Friday, December 3, 2010

Tory Burch, shame on you for donating only $30,000

Tory Burch, with social ambitions beyond being a fashionista, started an eponymous named foundation in 2009 to help women entrepreneurs."One of the worst situations to be in is not being able to provide for your family.The Tory Burch Foundation will empower women through micro finance. In partnership with ACCION USA, the foundation gives women the financial support they need to start and grow their own businesses domestically," explained Burch.

The pretty blonde socialite, who recently bought a house in the Hamptons for $16 million, is always seeking publicity for her good works. Her publicist, Kerry Lynne Carrera, called me about one of donations. She was donating 14 outfits at a retail value of $500 to through the Dressed for Success. The cost to this multi millionaire was less than $1400.

Tory describes herself as a philanthropist. Yet, she has minimally funded the foundation despite the 2009 sale of a minority stake in her designer label estimated at $100 million.

The 2009 IRS form 990 of the Tory Burch foundation reports contributions of $307, 000. The foundation has distributed only $30,000 in grants to ACCION USA while generating $237,000 in expenses.The Better Business Bureau standards for Charitable Accountability recommends that reputable charities spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.

Tory and her two brothers, Robert Isen and James Robinson from the Main Line of Philadelphia, are trustees of the foundation.There are no experts on women's issues or micro finance on the board, which does not hold meetings.The foundation did consult with Global Philanthropy Group at a cost of $170,000. Trevor Neilson the head of Global Philanthropy Group, has worked with Bono and Angelina Jolie.

I wonder if she is even sincere about the cause of women entrepreneurs. When she approached Trevor Neilson, Details magazine reported that she was passionate about child hunger. He persuaded her that micro finance would be more suited to her.

I had set up a call with Maggie, Trevor's wife to discuss Tory Burch's foundation. She canceled the call when I asked why Tory had not funded the foundation. It seems that Tory has no real interest in philanthropy, but wanted bragging rights to Bono's and Angelina Jolie's adviser.

Tory Burch loquaciously discussed the establishment of the foundation but declined to disclose any financial details. American Express donated $100,000 to her foundation in September, but Tory did not announce any new donations.

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