The Wallace Global Fund (WGF) was established in 1995 by Robert B. Wallace (1918-2002), son of the late Henry A. Wallace. The elder Wallace served variously as Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, and Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and also ran for U.S. President as the Progressive Party candidate in 1948 in a campaign that was largely controlled by the American Communist Party. WGF grew out of the Wallace Genetic Foundation, which was created by Henry A. Wallace in 1965.
Supporting “bold, new, progressive ideas” that advance “systemic change” as well as “fundamental public policy shifts,” WGF’s mission in recent years has been “to promote an informed and engaged citizenry, to fight injustice, and to protect the diversity of nature and the natural systems upon which all life depends.” Specifically, the foundation has provided financial backing for initiatives related to “environmental resource depletion and system collapse, corporate abuses and the concentration of corporate power, planetary carrying capacity, sustainable human population, women’s human rights,… civic engagement, civil liberties, equal justice, independent media, and media policy.”
In 2009, WGF reconstituted itself and took the name Wallace Global Fund II (WGF-II). The Fund’s president, Ellen Dorsey, later explained the reason for this:
“[W]e began analyzing our grantmaking and our investments. We quickly realized there were real inconsistencies. One striking example was investing in fossil fuels at the same time as we were working to combat climate change and all its environmental and human rights impacts. How could we be invested in the very industries driving the crisis we were asking our grantees to solve? Not only was our investment strategy potentially undercutting our grantmaking, we were foregoing the opportunity to use our investments as a tool to achieve our mission and goals. We could be helping create the clean energy economy the world requires.
“Additionally, we don’t believe there is only an ethical risk to investing in fossil fuels. We also believe there are serious financial risks. Prudent investors are listening to the warnings that fossil fuel stocks are overvalued, as we cannot possibly burn the reserves [that] coal, oil, and gas companies currently hold without cooking the planet. It is clear that a tectonic shift is required in the way we produce and consume energy, and smart investors will put their assets in the energy sources of the future.”
Among the hundreds of organizations that have received WGF-II (and WGF) grants in recent years are: 350.org, ACORN, the Advancement Project, the Alliance for Climate Protection, the Alliance for Justice, Alternet, the American Constitution Society, Amnesty International, the Apollo Alliance, the Aspen Institute, the Blue Green Alliance, the Brennan Center for Justice, Catholics For Choice, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, the Center for American Progress, the Center for Community Change, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Independent Media, the Center for International Policy, the Center for Progressive Leadership, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Code Pink, Color of Change, the Constitution Project, Defenders of Wildlife, Democracy Now!, Demos, the Earth Island Institute, EarthJustice, the Economic Policy Institute, the Environmental Working Group, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Faith in Public Life, the Feminist Majority Foundation, Free Press, Friends of the Earth, the Gamaliel Foundation, Global Exchange, Global Green USA, Green For All, Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch, the Independent Media Institute, the Institute for America’s Future, the Institute for Policy Studies, the Institute for Public Accuracy, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Jewish Voice for Peace, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (California), the League of Young Voters Education Fund, MADRE, Media Matters for America, the National Council of La Raza, the National Lawyers Guild, the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, the National Security Archive Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Nature Conservancy of Oregon, the New Organizing Institute Education Fund, Oxfam America, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood, Political Research Associates, the Progressive States Network, ProgressNow Education, Project Vote, the Proteus Fund, Public Citizen, the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice , the Rainforest Action Network, the Rainforest Alliance, the Rebuild the Dream Innovation Fund, the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Sentencing Project, the Sierra Club, Sojourners, State Voices, The Nation Institute, the Tides Foundation and Tides Center, the USAction Education Fund, the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, U.S. PIRG, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the United Nations Foundation, Veterans For Peace, Women’s Voices Women’s Vote (now known as the Voter Participation Center), the World Resources Institute, and the World Wildlife Fund.