Questions Raised About Wyclef Jean’s Yele Foundation


Immediately after the Haitian earthquake hit, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt announced

We are devastated by the news from Haiti. We will work closely with our good friend Wyclef Jean to support the humanitarian efforts on the island and help those who have been injured and left without homes and shelter.

A few hours laters, the philanthropic couple donated $1 million to Doctors Without Borders, which to my unschooled eye, seemed like a shift in plans from Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti foundation to a more esperienced relief organization.

Meanwhile, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Foundation the charitable arm behind the Golden Globes, gave Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti $100,00 and by Friday afternoon through text and standard donations, Yele had raised $1.5 million for earthquake aid.

The Washington Post did some digging into Yele

[A]n analysis of the charity’s tax returns raises questions about how it has spent money in the past, with administrative expenses that appear to be higher than comparable charities and payments to businesses owned by the musician and a board member, including $100,000 for a performance by Jean at a 2006 benefit concert.

But Hugh Locke, president of Yele Haiti, says

the charity does what others can’t, because Jean gives it unusual access to the country’s slums. He said the group hopes to spend a higher percentage of its budget on services as it gains experience. “I think people should be very comfortable that any money given to Yele Haiti is going 100 percent to emergency relief.”

People need to decide for themselves if they want to be on the supply side of charity’s learning curve. In the past Yele has provided food and water for 6,000 residents  after a horrific storm, along with providing scholarships, funding a soccer team, taking students on environmental-education camping trips and employing women to cook for schools. Their high profile in this crisis has put a focus on them like none before.

I donated to the Red Cross and then, through one of my faith based groups, gave a small donation directly to a Vodou peristyle which is working in their immediate neighborhood of Mariani, Haiti which is  501 (c) 3 foundation. If you can’t trust the Supreme Servitor of Vodou in Haiti and around the world, really then who can you trust?

By sticking with charities you know, who are experienced in disaster relief, and/or with whom you  have dealt in the past, you can insure your relief aid goes where it is needed most.

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.