- Assets: $1,328,101 (2009)
- Grants Received: $773,481 (2009)
- Grants Awarded: $277,775 (2009)
Established in 1981, the Amherst, Massachusetts-based Peace Development Fund (PDF) is a public foundation that provides grants, training, and other resources to organizations and projects working to "achieve peaceful, just, and interdependent relationships among people and nations." PDF’s mission is to increase “the impact of progressive political work,” and “to strengthen a broad-based social justice movement that embodies, embraces, and honors many cultures to create the new systems and institutions essential to building a peaceful, just, and equitable world.”
The Peace Development Fund’s chief activities include: "strengthening training organizations that provide political education and critical thinking tools for community-based groups; supporting youth in analyzing and developing strategic action to transform the world around them; and supporting the development of curricula that clarify the role of governments and corporations in oppressive relationships." Axiomatic to PDF's grant-making strategy is the belief that "[a]busive U.S. foreign policy has deliberately interfered with the political and electoral processes in many countries, causing immense damage."
In PDF’s calculus, the United States needs a massive overhaul of its social and economic institutions. “Recently,” explains PDF, “we have witnessed the negative effects of neo-liberalism and the globalization of capitalism, the de-industrialization of the U.S. and the growing gap between the rich and poor, Affirmative Action rollbacks, Welfare Reform and the strengthening of the Right. Some of these effects are the widening gap between rich and poor, increasing incidences of hate crimes and increasing poverty and unemployment. This is evidence that some of the institutional and structural causes of injustice, whether physical, social, or economic, remain largely intact. Challenging those causes and moving towards a more just, nonviolent society is at the heart of our program.” A vital first step in that direction, says PDF Executive Director Paul Haible, is for white Americans to acknowledge their responsibility for the suffering of nonwhites. According to Haible, whites must “deal with that original discord in our nation, like the contact between Europeans and Native Americans and what happened to the original people here—and our families’ role in that.”
PDF is structured not as a traditional foundation, but as a public charity. It takes money from donors who specify the precise groups and causes for which they want it earmarked, and in turn funnels the cash to those recipients; this arrangement enables the donors to avoid (if they wish) being publicly associated with the groups being funded, which in many cases are extremely radical. Such transactions are called donor-advised funds. Through this legal loophole, nonprofit entities can set up for-profit organizations and funnel money to them through PDF, since, by law, non-profits are not legally allowed to directly fund their own for-profit enterprises.
PDF is heavily funded by George Soros's Open Society Institute (OSI), which gave the group $110,000 in 2002 and $200,000 in 2003. In addition to OSI, more than 200 mainstream companies have not only established a mechanism by which their employees can donate to PDF, but they also match these donations dollar-for-dollar.
PDF's major grant-making programs include the following:
(a) The Mary Norris Lloyd Memorial Fund "solicits proposals from groups working on social change and community organizing in the United States, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean." These grants, which are earmarked for leftwing media projects in these areas, are usually in the $500 to $5,000 range.
(b) The Popular Movement Fund makes grants, which generally range from $500 to $5,000, to leftist groups in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean that organize "against unjust systems and for life-renewing change."
(c) The Maverick Fund, whose grants range from $500 to $10,000, "solicits proposals from groups working on social change in Haiti and Latin America." The recipients are leftist grassroots organizations dedicated to building "strong and informed popular movements" to influence "local, regional, and national political processes and institutions."
(d) The Allegro Fund, whose grants are usually in the $500 to $2,000 range, requests proposals for general or project support from groups whose primary goals are to promote nuclear and military disarmament, and economic and social justice.
PDF is a member organization of the Peace and Security Funders Group. Among the recent recipients of PDF grants are: Earth Action Network; Peace Action Network; the Ploughshares Fund; the Scherman Foundation; Students for Justice in Palestine; and the Tides Foundation.
To view a list of additional noteworthy grantees of the Peace Development Fund, click here.
(Information on grantees and monetary amounts courtesy of The Foundation Center, GuideStar, ActivistCash, the Capital Research Center and Undue Influence)