- Negative press
- High CEO salary
Salary data for 2015 is not available, and not yet published on the organization's website (this information is disclosed on the IRS Form 990). The president and CEO, Carolyn Miles, earned a $439,753 (0.06 percent of the organization's revenue) in 2014. This salary is significantly higher than comparable salaries from other similar organizations.
2014: Tony Blair Save the Children Global Legacy Award
Save the Children was originally founded in Great Britain, with the organization's global headquarters remain in the United Kingdom. The American organization recognized former English Prime Minister, Tony Blair, with its Global Legacy Award. The award sparked significant controversy in Great Britain from those who were against the United Kingdom's entry into the Iraq War as an ally of the United States, saying the Mr. Blair was responsible for thousands of civilian deaths as a result of the war. Some especially loud critics went as far as to accuse him of being a child murderer.
Within days, Save the Children responded to its critics, apologized and clarified that while the award was named the "Global Legacy Award," and that awarding it to Mr. Blair was specifically recognizing his work in Africa, not globally. There remain several people on Facebook who have posted about this award and calling the organization hypocritical.
2006, 2009: Madonna, Malawi, and Adoptions
Madonna adopted a young boy from an orphanage in Malawi in 2006. The controversy began when news sources revealed that the child had a surviving father in the country. The little boy's mother passed away a few days after his birth, and his father took him to an orphanage to care for him after losing his wife and two sons (both older than the child whom Madonna and her husband adopted) to malaria. The couple met the boy's father and he gave his blessing, stating that he had been promised that Madonna and her husband would honor the culture and traditions of Malawi as well as that when the child grew older that he would visit his home country.
Save the Children became very vocal in its criticism of Madonna when the couple returned to adopt a little girl from the same orphanage in Malawi in 2009. The organization stated that the superstar was putting on a "puppy show" with her adoptions and that all children should remain in their original environment. Additional criticism came from other sources stating that Madonna was using her wealth and fame to bypass child protection guidelines. Malawi officials granted Madonna rights to take her newly adopted children out of the country, with cooperative agreements made for further observations to protect the children in the United Kingdom and the United States.
The second adoption was contested by the child's family members who left her at the orphanage as an infant, with an agreement to return when she was six to resume her care.
The Review Team, some of whom have adopted multiple times, found the practices and statements about children being paraded as a puppy show by a children's charity offensive. There is little mention that Madonna and Mr. Richie, her husband gave $3 million for orphans in Malawi. Many international adoptive families prepare gifts or give generously to the orphanages from where their children were originally housed, as a way to give back to those who gave so much care to orphans. It is conceivable that Madonna's generous gift directly to those in need created a tenuous relationship with Save the Children, since the organization did not receive their administrative "cut" with a direct gift from the family to the orphanages.