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Volume 24 No. 156

Sports in Society

Charities tied to "high-profile Wisconsin athletes and teams raise millions of dollars annually for dozens of causes, but IRS filings also reveal some report expenses improperly, use money inefficiently or fail to file reports at all," according to Eric Litke of GANNETT WISCONSIN MEDIA. Despite the "inherently high profile of professional athletes," IRS filings show that many athlete charities "operate on a very small scale -- more than one-third had revenue of less than $50,000." The filings show 51 "active or recently shuttered charities connected to Wisconsin athletes and professional teams." Of the 51 charities, 43 are "active and up to date with their IRS filings." Six other charities have "had their tax-exempt status revoked in recent years for failing to file returns." One has "not filed a return since 2002 and one has disbanded." Four of the charities examined "brought in more than" $1M in their latest IRS filing. Of the 43 active charities, 16 "reported less than $50,000 in revenue in their latest annual IRS filing, and 29 were at $250,000 or below." Charities above 90% efficiency -- "based on the self-reported data" -- included foundations for Heat G Ray Allen, the Brewers organization, Brewers C Marcus Hanel, Baseball HOFer Hank Aaron and Clippers G JJ Redick. Athletes with charities "below the two-thirds efficiency in their latest filing" were former NFLers Donald Driver (64%) and Brett Favre (52%), and Mavericks C Samuel Dalembert (18%) (GANNETT WISCONSIN MEDIA, 11/16).