Expert Tracks Chicago Sports Teams' Charity Funds

Cubs lead the way when it comes to fundraising

By Carol Marin and Don Mosely
|  Friday, Jun 6, 2014  |  Updated 12:49 PM CDT
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Chicago Bears Come Out for Robbie Gould Charity Event

Chicago sports teams raised more than $7 million for charity last year.

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When it comes to performance on the field, the Chicago Cubs may be last place in their division, but when it comes to raising cash for charity, the Cubs are way ahead of Chicago’s other pro sports teams. 

According to their most recent IRS form, Chicago Cubs Charities raised $2.4 million last year.  

The Chicago Bears charity, Bears Care, raised $1.6 million, the White Sox $1,294,000, the Blackhawks $1,226,000 and the Bulls $1.65 million.  

But does all that money go where it's supposed to? Jack Siegel, an author and expert on charities and how they raise and spend their money, says yes.

"They’re pretty plain vanilla charities, they do pretty much what I expect them to do," Siegel said. "What comes in, pretty much goes out."  

All charities must file an IRS 990 form, which details how much money was raised and what was used for things like administrative costs and fundraising.  

Health care organizations received the most money from the teams, with the biggest donation a $1.4 million gift to Lurie Children’s Hospital from the Bulls.   

Rush University Medical Center ($210,000) and Northwestern Memorial Foundation ($100,000) scored with the Bears and the Sox and Bulls both gave $100,000 and $200,000 to Rainbow Push’s PUSH for Excellence program respectively.   

The Cubs spread money throughout Lakeview with donations to the Center on Halsted and the Southport Neighborhood Association, but also gave $12,500 to Ravinia.   

"And you sort of think why Ravinia? And yeah, I have been out there, great place, but is that a little bit of owner personal philanthropy going on there?" Siegel said.  

The Jesse White Tumblers, the USO and the Field Museum also benefited from Chicago’s sports teams.   

So how do you know what to do when it comes to giving?  

"Get to know the charities, get to understand them, really have a sense of what they’re doing. So don’t give to the name, give to what they’re accomplishing," Siegel said.

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