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The Police to bow out for good in New York

The Police will cap their reunion tour with a final concert this summer in New York, where they started out 30 years ago.At a news conference Tuesday in Times Square, frontman Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland also said they wanted to make a lasting contribution to New York, and announced they will donate $1 million to a city program that aims to plant 1 million trees by 2
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Police will cap their reunion tour with a final concert this summer in New York, where they started out 30 years ago.

At a news conference Tuesday in Times Square, frontman Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland also said they wanted to make a lasting contribution to New York, and announced they will donate $1 million to a city program that aims to plant 1 million trees by 2017.

“We have a long history here,” Sting said. “We wanted to leave a gift with our last performance that would keep on giving year after year, decade after decade — the gift of trees does do that.”

The Police split up in 1984 but reunited for an anniversary tour last year. They said details about the date, venue and tickets for the final show will be released soon. Proceeds will benefit public television.

The group said in a statement: “We kicked off our very first American tour at CBGB’s in 1978, and this summer, 30 years later, our journey will come full circle as we play our final show here in New York City.” (CBGB closed in October 2006 after 33 years in downtown New York.)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the group’s donation to the tree program, plus $1 million in matching money from the city, will pay for the planting of 10,000 trees citywide.

In a nod to one of the Police’s hits, Bloomberg said the gift helps “ensure that every breath we take is cleaner and greener.”

Bloomberg also praised the Police as a group that has set a philanthropic standard.

But Sting’s charitable organization, the Rainforest Foundation, has come under criticism recently for the percentage of contributions it spends on programs.

Charity Navigator spokeswoman Sandra Miniutti said most charities spend 75 percent or more, and that only about 2 percent of the charities it follows get a zero star rating.

Asked Tuesday about the claims against his foundation, Sting noted that in the charity’s 20-year history, it has raised $25 million and spent more than $21 million, or 84 percent.

“That’s a very good record,” he said.

It is unfair to look at the organization’s yearly expenditures, he added, because it operates on a two-year cycle.

“It’s not only misleading but irresponsible to reflect our numbers in any other way,” he said.