The Bernie Mac Foundation, which the late comedian founded three years before his death, helps sufferers of sarcoidosis. Mac suffered from the inflammatory disease, which affects multiple organs including the lungs. When Mac died in 2008, his widow Rhonda McCullough was devastated. She’d been with Mac since she was 16, she recently told Oprah Winfrey. She knew no other life. McCullough told Oprah that it was partly her work for the Bernie Mac Foundation that kept her going.
But in her state, Mac’s widow may not have been ready for the complex range of responsibilities that running a large charitable organization requires. After Mac’s death, the Bernie Mac Foundation was flooded with donations — and the new financing hit McCullough just as she was in her deepest grief. An investigation into the practices of the foundation discovered questionable distribution of some of its funds. The Chicago Tribune reported that only 16% of donations actually went to charitable programs between 2009 and 2013. But a 2015 overhaul of the Bernie Mac Foundation addressed these problems and sought to bring the foundation more in line with the typical goal of 65% distribution. The overhaul includes board members not receiving salaries and other changes meant to counteract potential improprieties. Rhonda McCullough “will continue to serve as board president for as long as she chooses under the new bylaws,” the Tribune reported a year ago.