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true that the environmental movement is an upper class, white movement. We have to face that fact. It's true. They're not
wrong that we are rich and they are up against us. We are the enemy as long as we behave in that fashion."
Barbara Dudley, Veatch
Click for our commentary About Foundations
How to use this page: To find profiles of the key foundations funding environmental
groups, use the drop-down box to locate the foundation you wish to inspect, then click
Aug 2 09 12:11 AM
The Golden Rule: Who has the gold rules.
Private foundations have
taken substantial control of the environmental movement in America. They bring with them what psychiatrist Roy Menninger called "the narcissism of the righteous," a.k.a. the "I'm a better angel than
you" syndrome. Having money and the power to decide who gets it is intoxicating and toxic both to those who give and those who get. They live in a
world that knows nothing of creating wealth, but only of spending it.
But don't call it
plutocracy (the rule of wealth) because that will end your credibility among the plutocrats. And don't call those who rule by wealth an oligarchy
(rule by the elite few) because that will end your credibility with the elite few.
So we're reduced to calling
them rich guys who give the money and the marching orders. And we call them the ecoligarchy. Smile, it's a joke. You know, a story with a humorous ending? Or an unexpected juxtaposition of two disparate
planes of thought that produces a sudden insight?
However, the products of the plutocracy and their ecoligarchy are not funny to the people whose lives they ruin. They destroy jobs, they
destroy companies, they destroy industries, they destroy industrial sectors. Their power is enormous and dangerous.
Many liberal foundations have become
prescriptive, that is, they design their own programs for leftward social change and then pressure a highly orchestrated network of
environmental groups to perform their projects.
Some foundations no longer accept
applications, but only fund pre-selected groups.
Case in point: The
Blue Moon Foundation (formerly the W. Alton Jones Foundation) once had a policy statement
that advised applicants:
The foundation works principally through
foundation-defined initiatives addressing its priority issues. These initiatives usually take the form of coordinated grants to multiple
institutions, each of which focuses on one or more components of an overall campaign defined by the foundation's mission. Proposals for
participation in these initiatives are invited by the foundation.
foundations have some version of this exclusionary policy.
"Prescriptive" also means pressuring applicants from the open application process into programs they would not have originated
The Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA) is a group of more
than 200 foundations with important environmental programs. The EGA foundations meet in closed sessions to plan strategy in shutting down every
economic action that affects the environment.
"public interest" non-profits are a big, influential and expanding industry
During the last 15 years,
the number of foundations has nearly doubled from 22,000 to 39,000
Foundation assets now
exceed $200 billion, half of it controlled by fewer than 200 foundations
Big foundations, which
have a distinctly liberal cast, use their tax-exempt dollars to fund everything from the environmental movement to studies supporting the welfare
state to population control.
When used to finance
"public interest" group advocacy, foundation wealth can have an enormous influence on which public policy is
Most significant policy
initiatives undertaken today by the Federal government have some foundation support, and many are implemented as a result of foundation-funded
Those who run big
foundations represent a small, elite, insulated group, most of whom live in the eastern United States, hundreds or even thousands of miles from the
areas affected by the environmental policies they support
Foundations have no
voters, no customers, no investors
They have no wish to
receive feedback from those affected by their decisions, nor are they accountable to anyone for funding policies which adversely affect the
well-being of people or local economies
Tax exempt foundation
funding of environmental advocacy groups unfairly tilts the playing field against the views and input of those most affected by the policies
The average citizen's
voice and input in the government decision-making process is often drowned out by those advocacy groups largely funded by foundations, making our
government seem even more remote and less responsive to the needs of the average person
At least 18 foundations
give grants to environmental organizations to spy on critics, with the total of these grants from 1992 to 1996 exceeding $1
A foundation is a modern innovation to provide
for the endowment of non-profit enterprises and the establishment of an association or corporation to carry out its founder's
Once the founder is dead, the foundation
administrators often change the founder's plans and operate programs that the founder would have opposed. This is the case with most foundations
that fund environmentalist groups.
Most foundations are set up as charitable trusts.
The grantor conveys money, stocks or other property by a deed of trust to a named trustee or trustees, to be disbursed as the instrument
The endowment of a charitable
trust is usually invested in a securities portfolio managed for the foundation by professional investment firms. The money foundations give away each
year comes from the annual profit on these investments.
charitable trust may or may not be incorporated. Most modern foundations are corporations. Technically, the foundation is the document of endowment or
incorporation, but the term usually means the organization that administers the fund.
public charities and private foundations form part of the nonprofit structure of the environmental movement. Most private foundations are grant donors
while most public charities are grant recipients.
Public charities are charitable organizations supported by members of the general public. They are allowed to operate programs to accomplish their
tax-exempt purpose. Most environmental groups are classified by the IRS as public charities, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council., even through NRDC was created by the Ford Foundation, a private foundation.
private foundation is a charitable organization that is funded by one or a few persons rather than the general public. Although
subject to stricter rules than a public charity, a private foundation is tax-exempt just like a public charity and may carry on the same
activities, such as the Nathan Cummings Foundation.
Private operating foundations may run their own programs, for example, George Soros' Open Society Institute is a private operating foundation. Often, a private foundation simply makes grants to public
charities instead of operating its own programs.
Public charities file
an annual report, Form 990, to the Internal Revenue Service even though they are tax exempt.
file Form 990PF.
The Form 990PF reveals
the foundation's entire list of grants given during each year, and the endowment's investment portfolio in complete detail, including prices of
stocks when purchased, when sold, current book value, and dividend earnings.
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