Tom Brady’s Charity Is Good at Giving Money—to His Own For-Profit Company ~ Nov. 17, 2022

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Star NFL quarterback Tom Brady has had a rough year. The seven-time Super Bowl champ came out of retirement—reportedly wrecking his marriage to supermodel Gisele Bündchen—to play a rocky season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And the player and his ex-wife could now lose their sizable investment in collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which filed for bankruptcy and is reportedly missing at least $1 billion in client funds. The couple took an equity stake in FTX last year as part of a deal that made them brand ambassadors. On Tuesday, investors filed a class-action lawsuit against Brady, Bündchen, and FTX’s other celebrity endorsers.

These may not be the 45-year-old’s only setbacks. Public records for Brady’s charity reviewed by The Daily Beast reveal that his sports therapy and wellness company TB12, Inc., was in the red as recently as 2020, with a negative balance of $7 million in net assets.

Meanwhile, his TB12 Foundation—lately in the news for installing his “TB12 Method” for injury recovery and prevention in select Florida schools—has doubled its revenues in recent years with donations from just a handful of supporters, including multimillionaire YouTube personality Logan Thirtyacre, who shelled out $200,000. (The Brady superfan once paid $800,000 to a charity auction to dine with the GOAT and interviewed him over Zoom in at least one YouTube video.) Canadian billionaire Lino Saputo Jr., a Porsche-loving hockey fanatic who helms the Saputo cheese company, donated $250,000.

Other donations included $10,000 each from the NFL Foundation, Fox Sports (where Brady will reportedly star as a lead analyst post-career), and Federico Laurencich, a helicopter pilot in Costa Rica, where Brady and Bündchen owned a hilltop mansion.

Brady, who earned $350 million during his two decades with the New England Patriots, has given a small fraction of his riches to his own charity, with little over $200,000 in donations, according to the TB12 Foundation’s tax filings.

Tom Brady after the NFL match between Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Allianz Arena on Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany

The quarterback’s for-profit company TB12, Inc. is the sole provider of “sports therapy” sessions for the TB12 Foundation. Since it launched in 2015, the foundation has paid Brady’s firm a total of more than $1.6 million for its services, and it’s the only company listed as an “independent contractor” for such treatments.

Some of the charity’s directors are paid employees of TB12, Inc., tax filings show.

Alex Guerrero, Brady’s longtime “body coach” and company co-founder, and TB12, Inc.’s then-CEO John Burns became directors of the nonprofit in July 2021, and the charity’s tax records indicate TB12, Inc. paid them $497,461 and $630,846 respectively. (Both Brady and Guerrero are each listed in the 2021 tax form as a “majority owner” of TB12, Inc.)

Laurie Styron, executive director of independent nonprofit monitor CharityWatch, told The Daily Beast that it isn’t common for a company to create a public charity, which then pays the company for its services. “I can say that I haven’t come across this type of arrangement too often in my 19 years of nonprofit financial analysis in a watchdog role,” Styron said.

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“A charity’s board members have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the charity at all times,” Styron added. “Doing so becomes more complicated when there are competing interests between nonprofit and for-profit legal entities, particularly when the two organizations share key staff who have to balance their fiduciary duties between the two. It has the potential to get tricky if there aren’t adequate safeguards in place.”

As part of its filings with the state of Massachusetts, the nonprofit has also presented a glimpse into the finances of TB12, Inc., which it lists as a related organization to the TB12 Foundation. The for-profit nutrition and wellness company sells things like a $160 vibrating “pliability” roller, $60 plant-based protein powder, and $200 sessions with its body coaches.

Brady founded TB12, Inc. in 2013 to sell supplements and fitness equipment with Guerrero, who was previously in the FTC’s crosshairs for falsely claiming to be a medical doctor and peddling dietary supplement capsules he claimed could cure cancer. Guerrero, called a “snake oil salesman” by some media organizations, later went on to sell a drink that could supposedly prevent concussions that Brady endorsed. The product, called NeuroSafe, advertised on its packaging as a “seatbelt for your brain.” It wasn’t available for long; Guerrero stopped selling it in 2012 after the FTC sent his lawyer a letter that stated, in part, “we have concluded that your client did not possess competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate the extraordinary claims for NeuroSafe.”

<img src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/2fKEXKF13hB3dKZQiItsGQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQ3MDtjZj13ZWJw/https://media.zenfs.com/en/thedailybeast.com/0f2c7130633717778599f9bbf45d61f2&quot; alt="<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Then-New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chára pose during the TB12 Grand Opening Event at the TB12 Performance & Recovery Center in Boston on Sep. 17, 2019.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe via Getty
Then-New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chára pose during the TB12 Grand Opening Event at the TB12 Performance & Recovery Center in Boston on Sep. 17, 2019. Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe via Getty

Guerrero’s scandals didn’t seem to hamper his ties to Brady. The former Patriot’s 2017 book, The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance, details his exercise and nutrition program developed with Guerrero and their concept of “muscle pliability.” According to the duo, softer, more pliable muscles lead to optimal performance and protect against injury—an assertion some experts have called pseudoscience.

Brady opened his TB12 Sports Therapy Center outside of Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, in fall of 2013, and, in an atypical agreement for the NFL, the Patriots paid Guerrero and TB12 staff to provide treatment for multiple players. Six years later, TB12, Inc. opened another location in Boston’s affluent Back Bay neighborhood, and the wellness company now offers its “body coaches” at some Equinox gyms in New York, luxury hotel Wynn Las Vegas, and Philadelphia’s Vincera Institute, a clinic for core muscle injuries.

As TB12, Inc. began to expand and forge corporate partnerships, the liabilities on the company’s balance sheet also grew, public records show.

TB12, Inc.’s net assets were listed at $862,460 in the foundation’s 2015 state charity records, and more than $2.17 million in 2016.

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In 2017, TB12, Inc.’s net assets jumped to over $5.72 million before dropping to $3.62 million the next year. In 2019, the records show, TB12, Inc.’s net assets plummeted to $176,435 and a year later had a negative balance of $7.41 million.

It’s unclear how TB12, Inc. ended up with a potential $7 million liability. Asked for comment, a spokesperson for TB12 would only say that the company’s assets do not impact its charitable foundation.

“When a charity has a related for-profit legal entity,” Styron said, “it can turn into an accountability black hole.”

“If the charity is granting or reimbursing funds to the for-profit entity, and the for-profit is then paying money to other companies or individuals, there is a danger that charitable dollars are indirectly subsidizing the expenses of the for-profit,” she added. “Money is fungible.”

<img src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/JJjLregvcBod29xVkOszRw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQ2OTtjZj13ZWJw/https://media.zenfs.com/en/thedailybeast.com/3a601abbe405cbcdc5deb9b35ab95d95&quot; alt="<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>TB12 hosts the grand opening of new flagship in Boston’s Back Bay on Sept. 17, 2019.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Kevin Mazur/Getty for TB12