The charities watchdog has opened a formal investigation into the fashion charity founded by supermodel Naomi Campbell due to concerns about its administration and finances.
Campbell founded Fashion for Relief in 2005 to raise funds for children living in poverty and adversity around the world, and claims that the annual charity fashion show has raised millions of dollars for good causes over the years.
Campbell and her fellow trustees will be investigated by the Charity Commission to see if they “fully exercised their legal obligations and responsibilities under charity law,” as well as payments made by the charity to one of its trustees.
It will also examine into the charity’s spending and the trustees’ management of Fashion for Relief, including any possible wrongdoing or mismanagement, as well as the failure to file statutory annual reports on time.
Campbell, together with Bianka Hellmich and Veronica Sylvia Wing Wai Au Chou, is one of the three trustees of Fashion for Relief. Since 2015, they have all been identified as trustees of the charity.
For years, Fashion for Relief has organized spectacular fashion events to benefit its charitable partners. In 2019, it joined with Sadiq Khan’s Mayor’s Fund for London to provide skills and training to low-income youth.
In September of that year, it conducted a London fashion week presentation at the British Museum, which included a fashion show, gala dinner, and art auction. Campbell, Naomie Harris, Pierce Brosnan, Skepta, and Alexa Chung were among the guests.
The Mayor’s Fund website does not appear to state how much money was raised, but it does exhibit cuttings from Vogue, Elle, and other fashion publications with headlines like Naomi Campbell is Saving the World One Fashion Show at a Time.
According to the Organisation Commission’s online register, the charity has failed to disclose its 2020 accounts, which are more than 178 days late.
According to the charity’s most recent set of disclosed finances, it raised £1,722,000 in the year to July 2019, the majority of which came through sponsorships. According to the financial statements, £1,606,000 was spent on putting on a charity event and paying for public relations and other workers. Only £5,515 appears to have been donated to charitable causes.
Trustees’ expenses are likewise exceptionally high in the 2019 accounts. Hellmich was compensated with £77,000 in consulting fees and £15,942 in travel costs. The nonprofit spent £107,000 on trustees’ fees and £23,000 on expenditures the previous year.
For more than a year, the Charity Commission for England has been in private talks with Fashion for Relief about “a number of regulatory concerns,” including late filing of accounts, potential conflicts of interest, and financial management deficiencies.
The commission has now elevated what was formerly a compliance issue to a full inquiry, the highest degree of probe, implying that the regulator has been unable to address its concerns.
“Fashion For Relief (FFR) is fully working with the Charity Commission and will continue to do so throughout the investigative process,” the charity said in a statement. Our goal is to complete the regulatory consultation with the commission as soon as possible.
“Unfortunately, due of the Covid epidemic, we were unable to hold any events or fundraise for nearly two years.” As a result, we requested a formal accountancy deadline extension. Any allegation of dishonesty or misbehavior on the trustees’ part is false and refuted.
“FFR is more than just a fundraising organization. It encourages donations to other charities and good causes by leveraging its resources, the contacts and experience of its trustees and associates, and fundraising activities. Every one of our events has benefited a non-profit organization. All donations and pledges are made directly to the third-party charity at each event.
“As a result of our efforts, £11.5 million has been donated to other charity.” Hurricane Katrina, Ebola, women’s mental health, the Haiti earthquake, the Japanese tsunami – as well as floods in the UK – have all gotten a lot of worldwide attention and media coverage.
“FFR commits to programs in collaboration with a number of sponsors, whose funds make them possible. This is not uncommon, and many other charities collaborate with sponsors to carry out their missions.
“FFR is tremendously proud of what we’ve accomplished since its inception in 2005. The trustees put a lot of time and effort into FFR and will continue to do so in order to better the lives of individuals who are struggling.”