Donald Sterling: Does $5K Buy an NAACP "Lifetime Achievement" Award?
Lucy Nicholson for Reuters/Newscom
How much does an NAACP "Lifetime Achievement Award" cost? About $5,000, if Donald Sterling's recent contribution to the organization is a clue.
A look through recent years of tax filings for The Donald T. Sterling Charitable Foundation (9441 Wilshire Boulevard, Penthouse Suite, Beverly Hills, California 90212) shows just one $5,000 contribution to the NAACP in 2010. The NAACP's local president, Leon Jenkins, today called Sterling's contribution "insignificant" and said "his donation" would be returned.
Interestingly, Sterling's foundation has consistently given cash to minority and religious organizations, according to the tax records. It also gave to the University of California:
In 2012, the last year for which nonprofit private foundation 990 documents are available, Sterling's organization contributed $10,000 to:
-The United Negro College Fund
-The Latino group Para Los Ninos
-The Union Rescue Mission.
-The Black Business Association in L.A.
-Nuevo Amancer Latino Children's Services.
-The Museum of Tolerance.
-Los Angles Museum of Holocaust.
The group also gave $20,000 to the University of California regents that year.
Since 2009, our review of tax records found, Sterling's foundation has consistently given to many of those groups with $5,000 and $10,000 annual checks. Frequent recipients include inner-city L.A. Unified School District high schools such as Garfield, Fremont, Hamilton, Roosevelt, Manual Arts, Jefferson and more.
The foundation was funded in 2012 entirely by a $330,000 contribution from the Clippers' owner, according to its public tax filing.
Sterling's contributions have come into question following a racist rant captured on audiotape surfaced over the weekend. On it Sterling is said to speaking with then-girlfriend V. Stiviano, who's African American and Latina, about how he doesn't like her bringing black friends to Clippers games.
But Sterling has had a history of alleged racism, including two major housing discrimination lawsuits and a claim by former general manager Elgin Baylor, who's African American. That evidence certainly raises the question, Why would the NAACP honor him at any cost?
See also: Donald Sterling's 6 Other Greatest Hits
A 2011 ad for a Sterling foundation charity luncheon listed Stiviano as as "director" of the nonprofit, but tax records since 2009 do not list the woman as an officer, director or trustee.
Over the weekend the NAACP withdrew its lifetime achievement award, scheduled to be handed to Sterling at its 100th anniversary gala May 15. Jenkins of the NAACP stated this today:
There is a personal, economic and social price that Mr. Sterling must pay for his attempt to turn the clock back on race relations.
We called Jenkins at his law office to see if the $5,000 was the sole reason for the NAACP's award, but he had yet to return our call.
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