First of all, Bono doesn’t need a foundation for charity. The man is worth a half a billion dollars on his own. The amazing thing about this story is how the UK Times is ripping the U.S. media by saying that there is no debate in the U.S. news. They’re right about that one.
Bono’s anti-poverty foundation ONE is under pressure to explain its lavish salaries after it was revealed that only a small percentage of money it raises reaches the needy.
The non-profit organisation set up by the U2 frontman received almost £9.6m in donations in 2008 but handed out only £118,000 to good causes (1.2 per cent).
The figures published by the New York Post also show that £5.1m went towards paying salaries.
The revelations come at an embarrassing time for the Irish rock legend, who is New York this week lobbying governments at the UN’s Millenium Goals summit to do more to alleviate suffering in the Third World.
The Post was one of several U.S. newspapers to receive a host of expensive gifts including leather notebooks valued at £9.60, bags of coffee worth the same amount and £13 water bottles.
The presents were delivered separately in oversized shoe boxes to coincide with the summit.
In the UK, the organisation has laid on a series of high-profile, celebrity-supported events since it launched in 2002 to fight poverty in Africa and Aids worldwide.
In 2009, the group campaigned to have enshrined in British law a commitment to development assistance abroad.
ONE spokesman Oliver Buston has now defended the way the organisation is run, insisting the money is used for promoting its campaign and raising awareness rather than being handed straight to those who need help.
He said: ‘We don’t provide programmes on the ground. We’re an advocacy and campaigning organisation.’
ONE said it took no money from the public and that most of its funding came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
‘There is a rich and vibrant debate in the UK media about aid that doesn’t happen in the U.S. media,’ said Mr Buston.
‘This was an attempt, perhaps in hindsight not the best way, to get our message across.’
ONE employs nearly 120 people worldwide.