By Nina Terrero
March 13, 2014 at 05:32 PM EDT
Frazer Harrison/FilmMagic;

Cynthia Germanotta has gone on the record about reports that daughter Lady Gaga’s foundation has spent millions on expenses like its website and publicity instead of charity grants, insisting that the Born This Way Foundation “carries out its work directly.”

“It is important for us to set the record straight regarding Born This Way Foundation’s mission and how the organization allocates its funds. … First and foremost, we are an organization that conducts our charitable activity directly, and we fund our own work,” wrote foundation co-founder and president Germanotta in an op-ed published March 12 by the Huffington Post. “We are not a grant-maker that funds the work of other charities, and were never intended to be.”

The defensive op-ed comes just days after wrote a scathing article about the foundation’s spending, revealing that the foundation spent just $5,000 of its $2.1 million in net assets.

“Despite spending $348,000 in 2012 on their outreach bus tour, the Born this Way Foundation otherwise managed to fritter away around $1.5 million on legal fees, publicity, and a website,” wrote journalist Roger Friedman in the March 11 article. Citing a Form 990 filed by the charity in 2012, the article listed expenses “that had nothing to do with helping anyone.”

The expenses include approximately $362,921 on “Web Design, Consulting,” $348,000 on “Event Production,” and $194,819 on “Legal Services,” EW found in its review of the Form 990. The foundation — which claimed assets of $2.1 million — paid out $5,000 in a single grant.

“Gaga would have been better served just writing a check to the Elton John AIDS Foundation,” Friedman wrote. “It would have done more good, and quickly.”

But the Born This Way Foundation — an anti-bullying organization founded by Lady Gaga in 2011 — conducts its charitable activity “directly,” wrote Germanotta.

“Our activity has included The Born Brave Bus Tour, which has traveled to 23 communities, interacting with more than 19,000 young people and raising awareness to the tune of more than 300 million media impressions,” she explained, noting that the foundation also makes use of its website and social media channels to reach users.

Lady Gaga’s representative did not respond to EW’s request for comment.

The singer did take to her website to explain the situation, telling fans, “We do not raise money and allocate the funds to other charities for them to do the work,” Lady Gaga said in a statement posted March 13.

“My mom is on the ground with the kids, so am I, the whole Born Brave Team is.”