Kanye Charity Abruptly Shutters

The Kanye West Foundation, intended to reduce high school dropout rates, has shuttered quietly and pretty mysteriously, with no one connected to the organization willing to discuss or even confirm the closure.

Word leaked out when former executive director Joseph Collins reportedly sent an email notifying benificiary organizations about the closure, and two of those nonprofits’ execs forwarded the missive to the New York Times.

“I am reaching out to let you now that the Kanye West Foundation (kanyewestfoundation.org) has officially closed its doors after a successful 4+ years of programming and events,” Collins wrote. “It has been an incredible experience working with Kanye and the board to realize his mother’s vision and I am honored to have been given the opportunity to lead the Foundation.”

But when reached by the Times, Collins declined to comment and suggested the paper discuss the matter with West. Calls to his agency, William Morris Endeavor, were referred to West’s publicist who did not respond to email requests. Michelynn Woodard, the foundation’s listed chairwoman, did not respond, either.

After a little digging, the Times learned that the foundation was not in fact funded by West, as is often the case with nonprofit foundations headed up by celebrities. Instead, it appears to have been funded solely from the charitable contributions of West’s music industry connections.

Madison Square Garden donated $151,754 in 2009, according to the NYT. Live Nation Music Group and Goldenvoice reportedly made contributions in 2008.

The Kanye West Foundation raised an average of $492,000 from 2007-09. Grant distributions averaged $18,080 during the same period. However, that average was reduced significantly in 2009, when the charity made just $563 in grants. Tax forms are unavailable for 2010.

Grant-making, according to the Times, dropped drastically after the 2007 death of Donda West, Kanye’s mother, from complications of plastic surgery. She was an English professor and founded the organization because she was passionate about student success, according to the foundation’s website.