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February 25, 2013

Many Athletes' Charities Give Little to Causes

Nearly half of 50 sports stars' nonprofit groups whose financial records were reviewed by The Boston Globe spent less than 65 percent of their revenues on charitable programs and contributions.

Some of the charities led by star athletes from Boston and elsewhere reported devoting less than a fifth of funds raised to their stated causes, including groups started by New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez and Anquan Boldin, a receiver with the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.

While many athlete-led charities gave the overwhelming majority of their money away, others, like the foundation started by former Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, stated in tax filings that most of their income was devoted to putting on single annual fundraising events.

"Athletes’ charities are subject to many pitfalls because most of them are not trained in how to raise and distribute money, and it’s difficult," said Greg Johnson, executive director of the Boston-based Sports Philanthropy Project in Boston. "A lot of them get into expensive golf tournaments and that kind of crap. They can be self-serving as hell."