Hard to find many dollars associated with the high profile PR.
After the New York Times (Katie Hafner) technology section reported on Google's for-profit philanthropy last week, regular nonprofit reporter Stephanie Strom files a story on the Virgin charities of Sir Richard Branson. The charity, called Virgin Unite, puts a bit more emphasis on volunteering and partnering with public groups doing the same.
From Guidestar UK, it looks like Virgin Unite is a business name for the Virgin Foundation (UK Charity # 297540 Guidestar UK Summary, Report and Financial Statements). But there's something missing, because the financial statement only shows a couple of hundred thousand pounds, not the $4 million to $5 million per year claimed by the NY Times article.
In the US, it is said that Virgin is working with two groups:
- StandUp for Kids (EIN 33-0414855 Form 990) is an all-volunteer group that does outreach to homeless youth through chapters in a number of cities across the US. It appears to be genuinely all-volunteer, reporting a mere $280,967 in cash contributions in 2004 (along with about $400,000 in-kind contributions). Founder Richard Koca does not take a salary from the organization. Browsing around its old fashioned looking web site, it looks like there are a number of pretty active chapters along with many that don't report much activity. It's not clear what the contribution from Virgin will be for this group.
- Youth Noise, a group whose charitable affiliation is hard to determine from its web site. But its Google search listing (click on the image on the right for a popup) tells us that it is affiliated with the mega-charity Save the Children Federation (EIN 06-0726487 Form 990). It seems to be a social networking site with an emphasis on getting youth involved in causes. Again, it's not obvious what Virgin can do for this group.
- And then there's mention of a general interest in doing something about global warming, to complement Virgin's for-profit research on alternative fuels.