Author Archive

Matthew Vadum

Veteran journalist Matthew Vadum edits Organization Trends and Foundation Watch. He previously worked in the Washington bureau of The Bond Buyer newspaper. While a reporter for the Central Penn Business Journal in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, he won an award for outstanding legal journalism from the Pennsylvania Bar Association for an article that focused on employment law. He holds an M.A. in American Studies from Georgetown University. An expert on the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Vadum's book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers," was published by WND Books in May 2011.

Philanthropy Notes: January 2014

President Obama’s nominee to run the Internal Revenue Service told senators that if he is confirmed he will probe the failure of nonprofit groups to disclose fully the circumstances of multimillion-dollar losses that result from financial wrongdoing.  John Koskinen cited a Washington Post report that identified over 1,000 nonprofits that disclosed “significant diversions” of their assets in tax filings in recent years; often, the groups failed to report the precise amount or critical details.  Such reports “provide important insights into areas that may have gone unnoticed or have been overlooked,” he said.  Koskinen served as a director and chairman of the executive committee of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation from 2008-2012 and was non-executive chairman of Freddie Mac from 2008 to 2011, and president of the U.S. Soccer Foundation from 2004 to 2008.

The Nathan Cummings Foundation has decided to focus its grantmaking almost exclusively on reducing income inequality and combating climate change, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.  The foundation’s board approved the new approach to giving at the behest of leftist CEO Simon Greer.  “In the next 20 years, the United States will go through a huge transformation in demographics, the environment, our economy, and in religion,” Greer says.  “Can we get people to agree on what we know to be true and then create the future of America?” asked the political extremist who used to work as a community organizer.  The foundation was profiled in last month’s Foundation Watch.

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Briefly Noted December 2013

Left-wing ACORN wannabe groups may soon get their hands on as much as $4 billion after the Obama administration strong-armed JP Morgan into coughing up $13 billion to make up for alleged deficiencies in mortgage securities the bank sold. If JP Morgan fails to burn through the full $4 billion by the end of 2016, left-wing pressure groups are likely to receive the cash.

The undercover videographer who helped to kill ACORN is now turning his powerful lens on Obamacare “navigators,” showing how left-wing groups break the law and defraud taxpayers. The undercover investigators of Project Veritas, the nonprofit created by ACORN slayer James O’Keefe III, are going after the almost 50,000 Obamacare “navigators” to whom the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is paying more than $67 million for enrolling uninsured persons in Obamacare exchanges.

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Philanthropy Notes: December 2013

Foundation endowments are finally bouncing back to pre-recession levels, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports. The 236 charities, private foundations, and universities with a fiscal year-end of June 30 surveyed by the newspaper experienced “an overall median investment return of 6.5 percent in 2012.” This is a dramatic increase over the 1.7 percent growth rate reported in mid-2011.

Can you say golden parachute? Former presidents of many elite private colleges and universities are still drawing hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation from the school years after leaving their posts, the Boston Globe reports. For example, Jehuda Reinharz, who left Brandeis University in 2010, has received at least $1.2 million from the school since leaving. Reinharz, who now runs the Mandel Foundation in Cleveland, takes in wages as president emeritus and a half-time faculty member. “We’re seeing more and more of these farewell packages to presidents,” said Andrew Gillen, a senior education researcher at the American Institutes for Research. “It’s symbolic of the growth of the cost of college,” he rationalized. Former leaders from Harvard, Tufts, and Northeastern, also reap lucrative rewards from sabbaticals, part-time professorships, lump-sum severance payments, and generous retirement benefits, the paper reports.

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MoveOn freaking out over Obamacare

I just received this panicky mass email from MoveOn:


Dear MoveOn member,

There’s no sugar-coating it: Obamacare is in serious political trouble. And progressives need to step up and start fighting to save it right now.

Obviously, the law itself is still really good. But it’s clear to everyone that rollout has been badly botched—and now Republicans smell blood in the water. They think this is their chance to undo the whole thing. Worse yet, some Democrats in Congress are starting to waver too.1

To fight back, we need to push hard on Republicans trying to undermine the law—as well as Democrats thinking about caving. We also need to hold media outlets accountable for spreading false reports about the parts of the law that are working just fine.

But we don’t have much time. The House is voting tomorrow on a bill that would gut the whole law, and according to news reports some Democrats might vote for it as well.2 We’re aiming to raise $175,000 to make sure we have enough resources to turn the tide. Can you chip in $3?

Yes, I can contribute $3 to help save Obamacare.

There’s no excuse for the problems with the website. We all know that. But the website will be fixed.

And we can’t let a bad website undercut the most important expansion of the social safety net since the 1960s.

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Briefly Noted: November 2013

Operatives of the disgraced radical group ACORN continue to advise the Obama administration and guide its far-left policies years after the group filed for bankruptcy. Good-government group Judicial Watch discovered through Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) requests that former ACORN Housing official Bruce Dorpalen, now head of the National Housing Resource Center, has been meeting with and advising senior Obama administration officials on housing policy, the Breitbart News website reports. ACORN Housing legally changed its name in 2010 to Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA) and then closed its doors for good last year.

“How is it, after the scandals of ACORN and its contribution to the housing crash, that this organization’s former leadership is still able to guide federal housing policy?” asked Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. The Housing Resource Center’s office is in the same space used for years by ACORN’s Philadelphia headquarters.

Thanks to a separate FoIA request, Judicial Watch discovered that educational materials the Obama administration uses on the military characterize conservative organizations as “hate groups” and Tea Party supporters as potentially dangerous extremists. The 133 pages of lesson plans and PowerPoint slides released by the Air Force came from a 2013 Defense Department diversity training center “student guide” entitled “Extremism.” It is “striking that some of the language in this new document echoes” language the IRS used to target conservative and Tea Party nonprofits for heightened levels of scrutiny, Fitton said.

Funding for clinical cancer trials and other life-saving research under the National Institutes of Health was suspended during last month’s partial federal government shutdown, but taxpayer funds kept flowing to TV’s Cookie Monster, Fox News reports. On the first day of the fiscal standoff, the U.S. Treasury handed over $445 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, thereby funding “PBS Newshour,” NPR, and “Sesame Street.” Media Research Center’s director of media analysis, Tim Graham, observed that in the weeks leading up to the shutdown, PBS hosted two “very friendly” interviews with President Obama.

Despite the shutdown, the Obama administration last month allowed its radical allies who support immigration amnesty to hold a large rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., even though the administration had closed the Mall to the general public at the time. The “Camino Americano: March for Immigration Reform” event featured Democratic politicians and was co-sponsored by CASA de Maryland, Center for Community Change, SEIU, AFL-CIO, and AeroMexico airlines.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), reportedly a front group for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, conceals donations from Islamist governments overseas by maintaining a complex web of shell organizations, according to the Daily Caller news website. A shady social welfare and lobbying organization recognized under 501(c)(4) of the federal tax code, CAIR has reportedly been “washing” millions of dollars from oil-rich nations without disclosing the donations to the U.S. government, as the law requires. For example, court documents indicate the group, which has ties to the terrorist groups Hamas and al-Qaeda, has recently received $405,000 from the government of Qatar, $199,980 from the Kingdom Holding Company of Saudi Arabia, and $219,563 from the U.S. embassy of the United Arab Emirates.

Philanthropy Notes: November 2013

Despite the rotten economy, many private foundations are bouncing back financially. Overall, foundations experienced a 12 percent gain in their endowments last year, the Wall Street Journal reports. A study by the Council on Foundations and the Commonfund Institute examined the finances of 140 private foundations with a total of $78.7 billion in assets. The 12 percent jump compared favorably to a decline of 0.7 percent in 2011.

A separate WSJ article notes that five years after a major financial crisis rocked Wall Street, major figures associated with the dramatic downturn are opening up their wallets for charity. Former Countrywide Financial Corp. CEO Angelo Mozilo’s foundation gave $2 million for a pediatric intensive-care unit in Tarzana, Calif. Former Bank of America CEO Kenneth D. Lewis donated $100,000 to a group that runs a foster-care home in Charlotte, N.C. There is no such thing as dirty money, according to Sean Dobson of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. “As the leader of a nonprofit, you’re typically hard-pressed for resources,” he said. “It’s pretty hard to turn down money.”

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About that radical funder, the California Endowment, that’s funding pro-Obamacare propaganda in Hollywood

The awful, radical left-wing California Endowment is in the news because it is funding Obamacare propaganda. This is beyond creepy.

As Newsmax reports

[...] The Obama administration is turning its focus on prime time television series, using the influential platform and the power of celebrity to spread the word about its healthcare initiative.

The University of California’s Annenberg Norman Lear Center, which promotes its Hollywood Health & Society program, received a $500,000 grant last week from the California Endowment, a private source aimed an informing more people about the federal program, Deadline Hollywood reported.

The goal is to keep producers, writers and directors up to date in the event they seek to integrate the federal health initiative into their storylines. The money will also go to producing pro-ACA public service announcements that track with storylines on the TV series.

“Our experience has shown that the public gets just as much, if not more, information about current events and important issues from their favorite television shows and characters as they do from the news media and online resources,” said Martin Kaplan, who heads the USC program, in a statement. “This grant will allow us to ensure that industry practitioners have up-to-date, relevant facts on health care reform to integrate into their storylines and projects.”

Based in Los Angeles, the California Endowment had $3,289,539,027 in net assets as of March 31, 2012, according to its most recent publicly available tax return (Form 990-PF).

It is closely associated with political extremism.

Going back to 1999, the philanthropy has given $50.4 million (23 grants) to the notorious neo-Marxist Tides Foundation in San Francisco and an astounding $87 million (187 grants) to its sister organization, the Tides Center, which incubates new leftist groups.

Since 2001, the California Endowment has given $4.9 million (29 grants) to Families USA Foundation, a pro-Obamacare activist group.

Philanthropy Notes: October 2013

Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy thinks other billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett should stop giving so much money to charity and instead invest their money in start-ups. If Gates and Buffett had donated to aspiring entrepreneurs instead of the poor, they would have generated many more jobs, McNealy said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” show. “Imagine if they had taken their tens of billions of dollars, chopped it up into $5 million chunks and pledged it to a business plan, sponsored by an MBA graduating from an MBA school with engineers and marketers that he’s recruited and they got 50 percent of the company back to the foundation,” he said. The wealthy should also pay less in taxes, he said, because the government does a lousy job spending their money, said McNealy, who now focuses on a California-based charity called Curriki that provides schools with free textbooks.

Easy come, easy go: Two months after pledging $250 million to Centre College in Danville, Ky.—one of the biggest donations in the history of American higher education—the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust reneged. The gift of shares in Universal Computer Systems Holding Inc., which would have doubled the small college’s endowment, was contingent on “a recapitalization of the company,” but the details of the gift to the endowment “were too complicated to meet the deadlines for a deal last week,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The money would have gone to a scholarship program at the small college that hosted the national vice-presidential debates in 2000 and 2012. The withdrawal of the donation was “really unusual,” said Betsy Brill, president of Strategic Philanthropy Ltd., an advisory firm in Chicago.

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Briefly Noted: October 2013

Even big bucks from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg couldn’t save gun-grabbing state lawmakers from the wrath of Colorado voters in a recall vote viewed as a national referendum on gun rights. At the eleventh hour the liberal billionaire, founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, gave $350,000 to “issue committee” Taxpayers for Responsible Government, which was created by Democratic fundraiser Julie Wells. The committee, which also took in $250,000 from billionaire Eli Broad, gave $420,000 to the retention campaigns of Senators Angela Giron (D) and John Morse (D), the Senate president. Giron and Morse were targeted for their recent support of tough new restrictions on guns. “One thing is clear from the Morse defeat: Mike Bloomberg is political poison,” said National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam.

Jeri L. Wright, daughter of Obama pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was indicted in Illinois on charges of money laundering and lying to federal investigators as part of a grant-fraud case. The fraud scheme allegedly engineered by former Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina Evans and her husband involves a $1.25 million state job-training grant for minorities. Wright cashed more than $27,800 in checks drawn on the bank account of We Are Our Brother’s Keeper, a state-funded nonprofit controlled by Evans, and then deposited $19,888 of that total into a personal bank account belonging to Evans and her husband, “knowing that the property involved in the financial transaction represented the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity,” according to the indictment.

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Suppressed DoJ report on CAIR surfaces: READ IT HERE

Sources say earlier today the Department of Justice posted on its website a report about the Muslim Brotherhood’s front group in the United States and then abruptly took it down.

The report, dated this month, is called “Review of FBI Interactions with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.”

We have obtained the report.

You may read it here.