American Idol cancels 'Idol Gives Back' fundraiser

According to an internal Fox memo leaked on December 9th, American Idol and Fox have canceled the annual charity event "Idol Gives Back" for the upcoming season. This would have been the third year for the star studded event which raised $70 million in 2007 and an estimated $60 million in 2008. It seems that that several factors including a weakened economy may have contributed to the cancellation of the young event.

Idol Gives and Takes Away

    ** FILE ** In this April 14, 2008 file photo, "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul arrives at the 2008 CMT Awards, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)

    AP

    ** FILE ** In this April 14, 2008 file photo, "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul arrives at the 2008 CMT Awards, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)

    AP

    ** FILE ** In this April 6, 2008 file photo, Robin Williams, left, and Ryan Seacrest embrace on stage at the "Idol Gives Back" fundraising special of "American Idol" in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, file)

    AP

    ** FILE ** In this April 14, 2008 file photo, "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul arrives at the 2008 CMT Awards, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)

    AP

    ** FILE ** In this April 14, 2008 file photo, "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul arrives at the 2008 CMT Awards, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)

    AP

    ** FILE ** In this April 14, 2008 file photo, "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul arrives at the 2008 CMT Awards, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)

    AP

    ** FILE ** In this April 14, 2008 file photo, "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul arrives at the 2008 CMT Awards, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)

    AP

    ** FILE ** In this April 14, 2008 file photo, "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul arrives at the 2008 CMT Awards, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)

    AP

    This undated photo provided by HSM shows the Mosaic Earrings from the Forever Your Girl line by Paula Abdul. They might not go home with a recording contract, but Paula Abdul doesn't let any "American Idol" contestant leave empty-handed. Each season she designs and distributes jewelry for the aspiring singers as a keepsake of their experience. Beginning this month, Abdul's fans will be able to buy similar mementos from HSN. (AP Photo/HSN) **NO SALES**

    AP

    This undated photo provided by HSM shows the Opposites Attract Clutch from the Forever Your Girl line by Paula Abdul. They might not go home with a recording contract, but Paula Abdul doesn't let any "American Idol" contestant leave empty-handed. Each season she designs and distributes jewelry for the aspiring singers as a keepsake of their experience. Beginning this month, Abdul's fans will be able to buy similar mementos from HSN. (AP Photo/HSN) **NO SALES**

    AP

It is extremely disheartening to see this fundraiser canceled, especially when the need for donations at many of these charities has grown. In the past, American Idol supported Feed America, Boys and Girls Club and the Children's Health Fund. Additionally, the program has raised money for many charities which work to eliminate poverty and sickness in Africa.

Despite concerns over some un-dispersed funds, Idol Gives Back only uses 7% of the donations for overhead. In comparison many national charities spend above 10% on administrative and fundraising expenses according to CharityNavigator.com.

Even though the leaked memo makes no mention of the reason for canceling Idol Gives Back 2009, I can't help but wonder if there are concerns about securing corporate sponsorships which made up a bulk of the donations. One of the major sponsors in 2008 was Ford and given the recent scrutiny that bailed out companies are receiving, charitable giving, even when tied to advertising, may be reined in. If the government is going to be giving to charity, they might as well do it directly.

Hopefully donors will continue to support these programs by giving directly to the charities.

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