#1 Empowering Change: How Russell Wilson’s Why Not You Foundation is Committed to Making a Difference for Children

Russell Wilson’s Why Not You Foundation under scrutiny for low charity spending

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s Why Not You Foundation is facing scrutiny after a USA TODAY investigation found that less than half of the foundation’s expenses went directly to charity.

The investigation analyzed tax records for the foundation and found that of the $5.8 million in expenses from 2014 through 2020, only 42% went directly to charity. In 2020, the foundation spent $256,519 on charitable grants while doling out $440,625 in salaries to three employees. This means only 21.3 cents of every dollar spent went to charitable efforts.

Comparison with other NFL players’ foundations

In comparison, other NFL players’ foundations analyzed by Denver7 spent a higher percentage of their expenses on charity. Andrew Whitworth’s Big Whit 77 Foundation put about 68% of its expenses toward charity, while the Chris Long Foundation put about 61% of its overall expenses toward charity.

JJ Watt’s foundation put about 85% of its expenses toward charity in 2019, and 99% of its expenses were charitable grants in 2018, the year he raised millions for Hurricane Harvey recovery in the Houston area.

Peyton Manning’s PeyBack Foundation spent about 80 cents for every dollar spent on charity from 2018-2019, and the Chubb Charitable Foundation, operated by former Bronco Bradley Chubb and his cousin, Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb, put about 98% of its expenses toward charity in 2018-2019.

Concerns over high employee salaries

Why Not You also stands out in terms of its employee salaries. In 2020, the foundation paid its chief strategy officer $208,625 and two foundation directors $166,000 and $66,000, respectively. This is in contrast to other players’ foundations, which listed zero or one paid employee with lower salaries.

Foundation defends itself, citing unreported donations

The foundation argues that it has raised millions through partnerships with Seattle Children’s Hospital and grocery giant Safeway Albertsons – donations that don’t appear on its books. In fact, more than $10 million of the $13 million the foundation boasts of generating has come from Safeway Albertsons through a partnership formed last June. The foundation posted a statement on its website touting these partnerships but made no mention of USA TODAY’s reporting.

Questions raised over transparency and effectiveness of charitable efforts

While the foundation is not breaking any laws or regulations, the investigation has raised questions about its transparency and the effectiveness of its charitable efforts. Nonprofit experts recommend that at least 65% of a nonprofit’s expenses should go directly to its charitable mission, and the foundation falls short of this benchmark. The investigation has also highlighted the importance of researching and evaluating nonprofits before donating to ensure that donations are being used effectively to support the organization’s mission.

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