Bono’s anti-poverty foundation ONE is under pressure to explain its finances after it was revealed that only a small percentage of money it raises reaches the needy.
The non-profit organisation set up by the U2 frontman received almost £9.6million in donations in 2008 but handed out only £118,000 to good causes (1.2 per cent).
The figures published by the New York Post also show that £5.1million went towards paying salaries.
While the organisation’s gameplan has never been direct handouts on the ground, many who admire the Irish rock legend may be surprised by the figures.
Bono was playing Brussels last night with U2 as the world’s leaders – so many of whom he speaks to directly – were meeting at the UN assembly in New York to assess the progress, or lack of, in reaching the Millennium goals they set.
The Post revealed it had received a number of gifts from ONE in the run-up to the event, such as leather notebooks, bags of coffee and water bottles.
In the UK, the organisation has laid on a series of high-profile, celebrity-supported events since it launched in 2002 to fight poverty in Africa and Aids worldwide.
In 2009, the group campaigned to have enshrined in British law a commitment to development assistance abroad.
ONE spokesman Oliver Buston has now defended the way the organisation is run, insisting the money is used for promoting its campaign and raising awareness rather than being given straight to those who need help.
He said: ‘We don’t provide programmes on the ground. We’re an advocacy and campaigning organisation.’
Another spokesman in New York today dismissed the notion of lavish salaries being paid to its 120 members of staff and said the organisation was highly efficient in its raising of awareness.
ONE said it took no money from the public and that most of its funding came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.