Here, via Forbes, is a breakdown of where the Tyler Charitable Foundation has given the more than $7 million it doled out since 2000:
1. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: $4,781,000
2. Brigham Young University: $525,000
3. The United Way: $177,000
4. Right to Play: $111,500
5. The George W. Bush Library: $100,000
6. Operation Kids: $85,000
7. Center For Treatment of Pediatric MS: $75,000
8. Harvard Business School: $70,000
9. City Year: $65,000
10. Deseret International: $50,000
Weber State University: $50,000
As you can see, the majority of the funding goes to the Mormon church. The second-biggest recipient is the Mormon university that Romney attended. Other recipients include Romney’s former business school, and the library of the former president he has an incentive to curry favor with. In all, it is clear that Romney’s donations are about taking care of his own and advancing his personal interests. Relative to his vast wealth, he has given relatively little to programs that assist those truly in need.
Donations to religious organizations are considered “charitable contributions” for tax purposes. So are private schools. But that doesn’t mean that giving your church money for a new stained glass window or helping your alma mater build a new swimming pool is charity in the colloquial sense.
The Business Insider breakdown of Romney’s personal donations in 2009 and 2010 is worth quoting at length, because it exposes just how miserly he actually is.
In 2010, Mitt Romney took $3 million in charitable deductions on his tax return, against adjusted gross income of $22 million.
$1.5 million was a direct cash donation to the LDS Church
$1.5 million was a stock donation to the Romney’s private foundation, which is called the Tyler Foundation. The Tyler Foundation, in turn, gave away $647,500 in 2010, of which $145,000 went to the church. (The Tyler Foundation is controlled by the Romneys, so any money the Tyler Foundation gives away is effectively money the Romneys are giving away)
In 2010, therefore, Romney gave third parties (other than his foundation) a total of $2.1 million, with a total of $1.7 million going to the church. 78 percent of Romney’s donations in 2010, therefore, went to the church.
In 2009, meanwhile, Romney’s private foundation gave away a total of $631,000. This was made up of four gifts:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ($600,000)
My Sister’s Keeper ($5,000)
The Becket Fund ($25,000)
Mass General Hospital Cancer Center ($1,000)
In 2009, therefore, 95 percent of the money Romney’s foundation gave away went to the church.
The other recipients of Romney’s money are often right-wing anti-gay groups. As Raw Story reported: “The Tyler Charitable Foundation, set up and funded by the Romneys, donated $10,000 in 2006 to the Massachusetts Family Institute, which promotes the ex-gay therapy. The charity also donated $25,000 to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which opposes same sex marriage and has compared LGBT activists to the terrorist group al Qaeda.”