Monday, January 01, 2007

Oprah's lack of fulfillment from giving money to charities has led her to start her own project: a school for underprivileged girls in South Africa. (CNN)

The school and foundation's website has set up something like a wedding registry; you supposedly pay for real things that the students need. This seems to tackle Oprah's feeling of disconnectedness from the results of her past philanthropy.

However, I would think that one aspect of her motivation for starting such a foundation is to streamline the money's path to deserving recipients, so that it doesn't get overspent on the administration of the funds themselves. Has her foundation improved this aspect of philanthropy?

The disclaimer at the bottom of the "registry" says: "Donations do not go directly to girls but to The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation that operates the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls South Africa. Your donation selection is subject to change. It will, however, go toward the Foundation's efforts where needed most."

This website lacks the kind of transparency about philanthropy that I would hope for. It seems impossible that all of the $30 for sports equipment will go to the students; instead, some will go towards paying the salaries of the employees of Oprah's foundation.

Or at least, the website fails to disabuse me of this opinion.

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