Green Watch

Anti-Humanist Environmentalism: Stanback’s Piggy-bank

Anti-Humanist Environmentalism (full series)
Fred Stanback, Jr., MisanthropeStanback’s Piggy-bankPeople as Pollution

Summary: Is the Foundation for the Carolinas really a nefarious left-wing philanthropy? It’s hard to tell, in part because the most prolific “philanthropist” who uses the Foundation’s charitable investment accounts gives almost exclusively to radical environmental groups and their even darker cousins, population control groups. Learn how the Foundation’s largest giver turns philanthropy—literally the “love of mankind”—on its head through his nonprofit giving.

Another “Friend of Fred,” via the Foundation for the Carolinas is Population Connection. Formerly known as “Zero Population Growth,” it was co-founded in 1968 by Paul Ehrlich, the “patient zero” of discredited climate and population alarmism. Around the time of Zero Population Growth’s creation, Ehrlich predicted “the end” would come within the ensuing 15 years, which he defined as an “utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity.” Fifteen years later, 1983, the world’s population had grown from 3.5 billion to 4.7 billion, while famine death rates in the 1980s had plunged downward more than 90 percent, as compared to the 1960s.

This Doomsday cult—despite being laughably wrong and now using a different name—continues to rake in money from a few wealthy humanity-hating cranks, with $83.6 million in reported revenue during grant years 2002 through 2017. Because the Foundation for the Carolinas is responsible for a peculiarly large one-third of this total—$28.8 million—it is reasonable to suspect the name “Stanback” is behind most (or all) of this giving to Population Connection.

The Stanback headaches

While climate alarmists have often been indifferent to (and even supportive of) shrinking the human species through abortions, doing so by way of punishing undocumented aliens and restricting immigration is a much harder fit within the broader left-wing political agenda. Organizations taking Stanback’s money for climate alarmism advocacy have found it comes with headaches attached due to the association with the rest of his anti-humanist agenda.

A 2017 editorial from the Atlanta Daily World, a newspaper serving the African American community, questioned the Foundation for the Carolina’s willingness to fund Stanback’s “controversial population-control groups” and a “network of extreme anti-immigration groups.” Pressed to justify the giving pattern on behalf of what is likely their biggest client, a Foundation spokesperson is quoted in the editorial claiming the foundation does not “pass judgment or take a political stance on our donors’ grantmaking.”

A more problematic bit of explaining fell upon the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Stanback has been a longtime and presumably very generous donor to the Nicholas School since at least 1995 when he helped it establish an internship that bears his name. Today, Stanback interns may receive up to a $6,000 stipend to spend a term providing assistance to many of the usual suspects within the stridently left-wing environmental movement: Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Center for Public Integrity.

But in 2013 IndyWeek, a weekly newspaper in North Carolina, revealed Stanback had been personally selecting the programs eligible for Nicholas interns and that since 1998 there had been a total of 41 interns sent to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, NumbersUSA, the Center for Immigration Studies, and Progressives for Immigration Reform. These are all Stanback-supported advocates of immigration restriction that would seem a curious fit for an institution claiming to be “one of the world’s premier schools for the study of environmental science and policy.”

IndyWeek reported none of these immigration policy groups (except for the last one) “lists the environment as a primary focus” and that their “annual reports contain little information about the environment at all.”

The newspaper also unearthed other points from Stanback’s donor history that poured more gasoline on the fire of left-wing angst. He once donated $1,000 to English Language Advocates—an organization that promoted English as the only official U.S. language. And he ponied up $5,000 to disseminate The Camp of the Saints, a 1973 work of dystopian fiction portraying mass immigration from the developing world destroying Europe.

The ensuing controversy caused the Nicholas School to remove the immigration restrictionists from its intern program and to impose more careful oversight regarding Stanback’s future selections. Stanback reportedly agreed to the changes, but defended his initial choices, stating “the majority of population growth in the U.S. is coming from immigration (mostly illegal) and few other environmental organizations are addressing this issue; I think students of the environment need to know about this.”

The previously mentioned Population Connection seems to have survived the cut and is still listed as eligible for Nicholas School interns. Today, the people-phobic organization formerly known as Zero Population Growth is particularly proud of its “Population Education” program (PopEd) which preaches that “population growth affects everything on our planet” and that our “connection to the planet’s degradation is inescapable” to K-12 students. Their 2017 annual report boasts that this gloom and doom portrayal of humanity as a plague was burrowed into the brains of 3 million children, plus 14,000 current and future teachers.

People were again the center of the problem when another Stanback-inflicted headache was visited upon Brent Martin, a former regional director of The Wilderness Society. In 2015, Martin engineered a nature preservation agreement for a North Carolina national forest that would have also preserved the area for mountain bikers, horseback riders, and other outdoor hobbyists. But, according to a 2017 report Martin gave to the Smokey Mountain News, even the preservation of nature for the enjoyment of people became a problem when Fred Stanback found out. Martin says it cost him his job.

The Smokey Mountain News identified Stanback as “one of The Wilderness Society’s largest donors in North Carolina,” and The Wilderness Society’s 2014 annual report credits him as a “$100,000 or more” donor for just that year. The Foundation for the Carolinas gave the Society at least $1.7 million during grant years 2004 through 2017.

Martin told the newspaper that a disgruntled local activist who opposed the collaboration with recreational users “managed to get to one of the biggest donors in North Carolina [i.e., Stanback] and, in turn, the President of The Wilderness Society.” Martin alleges a meeting took place between Stanback and the president of The Wilderness Society, and that the Stanback-supported Southern Environmental Law Center—originally a party to the forest preservation agreement—soon retracted its support.

The Wilderness Society soon reversed course and abandoned Martin’s agreement, but according to the Smokey Mountain News he “refused to turn his back on all the work and trust he had built while working on the agreement and was forced to resign from his job.”

In the conclusion of Anti-humanist Environmentalism, learn about why population control is Stanback’s ultimate goal.

Ken Braun

Ken Braun is CRC’s senior investigative researcher and authors profiles for and the Capital Research magazine. He previously worked for several free market policy organizations, spent six…
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