Foundation Watch

The Ford Foundation’s Ugly, Warped View of America:
Big Labor, Big Government, Big Censorship

The Ford Foundation’s Ugly, Warped View of America (full series)
Megaphones and Militancy | Funding for Politics
Big Labor, Big Government, Big Censorship | Media and Climate Alarmism
This Is Who They Are

Big Labor, Big Government, Big Censorship

In addition to the nearly $100 million in grants noted thus far, another $92.1 million given out by the Ford Foundation since 2022 has specifically funded left-leaning labor, economic, and technology policy nonprofits—or programs that support them.

Today, just 6 percent of all private sector workers and only 2 percent of private food and beverage employees are union members. Private unionization has been veering closer and closer to extinction during the decades since the Ford Foundation’s lefty grant makers began playing with Henry’s money.

But they have been working to bail out Big Labor. Ford has been a huge supporter of “worker centers,” nonprofits that try to behave like labor unions in workplaces where workers haven’t voted for them.

The big winner here, with two grants totaling $3.3 million since May 2022 was the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC). Since 2006, Ford has funneled almost $16.3 million to ROC. The National Domestic Workers Alliance is another example. Ford has given $5 million to the worker center nonprofit since April 2022 and at least $34.1 million since 2006.

Ford also funds labor policy and advocacy think tanks such as the National Employment Law Project (NELP). Ford grants to NELP since April 2022 have exceeded $6.7 million.

Another labor-aligned policy and advocacy nonprofit, designed for the construction industry in famously non-union southern states, is the Workers Defense Project. The nonprofit has received more than $2.3 million from Ford since November 2022.

Other Ford-funded policy and advocacy think tanks purpose-built to bail out the Big Labor agenda include the Jobs with Justice Education Fund, given a grant of $1.25 million in June 2022 and at least $19.7 million since 2006; the Economic Policy Institute, recipient of $1.1 million from Ford since 2022 and almost $16 million since 2006; and 9to5, National Association of Working Women, given a $700,000 Ford grant in April 2023.

In addition to nonprofits providing specific support on labor policy, several give general support of the entire left-leaning economic agenda.

Years ago, one of my coworkers at a different employer accurately and waggishly re-christened the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) as the “Center on Bigger Budget Priorities.” Ford has given CBPP $8.4 million since July 2022 and almost $51.8 million since 2006.

The Institute for Policy Studies, one of the oldest lefty think tanks, has received $1.1 million since 2022. The New America Foundation, a newer think tank providing broad based research support across a wide range of left-leaning policy priorities, received $5 million from Ford in 2022 and $39.2 million since 2006.

The Center for American Progress, historically known as an employment parking space for Bill and Hillary Clinton allies awaiting a return to power, has received $1.2 million in Ford funding since July 2022 and $24.6 million since 2006.

Ford has also funded local broad-based left-leaning policy groups. Examples include Every Texan (recipient of $870,000 from Ford since 2022), the Florida Policy Institute ($680,000), the Michigan League for Public Policy ($460,000), and the Louisiana Budget Project ($375,000).

The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) is a left-leaning economic and technology policy think tank that supported “net neutrality” restrictions after they were abolished by the Trump administration. CDT has received at least $2.3 million from Ford since 2022.

The aforementioned New Venture Fund received nearly $10 million in technology-identified grants from Ford in 2022.

In another specific example of left-leaning technology policy grants, Ford gave $200,000 to the Check My Ads Institute in October 2022 for “research and education to hold the digital advertising industry accountable for the spread of harmful content.” Joan Donavan, one of the group’s four board members and a supposed expert at spotting “misinformation” online, supported suppression of the New York Post’s October 2020 report on the controversial contents of Hunter Biden’s discarded laptop, calling suppression of the story “an instructive case study” regarding how to “mitigate media manipulation campaigns.” The laptop story was later shown to be authentic information, rather than misinformation.

Similarly, Free Press, another tech nonprofit dubiously promoting its expertise in finding and suppressing online “disinformation,” received $5.2 million from Ford in March 2022. In October 2020, Free Press was part of the chorus of fools claiming the Hunter Biden laptop revelations were “foreign disinformation” and cheering on social media firms such as Twitter that were suppressing the story.

In the next installment, the Ford Foundation has spent at least $14.3 million influencing the content of all the media we consume.

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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