Foundation Watch

Ford Foundation’s Big Left Influence: The Climate Hypocrites

Big Media Ignores Ford Foundation’s Big Left Influence (full series)
The Ford Foundation’s Millions | The Climate Hypocrites
Subsidizing the Big Labor Left | The “Dark Money” Arabella Network


The Climate Hypocrites

In January 2019, more than 600 left-leaning policy and climate organizations co-signed a letter to members of Congress under the headline “Legislation to Address the Urgent Threat of Climate Change.” Outlining their proposals demanding “renewable energy” and “100 percent decarbonization,” the letter pointedly singled out nuclear power as being “dirty energy” and said that “any definition of renewable energy must also exclude all combustion-based power generation, nuclear, biomass energy, large scale hydro and waste-to-energy technologies.”

As of 2020, according to the Department of Energy, “large scale hydro” and nuclear power together provided 27.3 percent of U.S. electricity, all of it carbon-free power. Nuclear alone provided 20 percent. Wind, solar and geothermal put together, the only sources of (intermittently) available electricity acceptable to these extremists, provided just 11.1 percent.

And these numbers do not factor in the transportation sector, which is 26 percent of all U.S. energy use and dominated by fossil fuels. Shifting all the cars over to electric vehicles would mean even more demand for the zero-carbon sources doing most of the work to keep the lights on. Right now, the electric cars are running mostly on coal and natural gas.

So, that January 2019 letter to Congress was effectively asking for a U.S. energy policy of achieving 100 percent decarbonization by wiping out 75 percent of our carbon-free alternatives, including the only alternative (nuclear) that can be scaled up with few theoretical limits.

The Ford Foundation has spent millions of dollars this year subsidizing this dangerous and delusional recommendation. Four of its grant recipients are signatories on that letter:

Two other 2021 Ford Foundation grant recipients were not signatories on the letter but have also adopted positions in opposition to nuclear energy:

  • The Environmental Defense Fund ($130,000). EDF has recently supported the premature closure of nuclear power plants in New York and California. The pro-nuclear environmentalist group Environmental Progresshas identified EDF as “one of the most influential anti-nuclear organizations in the United States.” Environmental Progress has also accused EDF of “hypocrisy” because EDF supports wind and solar energy subsidies but opposes far smaller price supports for nuclear power.
  • The Movement Strategy Center ($300,000). A 2015 policy document co-produced by the Movement Strategy Center praised a community in India for opposing the construction of both nuclear power and hydroelectric plants. The document also defined nuclear energy as an example of “false solutions” to carbon reduction.

Together, these seven so-called “environmentalist” anti-nuclear groups received $3.53 million from the Ford Foundation in 2021.

Clearly Partisan Democrats

In addition to the $2 million grant to Blueprint NC, eight additional 2021 Ford Foundation grant recipients have a clear agenda favoring the success of Democratic politicians. In total, the nine organizations received $19.7 million from Ford in 2021.

  • Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation ($10 million). The Babcock Foundation funds numerous state-level partisan advocacy organizations. For example, during the 2020 election cycle it gave more than $2 million to Blueprint NC. In its 2019 tax filing Babcock reported total grants of $15.5 million.
  • New Florida Majority Education Fund ($2 million). The New Florida Majority Education Fund website describes the group as “the non-partisan, nonprofit, educational 501c(3) arm of the New Florida Majority.” New Florida Majority is a partisan 501(c)(4) advocacy group that endorsed Joe Biden for president in 2020. The Ford Foundation website also describes the New Florida Majority Education Fund grant as “d/b/a Florida Rising Together.” The main page of the Florida Rising Together website boasts: “We organize multi-racial movements to win elections.”
  • State Voices ($2 million). The State Voices website shows that it is the national network for partisan state-based groups such as Blueprint NC.
  • Repairers of the Breach ($2 million). Repairers is a partisan religious group based in North Carolina led by left-wing pastor William J. Barber II. The Repairers’ blog stridently supports the agenda of President Biden and his Democratic allies. The blog harshly criticizes U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) for failing to sufficiently support Biden, often calling Manchin’s faith and morality into question. A September post stated: “Senator Manchin claims to be a person of faith. But what he’s doing is sinful, immoral.” An October statement declared: “Sen. Manchin continues to not only ignore the teachings of his own faith tradition, he also ignores the voices of the people he was elected to serve.”
  • Workers Defense Project ($675,000). The Workers Defense Project is a Texas-based organization that promotes the agenda of left-leaning labor unions. The group’s leadership council includes representatives from the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and Jobs With Justice. The Workers Defense Project shares its senior leader and its leadership council with the Workers Defense Action Fund, a partisan 501(c)(4) advocacy group that boasted of its work electing Democrats during the 2020 election cycle.
  • Take Action Minnesota Education Fund ($400,000). IRS reports filed for 2019 show that the TakeAction Minnesota Education Fund shares a website and executive leadership with TakeAction Minnesota, a partisan 501(c)(4) advocacy group. A “2020 Impact Report” on the common website of the two groups boasts of electing 12 politicians, including supporting left-wing Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and “winning seats historically held by Republicans.”
  • A $400,000 grant was given to a recipient labeled in the Ford Foundation grant database as “Progress Michigan/Education.” This likely refers to a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable group that operates publicly as Engage Michigan, but files with the IRS as the Progress Michigan Education Fund. As of the IRS filings for 2019, both this group and Progress Michigan, a partisan 501(c)(4) advocacy group, share the same principal officer and office address. During the 2018 gubernatorial election Progress Michigan ran independent advertisements attacking the Republican general election candidate.
  • A $325,000 grant was given to a recipient labeled in the Ford Foundation grant database as the “Virginia New Majority Education Fund.” This was likely a typo intended as the New Virginia Majority Education Fund. The New Virginia Majority Education Fund shares senior leadership with its partner, New Virginia Majority, a partisan 501(c)4 advocacy group. New Virginia Majority endorsed Joe Biden for president in 2020.


In the next installment, the Ford Foundation heavily subsidizes groups associated with left-wing labor unions.

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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