Raising Malawi, a charitable group backed by Madonna, has dropped its $15 million plan to build a school for impoverished girls in Malawi as a result of financial mismanagement. According to the New York Times, the board of directors for the organization have been ousted and replaced by a new board including Madonna and her manager. The departing board members are accused by auditors of extravagant expenditures on salaries, cars, housing, office space and a golf course membership.
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Trevor Neilson, the founder of the Global Philanthropy Group who was brought in by Madonna to help with the project in November, told the Times that he has advised the singer to focus on using her resources to finance education programs in Malawi rather than build an expensive school. Neilson says that $3.8 million has been spent on the proposed school, but a lack of accountability on the part of the management has made it unclear exactly how all of that money was used.
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Though the school project has been abandoned, Raising Malawi will continue to exist as a philanthropic presence in the nation. Madonna, who contributed $11 million of her own money to the foundation, said in statement yesterday that she is proud of Raising Malawi’s accomplishments but is “frustrated that our education work has not moved forward in a faster way.”