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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Where's the Kony 2012 money going?

It seems that Invisible Children, the "advocacy and awareness organization" behind the Kony 2012 viral video that has slackers all over the world suddenly interested in Uganda, is a little less than forthcoming about where the approximately $15 million in donations it has received is being spent. Reason has the details - be sure to read the whole thing:
One of the first blogs to call attention to IC's finances, Visible Children, notes that IC has sold over 500,000 action kits over the past week. At $30 a piece that equals roughly $15 million in revenue. The action kits include posters, stickers, a Kony bracelet, etc. According to IC, if you buy an action kit, "people will think you’re an advocate of awesome."

But not a humanitarian.

In an interview with GOOD magazine, Jedidah Jenkins, IC's director of ideology (yes, that's his real title), explained IC's finances and mission:
Thirty-seven percent of our budget goes directly to central African-related programs, about 20 percent goes to salaries and overhead, and the remaining 43 percent goes to our awareness programs. Those include things like flying Ugandans to America to go on cross-country awareness tours we pay for. And our staff in America has to go to Uganda, too. We got criticized for spending $1 million on travel expenses, but getting 130 people around the country and around the world is expensive. But aside from that, the truth about Invisible Children is that we are not an aid organization, and we don’t intend to be. I think people think we’re over there delivering shoes or food. But we are an advocacy and awareness organization. [Emphasis added.]
How many people who bought these action kits know they're funding hipsters uploading videos to Vimeo? Unless IC radically overhauled it financial structure, only 37 percent of the money raised from these action kits will directly help people in eastern Africa. At best. Everything else will fund overhead, salaries and raising awareness. But with over 75 million views on YouTube, Kony 2012 is already the most viral video ever. How much more awareness does this organization need?


Brendan said...

So what's the problem with much of their money going to awareness? If they are a group aimed at spreading awareness, then that is a given, right? Awareness is an important part of any cause, and it isn't like they are scamming people out of their money.

Anonymous said...

The money's going to some rich idiot running around naked and spanking himself. A poor investment since you could get someone to do that on the cheap.

Bozo from U2 made his millions thanks to suffering Africans, it looks like others have learned the lesson.

Brendan said...

How do you know that the money is going to him?

And I think it's a bit unfair to criticize him for that. While it is something that obviously shouldn't happen, he works in a job that, I would assume, is much more stressful emotionally than anything we do. So he had a break. That often happens to people in emotionally taxing situations. If you read the Huffington Post articles about the event, he and the rest of his team had apparently had a particularly rough two weeks leading up to the event (however, if you trust TMZ as your reliable news source, he was drunkenly roaming the streets and masturbating). His work is based around children who could be kidnapped and/or mudered any given evening. That wouldn't be any easy thing for anyone. He is recovering and planning to get back to work soon.

I think the worst part about all of this is that there have been groups (like Bono's) that have now made us suspicious of all groups trying to do any good. We have become so cynical in the world that we don't trust anyone who says they want to help. And, unfortunately, there is some basis for this feeling. I just wish that people would wait until there actually is proof of foul play before assuming that there is.