Another day, another revelation regarding Brett Favre's shady financial dealings with his alma mater Southern Miss.
Sports Illustrated cites a Wednesday night report by The Athletic that Favre’s charitable foundation, Favre 4 Hope, donated more than $130,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi around the same time the former NFL quarterback was working with the state governor to fund a new volleyball center at the school he and his daughter, a volleyball player, attended.
The foundation states that it aims to support disadvantaged children and cancer patients.
Favre is currently one of dozens of individuals being sued by the state of Mississippi for misappropriating funds for the USM volleyball facility. Text messages obtained by Mississippi Today show Favre, governor Phil Bryant, nonprofit founder Nancy New and former welfare agency director John Davis worked together to funnel at least $5 million of the state’s welfare funds toward the building of the stadium.
Just this week came news that subsequent to his volleyball efforts, Favre tried to secure welfare funds for the football program, as well.
Tax records obtained by The Athletic detailed that Favre 4 Hope donated money to USM from 2018 to ’20. In 2018, the foundation sent the USM Athletic Foundation $60,000, even though no other charities received as much as $10,000 from Favre 4 Hope that year.
In 2019, Favre 4 Hope gave $46,817, while its next highest donation to a charity was just $11,000. Then, in 2020, the USM Athletic Foundation received $26,175, while, once again, no other charities were given more than $10,000.
Favre’s foundation donated to his daughter’s volleyball team while she was in high school, too. In 2015, Oak Grove High in Hattiesburg, Miss., received a $60,000 donation from Favre 4 Hope to its booster club. The Booster Club added $349 to that total for an “athletic facility,” SI reported, citing The Athletic.
While tax records do not explain the conditions of the donations, it is likely that the conditions did not align with Favre 4 Hope’s mission to help disadvantaged children and those dealing with cancer.
“You can’t say you’re raising money for one purpose and then spend it on something totally different,” executive director of CharityWatch Laurie Styron told The Athletic. “Charities have an ethical obligation, and in some cases a legal obligation, to fulfill the intentions of its donors in the way funds are spent.”
”There’s the letter of the law, there’s the spirit of the law and it’s something where it would probably be tough to make a legal case but it still doesn’t look good,” chief operating officer of the National Council of Nonprofits Rick Cohen added. “It isn’t unheard of for a nonprofit to expand its mission or change its mission over time if they find they need to redirect. That does not seem to be the case here."
As reported by SI, Favre has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing and has reportedly repaid $1.1 million, claiming he didn’t know the money he received came from welfare funds.