A tax report has finally turned up for Madonna’s big Africa charity event held 18 months ago, and it’s revealing in unexpected ways.
If you recall, Madonna got Gucci to host an all star fundraiser back in February 2008 for her Raising Malawi-Kabbalah charity. Since Raising Malawi wasn’t a sanctioned 501 (c) 3 charity, Gucci collected the money instead and said it would distribute it to Raising Malawi and UNICEF. At the time, a claim was made in the press that the event ‘ which had lots of celebrities like Tom Cruise and Demi Moore in attendance ‘ made around $3.7 million.
The Gucci Foundation tax filing has just been obtained by this column via Guidestar.org. It shows that Gucci in fact did give just under $3 million to both Raising Malawi ‘ which teaches Kabbalah Center curriculum to orphans in Malawi ‘ and UNICEF each. (UNICEF received about $300,000 less than the newer organization.)
That’s swell. But the filing also lists who else gave what for that event.
The big surprise? Madonna doesn’t put her money where her famous mouth is. Her Ray of Light Foundation kicked in a paltry $54,000.Malawi is the country from which she’s (controversially) adopted two children and made a big deal out of her huge donations to help orphans. It’s not like she doesn’t have the money. According to Forbes, Madonna earned $110 million in 2008 from her Sticky and Sweet Tour.
Even less money came from Madonna’s then paramour and protegee, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees. His A-Rod Family Foundation donated a measly $20,000.
(There may be an explanation for the odd number of Madonna’s donation amount: 54 is three times 18, or “chai” meaning life in Hebrew. The Hebrew letters that spell out “chai” correspond with the number 18. Numerology is a big part of the Kabbalah Center. Madonna, as she wrote recently in an Israeli newspaper, thinks she’s Jewish. However: She has never actually converted to the religion.)
Other contributors of note included designer Donna Karan ($100,000), director Steven Spielberg’s Wunderkinder Foundation ($50.000), Jerry Seinfeld ($20,000), actress Angie Harmon ($20,000), Chris Rock ($20,000), plus donations from Rosie O’Donnell, Sting and Trudie Styler, Billy Joel, Russell Simmons, CNN’s Christiane Ampanpour, and NBC chief Jeff Zucker. The cash-strapped New York Times kicked in $10,000, and there were contributions from Hearst Publications, Hachette Filipacchi, Versace, Estee Lauder, Christian Audigier, financier Steven Cohen, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, and so on.
The big ticket donors: Japanese lingerie designer Mika Noguchi ($700,000), Conde Nast Publications ($170,000), and hedge fund billionaire Philip Falcone ($420,00). Gucci itself donated almost $2 million to its own Foundation. Gucci’s parent company, PPR of France, kicked in $50,000. Not too long after that, Madonna became the spokesperson for Louis Vuitton, owned by rival LVMH.
Not apparent from the Form 990 tax filing: listings for most of the celebrities who turned up that night including Madonna’s fellow Hollywood Kabbalists Demi Moore and Gwyneth Paltrow, and folks like Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, and Sean Diddy Combs. You can see them all walk the red carpet here.
Aside from the Madonna event, The Gucci Foundation ‘ which was created sort of instantly 18 months ago ‘ also gave away sizeable amounts to lots of other arts institutions from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation and Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital.
And still: though The Gucci Foundation has made a timely tax filing, there is no such filed form for Raising Malawi. A subsidiary of the Kabbalah Center of Los Angeles, Raising Malawi has been collecting money for more than three years with no public record.
The Gucci Foundation filing also doesn’t break down how much the Madonna event cost, or its expenses. But with all expenses paid, the Foundation now has $23,533 in total assets.