Sponsorship for “Citizens of the World”: Community Foundations
Local Philanthropy is Not Local for “Citizens of the World” (Complete Series)
Community foundations | Subsidies
Donors | What is philanthropy for?
No word better describes the liberal plutocrats of modern America than “cosmopolitan”, from κοσμοπολίτης (cosmopolitan), literally “universal citizen”. We have to thank the ancient Greeks for the concept as well as for the word. The first cosmopolitan was Diogenes, the first of the cynics, ascetics who threw away their goods and possessions to pursue a more virtuous life of the spirit ruled by reason and intellectual clarity in accord with nature. Diogenes may have been from the city of Sinope, but against the mosaic of city-states that dot Greece, he said: “I am a citizen of the world.”
However, a greater affinity for humanity than individual humans is pretty much the one thing our own “world citizens” have in common with cynics. The lives of modern America’s transnational liberal billionaires are about as spartan as they get: climate-conscious people fly in private jets and buy island mansions, famous socialists own multiple homes and the biggest Critics of income inequality take advantage of losses in capital gains to pay little or no income tax.
America has always had its patricians, but as the word suggests, they saw themselves as patriotic “fathers” of their country, and their wealth and prestige was tied to the well-being of their country. George Washington commanded armies. Thomas Jefferson was a statesman and a diplomat. Robert Morris, possibly America’s first millionaire, personally funded the American Revolution.
Compare that to space traveler Jeff Bezos, land grabber Bill Gates, or Big Brother-inspired tech billionaires Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg. The combined forces of global trade, air travel and militant secularism make today’s elites closer to aircraft carriers than to individuals – itinerant micro-states capable of projecting their power and influence anywhere. where in the world with wealth equivalent to the GDP of a small nation. Is it any wonder that we strive to find authentic and shameless patriots in their ranks?
Nowhere is this clearer than in their “philanthropy”, a humanitarian gift that is more political than charitable and totally disconnected from its roots in the love of Christianity for its neighbor.
It’s not just the Ford Foundation or George Soros’ Open Society Foundations either. Across the country, a multitude of community foundations – groups meant to help their local communities – are funnels for liberal billionaires to fund environmental activists, voting groups, nonprofits, labor fronts, defense. of mass immigration. , and think tanks that support the kinds of socialist policies that would have made it impossible for entrepreneurs like Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller or Zuckerberg and Soros to succeed.
We analyzed grants from a few dozen community foundations to find $ 2.3 billion paid to 110 nonprofits very active politically on the left since 2010. These groups range from top liberal think tanks, such as the Center for American Progress, to radical “animal rights” demanding control of the world’s population. Far from simply supporting local philanthropy, American community foundations are some of the biggest channels for activist groups we’ve come across. Yet they are hardly examined by the press.
That’s not to say that these community foundations don’t fund good faith charities, from local philharmonic orchestras to campaigns against child hunger and the Salvation Army. It also doesn’t suggest that there is something inherently wrong with community foundations as a vehicle of philanthropy.
What is that Is reveal how the generous nonprofit sector in our country has been hijacked by the left. Charity has been militarized. It’s less about doing what government can’t (and shouldn’t) do and more about a tax-free political club aimed at changing policies and even election results.
What are community foundations used for?
According to the Council on Foundations, there are more than 800 community foundations across the country. They have a simple premise: to serve the local public, be it in a particular city (St. Louis), a geographic region (Middle Tennessee) or an entire state (Oregon). They are intended to fill a void between private foundations owned by a wealthy individual or family like the Ford Foundation and multi-donor supported 501 (c) (3) public charities, inviting donations from local philanthropists to fund a range of charitable causes. .
Structurally, community foundations are 501 (c) (3) public charities and almost universally focused on Donor Advised Funds (DAF), a kind of charitable investment account meant to encourage small donors to give early and to accumulate funds in a local philanthropy. , before choosing the associations they ultimately want to support. My colleague Michael Hartmann and I have written extensively on the benefits and reform proposals of CFOs.
The Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation, established in 1914 by banker Frederick Harris Goff. Goff, whose Cleveland Trust Company (now KeyBank) served Clevelander John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, was an innovator in philanthropy, envisioning some sort of vehicle that would prioritize public good over self-interest. This led the Cleveland Foundation to launch a crusade against the industrialized urban neglect, poverty and corruption that plague the city.
But it also had the unfortunate effect of getting him involved in the 1967 mayoral race. Philanthropy expert William Schambra recorded how the Cleveland Foundation – with help from the Ford Foundation – quietly funded a councilor. private media and voter registration campaigns to increase voter turnout for Democratic candidate Carl Stokes, who became the first black mayor of a major city by just 1,851 votes.
In civic participation, there is a fine line between partisan politics and philanthropy, and the foundations of Cleveland and Ford have crossed it, so concluded the Democratic members of the powerful House of States Ways and Means Committee – United. Big Philanthropy’s role in swinging an election led directly to powerful nonprofit provisions in the 1969 Tax Reform Act passed by the Democratic majority in Congress and enacted by President Richard Nixon. This law has given us the modern definition of a “private foundation” and strict limits on its electoral and lobbying activities.
Although community foundations have escaped the wrath of Congress, the Cleveland affair lays bare their decades-long immersion in American politics, a trend that continues today. This leads this author to ask: what are community foundations for?? If the answer is to help politicians to That is party is elected, it is time for Congress to return to the drawing board.
In the next episode, find out where community foundations have sent their money.