From: "pedro martori"
Subject: The Biggest Funder of the Left
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Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2003 10:16:27 -0400
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The Biggest Funder of the Left
By William Hawkins
FrontPageMagazine.com | July 23, 2003
The Ford Foundation was quick to claim credit for helping win the recent
Supreme Court rulings on "affirmative action" (upholding the University of
Michigan Law School's race-based admissions system) and "gay rights"
(striking down a Texas law criminalizing homosexual activity). On its
website, the multibillion organization proclaimed, "These landmark decisions
reaffirm the Ford Foundation's values of social justice and bolster
continuing work for racial, sexual and economic equality....foundation
grantees played significant roles, from litigation to research to educating
policy makers and the public."
The Ford supported litigants included theNAACP Legal Defense and
Educational Fund, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational
Fund in the racial diversity admissions case, and Lambda Legal Defense Fund,
the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the American Civil Liberties
Union's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project in the sodomy case. Though specifics
were not given in the press release, a quick look at the Ford Foundation's
2002 Annual Report reveals the extent and purpose of its funding to these
The Ford Foundation in 2002 gave the NAACP-LDEF $500,000 "for litigation
and advocacy to combat racial discrimination in employment, education and
economic access" and MALDEF $200,000 "for advocacy and litigation to advance
the rights of immigrants in the United States." Ford had midwifed the
creation of MALDEF with $2.2 million in startup money in 1968, seeking to
create a more radical Hispanic movement to displace the more socially
conservative and integration-minded groups that then represented the
The Lambda Legal Defense Fund was granted $300,000 by Ford in 2002 as
"general support for human rights advocacy on behalf of lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgendered people." Another $300,000 went to the National
Gay and Lesbian Task Force "for advocacy on behalf of underserved gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender populations on issues of poverty, aging
and racial justice."
The ACLU received $925,000 "for capacity building and leadership
transition designed to respond to a changing policy environment and new
challenges to civil liberties in the United States." The relationship
between the ACLU and the Ford Foundation has always been close, with Ford
giving $7 million to the ACLU endowment fund in 1999. When Anthony D. Romero
became ACLU Executive Director in 2001, it was after a decade of work at
Ford. When he left Ford, he was director of Human Rights and International
Cooperation, which was the foundation's largest program, giving away some
$90 million that year.
High among the new challenges of concern to Ford is the American reaction
to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
In a speech to the Federation for Community Planning's Human Services
Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, April 5, 2002, Ford Foundation President Susan
V. Berresford took pride in providing $12 million in funding to relief and
non-profit organizations after the attacks, but "we soon turned our
attention to the 9/11-related national and international problems best
suited to Ford's grantmaking operations....Immediately after the events,
Ford and its grantees felt it was important for multiple perspectives to be
heard through the media. This meant, for example, voices of people from
moderate Islamic communities. It included people speaking about earlier
periods when the U.S. felt at risk from foreigners and its reaction to the
foreigners within our borders, some of which our country now regrets, such
as the internment of Japanese individuals and families. It was important to
help experts explore the issues behind the headlines and broaden
understanding about the countries from which the attacks came." According to
Berresford "with other large foundations, notably MacArthur and Hewlett,
Ford began to ask how we could help improve public understanding in the U.S.
about foreign affairs."
The resulting programs were, of course, in accord with the standard
left-wing response to the attacks, which was that Americans shouldn't
overreact, as they had only themselves to blame.
The Center for Constitutional Rights was given $150,000 in 2002 "for
racial justice litigation, advocacy, and educational outreach activities
related to the detention and racial profiling of Arab Americans and Muslims
following the World Trade Center attack." The CCR has filed seven suits
against various anti-terrorist measures, including the detention of captured
terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The CCR also opposed the invasion of
Iraq, arguing "Blood for Oil is not a reasonable or equitable equation for
the majority of Americans. Nor is Bush's quest for world domination an
Another $100,000 was given to the notorious National Immigration Project
of the National Lawyers' Guild as "core support for activities to ensure the
human rights of noncitizens detained in the United States in the aftermath
of the attacks of September 11, 2001." The National Lawyers' Guild has been
at the center of left-wing activism for decades, and played a leading role
in reviving the boisterous antiwar movement after September 11.
An even larger grant of $300,000 was made to Fenton Communications "for
strategic communications activities to promote informed voices in response
to the September 11th attacks, with an emphasis on the protection of civil
liberties and prevention of discrimination." These disbursements were all
under the Ford Foundation's programmatic heading of "Peace and Social
Justice." Smaller groups and even individual authors were given money to
advance the leftist interpretation of events and to contest increased
domestic security measures.
As the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was
coming up, the radical Wisconsin teachers group Rethinking Schools put out a
special report, "War, Terrorism, and America's Classroom," which offered the
views of scholars, journalists, poets, and activists opposed to American
actions. It also offered teaching suggestions, writing topics and
role-playing exercises to promote the leftist interpretation of events.
The Ford Foundation paid to have 30,000 copies of the Rethinking Schools
report sent to middle school and high school teachers across the country.
The report was favorably reviewed in a Fall 2002 "Ford Foundation Report" by
Neil F. Carlson, editor for the National Committee for Responsible
Philanthropy which seeks to set the agenda for funding political causes.
Carlson found the Rethinking Schools report important because of its
"disposition to question the official story, to view with skepticism the
stark us-against-them (or us good, them bad) portrait of the world."
The Rethinking Schools collection opened with an essay byarch-radical
Howard Zinn, a historian specializing in deconstructing so-called American
imperialism, and ended with a speech by Martin Luther King Jr. denouncing
the Vietnam War. In between were puff pieces on Islam and a supposedly
"evenhanded" primer on the Palestinian uprising provided by the Middle East
Research and Information Project. The MERIP is an openly pro-Palestinian,
anti-American group. Prior to the invasion of Iraq, the MERIP praised street
demonstrations as "the most vital and representative antiwar movement the
country has seen in a very long time."
As Berresford said in Cleveland, "For many living and working near ground
zero, the 9/11 attacks had the same effect as any terrible shock. They
forced us to think more deeply about what we do, how we live our lives, and
whether we can do better." For the Ford Foundation, that means intensifying
their own attacks on American society from every angle, backed by $11
billion in assets.
Fifty years ago Congress began to look into the Ford Foundation's use of
taxpayer funds to underwrite the partisan political agendas of the left.
It's time to look again.