Sports men and women are used to making headlines for their sporting exploits and in many cases (football being the obvious example) the financial rewards can be huge.
Many sports stars choose to channel their wealth into supporting charitable causes and in some cases, this leads to the establishment of a charitable foundation bearing the star's name.
The article below highlights a number of high profile instances of charities of this nature encountering problems both in respect of their long term operation and governance. The article is a good example of the potential reputational damage that a sports star can incur as a result of what was originally a very well intended act - earlier this year I referred this article to one of the named footballers who Brabners has been advising.
So how can sports stars who choose to establish a new charity avoid the negative headlines that others have suffered?
The answer lies mainly in governance. Ensuring that a new charitable foundation is set up with an appropriate governance framework is key. A strong board of trustees should be installed and whilst this may include family members it is sensible to consider finding independent trustees with relevant experience.
In addition to this, the trustees should consider their strategy and long term goals. Many examples of failed charities evidence a "petering out" of fundraising and activity. Any charity, once established, could outlive its founder and first trustees and a long term strategy that takes account of future income streams (bearing in mind that in the majority of cases, a sporting career is relatively short) can guard against the lull that may occur following the first couple of years.
Charity governance and the duties and responsibilities of charity trustees require a professional and committed approach. Working with other charities, as suggested in the article below, is an option for sports men and women but there are a number of examples of charities established by sports stars that have become very successful in tackling charitable need.
Sports stars and their advisory teams should ensure that they understand all of the issues before they enter the charity field of play.
But the evidence is clear that what some of these foundations gain in media exposure is more than offset by what they lose in sustainability, transparency and accountability.