For years, Candie's CEO Neil Cole has used his fashion label's charitable arm to demonstrate that he cares about preventing teen pregnancy. But The Candie's Foundation's tax forms show that its main purpose is cementing the company's relationship with celebrities.
The Candie's Foundation's 990 federal tax form shows that in 2009 it granted just $35,000 to organizations that actually do work to prevent teen pregnancy, but in the same year it paid spokesperson Bristol Palin $262,500. The daughter of Republican pundit Sarah Palin -- who gave birth as an unwed teen mom and who now preaches abstinence -- was the foundation's biggest expense:
That goes some way to explaining the lousy quality of last year's PSA with Palin and Jersey Shore's The Situation, which has garnered just 762,562 views on YouTube.
The Palin payment is just the tip of the cynical iceberg, however. The foundation's main annual event is a celebrity-studded gala titled "Event to Prevent," according to Jezebel:
Most years, the foundation also spends a big chunk of money on a celebrity-studded gala called Event to Prevent. In 2009 this was a Town Hall meeting that cost $770,240. The foundation asked the IRS for an extension this year on reporting further details, but the 2007 filing shows that that year, the event generated a loss of $334,761.Here's a breakdown of the Foundation's finances from the most recent disclosure available:
- Grants received: $1.7 million
- Grants paid out: $35,000
- Expenses: $598,184
- PSAs: $57,589
- Media buys: $165,000
- Bristol Palin: $262,500
Your donation will be used to get these campaigns out to as many teens as possible, through TV, magazines, and online, as well as to thousands of schools and youth-serving organizations across the country.Yet the finances suggest that the majority of any donation you make will end up either being eaten by the Foundation's own expenses or one of its celebrity endorsers.
If the charity doesn't actually fund organizations that prevent teen pregnancy -- such as Planned Parenthood -- what is its purpose? It sure can't hurt Candie's the clothing brand. Owned by Iconix Brand Group (ICON), Candie's is so dependent on the celebrities who appear in its advertising -- such as Britney Spears -- that their endorsements are listed on page 5 of Iconix annual report.
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