Saturday, May 18, 2024

Lady Gaga Charity in the Red: Born This Way Has Bus Load of Financial Problems (With Updates)


UPDATE Lady Gaga’s lawyer, Tracy Landauer, points out that even those these are the figures, the Born this Way Foundation has helped thousands of teens with the bus tour. Plus, survey information taken from the teens has been extremely helpful in papers delivered for seminars and for educational studies. Plus, they don’t give grants, period. So they’re in the red. You can’t have everything.

EARLIER It’s hard to be a saint in the city. That’s what Bruce Springsteen said right at the start. Lady Gaga is finding that out. She’s tried hard to help her fans through her Born this Way Foundation charity. But there are problems. For 2013, Born this Way finished in the red big time. Revenue less expenses for 2013 was minus $2.2 million. Total assets when all said was done was negative $94,000.  Lady Gaga was waiting to be reimbursed for $100,000 in expenses.

No one did anything wrong, and from the Form 990 for Federal filing, there’s no indication that alarms should be ringing. But the charity’s Born the Way bus, which went around the country as an emissary to fans, did them in. For example, this was all after revenue of over $1.8 million.

Unfortunately, the filing is so vague that we don’t know if the silk throated Gaga– aka Stefani Germanotta– donated all the money herself or there were other donees. What it does say that revenue was down from $2.6 million from the prior year. Also, no grants were made to anyone. Zero.

So where did the money go? Salaries increased to $157,388 from a little less than $80,ooo. Who got ’em? We don’t know, but payroll taxes were paid of $15,992 for someone.

Other expenses included $101,796 for travel, $91,574 for legal, $171,459 for “philanthropic consulting.”

Total functional expenses were $4 million for a foundation that didn’t actually help any specific individual.  It does seem that around $3 million of that was spent with a company called Jack Morton Worldwide to “create, equip and manage” the Born Brave Bus to fulfill the foundation’s “programmatic objectives.”

You know, I love Lady Gaga’s voice. I admire her spirit and her creativity. I think she’ll be a major force in entertainment for decades. But this Foundation doesn’t seem like it was such a great idea in practical application. Where do things stand now? The website has the equivalent of an “out to lunch” sign on it.

Here’s the video for Jack Morton, a branding and event company. Charity doesn’t seem to be their prime business. Neither does actual business. They seem like one of those companies from thirtysomething. And they’re on Third Avenue, where people wear suits, ties, and dresses.


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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