Hip hop star Kanye West's plea for help with his supposed $53-million personal debt might instead lead to more donations for a local Edmonton-based African charity.
Two weeks ago, West pleaded for help with his finances on Twitter and even asked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for money.
And he didn't stop there. He followed up by inferring that money spent funding his music is a better investment than opening "one school in Africa," which he said wouldn't really help "the country."
I write this to you my brothers while still 53 million dollars in personal debt... Please pray we overcome... This is my true heart...— @kanyewest
Mark Zuckerberg invest 1 billion dollars into Kanye West ideas— @kanyewest
you’d rather open up one school in Africa like you really helped the country…— @kanyewest
That was where American copywriter and former Kanye fan Gabriel Ferrer drew the line with the Gold Digger singer, and created a website called "Help Kenya, Not Kanye." Instead of supporting West by shopping for a new pair of Yeezy Boosts or buying his new album, The Life of Pablo, the website asks fans to donate money to 10 charities that help people in the east African country.
'This came right out of the blue for us'
Alongside UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity and Save The Children, Edmonton-based charity One Child's Village was one of the charities listed on the website.
"This was just a surprise, a shock, and just an incredible opportunity that came our way," managing director Todd Lorentz said. "This came right out of the blue for us."
'We just work hard at the projects we love to do and helping the people who need help out in the world.' - Todd Lorentz, managing director of One Child's Village
Lorentz said he got a call on Saturday from the crowdfunding website asking for his charity's information. Lorentz said he doesn't really keep up on pop culture, and was wary at first. He thought it was a scam, before he looked into it a little closer.
"I thought, 'What a sort of creative, brilliant idea of using the play of Kenya and Kanye, those words, to really shine the light on Africa and children and the needs of people in Africa, and specifically in Kenya,' " he said. "I think what Kanye had really intended on his own behalf really flowered into something that could support a lot of the needs of really needy people in Kenya. And our mandate fit right into that, so we were very happy to be a part of it."
One Child's Village began in 2005 in Edmonton. The home-based charity relies on public donations to support Kenyan children orphaned by HIV. They provide basic needs for the children, such as food, water, education, clothing and uniforms and school books.
A school they built last year in a Nairobi slum currently has 200 students enrolled, and hired 10 local teachers.
Take that, Kanye.
Donations from website a 'boost' for Edmonton charity
Lorentz said donations from the website have started trickling into the foundation. It's a much-needed boost for the charity, he said, especially considering donations have been down since the economic downturn in Alberta.
"We're like any organization, and I know many in Edmonton here and in Alberta who work very hard," Lorentz said. "We don't have money for marketing and things like that, we just work hard at the projects we love to do and helping the people who need help out in the world.
"So it's really just an incredible opportunity for something like this to come up out of the blue and really give us a boost."