Foundation Watch

The Ford Foundation’s Ugly, Warped View of America:
This Is Who They Are

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

This Is Who They Are

In August 2022, the Ford staffers approved $50,000 so the Western States Center could produce “a graphic novel about the January 6th events at the Capitol.” One of the smallest of the $303 million in leftist grants forked over since 2022, this may be the most representative of what motivates the grant makers in charge of spending Henry Ford’s fortune.

Titled 1/6, the masthead of the Ford-funded graphic novel asks: “What if the attack on the US Capitol succeeded?”

“The graphic novel chillingly illustrates how close we came to authoritarian rule in America and the threats to our democracy that we still face,” says the promotion on the Western States Center website. “Nonprofits and advocacy groups” are instructed where to go to order their free copies.

Well, of course they are. This is a perfect example of the leftist business model that Ford has been financing for more than half a century.

The actual January 6 riot involved a lawless and violent mob briefly occupying and trashing a government building. Riots coinciding with anti-police protests just the year prior resulted in 25 deaths and $2 billion in damage.

All of these events involved bad people taking advantage of legitimate political protests. None had the slightest, most remote chance in hell of triggering a revolution in the cities where they took place, up to and including the federal capital.

It is dangerously irresponsible to encourage any group of Americans that we are perilously close to a violent revolution to overthrow all they hold dear. It should be obvious that doing so will inspire some in the audience to consider violent means of their own to resist the non-existent threat. Ford and the Western States Center are fomenting the very insurrectionary behavior they claim to be resisting.

The web page of the Center for Popular Democracy, mentioned earlier in this essay as a recent recipient of $10.6 million from Ford, brags the group has “consistently taken direct action.” As noted earlier, this has included repeated disruptions inside U.S. House and Senate office buildings. In one case, according to a CPD-promoted news report, 128 demonstrators were arrested.

Rough-edged political pressure on federal lawmakers is a tactic that has been used by the Sunrise Movement and other recent recipients of Ford financing. Remember the megaphones. Ford grantees have a strong affinity for sporting photos of themselves participating in loud street demonstrations.

This is who Ford is and what its grantees represent. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with it. It’s kinder and gentler than tar-and-feathering tax collectors, after all.

But there is nothing remotely like it on the right of center. Few, and possibly zero, pictures of bullhorns or street demonstrations adorn the home pages of grassroots advocacy groups such as Americans for Prosperity. No right-leaning foundations are close to as rich as the Ford Foundation.

Capital Research Center investigations have shown nonprofit spending by the left dwarfs the right by more than 3 to 1. The “big” money on the right (such as it is) funds a reliably tame and conventional form of traditional activism that fits nearly all right-of-center people in America.

Ford’s graphic novel portraying “how close we came to authoritarianism” cranks its left-wing audience into believing a complete lie about the nature of their policy rivals. It’s an extreme, but not inconsistent, example of the messages Ford has been funding regarding climate alarmism, claims that capitalism is the fault of racism, the supremacy of identity politics over our common humanity, and all the rest of their lefty rot.

Henry Ford, one of America’s greatest entrepreneurs, was born during the Civil War. A lot has changed since then. It would be entirely understandable if the people spending his money today didn’t adhere exactly to the belief system of a man who was born more than 150 years ago.

What is irresponsible, sometimes dangerously so, is that they can’t fund programs for an America that would be recognizable to someone who was born yesterday.

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…
+ More by Ken Braun