The hot new celebrity trend: Closing down your charity amid murky financial dealings. We still don't know why exactly Madonna's Raising Malawi charity flopped, and the closure of Kanye West's foundation is even more mysterious.
According to the Kanye West Foundation's website, its mission is to:
"help combat the severe dropout problem in schools across the United States by partnering with community organizations to provide under-served youth access to music production programs that will enable them to unleash their creative ability and reach their full potential."
But now that plan has been abandoned. The New York Times reports that last month, the foundation's former executive director, Joseph Collins, sent an email saying he was looking for a job because the charity had closed. The foundation's phone has been disconnected and the only information on what happened was sent out by Collins. He writes:
"I am reaching out to let you know that the Kanye West Foundation (kanyewestfoundation.org) has officially closed it doors after a successful 4+ years of programming and events ... It has been an incredible experience working with Kanye and the board to realize his mother's vision and I am honored to have been given the opportunity to lead the Foundation."
Collins told a Times reporter she'd have to talk to Kanye to learn more, but when she tried to contact him is representatives gave her the run around.
Tax forms show the charity wasn't financed mainly by Kanye, but by companies and people he works with. In 2007, 2008, and 2009 the foundation raised an average of $492,000 and made $18,080 in grants. Yet by 2009 things had slowed to the point that the charity only made $563 in grants. It's not like Kanye to remain quiet, so expect an all-caps explanation to appear on his blog shortly.