Anti-Kony Charity Slammed for Spending Habits, Gun Pic
'If you don't accept our unorthodoxy, you don't get us,' says co-founder
By Mary Papenfuss, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2012 3:01 AM CST
Updated Mar 9, 2012 5:00 AM CST
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(Newser) – An evangelical-linked charity behind a massively viral video exposing the evils of African warlord Joseph Kony is scrambling to answer questions about how it spends its money and a controversial photo showing members posing with weapons. Only 32% of $8.6 million raised by video-maker Invisible Children last year went to direct services, "with much of the rest going to salaries, travel, transport, and film production," according to an analysis of public finance reports by student blog Visible Children. More troubling to critics is the organization's suspected support for military intervention, apparently underscored by a photo of charity founders posing with guns with members of the Sudan Liberation Army, reports ABC News.

The charity, headquartered in San Diego, has posted a lengthy defense against critics on its website. Invisible Children is "faith-based," but doesn't want to be defined that way, co-founder Jason Russell tells ABC News. "We are unorthodox and if you don't accept the unorthodoxy of what we do, then you won't get it," he added. He also criticized the "old model" of charity fundraising that aims to deliver most donations directly to subjects, rather than more effectively spending money on advocacy. Russell called the gun picture—taken at the 2008 Juba Peace Talks when Kony was supposed to sign a peace treaty—a "joke photo" for family and friends. But AP photographer Glenna Gordon tells the Washington Post that she believes the photo she took smacks of colonialism, and that it "plays into the myth that Invisible Children are very much trying to create." While no one takes issue with attacking Kony, Gordon laments the "emotional manipulation" and inaccuracies of videos made by the group.

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Mar 22, 2012 10:26 PM CDT
I understand that there are people that are worried about their money being spent the right way because of the economy and everything but people today don't get the long lasting effect that this video has. The money that is being spent right now on that organization is put in the right way so that it has the long lasting effect. That's what is wrong with society. They put things to the side forget and then when there is something really good that grabs their attention that makes them get the message they make fun of it. Just another way of trying to avoid it and only care about themselves. People are so wrapped up in themselves that they don't take time for what is really important and will make a difference because they are to wrapped up in themselves to even care about the rest of the world. Then they have the guts to think of a sad article about a man having a melt down as funny when he is trying to do something right is pathetic.
Mar 9, 2012 2:58 PM CST
"We are faith based, but don't want to be defined that way." Something stinks, when you are opposed to people knowing your mission and origins.
Mar 9, 2012 8:46 AM CST
Maybe the organization is unorthodox and taking profits the wrong way etc etc, but that still doesn't stop the fact that there is a criminal out there doing unthinkable things to innocent children. We all need to just be aware that this is going on, it doesn't matter if an American organization is corrupt, so what? Just ignore them. Please people, you don't have to support the organization, but at least keep in your mind the crimes that are going on over there.