Roger Friedman

Roger Friedman, Contributor

I cover Hollywood and the business of celebrity

Media & Entertainment
4/24/2012 @ 1:54PM |1,207 views

Will Smith Invested $1.2 Mil Into School with Scientology Ties in 2010

I’ve reported before about Will Smith‘s donations to Scientology organizations in the past. But in none of the filings for the Will Smith Foundation was there ever listed a donation to the school he started with wife Jada Pinkett Smith in Calabasas, California. That school, New Village Leadership Academy, has been criticized in the past for teaching Scientology courses to its grade school students. For three years, NVLA never filed a Form 990 as a school, so it was hard to track their finances. But now a Form 990 Federal Tax filing has suddenly emerged on just for the year 2010. It shows a few things of interest. For one, Smith donated $1,235,00  to the school in 2010 from his WSJ Trust, not from his publicly scrutinized foundation. That’s why it never showed up before.

Basically, Smith’s donation almost covered the $1.4 million non specific salaries listed for the school. Under salaries, NVLA lists just two educators, both with Scientology backgrounds. The head of school is named Franca Campopiano, but the school confirmed that she is also known as Piano Foster. She was paid $200.000 in 2010. As Piano Foster, Campopiano has been listed as a past student of Scientology. She’s married to a Darryl Foster, also a past student of Scientology.Foster/Campopiano succeeded the school’s original head, Jacqueline Oliver, who left in a dispute with the Smiths over the Scientology teaching at the school.

The other educator listed is Carol McGuire, listed not as a teacher but “Technology Specialist.”  She was paid $120,000 in 2010. McGuire also goes by Carol Ann McGuire. On the NVLA website she’s listed as a “employee/teacher” but on the form 990 it’s quite specific. And that’s important because Scientology’s basic curriculum is something called Study Tech. On its website, NVLA stresses “technology” as one of the most important parts of its lessons.

Meantime, the Will Smith Foundation gave away $758,997 to other charities, schools, and foundations in 2010 including $20,000 to the ILM Foundation, a Muslim education organization that has since ceased functioning.

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  • Ari Ari 2 days ago

    he’s created a Scientology factory

  • jama jama 2 days ago

    Dear Roger,

    The fact that Will Smith and his wife Jada founded this school was widely reported 2 or 3 years ago. They announced it publicly so I really don’t understand what you claime to have discovered. They founded it through WSJ Trust and not their charity? Wow that’s just “scandalous”… Next year’s Pulizer definatelly goes to you. Congrats! You wrote this so called “article” and you repeated all facts that were previously published by others few years ago only to spark some media circulation right before a new Will Smith’s film arrives in theaters. Today’s “journalism” is really dissapointing…

  • Too Much Too Much 2 days ago

    So now we once again get reminded that Will Smith funds gross human rights atrocities committed by his Scientology crime syndicate buddies against children.

  • cultofgreed cultofgreed 1 day ago

    Another celebrity to boycott. With all the worthwhile charities out there that could give real benefit to those in need, and this guy donates to a brutal organization like Scientology? Sad.

  • Earl Graystoke Earl Graystoke 51 minutes ago

    Forbes, you’ve been Friedmanned.

    This story wasn’t news when Roger Friedman miscast its facts in 2010, nor any of the subsequent times he’s rewritten and republished it. He’s now found another gullible, or uninformed, venue in which to publish what must be his 50th anti-Scientology poo-piece since the 1990s. He needs a new pony and Forbes needs more-careful–or less-nepotic–editors.

    In the article that Forbes carelessly accepted, Friedman parrots his shopworn misrepresentations. The classes he decries instruct students in study methods that speed assimilation of information. They teach a technology of study, called “Study Tech,” developed by Scientology’s founder, Ron Hubbard.

    But there’s not one sentence of Scientology’s theology in them.

    Most writers would applaud what Friedman attacks–required use of dictionaries, frequent face-to-face quizzes, creating essays or models to prove understanding, and real-world application of materials learned. What writer would attack that?

    To seal Friedman’s duplicity toward Forbes and its readers, he knows well the courses are theology-free. Under each of his several articles about the Smiths’ donations to this school, dozens of reader comments have corrected his misinformation. The distinction between theology and data assimilation has been explained to Friedman quite carefully.

    Maybe he needs the disciplines of Study Tech to understand this. Until then, please find more-honest writers.