Byline: STEVE PATTERSON
LOCAL ATHLETES DO THEIR PART
At least 15 sports stars operate charities in the Jacksonville area.
MOST GROUPS MEET GUIDELINES
Seven of 10 of the group met Better Business Bureau standards.
ABUSE CAN BE A CONCERN
Still, some groups could not account for why certain expenses occurred.
Want to party with a pro bowler? Golf with sports greats?
Don't sweat the money. You can do it for charity.
A growing squad of professional athletes, both current and retired, are operating nonprofit foundations in Jacksonville, most financed by events at which sports celebrities hobnob with the rest of us.
"There are a lot more guys out in the community doing things for people in need. I know when I started, there weren't many," said Rick Wilkins, a retired Major League Baseball catcher. His charity, the Rick Wilkins Foundation, opened in 1993 to help developmentally disabled adults.
At least 15 sports star charities operate in the Jacksonville area, spending at least $1.4 million yearly on causes ranging from single mothers to hospice care.
As a group, they do a fair job managing donor money.
The Times-Union reviewed the latest tax returns from a dozen foundations - the rest are new and haven't filed returns yet. Two were essentially inactive in their latest filings.
Of the remaining 10, seven met a guideline of the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance that at least 65 percent …