decades.

Here is one that people can... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Here is one that people can look into:


And here is a link to the USAID site:


Here is a link to the American Red Cross:


Other suggestions?

The Clinton Foundation gets... (Below threshold)

The Clinton Foundation gets relatively high marks on Charity Navigator.


I submit this not as support or dispute but CN is a site I have used in the past for looking into charities. I believe this site has a good rep. I notice that the most recent info charted for the Clinton Foundation on the site is 2007.

<a href="http://www.samarit... (Below threshold)


Franklin Graham is a much more serious dude than his old man.

To clarify -- The ... (Below threshold)
The Truth:

To clarify --

The Clinton Foundation is actually one of the most EFFICENT nonprofits with over 95% of expenditures going to programming. 100% of all contributions earmarked for Haiti will go straight to the recovery efforts.

In 2008, The William J. Clinton Foundation only spent 2.5% on administrative costs and 1.6% on fundraising. The 95.9% that went to programming has among other things, provided lifesaving AIDS medication for over two million people, worked with 6,000 schools in America to reduce childhood obesity, and worked to retrofit over houndreds of buildings to reduce energy costs and consumption.

Again, of all money donated to the Clinton Foundation's Haiti fund will go towards the rescuing and treating Haitians affected by this tragedy and rebuilding the country. No overhead or admin costs

Ah, yeah, the guys who brou... (Below threshold)
Rich Fader:

Ah, yeah, the guys who brought you the "I miss Bill" bumper sticker.

Personally, I'd like to get one made for Bill: "I miss Monica but my aim is improving."

Bill is just lucky. Money ... (Below threshold)

Bill is just lucky. Money just sticks to his hands. Can't help it. For a poor guy from a poor state, Bill sure has gotten rich.

Hey, Troooth, you got a lin... (Below threshold)

Hey, Troooth, you got a link to back that up? DaveD offered up some proof to back up what he said, and he's got me thinking about doing a followup, but you? Oh, please. From your self-aggrandizing name to your refusal to cite sources to what is almost certainly a cut-and-paste job, I'm pegging you as an asshole.

Who might be right on this point, but I'm not taking your word for squat.


On a related note, many inc... (Below threshold)

On a related note, many including the Better Business Bureau, has flagged singer Wyclef Jean's charity as one that has had shady accounting practices.

I've donated to the Intl. R... (Below threshold)

I've donated to the Intl. Red Cross and Team Rubicon:

I highly recommend <a href=... (Below threshold)

I highly recommend Christian Aid Ministries, which spends 98.7% on programs (Charity Navigator).

I was immediately suspiciou... (Below threshold)

I was immediately suspicious of this charity when I heard "don't send blankets, send cash".

jay tea,Sure I'll ci... (Below threshold)
trooth responds:

jay tea,
Sure I'll cite sources.
As mentioned above, take a look at charitynavigator at http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=6903 . That shows the 2007 expenditures for Bill Clinton's foundation at 94.7 percent. I found the 2008 data and Haiti info on the Clinton website (where i did copy and paste from).






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