kids wish photo

Kids Wish Network gives less than 3 percent of every dollar raised to direct aid. Click for more of its fundraising and spending historyGraphic by the Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting

As if R&B singer Chris Brown didn’t have enough problems on his plate, Deadspin reports that he’s also aligned himself with the No. 1 worst charity in America.

The Kids Wish Network says it is “dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children who are experiencing life-altering situations,” according to its website. But like many on our 50 Worst Charities in America list, Kids Wish uses for-profit telemarketing to fundraise. We found that every year for the past 16 years, Kids Wish gave less than 3 cents of every dollar raised to sick children. (See more on how Kids Wish operates).

In the past decade alone, Kids Wish has channeled nearly $110 million donated for sick children to its corporate solicitors, our reporters found. Some of these corporate fundraisers are even owned and operated by the charities’ founders. Our yearlong investigation with the Tampa Bay Times also found the charity paid its founder and his own companies at least $4.8 million in salary and fees over the years.

Since the publication of our list, Kids Wish has denied being the worst charity in America

Brown’s Symphonic Love Foundation, which supports young people and the arts, teamed up with Kids Wish recently to fulfill Mohamed Elherazy’s wish of meeting the celebrity. Brown met the Fairfax, Va., teen at a New Jersey concert in June.

The National Post also reported that Wantster, an interest-based social networking site similar to Pinterest, has disassociated itself from the Kids Wish Network. 

On Tuesday, Wantster had announced it would sponsor arranging for a sick child to meet Brown at an Energy Rush concert in Nova Scotia, Canada. Wantster is now looking for another organization to arrange the meeting. 

Wantster is still supporting Brown – just not Kids Wish. And Brown isn’t the only big name associated with Kids Wish: The charity also has arranged for kids to meet the likes of Rihanna and President Barack Obama.

Chris & Mo Hang Out! from Symphonic Love Foundation on Vimeo

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Kelly Chen is a news engagement specialist at The Center for Investigative Reporting. She manages the day-to-day social media strategies and online engagement for CIR. In addition, she works to break down complex issues and ideas and create content for CIR's online communities. Kelly also works to increase engagement on and on other online platforms. Previously, she produced discussion segments for PBS NewsHour and oversaw social media and engagement efforts for the American Graduate project, a public media initiative on the high school dropout crisis. She's also worked at Southern California Public Radio and National Geographic TV. A native of Los Angeles, she studied international relations and English at UC Davis.