New Jersey-based charity Kars 4 Kids lost almost as much money in failed real estate investments in 2010 as it actually spent on programs for children. According to NBC New York, the charity lost $2.5 million investing in an outlet mall project near Outerbridge Crossing on Staten Island and another $2.3 million related to a pair of failed condominiums in Jersey City called View I and View II. An additional $500,000 was lost on a real estate investment in Israel.
The $5.3 million in losses represents about 15 percent of its net assets, and is nearly equivalent to the $6 million Kars 4 Kids spent on child programming.
NBC cited a philanthropy expert who said charities are expected to invest cautiously and only sparingly on real estate. But a Kars 4 Kids spokesperson said the investemnts were carefuly scrutinized and were made in an effort to expand services in the future.
The charity is actually comprised of two entities called JOY for Our Youth and Oorah, the latter of which was fined $130,000 in 2009 for failure to disclose religious connections. As a result, tracking its spending can be difficult. [NBC New York]