California’s Greenlining Institute Takes Race-Baiting Nationwide

The Berkeley, California-based Greenlining Institute’s politically correct approach to philanthropy now threatens to metastasize at the national level.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that the shakedown artists at the Greenlining Institute, which played a major role in Wall Street’s current problems, is taking its crusade to bring race-consciousness to philanthropy nationwide. Here’s the top part of the op-ed:

What if the Greenlining Institute held a shakedown and nobody paid up?

The Berkeley-based outfit invited representatives from America’s top 50 foundations to come to their offices two weeks ago for a chat on the urgent national priority of “diversity in philanthropy.” Among the questions posed: “What percent of the asset management firms under contract with your foundation are minority-owned?” We’re delighted to say that not a single one of the foundations sent Greenlining any data and no one showed up to the meeting. Maybe they’re starting to catch on to this con game.

It’s been four months since 10 of California’s largest foundations agreed to hand over millions of dollars to “minority-led nonprofits.” This “gift” was an attempt to head off legislation pushed by Greenlining that would have required California’s foundations to disclose the racial composition of their boards, staffs and grantees. In the age of Barack Obama, we apparently still need to color-code America’s nonprofits.

That shakedown worked so well that Greenlining is taking its race gambit national. Eight foundations in Pennsylvania have received a letter from state Representative Jake Wheatley of Pittsburgh. “Considering the projected dramatic demographic shifts that are projected [sic] for Pennsylvania,” he wrote, “I believe that it is important to start conversations early on what philanthropy is doing to empower minority communities.” He requested “demographic data” — that is, a racial headcount on foundation grantees.

Greenlining thoughtfully agreed to sift through this data and, as Mr. Wheatley put it, “reveal opportunities to better serve Pennsylvania’s diverse population.” The institute previously claimed that while racial minorities made up 50% of California’s population, they received only 5% of philanthropic dollars. Of course, it all depends on how you count. The idea that a charity must be “minority-led” in order to assist minorities is silly. Should Teach for America insist that only blacks can work in minority-dominated schools, or should Catholic Charities have a racial quota for its employees? Many foundations also do not have, as part of their missions, the mandate to “empower” minority communities. They prefer to fund cancer research, say, or to save the whales. […]

We threw a spotlight on the Greenlining Institute in John Gizzi’s two profiles this summer. One is “California’s Greenlining Institute: Arm-Twisting for Financial Affirmative Action,” Organization Trends (August 2008) and the other is “Race and Gender Quotas for Nonprofits: How California Bill AB 624 Threatens Foundation Philanthropy,” Foundation Watch (July 2008).

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