Friday, July 12, 2024

$1 Million Of Missing Madonna Raising Malawi Money Came from AmFAR


There’s money missing from Madonna‘s charity, Raising Malawi. I told you earlier that a grand jury’s been convened to figure it all out. But let’s not forget–$1 million of the money that went to Raising Malawi came from AmFAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research.

Apparel magnate Kenneth Cole is now trying to put AmFAR on a new road. But in 2007-2008, as I first reported last May, AmFAR gave Raising Malawi a $1 million in kind donation after Madonna made an appearance at AmFAR’s annual Cinema Against AIDS gala during the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.

In 2008, when she came to Cannes, everyone wondered why Madonna had finally just shown up so suddenly. My sources tell me now that it was to get money out of AmFAR for Raising Malawi. It was strange because Madonna’s Ray of Light Foundation had given nearly nothing to AIDS organization– odd since she has such a big gay following. She did help raise money that night by auctioning off handbags.

But the Raising Malawi money is now gone, and no one seems capable of explaining what happened to it.

Originally, Madonna had put $5 million aside, my sources say, for a Spirituality for Kids school in New York. Like the one in Los Angeles, it was going to be the Kabbalah Children’s Academy. When that school didn’t pan out, I’m told the Bergs convinced Madonna to build a school in Malawi. And that’s interesting, too, because Madonna said in her documentary that she was persuaded to build the school after meeting anĀ  African woman who told her about Malawi’s plight. Not at all, says an insider.It was Kabbalah Centre’s Michael Berg, son of founders Philip and Karen Berg, who didn’t want her to take the $5 million back.

PS You wouldn’t think AmFAR could have afforded to give away a million dollars at thetime, considering their expenses. Their longtime leader, now gone, Jerome Radwin, took home $481,778 in 2008-2009. That was a raise from $365,379 the previous year.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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