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Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s charity to close after Oscars slap sees donations plummet

The Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation is set to close following a fall in donations.

The non-profit organisation was started by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith in 1996 with the stated aim “to improve lives and uplift humanity”.

It raised funds both from the Hollywood power couple themselves and from other donors. According to the foundation’s website, it has “invested millions of dollars and invaluable resources to accelerate the growth of initiatives that focus on deepening individual and collective empowerment”.

However, Smith’s reputation has been tarnished since he publicly slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage at the 2022 Oscars, shortly before winning the award for Best Actor.

According to tax records, the foundation’s revenue dropped from $1,760,000 in 2020 and $2,138,660 in 2021 to just $365,870 in 2022.

This drop was down in part to the departure of contributors including American Airlines, which had donated $76,160 in 2021, and talent agency CAA, which contributed $100,000 in 2021.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the Critics Choice Awards in 2022 (Getty Images for Critics Choice)
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the Critics Choice Awards in 2022 (Getty Images for Critics Choice)

According to Variety, a source close to the foundation claimed that the couple had already been planning to wind down the foundation prior to the Oscars slap, and that they are now focusing on giving a similar amount to charitable causes through private avenues.

Charities that the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation had supported in the past include the American Film Institute, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.

In a quote published on the foundation’s website, Will Smith said: “I want to do good. I want the world to be better because I was here. I want my life, I want my work, my family, I want it to mean something. It’s like if you are not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better.”

In the immediate aftermath of the Oscars slap, Smith sent an official resignation to the Academy, stripping him of his membership to the Oscars awards body.

The Academy then fast-tracked a meeting with the board of governors to decide Smith’s fate, deciding to ban the actor from the Oscars and any related Academy events for the next 10 years.

In July 2022, Smith issued an apology video to Rock, which the comedian did not respond to.

Rock finally addressed the incident head-on for the first time in his 2023 comedy special for Netflix, Chris Rock: Selective Outrage.