Published September 13, 2013
NEW YORK – Tina Brown’s charity, the Women in the World Foundation, made a $650,000 lump sum gift on Thursday just hours before the New York Post published a story saying the charity had only disbursed a miniscule $10,000 out of the $1.17 million it made in its first year in existence.
But despite the big-money grant, made to a group launched by former secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and Madeleine K. Albright, Brown’s charity still lags well behind what charity watchdog groups say it should be giving.
A source close to the charity tells FOX411 that the foundation has raised $2.6 million since its launch in July 2011, and given out about $1.1 million in grants.
“In their startup year, which is essentially the first four months of the program, they raised $1.1 million and they granted that $10,000,” the source told us.
The source explained the remainder of the $1.1 million in donations was handed out over the three years the foundation has been active, including the $650,000 to Vital Voices.
The Women in the World Foundation works to find solutions for the problems that women around the world face. Vital Voices, the Clinton-Albright group, aims to identify and train future women leaders around the world.
Prior to Thursday night’s $650,000 donation, the Women in the World Foundation had handed out about $450,000 of its $2.6 million.
Nonprofit watchdog group Charity Navigator suggests no more than 15 percent of a charity's cash flow should go toward administration or overhead. If a charity has 30 percent or more of its funds going toward administrative fees or overhead, they say a charity has trouble.
The Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance gives a slightly wider birth for administrative fees, recommending charities spend at least 65 percent of their total expenses on program activities.
Approximately 42 percent of the Women in the World Foundation’s total earnings has gone toward grants. According to a press release sent out by Brown's team: “The remaining $1.5 million funded the programs of the foundation including Women in the World on Campus, the Women of Impact Awards program, outreach, as well as building and populating the information portal."
The source also said that that grants were not initially part of the Women in the World Foundation’s mission.
“When they first set up the foundation, they first set it up as an educational foundation. Initially it was an educational foundation not a grant foundation, but because of their success they were able to give out the grants,” the source explained.
Records for 2012 are not available yet, as the foundation requested an extension on its tax return. But its 2011 return reveals the foundation spent $168,048 in 2011 for a launch party, hosted by Meryl Streep, and listed total expenses of more than $530,000 for the year.
The single $10,000 grant that year went to Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee.
The charity hoopla is just the latest drama for Brown, who announced on Wednesday that she was parting ways with The Daily Beast.
"Exciting news ... sad 2 leave Beast but change is good," Brown posted on Twitter.
Brown, the former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, oversaw the ill-fated merger of Newsweek and The Daily Beast website. She also presided over the end of the print run for Newsweek, which IAC bought for $1 in 2010 before merging it with the Daily Beast.
The money-losing magazine went online only last year and was sold IBT Media last month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.