Born on October 11, 1948 in San Rafael, California, Drummond Pike earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Santa Cruz in 1970, and later a master’s degree in that same field from Rutgers University‘s Eagleton Institute. During his college years, Pike gained notoriety as an anti-Vietnam War protester and student-power advocate, leading to his selection as a campus representative to the Board of Regents in 1969.
In 1970 Pike was named associate director of the newly formed Youth Project in Washington, DC. Initially organized by activists affiliated with the Center for Community Change, this Project was a funding group through which wealthy donors could finance anti-business community organizing by young activists.
In 1976, Pike and Arca Foundation president Jane Bagley Lehman co-created the Tides Foundation as a public charity to bankroll left-wing groups and causes. That same year, Alan S. Davis—son of AARP co-founder Leonard Davis—selected Pike to head his newly formed Shalan Foundation, which awarded grants to promote “environmental balance and economic justice.” Pike went on to serve as Shalan’s executive director until 1981.
In 1979 Pike established the Tides Center to function as a legal firewall insulating the Tides Foundation from potential lawsuits filed by people whose livelihoods may have been harmed by Foundation-funded projects, and to serve as a fiscal sponsor for fledgling political advocacy groups.
In 1992 Pike initiated Founds Highwater, Inc., a real-estate development venture designed to facilitate the availability of nonprofit workspace in metropolitan areas. Also in the early Nineties, he set up the Tsunami Fund—an anti-capitalist, anti-gun-ownership lobbying group.
In 1995 Pike led the effort to establish the Thoreau Center for Sustainability in San Francisco, by rehabilitating the abandoned and dilapidated Letterman Hospital buildings according to a “green” architectural plan that made use of recycled building materials, non-toxic paints, and energy-efficient designs. Now located also in New York City, these “green nonprofit centers” are “dedicated to social, cultural and environmental sustainability.”
In 2002 Pike became the founding board chair of the Tides Canada Foundation, a parallel organization to its U.S.-based counterpart.
In April 2008, Pike attributed America’s involvement in the Iraq War to a “misguided taste for revenge.” He also called for the permanent closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention center that housed Islamic terrorists captured on Middle Eastern battlefields, and accused the George W. Bush administration of mandating the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Further, Pike criticized Rep. Tom Tancredo, the Republican congressman who had consistently warned of the dangers posed by illegal immigration, as “the Chief Immigrant Baiter among right-wing politicians who collectively seem intent on blaming Spanish-speaking immigrants for every ill.”
Later in 2008, Pike’s close ties to the notoriously corrupt community organization ACORN surfaced in the aftermath of reports that Dale Rathke—the brother of ex-ACORN president Wade Rathke—had embezzled nearly $1 million from ACORN and its affiliated groups in 1999-2000. Pike personally repaid this money to ACORN on behalf of Rathke, who had been a Tides Foundation director for more than three decades.
Pike resigned from his post as the Tides Foundation‘s CEO in September 2010. Seven months later he was hired as a Principal by the Equilibrium Capital Group, a private equity investing firm based in Portland, Oregon.
Viewing the United States as a nation infested with “structural racism” that severely restricts all manner of opportunities for nonwhite minorities, Pike favors a highly progressive tax structure as a vehicle for redistributing wealth. He also supports the implementation of a socialized, government-run healthcare system.
Over the years, Pike has served as a director, board member, or high-ranking official of a host of organizations, including: America’s Charities, the Burt Foundation, the Charity Projects Entertainment Fund, the Coalition for International Justice, the Democracy Alliance, the Environmental Working Group, the Endswell Foundation, the Enlyst Foundation, the Farallon Fund, the Global Environment Project Institute, the Harding Rock Fund, the Heller Family Foundation, the Institute for New Economic Thinking, International Rivers, Island Press, the J.K. Irwin Foundation, the League of Young Voters, the Livingry Foundation, the Nathan M. Ohrbach Foundation, the Network for Good, the Organizers’ Forum, the Rouhana Family Foundation, the Sage Center, the Sierra Fund, the Social Venture Network, the Solidago Foundation, and the Underdog Foundation.
Moreover, Pike has made campaign contributions to numerous Democratic political candidates such as Medea Benjamin, Barbara Boxer, Sherrod Brown, Tammy Duckworth, John Edwards, Russell Feingold, John Kerry, Jerrold Nadler, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Sestak, and Elizabeth Warren. He also has given money to groups like ActBlue, American Bridge 21st Century, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the League of Conservation Voters, Moveon.org Political Action, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, the Progressive Majority, the Secretary of State Project, and the Working Families Party.