Tonight, the only charity associated with money making teen machine Justin Bieber throws its annual fundraiser. Pencils of Promise will salute, among others, newly elected New Jersey senator Cory Booker. Bieber’s huge increase earnings is tied directly to the sudden rise in income of Pencils of Promise.
The charity was founded in 2008 by Adam Braun, brother of Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun. But it’s only in the last two years that Pencils for Promise has real assets– over $2.2 million according to its most recent tax filing for 2011.
Of that money, almost $585,000 was spent on salaries. By contrast, only $159,167 was given in grants.
The Bieber difference has meant a lot to Adam Braun: an increase in his own official salary (included in that $585K total) from 2010 to 2011 from $59,100 to $99,500 for example. Contributions to the charity rose by almost a million dollars from 2010 to 2011. (The 2012 tax filing has not been published yet.) The charity finished 2011 in fine form: $1.8 million in assets, up a whopping $800,000 from the previous year. That’s thanks to having portions of tickets from Bieber concerts thrown into the till.
Pencils of Promise focuses on “giving every child” an education in three countries: Laos, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. They build schools, or rather classrooms, and there’s lots of evidence they’ve done just that. They were recently praised for investing $33,000 in schools in Ghana: http://allafrica.com/stories/201309251534.html
But their costs were high: $89,601 seems like a lot for travel considering Braun is the main staffer. Pencils of Promise also spent $76,864 on advertising and $40,000 on office expenses.
Meantime, PoP, as it’s called, has so far attracted little interest from A list celebrities other than Bieber-Braun friends Usher and Jaden Smith. Tonight’s event will be emceed by Sophia Bush, TV star of “One Tree Hill.”