Madonna visits Malawi to check on charity, leaves in a huff over lack of VIP treatment | 

Madonna dancing during her recent trip to Malawi.
Madonna dancing during her recent trip to Malawi.
Madonna’s Instagram

You probably heard this one before. It starts with Madonna going to Malawi…

In the past the story ends with her visiting on of her projects in the country or adopting a kid. Her trip this month featured a twist ending.

Madonna did spend her time in Malawi visiting the projects that her charity, Raising Malawi, with her children in tow. Being an international superstar and philanthropic activities, Madonna and her entourage entered the country like VIPs.

That means, according to the Telegraph, that they get to skip the immigration lines, have access to a special lounge and are provided limo service to and from their private plane.

Fast forward to the end of the trip. The rock star and her entourage get majorly dissed!  Continue reading

Madonna’s Malawi magnanimity meltdown and the Seattle philanthropy connection | 



First, let’s clear up the misunderstanding that Madonna’s charity, Raising Malawi, is being investigated by the feds for raising $15 million to build a girl’s school in Malawi — and then abandoning the project.

According to USA Today, Madonna says there is no federal investigation of her charity. Hey, that’s good enough for me.

But there is indeed a big, mysterious mess here, however, which is too complicated to explain in a simple blog post. It involves an extremely wealthy Jewish religious organization that practices its version of Judaism according to the “esoteric teachings” of the Kabbalah.

It also appears to involve some fairly shady business practices. Too many to go into but provided in detail in a lengthy NewsWeek article called Madonna’s Malawi Disaster.

You can read all the weird details there, which I only got around to doing recently.

What caught my eye wasn’t all the expensive homes, cars and swimming pools purchased in the name of practicing spirituality. No, what caught my eye was reading that my old buddy Trevor Neilson was hired by Madonna. Here’s how Newsweek put it:

Madonna hired Trevor Neilson, another Clinton White House veteran whose Global Philanthropy Group specializes in star donors who need a public-relations face-lift.

Actually, Neilson really got his start in philanthropy messaging working as the first media relations guy for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Before that, he handled media issues for the Seattle School District.

He left Seattle to go try his hand promoting a number of blue-ribbon philanthropy endeavors but ended up creating this new business Global Philanthropy Group, which appears to be largely focused on helping celebrities do philanthropy.

Neilson’s new endeavor has offices in Los Angeles, New York City and Seattle.

Here’s his video pitch: