Singer Feels Sting From Charity Criticism

Sting, the frontman for one of the most popular bands around—-The Police, is under fire today. His charitable organization, the Rainforest Foundation, is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. According to new reports, Sting’s foundation spent less than 61% of its revenue for the 2006 fiscal year.

The claim was made by the independent philanthropy watchdog, Charity Navigator, which is criticizing the Rainforest Foundation for the amount of contributions it spends on programs. The organization, which tracks the 5,000 largest charities in the country gave the Rainforest Foundation zero stars in its latest ratings.

According to a spokeswoman for Charity Navigator, most charities spend 75% or more, and that only about 2% of the charities it follows get a zero star rating.

When confronted about Charity Navigator’s claims Sting noted that in the Rainforest Foundation’s 20-year history, it has raised $25 million and spent more than $21 million, or 84%. What’s more, he says, it is unfair to look at the organization’s yearly expenditures because it operates on a two-year cycle.

“It’s not only misleading but irresponsible to reflect our numbers in any other way,” Sting told reporters.

The singer also deflected the criticism aimed at his charity at a recent event designed to announce much happier news.

At a news conference Tuesday in Times Square, Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland announced The Police would be capping off their reunion tour with a final concert this summer in New York, where they started out 30 years ago.

And even better news—-the band said they wanted to make a lasting contribution to the Big Apple by donating $1 million to a city program that aims to plant 1 million trees by 2017.

“We have a long history here,” Sting said. “We wanted to leave a gift with our last performance that would keep on giving year after year, decade after decade – the gift of trees does do that.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the band’s donation plus $1 million in matching funds from the city would offset the cost of planting 10,000 trees citywide.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.