Russell Wilson's Charity Accused of Fraudulent Activity

Russell Wilson just had a season to forget as quarterback for the Denver Broncos. But his off-the-field work is now taking a hit as his charity, the Why Not You Foundation, is reportedly being accused of fraudulent activity. According to USA Today, the organization had only donated 40% of its earning to charity with the rest going to employee salaries and fundraising. The foundation received $7.5 million in revenue in 2021 but only reported $2.8 million being passed on to any charitable activities. 

The official website of the Why Not You Foundation doesn't list the employees but just the board of directors. All of them share personal connections to Wilson and his wife Ciara. The board members are Sheryl Willert (Wilson's long-time personal lawyer), Larry Estrada, VP at Goldman Sachs (personal friend of Wilson), Mark Rodgers (Wilson's agent and close friend)  Harry Wilson (brother), Jessica Abramson Lott (Wilson's PR manager), Charly Martin (former Seahawks receiver who played with Wilson) Scott Pickett (Wilson' close friend), according to SB Nation. 

On Wednesday night, the Why Not You Foundation responded to USA Today's report. It said: "While the foundation raises funds and provides grants and gifts, our partnerships have allowed for more direct delivery and impact. Our dynamic partnerships allow for Russell and Ciara to give their time, passion, and ideas and raise awareness for causes in intimate and hands-on settings and events."

The interesting thing about this is Wilson won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2020 for his work in the community. "Russell Wilson has always prioritized serving his community, but this year, he met the challenge and more when it was needed most," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the time.  "He has shown continued excellence on the field for nine seasons, but the work he has done to help youth and fight food insecurity through his Why Not You Foundation bolsters his lasting legacy. Russell is extremely deserving of this award and I know he will use this as an additional springboard to continue to positively impact others."

Wilson, 34, joined the Broncos this past season after spending 10 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. In his first season with the Broncos, the Super Bowl champion quarterback completed just 60.5% of his passes for 3,524 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with an 84.4 passer rating."