March 27, 2018; Capital Research Center
The Tides Foundation has long been a leading foundation known for its support of progressive causes. It has also been regularly assailed by right-wing critics. Most recently, Hayden Ludwig of the Capital Research Center wrote a five-part series on the supposedly “shadowy” organization.
It is worth noting that for an allegedly “secret” group, Tides is pretty open on its website, where the foundation writes, “Tides is a leader in global grantmaking and social change work, having made $158.4M in domestic grants and over $65.2M in international grants in 2016… Use this map to explore a selection of our grantees from 2014-2016, and learn about our current social ventures.” The supposedly secretive Tides Foundation lists 223 fiscally sponsored projects.
But that’s not enough for Ludwig, who contends that the Tides Foundation is “the philanthropic Left’s best-kept secret.” So sneaky of the Tides Foundation to list who they support on their website. You’d never guess they were secret! Fortunately, Ludwig is on to them. Although, perhaps he was out of town when Glenn Beck was regularly citing them as part of various leftist conspiracy theories, eventually leading to one of his listeners setting off to attack the Tides offices and rid the world of this progressive stronghold?
There is more. Although some of these foundations would surely be amused to learn that they have similar views, the left-wing conspiracy runs deep. Ludwig writes, “It is not just Tides Foundation that funds liberal groups we learned, but also “the California Endowment ($70.6 million); the Chicago Community Trust ($24.8 million); the Ford Foundation ($22 million); the Pew Memorial Trust ($17.7 million); the Union Square Foundation ($17.7 million); the Lumina Foundation ($15 million); the W.K. Kellogg Foundation ($13.7 million); the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ($11.1 million); the Novo Foundation ($10.7 million); the Blue Shield of California Foundation ($9.6 million); the David and Lucile Packard Foundation ($7.75 million); the California Community Foundation ($5.6 million); and of course George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society ($4.53 million).”
Of course, a favorite bugbear of the right, ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), though shut down eight years ago, makes an appearance. Would you believe that Tides used to fund what was once the nation’s largest community organizing network? Fortunately, Ludwig has this covered. “ACORN,” Ludwig writes, “shuttered in 2010 with the loss of government funding after investigative journalists James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles recorded ACORN employees offering them advice on how to start up a prostitution ring.”
Ludwig adds, “It’s worth noting that ACORN’s voter fraud spinoff Project VOTE employed Barack Obama in the early 1990s.” But apparently it is not worth noting that O’Keefe has his own failings. For example, in 2017, O’Keefe’s Project Veritas got caught trying to use a sting operation to hoodwink the Washington Post into publishing a false accusation against Roy Moore during last year’s Alabama Senate race. The attempt failed spectacularly and instead ended up exposing the questionable ethics of O’Keefe’s Project Veritas.
Ludwig also uncovers the allegedly “shadowy” story of the Apollo Alliance, which merits its own standalone segment in the five-piece series. Ludwig reaches “the unavoidable conclusion the group was rolled over into the BlueGreen Alliance, a similarly structured organization still in operation”—a merger that heretofore was apparently completely secret, except that a June 2011 Grist article fully outlined the reasons for the merger.
Of course, serious foundation critiques would be welcome. But calling out a foundation for the mere fact of leaning politically one way or the other is not helpful. Simply put, foundation support of causes, left or right, is not a crime. It would also help if careless allegations of secrecy and placing vastly dissimilar organizations in common groupings were not part of this soupy mix of words masquerading as research.—Steve Dubb