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Prince's Philanthropy Benefited Afghan Orphans

| by Nik Bonopartis
Prince During His Purple Rain Era.Prince During His Purple Rain Era.

The late Prince Rogers Nelson was a lot of things: Music icon. Masterful guitarist. Noted eccentric.

For years, rumors circulated that he was also a major philanthropist, but the famously headstrong musician preferred to keep his charity work private, often going through intermediaries so even the beneficiaries of his generosity didn't know the money was coming from him.

Since his death on April 21, details of some of that charity work are coming to light -- including the musician's secret donations to help support some 2,000 orphans in Afghanistan.

Among the groups Prince supported was Physiotherapy and Rehabilitative Support for Afghanistan, a nongovernmental organization that helps vulnerable women and children, reports the Daily Mail. Prince's donations funded training for 100 scout masters to care for about 2,000 orphaned children from Afghanistan, the charity told the Daily Mail.

As was the case with most other charities that benefited from the pop icon's philanthropy, the money was handled by an intermediary -- in this case, Seattle philanthropist Betty Tisdale. PARSA's Marnie Gustavson told Agence France-Presse that Tisdale asked her to identify a program that could benefit from donations.

"After she [Tisdale] went home, she sent a check for $15,000, completely unexpected," Gustavson said. "She told me it comes from Prince, he loves my work and I told him about your Scout program, but do not tell anybody."

Political activist Van Jones told a similar story to Rolling Stone after the musician's death. Jones said he was working on former President George W. Bush's Green Jobs Act when he received an anonymous $50,000 donation.

"I promptly returned it," Jones told the magazine. "I'm not taking anonymous checks for $50,000. It could be from anybody."

After returning the check -- and receiving it again -- a representative called Jones to convince him to take the money.

"I cannot tell you who the money is coming from, but his favorite color is purple," Jones said, paraphrasing the rep's words. "I said, 'Well, now you've got another problem, because now I'm not going to cash the check, I'm going to frame it.'"

Following the musician's death, the Rev. Al Sharpton told MSNBC that Prince would regularly -- and quietly -- donate money to causes he thought were worthy. Whether financially supporting charities that teach kids computer code, or helping grieving families, Prince made sure the money was delivered, but also made sure his name wasn't attached.

"What many people didn't know is that he would support many of our civil rights causes," Sharpton said. "I remember when we were raising the issue of justice around the Trayvon Martin killing. Prince called me and sent some funds that I gave to the family for him and never wanted recognition for it."

Prince died at his home near Minneapolis. Authorities are still awaiting toxicology reports, and the results of an autopsy haven't been made public yet.

Sources: Daily Mail, MSNBC via People, Rolling Stone / Photo credit: Warner Brothers via Rolling Stone

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