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Brad Pitt’s Foundation Has to Pay Katrina Survivors $20.5 Million

Brad Pitt. Face of angel. Talent of a generation. Non-profit charity instincts of a …well.

Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation is trying to make things right with the victims of Hurricane Katrina, settling a lawsuit to the tune of $20.5 million.

A few years after Katrina hit New Orleans, Pitt and the foundation made a splash by getting a team of flashy architects to build energy-efficient homes which were then sold at inexpensive prices to people who’d lost their houses to the storm. It was a nice gesture, at first. But soon, many of the homes started to fall apart. Vanity Fair notes that these homes had “leaks that caused rot, structural damage, and mold, as well as faulty heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, electrical malfunctions and bad plumbing.” Two had been fully torn down within just 10 years, while others have since been boarded up.

Make It Right has acknowledged the issues with the homes and gotten tangled up in a bevy of lawsuits with lumber manufacturers, managing architects and officials accused of mismanaging the projects.

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Although only six homeowners are named in the lawsuit, Make It Right will divvy the settlement out to all 107 homeowners, who are eligible to receive $25,000 a pop as reimbursement for the slew of repairs they’ve had to make to their homes. A nonprofit called Global Green will be in charge of making sure everyone gets their fair share.

“I am incredibly grateful for Global Green’s willingness to step up and provide this important support for the Lower Ninth families,” Pitt said in a statement. “We collaborated in the early days post-Katrina and we are very fortunate to have Global Green’s generous continuing commitment to help address the challenges around these homes and others in need. Hopefully this agreement will allow everyone to look ahead to other opportunities to continue to strengthen this proud community in the future.”

That’s a pretty carefully worded statement, but the long and short of it is that running a charity is tough work. And the bigger you go, the harder it is to deliver — especially when you start bringing state of the art housing into the situation. Pitt surely had good intentions, as did most everyone involved in the project, but good intentions don’t keep a roof from leaking.

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