Philanthropy

Gates, Soros, and Ford Foundations Pushing Policy Through Arabella’s “Dark Money” Machine


New filings reveal how three of the largest foundations in the world are using Washington’s top “dark money” lobbying network to change policy in America, further evidence that the Left has weaponized charity to advance an elite political agenda.

They Call It “Philanthropy”

At the heart of this agenda is Arabella Advisors, a for-profit consultancy whose nonprofit nexus raked in $1.6 billion in 2021 alone, and a stunning $6.5 billion since 2006. Donors choose the Arabella network for two purposes: to quietly pass grants along to political groups or to fund “pop-up” groups, activist fronts run by Arabella’s in-house nonprofits.

In 2021 alone, George Soros’s Foundation to Promote Open Society pumped $36 million into the New Venture Fund, the Arabella network’s flagship nonprofit. Soros’s grants were tagged almost exclusively for pop-up groups, such as the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund, which targets Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for get-out-the-vote campaigns, and Illuminative, which does the same for Native Americans.

The Foundation to Promote Open Society gifted over $3 million for the Community Resource Hub for Safety and Accountability for “police reform,” which accuses “cops and policymakers” of using “fearmongering to push ‘law and order’ agendas and pour more and more money into police departments” in response to the Left’s defund the police activism. One Soros grant is tagged for establishing a hub fellowship “to train community safety advocates in how to advocate around their local municipal budgets,” possibly a reference to defunding police departments.

Soros’s foundation also funded Arabella’s Local Solutions Support Center, which among other things aims to “create a less punitive and a more fair and equitable criminal legal system.” In recent years, Soros has pumped millions of dollars into “progressive” district attorney candidates who have vowed to abolish bail and release pretrial defendants, causing crime to surge in many major cities.

We’ve also traced a $100,000 Soros grant to the Dangerous Speech Project, an Arabella campaign to criminalize conservative free speech that the Left deems too “threatening” to tolerate.

Courtesy of Bill Gates

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation might be the single largest donor to the Arabella network over the past decade, committing at least $490 million between 2008 and 2022. Little is known about the projects that these grants funded, except that they are concentrated on education, abortion access, and global health issues.

At least one $7.9 million Gates Foundation grant in 2016, for instance, supported “national communications work around” the controversial 2010 initiative Common Core. Another $50 million grant in 2018 supported Arabella’s Co-Impact, a pass-through fund that supports “social justice” causes.

Ford’s Activism

Much more is known about the $26.7 million the Ford Foundation granted to the New Venture Fund in 2021, virtually all of which went to political causes.

Ford grants paid for the Communities for Just Schools Fund, an Arabella initiative to “support youth and parent organizing and advocacy to advance education justice.” In practice, that means “police-free schools,” “culturally affirming social-emotional learning,” “ethnic studies,” “reproductive justice,” and “gender justice,” among other “progressive” agenda items.

Ford grantees also include the League, which supports “civic engagement” (read: getting out the vote) and “issue advocacy” among “women of color,” Arabella’s Dangerous Speech Project, and the Youth First State Advocacy Fund, which oppose juvenile incarceration.

Also on the list is All Above All Reproductive Justice Coalition, which wants to “reinforce a right to bodily autonomy” nationwide, “remove all restrictions” to abortion, and repeal parental consent requirements for teenagers considering abortion.

Uglier still is Ford’s support for Fair Representation in Redistricting, Arabella’s project to warp the 2020–21 redistricting process following the 2020 Census, when states redrew their legislative and congressional maps. Drawing district maps is inherently political. These maps are almost always an expression of a political party’s power since they affect elections for the next decade.

Blurring Lines

Americans ought to ask the obvious: Should a tax-exempt foundation ostensibly engaged in philanthropy be involved in redistricting battles? For that matter, can Americans even distinguish between charity and politics any longer?

Hayden Ludwig

Hayden Ludwig is a Senior Investigative Researcher at Capital Research Center. He is also a columnist at the Washington Free Beacon and writes regularly for the American Conservative. Ludwig is…
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