The California-based activist Drummond Pike established the Tides Foundation in 1976, naming it after a Sausalito bookstore that catered to a leftist readership. The Foundation wasset up as a public charity that receives money from donors and then funnels it to the recipients of their choice. Because many of these recipient groups are quite radical, the donors often prefer not to have their names publicly linked with the donees. By letting the Tides Foundation, in effect, “launder” the money for them and pass it along to the intended beneficiaries, donors can avoid leaving a “paper trail.” Such contributions are called “donor-advised,” or donor-directed, funds.
Through this legal loophole, nonprofit entities can also create for-profit organizations and then funnel money to them through Tides — thereby circumventing the laws that bar nonprofits from directly funding their own for-profit enterprises. Pew Charitable Trusts, for instance, set up three for-profit media companies and then proceeded to fund them via donor-advised contributions to Tides, which (for an 8 percent management fee) in turn sent the money to the media companies.
If a donor wishes to give money to a particular cause but finds that there is no organization in existence dedicated specifically to that issue, the Tides Foundation will, for a fee, create a group to meet that perceived need.
In 1979 Pike established the Tides Center to: (a) function as a legal firewall insulating the Tides Foundation from potential lawsuits filed by people whose livelihoods or well-being may have been harmed by Foundation-funded projects, and (b) incubate new political advocacy groups and provide them with whatever organizational help they might need. While the Foundation’s activities focus on fundraising and grant-making, the Center — in its role as fiscal sponsor — offers newly created organizations the shelter of Tides’ own charitable tax-exempt status, as well as the benefits of Tides’ health and liability insurance coverage. As the Capital Research Center explains:
“Under the Tides Center umbrella, the new group can then accept tax deductible contributions without needing to apply immediately to the IRS for tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity tax status…. Besides giving a new project its seal of approval, the Tides Center performs a notable service in showing new groups how to run an office, apply for grants, conduct effective public relations, and handle the many personnel, payroll, and budget problems that might baffle a novice group.”
In 1996, the Tides Center became legally separate from the Foundation.
Between 1996 and 2010, the Tides Center served as a fiscal sponsor to some 677 separate projects with combined revenues of $522.4 million; in 2010 alone, the Center was actively managing nearly 200 projects.
In addition to the foregoing duties, the Tides Center also functions as a legal firewall insulating the Tides Foundation from potential lawsuits filed by people whose livelihoods or well-being may be harmed by Foundation-funded projects. (These could be, for instance, farmers or loggers who are put out of business by Tides-backed environmentalist groups.)
The Tides Center’s Board Chairman is Wade Rathke, who is also a member of the Tides Foundation Board. Rathke, a protege of the late George A. Wiley, serves as President of the New Orleans-based Local 100 of the Service Employees International Union, and is the founder and chief organizer of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
Maya Wiley, daughter of George A. Wiley, sits on the Tides Center’s Board of Directors.
Chip Berlet sits on the Board of the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, a Tides Center project formed in 2005 to combat “the growing power of the religious right” and to “fight for the separation of church and state.” Berlet is a senior analyst for Political Research Associates, and has had affiliations with the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Friends Service Committee, the Christic Institute, the Socialist Workers Party, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Tides Foundation promotes a multitude of leftist agendas, as evidenced by its assertion: “We strengthen community-based organizations and the progressive movement by providing an innovative and cost-effective framework for your philanthropy.” Among the crusades to which Tides contributes are: radical environmentalism; the “exclusion of humans from public and private wildlands”; the anti-war movement; anti-free trade campaigns; the banning of firearms ownership; abolition of the death penalty; access to government-funded abortion-on-demand; and radical gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender advocacy. The Foundation is also a member organization of the International Human Rights Funders Group, a network of more than six-dozen grantmakers dedicated to finaning leftwing groups and causes.
Immediately after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Tides formed a “9/11 Fund” to advocate a “peaceful national response.” Tides later replaced the 9/11 Fund with the “Democratic Justice Fund,” which was financed in large measure by the Open Society Institute of George Soros, who has donated more than $7 million to Tides over the years. Reciprocally, the Tides Foundation is a major funder of the Shadow Party, a George Soros-conceived nationwide network of several dozen unions, non-profit activist groups, and think tanks whose agendas are ideologically to the left, and which are engaged in campaigning for the Democrats.
Tides also set up a Peace Strategies Fund and an Iraq Peace Fund, the latter of which has granted money to such groups as MoveOn.org, the National Council of Churches, the Arab-American Action Network, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the pro-Castro groups United for Peace and Justice and Center for Constitutional Rights. In addition, Tides funds “A Better Way Project,” which coordinates the activities of United for Peace and Justice and the Win Without War Coalition/Keep America Safe Campaign.
Tides and the organizations it supports interact closely with one another on a regular basis. For example, Drummond Pike sits on the Board of the Environmental Working Group along with David Fenton, founder of Fenton Communications.
Recent recipients of Tides Foundation grants include: the ACORN Institute; the AdBusters Media Foundation; the Agape Foundation; the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute; Alliance For Justice; the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; the American Civil Liberties Union; American Family Voices; the American Friends Service Committee; the American Immigration Law Foundation; Amnesty International; the Border Action Network; the Brennan Center for Justice; Campaign for America’s Future; the Center for American Progress; the Center for Community Change; the Center for Constitutional Rights; the Center for International Policy; the Center for Reproductive Rights; Changemakers; the Children’s Defense Fund; Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington; the Council on American-Islamic Relations (as revealed in FrontpageMagazine); Democracy Now!; Earth Day Network; Earth Island Institute; Earthjustice; Environmental Defense; Environmental Media Services; the Environmental Working Group; Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting; the Feminist Majority Foundation; Free Press; Funding Exchange; Global Exchange; Grantmakers Without Borders; Grassroots International; Greenpeace; Human Rights First; Human Rights Watch; the Immigrant Legal Resource Center; Institute for America’s Future; Institute for Policy Studies; Institute for Public Accuracy; the Israel Policy Forum; the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; the Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy; the Jane Addams Peace Association; the League of Conservation Voters; the League of United Latin American Citizens; the League of Women Voters; the Liberty Hill Foundation; MADRE; Medecins Sans Frontieres; Media Matters for America; Mercy Corps; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund; the Mexico Solidarity Network; the Middle East Children’s Alliance; Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet; the Ms. Foundation for Women; the NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty; the National Council of Churches; the National Lawyers Guild; the National Network of Grantmakers; the National Organization for Women Foundation; the National Wildlife Federation; the Natural Resources Defense Council; the Nature Conservancy (of California and of New York); the New Israel Fund; the New World Foundation; Nonviolent Peaceforce; the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation; Oxfam America; the Pacifica Foundation; Peace Action; the Peace Development Fund; People for the American Way; People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Planned Parenthood; the Ploughshares Fund; Population Connection; the Progress Unity Fund; Project Vote; the Proteus Fund; the Public Citizen Foundation; the Rainforest Action Network; the Rainforest Alliance; the Rockefeller Family Fund; the Ruckus Society; the Sentencing Project; September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows; the Sierra Club; the Shefa Fund; Sojourners; the Threshold Foundation; TrueMajority Action; Trust for Public Land; the Union of Concerned Scientists; USAction; Veterans For Peace; Waterkeeper Alliance; the Wilderness Society; Witness For Peace; Women’s Action for New Directions; and the World Wildlife Fund.
Tides also runs a tax-exempt “alternative media source” called the Institute for Global Communications (IGC), a leading provider of Web technology to the radical left.
Between 1993 and 2003, at least 91 foundations made grants to the Tides Foundation. These included the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Annie E. Casey Foundation; the Arca Foundation; the AT&T Foundation; the Barbra Streisand Foundation; the Bauman Family Foundation; Ben and Jerry’s Foundation; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; the Blue Moon Fund; the Bullitt Foundation; the CarEth Foundation; the Carnegie Corporation of New York; Changemakers; the ChevronTexaco Foundation; the Columbia Foundation; the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; the Energy Foundation; the Fannie Mae Foundation; the Ford Foundation; the Foundation for Deep Ecology; the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; the Heinz Family Foundation; the Howard Heinz Endowment; the J.M. Kaplan Fund; the JEHT Foundation; the Jenifer Altman Foundation; the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; the Joyce Foundation; the Lear Family Foundation; the Liberty Hill Foundation; the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; the Ms. Foundation for Women; the Nathan Cummings Foundation; the New World Foundation; the Open Society Institute; the Pew Charitable Trusts; the Ploughshares Fund; the Proteus Fund; the Public Welfare Foundation; the Righteous Persons Foundation; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; the Rockefeller Family Fund; the Rockefeller Foundation; the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy; the Stern Family Fund; the Stewart R. Mott Charitable Trust; the Summit Charitable Foundation; the Surdna Foundation; the Threshold Foundation; the Turner Foundation; the Vanguard Public Foundation; the Verizon Foundation; the Vira I. Heinz Endowment; the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; and the Woods Fund of Chicago.
To view a list of additional noteworthy supporters of the Tides Foundation and Tides Center, click here.
One particularly significant donor to the Tides entities is Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Senator John Kerry. From 1994 to 2004, the Heinz Endowments, which Mrs. Kerry heads, gave the Tides Foundation and Center approximately $8.1 million in grants. Until February 2001, Mrs. Kerry also served as a trustee of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which has given Tides numerous six-figure grants.
The Tides Foundation and Tides Center also receive grants from the U.S. federal government. Between 1997 and 2001, these grants included the following: $395,219 from the Department of Interior; $3,350,431 from the Environmental Protection Agency; $3,487,040 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development; $208,878 from the Department of Agriculture; $39,550 from the Department of Energy; $93,500 from the Small Business Administration; $10,986 from the Department of Health and Human Services; and $84,520 from the Centers for Disease Control U.S. Agency for International Development.
Tides’ Legal Laundering: Funding the Far Left
by Hayden Ludwig
March 27, 2018