WASHINGTON - March 3 - The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) has issued a new report on the grantmaking of politically conservative foundations, revisiting the analysis and conclusions reached in NCRP's seminal report on conservative philanthropy in 1997. The new report greatly expands on the 1997 research, looking at 79 conservative foundations and their grants to 350 archconservative policy nonprofit organizations between 1999 and 2001.
"Conservative foundations are brazen and confident in their grantmaking to advance a conservative political agenda, constituting a vital component for financing the right wing policy juggernaut," said NCRP executive director Rick Cohen. "These conservative foundations know how to mobilize resources for their ideological causes and they do it well, to the detriment of the constituencies and populations that are not served by their nonprofit clients' assaults on civil rights, tax equity, affirmative action, gay and lesbian rights, and so many other concerns of ordinary Americans."
Jeff Krehely, NCRP's deputy director and the lead author of NCRP's report, Axis of Ideology: Conservative Foundations and Public Policy, outlined the key findings of the study, saying, "Our research both confirms and advances the conclusions NCRP researched in 1997 on several fronts.
Conservative foundations are far more likely to provide their grantees with flexible core operating support and long-term funding, they focus their grantmaking on a small number of grantees with an eye toward investing in and sustaining existing politically conservative policy centers, and they fearlessly support and promote organizations that lobby their conservative ideas aggressively in state capitals and in Washington."
Among the major findings of NCRP's Axis of Ideology report are the following:
-- From 1999 through 2001, the 79 conservative foundations made more than $252 million in grants to nonprofit public policy organizations.
-- (NCRP's 1997 study profiled only 12 conservative foundation grantmakers)
-- The top conservative foundation givers were the Sara Scaife Foundation ($44.8 million), the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation ($38.9 million), the John M. Olin Foundation ($17.4 million), the Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation ($13 million), and the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation ($12.2 million).
-- Multi-issue public policy think tanks got 46 percent of the grants, followed by 10 percent for education-oriented policy centers and 10 percent for conservative policy centers devoted to legal advocacy.
-- The largest recipient locales for conservative foundation public policy grantmaking, in rank order, were the District of Columbia, Virginia, California, Delaware, New York, Michigan, Indiana, and Texas.
-- The 10 largest recipients of conservative foundation grants between 1999 and 2001, in rank order, were the Heritage Foundation, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, George Mason University (the Mercatus Center), the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Hillsdale College, Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation, Judicial Watch, the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
-- The conservative foundations continue to be extremely focused in their grantmaking, concentrating on building and sustaining a small group of grantees, through commitments of long-term core operating grants.
-- Unlike most foundations, these conservative foundations are confident and aggressive in making grants available to nonprofits that will actively lobby lawmakers, challenge laws and regulations in the courts, and broadcast conservative ideas and ideologies.
-- A core group of foundation and grantee leaders serve on several foundation and grantee boards of directors, and contribute millions of dollars to Republican candidates for public office.
NCRP's Cohen added, "We cannot applaud the political ideas these conservative foundations promote, but the successes of these foundations are remarkable, as they continue to frame the policy agenda and pose a challenge to progressives around the nation about how to energize and capitalize public policy addressing social justice concerns."
The study -- Axis of Ideology: Conservative Foundations and Public Policy -- was released today and can be requested directly from NCRP by contacting Elly Kugler by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 202-387-9177, ext. 18. NCRP's earlier report on conservative foundations -- Moving a Public Policy Agenda: The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations -- is also available by contacting NCRP.
Founded in 1976, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy is dedicated to helping the philanthropic community advance the traditional values of social and economic justice for all Americans. Committed to helping funders more effectively serve the most disadvantaged Americans, NCRP is a national watchdog, research and advocacy organization that promotes public accountability and accessibility among foundations, corporate grantmakers, individual donors and workplace giving programs.