Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Will Smith’s Personally Funded School, Website, Shut Down


I posted a version of this on July 5th at midnight. But given the holiday, and now we’re all back– here it is again. Will and Jada Pinkett Smith put millions into this school. But the school right away attracted criticism for featuring Scientology curriculum. The first headmistress was replaced with a new one who was a major Scientologist. Much of the staff and board of directors were also Scientologists. The school is over. So is the school’s website. It was an abrupt closing because they were still raising money two months ago with fundraisers.

From July 5th: New Village Leadership Academy is no more. This was the private school started by Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith in 2008 with ties to Scientology. The intrepid Tony Ortega reported on his site www.tonyortega.org on Wednesday that he’d confirmed with several sources attached to the school that the Calabasas, California organization was kaput.

This must be a blow to the Smiths, especially with “After Earth” bombing at the box office.

Though the school may be closed, their website is still up. According to GuideStar.org, the non profit institution still has no Form 990 filed for 2012 But their 2011 filing shows that school chief Franca Campopiano, an avowed Scientologist, was making $200,000 a year. On website whyweprotest.org, an anonymous former parent wrote in: “This horrific institution has CLOSED! The star founders should be ashamed of the lies propagated by the unethical staff.”

Recently I reported that John Travolta had donated money to the school as a fellow Scientologist, from the charitable fund he started in his son Jett’s memory.

Because New Village still has not filed for 2012, it’s hard to say what their financial situation was. But in 2011, they claimed net assets of negative $284,931 and liabilities of $1,235,154.

The school ran from Kindergarten to 6th grade. If anyone has more info, please email me at roger@showbiz411.com. We’ll try and figure out where all the money went.

The shut down must have been sudden. Back on April 29th, New Village ran a week long fundraising auction on ebay. Some of the items included Will Smith’s suit from “Men in Black,” a Yamaha motorcycle owned by Jada, and a training session with Sugar Ray Leonard.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
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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