After a report surfaced on Tuesday that Lady Gaga’s youth-empowerment Born This Way Foundation donated a mere $5,000 of its $2.1 million assets to charity, the singer’s mother (and co-founder of the foundation) has spoken out to defend what she calls a “profound” organization.
ShowBiz 411 reported that the foundation -— whose mission is to ” foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated” — spends $300,0000 on consulting, $50,000 on social media, $50,000 on event coordination, $400,000 on legal services and more than $800,000 on “other.” Only 5k was designated as “grants to organizations or individuals,” according to the report.
In an article published in the Huffington Post on Wednesday, Cynthia Germanotta didn’t refute the math, rather pointing out a “misinterpretation” of the purpose of the foundation. She said the Born This Way Foundation was never meant to be an organization that doled out money to charities — rather, it’s their events and services that she says have a direct effect on their core goal of “empowering youth.”
“There is quite a bit of inaccurate information out there right now that misinterprets the essential mission and critical work of a very special organization that was founded several years ago by Stefani Germanotta, whom you all know as Lady Gaga. First and foremost, we are an organization that conducts our charitable activity directly, and we fund our own work,” she wrote. “We are not a grant-maker that funds the work of other charities, and were never intended to be.”
Perhaps the most visible example of the foundation’s services is the BornBrave Bus, a “traveling therapy center” that Gaga launched at the kick off of her Born This Way Ball in early 2013.
At the time, Gaga explained that those who boarded the BornBrave Bus — which were parked outside venues on the tour — would have access to “professional, private or group chats about mental health, depression, bully, school and friends.”
The bus tour reportedly cost $348,000.
“Lady Gaga founded Born This Way Foundation to foster a more accepting society for our young people,” Germanotta wrote. “Moreover, Born This Way Foundation’s work has focused heavily on providing information on empowerment through its website, raising awareness of the importance of being kind to others through public relations and social media, bringing messages about individuality and bravery to communities around the country via the Born Brave Bus Tour and multiple events.”
She also listed the Bravest Map Ever and the Play Brave Game as services that directly help empower youth. The Bravest Map Ever (found on the foundation’s website) allows users to type in their zip code to find “places that inspire, and encourage bravery and kindness in your community.”
“Every dollar spent across these categories, including the legal fees towards the safe and effective implementation of each initiative, directly serves Born This Way Foundation’s core mission of empowering youth,” she continued. “And we are having a profound impact in just a very short period of time.”