Big, Very Rich and Dangerous: Time to Rein in Private Charitable Foundations (Part I)
A few years ago, Mark Steyn sagely observed, “In America today, few activities are as profitable as a ‘nonprofit.’” Nothing warrants changing that assessment now. President-elect Trump has a lot on his plate if he plans to turn around the ship of state. But if it’s not too presumptuous, I’d like to add one more item to his agenda: a substantial rewrite of the laws respecting our tax-exempt sector, reining in private foundations.
During a 75-year period (1884-1969) the U.S. Tax Code “established the basic principles and requirements of tax exemption, identified business activities of tax-exempt organizations that were subject to taxation, and defined and regulated private foundations as a sub-set for tax-exempt organizations.” Their assets have increased enormously since then. It’s time for another look at the law with an end to rewrite it.
Together, private and public charitable foundations are apparently sitting on trillions of dollars of assets.
These organizations have grown to massive size -- and are poorly, if at all, regulated. Instead of meeting the charitable needs of citizens that government funds were inadequate to provide for, foundations are regularly being misused to fund organizations and outfits antithetical to our best interests, disenfranchising us and working at cross purposes to the desires and beliefs of most Americans. The achievements of a few big foundations include undermining the war on terror, Balkanizing our universities and society, lobbying for open borders, and undermining our economy with radical environmentalism. -
The most egregious offenders in terms of size seem to be those foundations categorized as private “non operating foundations” such as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation --which exist primarily to give grants to others, and it will be these to which I refer here. (Operating foundations function rather like public charities, providing direct support to a school, a hospital, or another specific charitable program, and are not the subject of this article.)
The Foundations that are my focus are those like the Tides Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Ford Foundation. Evidence of their anti-democratic, anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-Israeli activities is copious and well documented.
The Ford Foundation
Ford funded the Black Power Movement, helped establish the Black studies, Womens Studies, Hispanic Studies and Diversity Programs in colleges throughout the country, and supported Multiculturalism in place of assimilationist policies. It created and funded the Black Power Movement and La Raza, the Mexican national group here. Ford fought to expand the welfare state, created the Open Borders Lobby, underwrote the “human rights “ focus in America’s law schools, and pushed affirmative action programs. Its sponsorship of the anti-Israeli, anti-American Durban Conference got it into hot water, after which it promised to cease funding “subversive groups” including those calling for the destruction of Israel,
In recent decades, the Ford Foundation has continued to play a major role in shaping American culture, popular opinion, and public policy, by funding organizations whose agendas and worldviews are consistent with its own. These agendas and worldviews include:
- the weakening of homeland security and anti-terrorism measures on the theory that they constitute unacceptable assaults on civil liberties;
- the dissolution of American borders;
- the promotion of mass, unchecked immigration to the United States;
- the redistribution of wealth;
- the blaming of America for virtually every conceivable international dispute;
- the depiction of Israel as an oppressor state that routinely victimizes its Palestinian minority;
- the weakening of American military capabilities [snip];
- a devotion to the principle of preferences based on race, ethnicity, gender, and a host of other demographic attributes;
- the condemnation of the U.S. as a racist, sexist, homophobic nation that discriminates against minorities, women and gays;
- the characterization of America as an unrepentant polluter whose industrial pursuits cause immense harm to the natural environment;
- the portrayal of the U.S. as a violator of human rights both at home and abroad;
- the depiction of America as an aggressively militaristic nation; and
- support for taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand as an inalienable right for all women.
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund
This fund worked to derail the Keystone Pipeline. While it indicates its goal is “Peacebuilding in the Middle East,” NGO Monitor’s analysis shows it has been fomenting war there.
Among the nefarious groups funded by this Fund are these:
- Middle East Policy Network ($100,000 for 2 years, June 2015, for general support; $30,000 for 1 year, December 2013, for general support): Also known as Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network, a think tank that produces policy analyses “on Palestinian human rights and self-determination within the framework of international law.”2 In July 2013, Al-Shabaka hosted a roundtable on “Political Agency For Palestinian Return,” arguing that “efforts for changing the balance of power by weakening and isolating Israel should be seen as efforts for refugee return” and that anti-Israel boycotts (BDS) are “the most effective and strategic campaign for refugee return at present.”[snip] Institute for Middle East Understanding ($150,000 for 2 years, June 2015, general support; $50,000 for 1 year, November 2013, general support): Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) aims to be a resource for journalists, providing a one-sided Palestinian perspective and narrative that demonizes Israel. For instance, a factsheet titled “Endgame Apartheid: The US-Sponsored ‘Peace Process’” refers to “Israel’s nearly 47-year-old discriminatory occupation regime” and describes U.S.-led peace efforts....
How antithetical it is to US interests -- and peace in the Middle East -- is evident from this about Al-Shabaka:
Al-Shabaka’s policy advisors include: convicted Hezbollah spy Ameer Makhoul, Grace Said of Friends of Sabeel, Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada, BDS activist Omar Barghouti, Ingrid Jaradat Gassner of Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (formerly head of Badil; during her tenure, Badil had its funding frozen for posting antisemitic imagery on its website – dozens of disturbing images promoting the elimination of Israel, antisemitism, and violence remain), Muhammad Jaradat of BADIL, and Issam Younis of Al-Mezan and Gaza Community Mental Health Program.
Nor has the Rockefeller Brothers Fund ignored domestic lobbying groups here. It has been a major funder of J Street, the anti-Israeli nominally Jewish group favored by the Obama Administration and the go-to group on Israel-American Jewry of the major media.
The environmental movement is heavily subsidized by major foundations. [snip] With more than $7 billion in assets, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation — funded by the fortune of the co-founder of the Hewlett-Packard computer company — has made grants to such organizations as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, and "pro-illegal immigration" groups including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
George Soros’ Open Society Institute, with assets of more than $300 million, has supported the ACLU, the National Organization for Women and the "pro-illegal alien" National Immigration Forum.