Floyd Mayweather's Weak Punch for Charity

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Carla A. Harris; Floyd Mayweather

There's nothing shy about Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr., one of boxing's greatest champions. He doesn't care if you like him. Just help make him get richer. The undefeated pugilist made about $40 million for beating Victor Ortiz recently. But Mayweather's real talent is controlling his financial affairs.

The New York Times reports that he "earns a percentage of every ticket purchased, every pretzel consumed, every poster sold. He will earn from countries that paid for broadcasting rights and the theaters where the fight is shown." 

For his past five fights, including the most recent, he earned $155 million. So how does the welterweight champion give back? In 2007 he set up the Floyd Mayweather Jr. Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focused on assistance in Las Vegas and his hometown, Grand Rapids, Mich. The FMJF website lists programs supporting education, youth boxing, girls and women and community outreach. He also donates meals for the homeless twice a month and gives out turkeys and hot meals at Thanksgiving.

Admirable efforts, but let's take a look at FMJF's available Form 990 federal nonprofit tax filings, provided by the National Center for Charitable Statistics. What's revealed there makes one ask if Mayweather is punching below his weight philanthropically or just not shining a light on all his charitable activities. The Mayweather Foundation's 2010 charitable 990 filing is not yet available, and attempts to reach the foundation and his business organization were unsuccessful.

In 2009 the FMJF reported donating a total amount of $3,564, and no breakout of donations was included. Of course, not every philanthropic act by Mayweather needs to be declared. For instance, during the 2008 calendar year, from which the 990 data was drawn, Mayweather paid $160,000 to cover the expenses for the National Golden Gloves Championships that took place in Grand Rapids.

Mayweather's 2008 filing showed that FMJF had $917,355 on hand. Of that, $573,790, or 62.5 percent, went to undisclosed "professional fees and other payments to independent contractors"; $284,653 went to other expenses; $55,650 to pay three employees; and the rest to smaller expenses. The "other expenses" included $100,000 for the two-day, Mayweather-sponsored Superfest fundraiser; $58,494 for the FMJF dinner; and $10,000 for Thanksgiving turkeys. The 2008 filing did not break down how much was left after the fundraisers' expenses, or include a charitable program breakdown, as was found on the 2007 return.

In its 2007 filing, FMJF provided "direct public support" of $96,150. Of that, $61,694, or 64 percent, went to the programs listed on his foundation website and other charitable work. Management and general use absorbed $23,089, $11,097 went to fundraising and the remainder to "payment to affiliates." The sole employee was paid $17,000. 

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The common rule of fundraising is that 20 percent of the philanthropically inclined provide 80 percent of the fundraising or volunteering. It is easy for outsiders to spend Mayweather's very hard-earned millions. Unless he volunteers it, we won't know how much he raises for charities with appearances, or the other ways he assists others.

What we do know is that Mayweather loves to talk about how much money he makes, will make and how he spends it on whatever he desires.

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