1009 General Kennedy Ave. - Suite 2
San Francisco, CA
Phone :(617) 794-2253 URL: Website
Project of the Tides Center and a member of the National Network of Grantmakers
Rejects the Patriot Act’s anti-terrorism measures
Claims to serve the “disempowered” and “those most acutely affected by injustice” – a reference to minorities, women, children, indigenous peoples, homosexuals, and other “traditionally marginalized groups”
Grants Received: $167,785
Grants Awarded: $0
A network of public and private foundations, Grantmakers Without Borders (GWB) is a project of the Tides Center and a member of the National Network of Grantmakers (NNG). GWB professes a commitment to “increasing strategic and compassionate funding for … global social change philanthropy,” which it defines as charity “rooted in the ideals of justice, equity, peace, democracy, and respect for the natural environment.” As GWB Executive Director John Harvey puts it, “At the end of the day, it's philanthropy that tries to give a voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless.”
GWB tends to be very supportive of leftist environmental, anti-war, and civil rights groups. It is also generally hostile to capitalism, which it deems one of the chief "political, economic, and social systems" that give rise to those "social ills" that most acutely affect "low-income communities, women, children, Indigenous peoples, sexual minorities, and other traditionally marginalized groups."
Viewing America as an inherently greedy nation that economically exploits its neighbors in the Western Hemisphere and beyond, GWB focuses its philanthropy heavily on recipients in Central and South America, a region the organization dubs "the global South." “We believe that equity between the global North and global South is critical to furthering global well being,” says GWB. “We recognize the current imbalance in this relationship and understand the dangers it poses to the environment and to humanity.”
In GWB’s view, economic globalization ranks among the world’s most destructive phenomena. John Harvey, who lauds the anti-capitalist agendas of the World Social Forum, asserts: “Bad globalization, which I prefer to call corporate-driven globalization, is the kind of globalization that insists on free flows of capital, the opening up of markets, more trade, and less regulation. It embraces the notion ... that all trade is good, that growth, never-ending economic growth, is a good thing. But it's not. … The bottom line is that in most parts of the world, globalization is lowering the standard of living for people, it's costing them their jobs, it's making them more susceptible to illness and disease, it's making things worse.”
Harvey, who is also active within the National Network of Grantmakers, was formerly the Associate Director of Grassroots International and worked as an educator and fundraiser for Oxfam International. He blames America not only for the poverty of nations to its south, but also for the rise of Islamic terrorism. "Many people [in the Middle East] feel an acute sense of humiliation as a result of the actions of the West, and the U.S. in particular," he says. "... For decades, we have supported repressive, authoritarian regimes throughout the region ... We have invested heavily in exploiting the region's natural resources and invested almost nothing in developing its human resources. We have criticized the role of religion in the region's politics life while ignoring its increasingly prominent role in our own civic life. Why are we surprised that these forces breed terrorism and terrorists?"
GWB laments the effects that recent government-instituted anti-terrorism measures have allegedly had on philanthropy in the United States. "Since September 2001," says the organization, "new U.S. federal laws, rules and guidelines have been put in place that attempt to thwart the diversion of funds to terrorists. Even though there is no evidence that foundations are a significant source of terrorist funding, some of these changes are directed specifically to U.S. grantmakers. These policies impose daunting new responsibilities on charitable organizations that may prove insurmountable, especially for those with limited financial and personnel resources. They have already had the chilling effect of halting humanitarian and other life-saving international work."
With regard to three documents in particular -- a Bush Administration Executive Order to stop the financing of terrorism; a paragraph of the Patriot Act declaring it a federal crime to knowingly support terrorists; and Treasury Department guidelines designed to prevent funds from reaching terrorist groups -- GWB says: "Many within the grantmaking community find [these] Guidelines unrealistic and expensive." The organization further complains that "the IRS is requesting information on how public charities and private foundations safeguard their international grants" from making their way into the coffers of terrorist organizations.
In conjunction with the International Human Rights Funders Group, the Council on Foundations, the Independent Sector and Interaction Group, and the American Bar Association, GWB has fought these new anti-terror provisions -- "challeng[ing] the contention … that charities are a source of funding to terrorism," and expressing a "fear that these policies are having a chilling effect on the tremendously vital work charities provide for democratization and peace around the world." GWB dismisses as anecdotal and relatively insignificant the list of more than two-dozen charities suspected by the U.S. government of funding Islamic terrorism.
GWB is funded by the Community Foundation for the Conrad Hilton Foundation, the McConnell Foundation, the National Capital Region, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, George Soros’s Open Society Institute, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, and the Seattle Foundation.
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