Here's why it's not always a good idea to take celebrities at face value, especially when it involves money.
The 2012 federal tax form for Lady Gaga's foundation, Born This Way, shows a paltry $5,000 in donations and a staggering $1.85 million in expenses, including legal costs, travel, publicity and consulting fees.
While some of the expenses could be considered necessary for a new foundation, it's the amount that has sparked outrage. The tax form, available on the GuideStar website, shows $406,552 in legal fees, $72,752 in salaries, $150,000 in philanthropic consulting, $77,923 in travel and $808,661 in "other" expenses, detailed on Schedule O as mostly publicity, design, event development and social media and website production.
The foundation, begun in 2011, states on its website that the mission is to "foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated." It goes on to state that it is "dedicated to creating a safe community that helps connect young people with the skills and opportunities they need to build a kinder, braver world."
The foundation issued a statement to the New York Post defending its expenses. "Every dollar spent across these categories, including the legal fees towards the safe and effective implementation of each initiative, directly serves the Born This Way Foundation's core mission of empowering youth," the statement read.
No doubt Lady Gaga will have more to say on the subject, but whether the expenses are worthy or not, the publicity is a reminder to delve a little deeper before opening your wallet to any charity. Online resources such as GuideStar and Charity Navigator provide easy access to information.
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