Adolph Coors Foundation

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The Adolph Coors Foundation is a private 501(c)(3) family foundation established in October 1975 with funds from the Adolph Coors, Jr. Trust and headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Adolph Coors, Jr. was the son of the founder of the Coors Brewing Company. The Coors family now controls both the brewing company and the foundation. The Adolph Coors Foundation describes itself as "support[ing] organizations that promote the western values of self-reliance, personal responsibility and integrity."[1]

After growing protest to the racist and anti-gay behavior of the Adolph Coors Foundation in the 1970's and 1980's, in 1993 the foundation publicly restricted its grants to Colorado organizations. In 1994, the Adolf Coors Foundation then formed the Castle Rock Foundation with an unrestricted $36.5 million in assets to continue funding radically conservative organizations under a different name.[2] In November 2011, the Castle Rock Foundation and its more than $38 million in assets were dissolved back into its father foundation again.[3]

In 2013, the Adolph Coors Foundation reported a total of $23,828,360 in net investment income, made a total of $6,340,372 in contributions, gifts, and grants, and reported $168,409,463 in total assets (at fair market value).[4]

Ties to DonorsTrust, a Koch Conduit

DonorsTrust is considered a "donor-advised fund," which means that it divides its funds into separate accounts for individual donors, who then recommend disbursements from the accounts to different non-profits. Funds like DonorsTrust are not uncommon in the non-profit sector, but they do cloak the identity of the original donors because the funds are typically distributed in the name of DonorsTrust rather than the original donors.[5] Very little was known about DonorsTrust until late 2012 and early 2013, when the Guardian and others published extensive reports on what Mother Jones called "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement."[6][7]

Americans for Prosperity, an organization founded and funded by the Koch brothers, received nearly $9.5 million from DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund from 2010 to 2012.[8]

DonorsTrust Funding

The Adolph Coors Foundation contributed $$50,000 to DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund between 2012 and 2012 (see links to the foundation's IRS forms 990 below).

A report by the Center for Public Integrity exposes a number of DonorsTrust funders, many of which have ties to the Koch brothers. One of the most prominent funders is the Knowledge and Progress Fund, a Charles Koch-run organization and one of the group's largest known contributors, having donated nearly $9 million from 2005 to 2012. Other contributors known to have donated at least $1 million to DonorsTrust include the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, Donald & Paula Smith Family Foundation, Searle Freedom Trust, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the John M. Olin Foundation.[9]

Since its inception in 1999, DonorsTrust has been used by conservative foundations and individuals to discretely funnel nearly $400 million to like-minded think tanks and media outlets.[9] According to the organization's tax documents, in 2011, DonorsTrust contributed a total of $86 million to conservative organizations. Many recipients had ties to the State Policy Network (SPN), a wide collection of conservative state-based think tanks and media organizations that focus on shaping public policy and opinion. In 2013, the Center for Media and Democracy released a special report on SPN. Those who received DonorsTrust funding included media outlets such as the Franklin Center and the Lucy Burns Institute, as well as think tanks such as SPN itself, the Heartland Institute, Illinois Policy Institute, Independence Institute, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, South Carolina Policy Council, American Legislative Exchange Council, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, and the Cascade Policy Institute.[10]

See #Funding SPN and SPN State Think Tanks below for a list of the SPN Members the Adolph Coors Foundation has contributed to between 2009 and 2013.

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

The Adolph Coors Foundation granted $50,000 to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2012, according to an analysis of the Foundation's 990 Forms by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).[11]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's, and check out breaking news on our site.

Finances and Other Funding of the Right Wing

Funding SPN and SPN State Think Tanks

The Adolph Coors Foundation gave at least $6,713,402 to SPN, its members, and associate members from 2009 to 2013, broken down as follows:[4][11][12] [13]

Additional Right Wing Funding

The Adolph Coors Foundation gave at least $375,000 to additional right wing organizations from 2009 to 2012, broken down as follows:[11][14] [15]

Forms 990

  • Adolph Coors Foundation, 2013 Form 990, foundation's IRS filing, April 9, 2014.
  • Adolph Coors Foundation, 2012 Form 990, Foundation's IRS Filing, March 26, 2013.
  • Adolph Coors Foundation, 2011 Form 990, Foundation's IRS Filing, April 12, 2012.
  • Adolph Coors Foundation, 2010 Form 990, Foundation's IRS Filing, March 18, 2011.
  • Adolph Coors Foundation, 2009 Form 990, Foundation's IRS Filing, March 29, 2010.

Board of Directors and Trustees

As of the foundation's 2013 form 990:[4]

  • Jack Johnson, Executive Director, Secretary
  • Peter K. Coors, President and Chairman
  • Robert G. Windsor, Vice President
  • Jeffrey H. Coors, Treasurer
  • William K. Coors, Trustee
  • Melissa Coors Osborn, Trustee
  • Cecily Coors Garnsey, Trustee

Contact Details

4100 E. Mississippi Avenue
Suite 1850
Denver, Colorado 80246

Phone: 303-388-1636
Email: generalinfo AT
Web: [16]

Resources and Articles

Related SourceWatch Articles

Other Resources

  • Center for Media and Democracy,, organizational resource website.


  1. Adolph Coors Foundation, About us, foundation website, accessed June 6th, 2013.
  2. Richard Kim,The L Word, The Nation, October 19, 2004.
  3. American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, Donor: Castle Rock Foundation,, accessed December 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Adolph Coors Foundation, 2013 Form 990, foundation's annual IRS filing, April 9, 2014.
  5. Rebekah Wilce, A Reporters' Guide to the "State Policy Network" -- the Right-Wing Think Tanks Spinning Disinformation and Pushing the ALEC Agenda in the States,, April 4, 2013.
  6. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  7. Suzanne Goldenberg, "Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks," The Guardian, February 14, 2013.
  8. Center for Media and Democracy, DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund Grant Recipients,, accessed December 2014.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Paul Abowd, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, Center for Public Integrity, February 14, 2013.
  10. Donors Trust,, IRS form 990, 2011.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 , Adolph Coors Foundation, 2012 IRS filing, organization | IRS filing, 2012.
  12. , Adolph Coors Foundation, 990 forms 2011, Organization | IRS filing, 2011.
  13. , Adolph Coors Foundation, 990 Forms 2010, Organization | IRS filing, 2010.
  14. , Adolph Coors Foundation, 990 forms 2011, Organization | IRS filing, 2011.
  15. , Adolph Coors Foundation, 990 Forms 2010, Organization | IRS filing, 2010.
  16. Adolph Coors Foundation, Contact, foundation's website, accessed June 10th, 2013.