by Michael dEstries
Categories: Causes
Tags: , , , .


Could Sting’s evil Captain Planet character be coming to life?

On the Eve of the Rainforest Foundation’s Annual Benefit (something for which the Empire State Building will be lit green for), new information regarding the “giving” side of Sting’s organization has us less than stoked.

According to the New York Post, the Rainforest Foundation has been rated one of the worst charities in New York City. The slap comes from Charity Navigator, a watchdog that rates 5,000 charities nationally based on management and fund-raising-to-giving ratios. Sting’s org has been given a “0” the last four years because they’ve doled out less than half — 41% — of their donations to tree initiatives. From the article,

“The 2006 concert – which drew Lenny Kravitz, Sheryl Crow and Will Ferrell to the landmark stage – raised $2,156,989, according to the latest available IRS tax filing. Yet only $887,374 of the money raised, 41 percent, was divided among the charity’s eight programs that support native-land claims and forest preservation in Latin America and Africa – a paltry percentage, according to agencies that monitor nonprofits.

A well-run charity, they said, typically spends 75 percent of revenues on programs. ‘This one would fall to the bottom of the bucket,’ said Sandra Miniutti, a spokeswoman for Charity Navigator.”

For reasons not explained, the charity is also hoarding their money — with $10 million in assets (including $5 million in cash) reported to the IRS.

As stated on the foundation’s website, over 93,000 acres of rainforest are lost each day. Money is desperately needed to secure vast tracts of undisturbed, ancient trees and habitat. So, we just have one, small question for the organization:


via Newsbusters

[UPDATE] Trudi Styler has responded to the criticism saying, “The Rainforest Foundation is celebrating its 20th year. We wouldn’t still be in business or have given out millions of dollars over the years if we’d spent everything we made immediately after it came in.” However, Bennett Weiner, the director of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, still thinks the hoarding is excessive. “What are they doing with the money?,” he said. “They have more than five times what they would normally spend in a year in reserves.”

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • Frank Keenan

    Oh let’s go and piss off one of the few rich people that actually gives a shit about the environment? That’s real smart, coming from an “environmentally friendly” gossip blog.

    Hey, what’s next are you going to bust Bono’s balls for trying to help poor people in Africa?

    Should Leonoard DiCaprio not take any more movie roles and focus solely on solving global warming?

    Give me a break!

    Sting is one of the biggest advocates for rainforest preservation that this world has. He has done more to save the rainforest than anyone in the music industry.

    At least he has a charity organization set up to help the rainforest. That is more than I can say for a lot of uber rich entertainment posers.

    My main problem with this post is that it cites the NY Post, hardly the most eco-friendly newspaper. If it were the NY Times I would be more willing to believe the story.

    Now, if you don’t mind, I have to go now. I have a 3:00 appointment to euthenise some injured race horses. It’s a hobby of mine.

  • michael

    Sorry Frank, but we’re going to tell both sides of the story. True, Sting has done some great work for the environment — we’ve covered that. But news of this nature also deserves to be discussed. If you’re not used to such a fair and balanced view, you’ve obviously been watching too much FOX News.

    I agree with you on the NY Post comment, but are you disregarding the information as reported by Charity Navigator? The Post didn’t just make this up — they’re relying on information as provided by the Watchdog.

    It’s great that Sting has a foundation — but if people are donating their cash to a cause, shouldn’t they be aware of how quickly — or what percentage of that donation will go to the actual initiative they’re supporting?

  • Jennae Petersen

    I definitely appreciate the fact that Sting does try to do a lot for the environment, but damn! 41%? This is the kind of thing that make my husband and I wary of giving to charities. We always have to wonder how much of the money we donate will actually end up going toward the cause. I don’t know what happened to to rest of it, and I don’t necessarily think any less of Sting because of this, but somebody in that organization needs to account for the rest of the funds: where they went, why they weren’t used on the programs they were supposed to be used on, etc. It’s called accountability…plain and simple.

    Visit for eco-friendly home decor products and tips!

  • Jean

    I agree that one can’t dismiss the Charity Navigator ranking easily, but I’m bit confused as to where the Post got it numbers. If you look at the Rainforest Foundation’s page at charity navigator you see that it is true it hasn’t been given any stars, but it shows nothing about 5 million being held in reserve. Nor can I find a list there of NY’s worst charities. They do have a list of the 10 charities that are stock piling money. The Rainforest Foundation isn’t on it.

    link to page –

  • erin

    Sorry Michael but let me set the record straight for Frank (and mainly Sting’s) sake.

    NY Post’s poorly written article got it wrong. And funny you mention Fox news because those right wing nut jobs actually are the ones who came to Sting’s DEFENSE explaining the Post piece was nothing more than an inaccurate SMEAR campaign. Read about it here!

    (never thought I’d be linking a Fox News article but here you go to the piece “Sting’s Charity is Squeaky Clean!”),2933,354116,00.html

  • michael

    I’m shocked FOX News reported that as well!

    Ok, so we have a clearer picture — but I still have questions on the tax returns.

    Writing up a rebuttal…

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  • Mary

    Okay, I read the FOX piece, and in no way does it prove they are “squeaky clean”. It simply praises them lavishly, repeats the exact number of what they distributed, quotes Sting and Trudy’s lame statement about needing to keep money in reserve, says they have a very small staff, and that the staff doesn’t get paid a lot. So what? None of that counters what the Post is saying, really. And none of it addressed the point, which is that they’re hoarding way too much money and are refusing to explain why. I don’t feel better about them. Do you?