A Letter from Pew’s Rebecca Rimel

Rebecca Rimel, CEO of the Pew Charitable Trusts, wrote a letter to the editor which we published in the new edition of Foundation Watch. The letter was in response to the writings of Capital Research Center Senior Fellow Martin Morse Wooster as compiled in last month’s Foundation Watch retrospective, “The Donor Has the Final Say: Martin Morse Wooster on Donors, Foundations and Philanthropy.” 

The letter is below:

To the Editor:

In the October 2007 issue of Foundation Watch, Martin Morse Wooster (“The Donor Has the Final Say: Martin Morse Wooster on Donors, Foundations and Philanthropy”) accuses The Pew Charitable Trusts of violating donor intent. Specifically, he states that “after the Pews died, the funds they created were taken over by people who did not share their values and beliefs and had no ties to them.”

If Mr. Wooster had done his homework, he would know that the chairman of the Pew board is J. Howard Pew II. His brother, J.N. Pew IV, MD, is also a director. In fact, there are six descendants of the founders currently serving on our board.

“No ties”? I don’t think so!


Rebecca W. Rimel
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Pew Charitable Trusts

Wooster replied as follows:

It’s true that there are members of the Pew family on the Pew Charitable Trusts board.  But it’s my understanding that these board members do not speak publicly about Pew’s activities. Moreover, it’s a reliable rule in the history of philanthropy that donors who create fortunes tend to be conservatives or libertarians, while the heirs who live on inherited wealth tend to be liberals or leftists. Therefore, I see no evidence that the Pews on the board share the stalwart commitment of Joseph N. Pew and J. Howard Pew to individual liberty and traditional virtue—particularly if these family members silently assent to the Pew Charitable Trusts’s leftward drift.

Martin Morse Wooster
Senior Fellow
Capital Research Center

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