Brett Favre's Cancer Charity Allegedly Directed $130,000 to University of Southern Mississippi Athletics

Brett Farve
Brett Farve

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Brett Favre's charity, which supports disabled children and women with breast cancer, funneled more than $130,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation, tax documents obtained by ESPN and The Athletic revealed.

According to The Athletic, Favre's charity, Favre 4 Hope, used their funds to give the university's athletic foundation $60,000 in 2018, more than $46,800 in 2019, and more than $26,100 in 2020.

Over those same years, no other charitable organization received more than $10,000 to $11,000 from Favre 4 Hope, the outlet reported.

RELATED: Former Packers Quarterback Brett Favre Allegedly Used Welfare Funds for College Volleyball Stadium

The former NFL quarterback has also been linked to an ongoing scandal with ex-Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant that claims the pair used welfare funds meant for low-income residents to build a new volleyball stadium at the university where his daughter played. The allegations were first reported on in an investigation by Mississippi Today published earlier this month.

Funding for the stadium is now being investigated as part of the largest public fraud case in Mississippi history, per ESPN. PEOPLE reached out to a rep for Favre on Thursday afternoon.

Southern Miss Golden Eagles helmet
Southern Miss Golden Eagles helmet

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Experts who spoke to the Athletic and ESPN questioned why a charity such as Favre 4 Hope — one with a mission statement to help "underserved and disabled children and breast cancer patients" — would donate large sums of money to college athletics.

"If the charity told donors it was raising money for breast cancer but then spends the resulting donations on an athletic facility, the people running the organization are not fulfilling their obligations to spend the nonprofit's donations the way its donors intended," CharityWatch executive director Laurie Styron said.

She continued: "Charities are not personal piggy banks for their founders to tap into for pet projects. Celebrity athletes don't get a free pass, and if anything, should feel more of a personal obligation to set a good example by operating not only legally within the rules, but ethically so."

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Rick Cohen, Chief Operating Officer of the National Council of Nonprofits, said while some charities can change their focus over time, he doesn't suspect that is the case with Favre 4 Hope.

"There's the letter of the law, there's the spirit of the law and it's something where it would probably be tough to make a legal case but it still doesn't look good," he told the Athletic. "It isn't unheard of for a nonprofit to expand its mission or change its mission over time if they find they need to redirect. That does not seem to be the case here."

RELATED VIDEO: Brett Favre's SiriusXM Show Suspended Following Alleged Involvement in Welfare Fraud Case

According to the Mississippi state auditor, NBC News reported, Favre — a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers — was interviewed by the FBI in relation to allegations that Mississippi paid him $1.1 million in 2017 and 2018 to make motivational speeches that he never gave. That amount of money was also allegedly taken from federal welfare funds.

Favre reportedly repaid the speaking fees, but not an additional $228,000 in interest the Mississippi state auditor requested.