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Thread: Madonna's Malawi School Scrapped, Charity in Trouble

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    Default Madonna's Malawi School Scrapped, Charity in Trouble

    Madonna's Malawi School Scrapped, Charity in Trouble


    School's out.


    Plans for a school in Malawi to be constructed by Madonna's charitable organization have been scrapped as her Raising Malawi foundation flounders, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

    "A thoughtful decision has been made to discontinue plans for the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls, as it was originally conceived," charity cofounder Michael Berg said in a statement.

    3.8 million dollars were reportedly funneled into the now-scrapped school; Raising Malawi's board of directors has been replaced as its former executive director, Phillippe van de Bossche, is accused of using funds for expenses like a car and driver and gold club membership.

    "There's a real education crisis in Malawi," Madonna, 52, said in a statement Thursday. "Sixty-seven percent of girls don't go to secondary school, and this is simply unacceptable. Our team is going to work hard to address this in every way we can.

    "While I'm proud of [other] accomplishments, I'm frustrated that our education work has not moved forward in a faster way," the singer added.

    The star adopted two children in the impoverished African nation of Malawi: David and Mercy James. The charity has reportedly raised $18 million over the past several years; with the school plans now kaput, Raising Malawi says it plans to use those moneys towards other educational endeavors.

    Madonna's Malawi School Scrapped, Charity in Trouble - Movies, TV & Music - UsMagazine.com

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    Elite Member NoNoRehab's Avatar
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    Big surprise. She got her two fashion accessories and now the country can flip off as far as Madonna is concerned.
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    excuse my ignorance. but, why do people look at 'statistics' and try to butt their heads into things. i know that the fact the girls aren't educated sounds bad, i mean if they were living in a different society, but maybe that's how they live there and its their tradition. why do some people feel the need to change whole cultures to what they want them to be. i think this is how wars start and shit goes bad.

    although i don't think it's bad at all to educate girls. i mean that's great, one of them might cure cancer one day. i just think people like madonna are insincere about it, by doing it for publicity, and i also imagine some sort of boarding school that strips these girls of their traditions and there being this weird strictness that would go on, maybe because madonna is a control freak. even though she has nothing to do with it i could see her 'aura' covering the school with bad juju.

    she should have just helped with infrastructure or agriculture... rather than trying to mold young minds.

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    She wanted children from that country. She got them. Bye.

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    The article in the NYT is interesting (if long)
    Madonna’s Charity Fails in Bid to Finance School

    Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
    Madonna during a visit to Malawi in 2007.


    By ADAM NAGOURNEY

    Published: March 24, 2011

    LOS ANGELES — A high-profile charitable foundation set up to build a school for impoverished girls in Malawi, founded by the singer Madonna and fellow devotees of a prominent Jewish mysticism movement, has collapsed after spending $3.8 million on a project that never came to fruition.

    Enlarge This Image

    Karel Prinsloo/Associated Press

    Madonna in Malawi in 2007. A group she helped found had planned to build a $15 million school there.

    Enlarge This Image

    The proposed site of a boarding school for girls in Malawi.

    The board of directors of the organization, Raising Malawi, has been ousted and replaced by a caretaker board, including Madonna and her manager, officials with the organization said Thursday. Its executive director, who is the boyfriend of Madonna’s former trainer, Tracy Anderson, left in October amid criticism of his management style and cost overruns for the school. These included what auditors described as outlandish expenditures on salaries, cars, office space and a golf course membership, free housing and a car and driver for the school’s director.
    Most strikingly, the plans to build a $15 million school for about 400 girls in the poor southeastern African country of 15 million — which had drawn financial support from Hollywood and society circles, as well as the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Centre International, an organization devoted to Jewish mysticism — have been officially abandoned.
    That prospective move set off a fierce backlash when first raised earlier this year, with Malawi officials saying they were stunned and asserting that Madonna was blaming management breakdowns because she had been unable to raise the money she had promised.
    “A thoughtful decision has been made to discontinue plans for the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls, as it was originally conceived,” Michael Berg, a co-director of the Kabbalah Centre and the co-founder of Raising Malawi, said Thursday in an e-mail to the center’s members who had contributed to the project. The e-mail announced the replacement of the board of directors.
    Madonna has lent her name, reputation and $11 million of her money to the organization that she founded with Mr. Berg. She has been a regular visitor to Malawi, attending at least two ceremonies at what would have been the site of the school in Lilongwe, and has adopted two children from the country.
    On Thursday, in conceding the shortcomings of her charity, Madonna issued a statement saying she was still intent on using the organization, which has raised $18 million so far, to advance improvements in the beleaguered nation.
    “There’s a real education crisis in Malawi,” she said. “Sixty-seven percent of girls don’t go to secondary school, and this is simply unacceptable. Our team is going to work hard to address this in every way we can.” She and her aides offered no explanation of why, given her high interest in the project, she had not noticed the problems as they began unfolding.
    Trevor Neilson, a founder of the Global Philanthropy Group, which Madonna recruited last November amid signs of upheaval at her charity, said he told her that building an expensive school in Malawi was an ineffective form of philanthropy, and suggested instead using resources to finance education programs though existing and proven nongovernmental organizations.
    Mr. Neilson said that an examination found that $3.8 million had been spent on the school that will now not be built, with much of the money going to architects, design and salaries and, in one case, two cars for employees who had not even been hired yet.
    “Despite $3.8 million having been spent by the previous management team, the project has not broken ground, there was no title to the land and there was, over all, a startling lack of accountability on the part of the management team in Malawi and the management team in the United States,” he said. “We have yet to determine exactly what happened to all of that $3.8 million. We have not accounted for all the funds that were used.”
    A written report by the Global Philanthropy Group, a copy of which was provided Thursday by the Kabbalah Centre, was critical of two former officials of the organization: Philippe van den Bossche, who has worked for Madonna since 2004 and was the executive director of Raising Malawi from 2005 until October, and Anjimile Oponyo, who worked at the United Nations Development Program when she was chosen last year to head the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls.
    Ms. Oponyo said that she was barred from talking about her association with the foundation, and that she could not comment on the allegations in the report of mismanagement — including whether she benefited from an extravagant compensation package that included that car and driver and golf club membership.
    In an e-mail, Mr. van den Bossche said he, too, was prohibited from commenting; Madonna has a history of confidentiality agreements with employees.
    “I am strictly bound by the confidentiality agreements and I am forced by those agreements to be silent on any of these questions,” Mr. van den Bossche said.
    Mr. Neilson said that Madonna was involved in a film project — she is directing a movie about King Edward VIII — and was not available for an interview. But in a statement, Madonna said she was pleased with other work that Raising Malawi had done in helping children in Malawi, even as she acknowledged its problems. “While I’m proud of these accomplishments, I’m frustrated that our education work has not moved forward in a faster way,” she said.
    Raising Malawi will not disband and will instead use its money in different ways to help the poor in a country where Madonna has sought to become a major philanthropic presence, foundation officials said.
    Madonna attended a fund-raiser hosted by Gucci in New York in 2008, whose guests also included Tom Cruise and Gwyneth Paltrow, and was on hand for what turned out to be a purely ceremonial groundbreaking and the laying off the first brick at the school. Other donors to the project include the Yankee Alex Rodriguez.
    The report faulted Mr. van den Bossche for his roles both in overseeing the planning of the building and in creating the educational curriculum. “Philippe’s level of mismanagement and lack of oversight was extreme in both aspects of the project,” it said, “and the lack of success of the players on the ground is in large part a result of his inability to effectively manage project plans, people and finances.”
    The report was similarly critical of Ms. Oponyo. “Her charisma masks a lack of substantive knowledge of the practical application of educational development,” it said, “and her weak management skills are a major contributor to the current financial and programmatic chaos.”



    A version of this article appeared in print on March 25, 2011, on page A13 of the New York edition.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/us...er=rss&emc=rss
    Anjimile Oponyo

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Anjimile Mtila-Oponyo is a Malawian development worker and educator selected by Madonna as CEO and Head of the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls in Malawi.[1] Prior to joining the academy, she worked for the World Bank, IMF and the United Nations Development Program where she built schools in Lebanon[1]. She is a graduate of George Washington University where she received her Masters in Education and took her sabbatical at Harvard Business School.[2]
    She is sister to vice-president of Malawi, Joyce Banda, who is the founder of the development and educational institution,the Joyce Banda foundation.
    Incidently, Raising Malawi isn't a charity, it has non-profit status, which is different (it is here in the UK), isn't it?


    Copyright © 2009 - 2011 Raising Malawi, Inc. | All rights reserved |
    Raising Malawi, Inc. is a registered 501 c3 non-profit organization

    501(c)(3)

    501(c)(3) exemptions apply to corporations, and any community chest, fund, cooperating association or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, to foster national or international amateur sports competition, to promote the arts, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.[7][8]
    Another provision, 26 U.S.C. § 170, provides a deduction, for federal income tax purposes, for some donors who make charitable contributions to most types of 501(c)(3) organizations, among others. Regulations specify which such deductions must be verifiable to be allowed (e.g., receipts for donations over $250). Due to the tax deductions associated with donations, loss of 501(c)(3) status can be highly challenging to a charity's continued operation, as many foundations and corporate matching programs do not grant funds to a charity without such status, and individual donors often do not donate to such a charity due to the unavailability of the deduction.
    Testing for public safety is described under section 509(a)(4) of the code, which makes the organization a public charity and not a private foundation,[9] but contributions to 509(a)(4) organizations are not deductible by the donor for federal income, estate, or gift tax purposes.
    The two exempt classifications of 501(c)(3) organizations are as follows:[10]
    A public charity, identified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as "not a private foundation," normally receives a substantial part of its income, directly or indirectly, from the general public or from the government. The public support must be fairly broad, not limited to a few individuals or families. Public charities are defined in the Internal Revenue Code under sections 509(a)(1) through 509(a)(4).
    A private foundation, sometimes called a non-operating foundation, receives most of its income from investments and endowments. This income is used to make grants to other organizations, rather than being dispersed directly for charitable activities. Private foundations are defined in the Internal Revenue Code under section 509(a) as 501(c)(3) organizations, which do not qualify as public charities.
    Before donating to a 501(c)(3) organization, a donor may wish to review IRS Publication 78, which lists organizations currently exempt under 501(c)(3).[11]
    So... private foundation, not public charity..... so no need for the accounts to be published & made public & therefore scrutinised by anyone other than the chosen few....

    Oh and the design for the school appears to have been done by students for their graduate thesis (i.e. low cost/free) OneSmallProjectWiki / Orphanage School: Malawi

    And this seems to be a diease spread from the Kabbalash Centre itself "In Israel, authorities have refused to give the organization a certificate of proper management for three years running (as of 2005) because of accounting inadequacies. [16]"

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    Elite Member rollo's Avatar
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    So, let me get this straight. $3.8 million of charity (not Madonna's?) money has been wasted and not one girl in Malawi received any education from it. Big fail.

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    To me, having your business run by your former personal trainer's boyfriend is always a good start. Especially if Madonna is involved. I just can't see where this went wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Annika View Post
    i think this is how wars start and shit goes bad.

    she should have just helped with infrastructure or agriculture... rather than trying to mold young minds.
    You make some really good points there.

    The wisdom these days is that if girls are educated they will have a greater value in societies for something other than their uteruses.
    Educated women have less kids, live longer, aren't as likely to be abused and offer economic benefits to society.

    But you are right - it does destroy indigenous cultures and end traditions. The Wise West coming in to save the simple natives again doesn't feel right either.
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    Madonna's £96K payout to sacked Malawi workers after her plans to build school were abandoned



    By Mail On Sunday Reporter

    Last updated at 10:25 PM on 14th January 2012

    Madonna pictured with Anjimile Oponyo, right

    Madonna has agreed to pay almost £100,000 to a group of charity workers who sued the star after her plans to build a school in Malawi were abandoned last year.

    The singer, who has an estimated fortune of more than £400 million, was facing a court case to answer claims of unfair dismissal and unpaid wages from eight charity workers who lost their jobs when plans for her Raising Malawi Academy, a 500-pupil girls’ school, collapsed last March.
    But the case, which was due to be heard at Malawi’s Industrial Relations Court in Blantyre, was averted at the last minute after the two sides reached an out-of-court settlement last month, with Madonna agreeing to pay £96,000.
    Court documents relating to the deal make clear that the 53-year-old star, who has two adopted children from Malawi, does not acknowledge guilt. The papers also reveal that the claimants were expected to sign confidentiality agreements. The claimants included the charity’s former chief executive, Anjimile Oponyo, a one-time UN employee who was hand-picked by Madonna to run the academy.
    A lawyer for the group said yesterday that his clients had not yet received their payouts. Wapona Kita said: ‘The money was supposed to be paid there and then but it is over four weeks later and no money has been paid.
    ‘I have tried to contact Madonna’s lawyers in Malawi but their response is they are having extreme difficulty transferring the money from the US.
    ‘I cannot communicate with Madonna. I can only communicate with her lawyers in Malawi. But people here feel they are being played.’
    Last night, a spokeswoman for Madonna declined to comment.

    Madonna with her daughter Lourdes at a United Nation Millenium village in








    Madonna's £96K payout to sacked Malawi workers after her plans to build school were abandoned | Mail Online

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    I'm sure she meant well.

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    Elite Member rollo's Avatar
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    She was probably trying to copy Oprah but didn't have a clue as to how to go about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rollo View Post
    She was probably trying to copy Oprah but didn't have a clue as to how to go about it.
    Hell, even the Mighty Oprah doesn't know how to go about it. Her school has been rife with scandal.

    Anytime some overblown celeb gets it into their wee heads they want a school or hospital with their name on it, first and foremost, it's going to fail or be riddled with problems. So many schools exist where celebs could invest their charity already.
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    Quote Originally Posted by olivia View Post
    Hell, even the Mighty Oprah doesn't know how to go about it. Her school has been rife with scandal.

    Anytime some overblown celeb gets it into their wee heads they want a school or hospital with their name on it, first and foremost, it's going to fail or be riddled with problems. So many schools exist where celebs could invest their charity already.
    What she said.
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    Elite Member mtlebay's Avatar
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    Reminds me of this Gucci fundraiser for Malawi mess from--you guessed it... Madonna
    Madonna's Missing Millions | Fox News
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    They should all learn from Shakira's school project....
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