Lamar Odom’s mother Cathy passed away from stomach cancer nine years ago. Lamar has since launched a charity for cancer research named, Cathy’s Kids, with the goal to provide assistance to those suffering from the disease and aid in research for a cure. A new ESPN report indicates that none of the funds from the charity have gone to cancer research but instead have financed two AAU travel basketball teams:
In 2004, Odom founded Cathy’s Kids, named after his mother who the NBA forward says died from cancer. But eight years of tax records reveal that Cathy’s Kids never gave any grant money to cancer-related causes and that the charity primarily existed to finance two elite youth basketball travel teams. Of the $2.2 million raised by the charity, at least 60 percent — $1.3 million — went to those AAU teams.
The only paid executive was Jerry DeGregorio, now an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors. He was Odom’s high school coach and best man in his wedding to reality TV star Khloe Kardashian. As secretary of Cathy’s Kids from 2004 through 2011, DeGregorio made a median annual salary of about $72,000, while the charity operated at a loss since its inception…
But Odom’s wasn’t the only charity the piece investigated and discovered that there might be discrepancies. Baron Davis’s “La Stars” charity, Alex Rodriguez and Randy Moss’ charity foundations were all investigated and found to be dormant or lacking donations over the past few years.
I worked in sports and brand marketing for Nike, one piece of advice I would give to athletes looking to start charitable foundations is to link up with charities already in existence. Often times, the people who are put in charge to run the athlete’s foundation may not be well versed in what’s required to legally be deemed a charity. Not that there is necessarily any ill intent, just a lack of knowledge.