News has emerged that Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation could be a mere vanity project. Have you ever? Can you even? (No, you can't. You either already tweeted or are just about to tweet, "I can't with this," about this.) We all can collectively gasp while secretly saying, "Yaaaaaas," in our heads regarding Gaga's latest endeavor in hot messery.
Showbiz 411's Roger Friedman published a breakdown of BTWF's 2012 tax report. The foundation's claimed $2.1 million in net assets (donations came in at $2.6 million). Here's where that money went according to Friedman:
$300,000 in strategic consulting
$62,836 on stage productions
$50,000 on social media
$50,000 on event coordination
$406,552 on legal
$150,000 on philanthropic consulting
$60,000 on research
$58,768 on publicity fees
$78,000 on travel
$72,000 on salaries
$808,661 on "other"
$5,000 on grants to organizations or individuals
While these numbers are damning (and what the fuck is "other?"), they shouldn't be terribly surprising given Born This Way Foundation's vague and broad mission statement that does not include "...and giving needy people money." The non-profit anti-bullying organization, per its mission statement, aims to:
...foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated. The Foundation is dedicated to creating a safe community that helps connect young people with the skills and opportunities they need to build a kinder, braver world.
We believe that everyone has the right to feel safe, to be empowered and to make a difference in the world. Together, we will move towards acceptance, bravery and love.
Its three pillars are: safety, skills, and opportunity. Can't really argue with those pillars.
In 2012, BTWF ran a poster campaign ("to inspire bravery"), sponsored the Born Brave Bus Tour ("The more kids that I can get to come and eat hamburgers and talk outside my shows ... I feel that it will start small, but over time will be very big," Gaga said to Reuters of the "drop-in center/roving tailgate party"), launched a youth advisory board, and worked with Office Depot on a line that included "empowerment gift cards," "Bravery Bracelets," and "Kindness Sticks" Post-It Notes. Sharpies were also involved, but this press release doesn't make clear how they were engineered to make people feel safe and accepted. I hope it involved making them more pungent, thus huffable.
Also, Gaga's mom and BTWF president Cynthia Germanotta spoke at the U.S. Department of Education's third annual Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit.
So, you know, Born This Way Foundation was doing stuff. Maybe frivolous stuff whose impact and worth is inherently impossible to gauge (unlike cold, hard monetary donations), but stuff. Friedman says that there is no breakdown of BTWF's donations contributors but that he suspects "most of the money came from Lady Gaga's earnings." That would make the Born This Way Foundation something of an accessory that Lady Gaga bought (at least in part) to look good. That's gross, but the woman has basically made a career out of showing off tacky accessories.
[Image via Getty]