We’re at the tail end of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, but it is still important to be wary of where your money is going.
In the last two years, it was revealed that Philip Anschutz, CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, has donated to campaigns and organizations that are anti-LGBT.
In July 2016, Freedom for All Americans, an LGBT advocacy group, reported that the charitable organization founded by Anschutz gave $190,000 to anti-gay groups between 2010 and 2013. The Anschutz Foundation’s tax filings later confirmed those claims, and in January 2017, right when Coachella tickets went on sale, the news went viral, drawing condemnation and prompting a #BoycottCoachella hashtag on social media.
This obviously fell off, as the event was still full of people and self proclaimed “woke” performers. Beyoncé headlined the festival, renaming it “#Beychella,” and while her performance was full of Black history and pride, one couldn’t help but feel acid in their mouth about where money from Coachella was actually going, and how it was hidden for so long.
Anschutz tried to claim that his organization never knowingly donated to anti-gay groups, but if you’re giving away tens of thousands of dollars, don’t you think you would do more research than just an initial pass over the website?
This brings to light two major issues: fully knowing what organizations you are donating to and where the money you spend goes.
If Anschutz wants his claim to be fully accepted, then he should have done more research on the groups he donated to. As possible donors to charity and other advocacy groups, it is important for all of us to look up everything we can, as well as read up on controversies and decide if we really want our money to go there.
It’s harder to justify spending choices, though, as many chain stores from markets to clothing to restaurants have also been tied to donating to not the best organizations, but we all need to live.
But there is a difference between shopping at Walmart and buying a multi-hundred dollar ticket to a music festival in California that you’re really only going to for the online clout.
Even though Coachella is almost over, it’s important to keep these things in mind going forward. It might feel exhausting to do research on brands and chain stores, but it is important. It’s also important to remember the difference between a charity and a nonprofit organization.
If a group just calls itself a charity, it is probably a for-profit organization, versus a nonprofit where all of its donations and proceeds go towards helping its cause and not lining pockets.