Bush charity is dim point of light: 11% of funds goes to volunteers


WASHINGTON -- Throughout his presidency, George Bush persistently promoted his "1,000 Points of Light" campaign as the antidote for hunger, homelessness and poverty.

In 1990, Mr. Bush launched a private, nonprofit foundation to motivate every American to engage in community service.

Today, the lone remnant of the Bush initiative has the look of a wasteful, Washington-dependent operation. So far, the Points of Light Foundation has received $26.6 million in federal funds -- more than half its budget -- while incurring a wide range of costs that amount to questionable spending, experts say.

An examination of financial records by the Los Angeles Times shows that $22.3 million has been spent on glitzy promotions, consultants, salaries, travel and conferences. The expenses include $5.5 million to produce a television advertising campaign and $1.4 million for a celebration of community service.

By contrast, the foundation spent only 11 percent of its budget on volunteer efforts. Foundation President Richard F. Schubert is paid $160,000 annually, while a 13-member executive management team receives average salaries in excess of $80,000.

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