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John William Pope Foundation

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The John William Pope Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization describing itself as "work[ing] to improve the well-being of the citizens of North Carolina and the nation through the advancement of individual freedom and personal responsibility." Chaired by North Carolina businessman Art Pope, the John William Pope Foundation was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina.[1][2]

A 2010 Institute for Southern Studies (ISS) analysis of the Pope Foundation's tax filings shows it has given over $1.3 million to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF) since 2004, making the Pope Foundation the group's second largest institutional backer in the country.[3] The principal organizers of Tea Party Patriots events have been Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works, according to ThinkProgress.[4] Overall, the 2010 ISS analysis of tax records found that the Pope Foundation supplies about 90 percent of the income of leading conservative nonprofits in North Carolina, such as the State Policy Network (SPN) members the John Locke Foundation and the Civitas Institute, as well as the North Carolina branch of Americans for Prosperity. These groups have been active in opposing climate change legislation and renewable energy.[5]

Ties to the State Policy Network

The Pope Foundation is a major contributor to the State Policy Network. (See below.) SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 49 states, Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., Canada, and the United Kingdom. As of July 2017, SPN's membership totals 153. It is an $83 million right-wing empire as of the 2011 funding documents from SPN itself and each of its state "think tank" members. Although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, the Center for Media and Democracy's in-depth investigation, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government," reveals that SPN and its member think tanks are major drivers of the right-wing, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-backed corporate agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders.[6]

In response to CMD's report, SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told national and statehouse reporters that SPN affiliates are "fiercely independent." Later the same week, however, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer caught Sharp in a contradiction. In her article, "Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?," the Pulitzer-nominated reporter revealed that, in a recent meeting behind closed doors with the heads of SPN affiliates around the country, Sharp "compared the organization’s model to that of the giant global chain IKEA." She reportedly said that SPN "would provide 'the raw materials,' along with the 'services' needed to assemble the products. Rather than acting like passive customers who buy finished products, she wanted each state group to show the enterprise and creativity needed to assemble the parts in their home states. 'Pick what you need,' she said, 'and customize it for what works best for you.'" Not only that, but Sharp "also acknowledged privately to the members that the organization's often anonymous donors frequently shape the agenda. 'The grants are driven by donor intent,' she told the gathered think-tank heads. She added that, often, 'the donors have a very specific idea of what they want to happen.'"[7]

A set of coordinated fundraising proposals obtained and released by The Guardian in early December 2013 confirm many of these SPN members' intent to change state laws and policies, referring to "advancing model legislation" and "candidate briefings." These activities "arguably cross the line into lobbying," The Guardian notes.[8]

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.[9] 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."[10][11]

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.[12]

Between 2012 and 2014 the Pope Foundation received $40,000 from the State Policy Network. See: Contributions of the State Policy Network

DonorsTrust Funding

The John William Pope Foundation contributed ${{{amount}}} to DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund between {{{start}}} and {{{end}}} (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.[13]

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.[13] 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.[14]

Between 2010 and 2015 the Pope Foundation received at least $101,750 combined from DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund. The twin Donors organizations are advertised as a way for very wealthy people and corporations to remain hidden when "funding sensitive or controversial issues," creating a lack of accountability.[15] (See DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund Grant Recipients for more).

Ties to the Koch Brothers

Between 2004 and 2015 the Pope Foundation received $117,586 from the Charles G. Koch Foundation.

Koch Wiki

The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.

Ties to the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation

The Pope Foundation is closely tied to the Bradley Foundation. The current chairman of the board of both foundations is Art Pope. Also, between 2012 and 2016 the Pope Foundation received $2,029,000 from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. See: Contributions of the Bradley Foundation

Bradley Files

In 2017, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of SourceWatch, launched a series of articles on the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, exposing the inner-workings of one of America's largest right-wing foundations. 56,000 previously undisclosed documents laid bare the Bradley Foundation's highly politicized agenda. CMD detailed Bradley's efforts to map and measure right wing infrastructure nationwide, including by dismantling and defunding unions to impact state elections; bankrolling discredited spin doctor Richard Berman and his many front groups; and more.

Find the series here at ExposedbyCMD.org.

Grants Distributed

2014[16]

Total: $9,326,075

Funding the Right Wing

Funding SPN and SPN State Think Tanks

TOTAL to SPN and SPN Members and Associate Members July 1, 1993 - June 30, 2013: $56,191,325.50, broken down as follows:[17][2][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32]

Additional Conservative Think Tank Organizations

TOTAL to Additional Right Wing Think Tanks July 1, 1993 - June 30, 2013: $2,829,500, broken down as follows:[17][2][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32]

Core Financials

2014 [33]

  • Total Revenue: $50,855,270
  • Total Expenses: $10,355,507
  • Net Assets: $168,268,759

2013 [33]

  • Total Revenue: $5,890,684
  • Total Expenses: $8,475,852
  • Net Assets: $127,934,445

2012 [33]

  • Total Revenue: $9,373,410
  • Total Expenses: $10,554,990
  • Net Assets: $130,228,075

2011 [33]

  • Total Revenue: $3,781,931
  • Total Expenses: $10,173,720
  • Net Assets: $131,409,655

Personnel

As of August 2017:

Staff [34]

Board [34]

Former Board of Directors[35]

  • Art Pope (James Arthur Pope), Chairman of the Board
  • Amanda J. Pope, Vice Chairman of the Board
  • Joyce L. Pope, Vice President of the Foundation, Asst. Sec. and Treasurer of the Board
  • David M. Stover, Member of the Board

Former Executive Management

  • John Hood, President of the Foundation
  • Joyce L. Pope, Vice President of the Foundation, Asst. Sec. and Treasurer of the Board
  • Lindsay Hollandsworth, Communications Director of the Foundation
  • David W. Riggs, former Vice President of Operations and Programs
  • David N. Bass, former Communications Director and Grants Officer

Board Members In Memoriam

  • the late Joyce W. Pope
  • the late John William Pope, Sr.
  • the late John William Pope, Jr.

Contact Information

Employment Identification Number (EIN): 58-1691765

The John William Pope Foundation
Landmark Center One
4601 Six Forks Rd., Suite 300
Raleigh, NC 27609

Phone: 919-861-6445
Fax: 919-790-9526
Email: info@jwpf.org

Website: https://jwpf.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PopeFoundation
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PopeFoundation

Forms 990

  • John Williams Pope Foundation, 2012 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013), foundation's IRS filing, November 13, 2013.
  • John William Pope Foundation, 2011 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012), foundation IRS filing, November 9, 2012.
  • John Williams Pope Foundation, 2010 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011), foundation IRS filing, November 14, 2011.
  • John Williams Pope Foundation, 2009 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010), foundation IRS filing, November 15, 2010.
  • John Williams Pope Foundation, 2008 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009), foundation IRS filing, processed March 19th, 2010.
  • John William Pope Foundation, 2007 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008), foundation IRS filing, processed November 24, 2008.
  • John William Pope Foundation, 2006 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007), foundation IRS filing, November 17, 2007.
  • John William Pope Foundation, 2005 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006), foundation IRS filing, November 14, 2006.
  • John William Pope Foundation, 2004 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005), foundation IRS filing, November 8th, 2005.
  • John William Pope Foundation, 2003 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004), foundation IRS filing, July 20th, 2005.
  • John William Pope Foundation, 2002 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2003), foundation IRS filing, July 20th, 2005.
  • John William Pope Foundation, 2001 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2002), foundation IRS filing, July 20th, 2005.
  • John William Pope Foundation, 2000 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 2000 to June 30, 2001), foundation IRS filing, July 28th, 2005.
  • John William Pope Foundation, 1999 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 1999 to June 30, 2000), foundation IRS filing, August 3rd, 2005.
  • John William Pope Foundation, 1998 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 1998 to June 30, 1999), foundation IRS filing, July 28, 2005.
  • John William Pope Foundation, 1997 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 1997 to June 30, 1998), foundation IRS filing, August 16th, 2003.
  • John William Pope Foundation, 1996 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 1996 to June 30, 1997), foundation IRS filing, August 16th, 2003.
  • John William Pope Foundation, 1993 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 1993 to June 30, 1994), foundation IRS filing, August 16, 2005.

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

References

  1. John William Pope Foundation, Foundation Overview, foundation website, accessed July 17,2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 John William Pope Foundation, 2011 IRS Form 990 (for the period July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012), foundation document, November 9, 2012.
  3. Chris Kromm, Institute for Southern Studies, Blessed to have a Pope, Facing South, Oct. 14, 2010.
  4. Lee Fang, Spontaneous Uprising? Corporate Lobbyists Helping To Orchestrate Radical Anti-Obama Tea Party Protests, ThinkProgress.org, April 9, 2009, accessed January 27, 2010.
  5. Chris Kromm, Institute for Southern Studies, North Carolina's Art Pope: Staying in control, Facing South, Oct. 19, 2010.
  6. Rebekah Wilce, Center for Media and Democracy, EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
  7. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  8. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  9. 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, PRWatch.org, April 4, 2013.
  10. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  11. Suzanne Goldenberg, "Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks," The Guardian, February 14, 2013.
  12. Center for Media and Democracy, DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund Grant Recipients, SourceWatch.org, accessed December 2014.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Paul Abowd, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, Center for Public Integrity, February 14, 2013.
  14. Donors Trust, GuideStar.org, IRS form 990, 2011.
  15. DonorsTrust, Frequently Asked Questions, Organizational website, Accessed August 30, 2017.
  16. John William Pope Foundation, 2014 990-PF, John William Pope Foundation, December 12, 2016.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named 2012_990
  18. 18.0 18.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2010 Form 990, foundation IRS filing, November 15, 2010.
  19. 19.0 19.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2009 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, March 19th, 2010.
  20. 20.0 20.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2008 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, November 24, 2008.
  21. 21.0 21.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2007 Form 990, foundation IRS filing, November 14, 2007.
  22. 22.0 22.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2006 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, November 14, 2006.
  23. 23.0 23.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2005 Form 990, foundation IRS filing, November 8th, 2005.
  24. 24.0 24.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2004 Form 990, Foundation IRS filing, July 20th, 2005.
  25. 25.0 25.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2003 Form 990, foundation IRS filing, July 20, 2005.
  26. 26.0 26.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2002 Form 990, foundation IRS filing, July 20th, 2005.
  27. 27.0 27.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2001 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, July 28,2005.
  28. 28.0 28.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2000 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, August 3rd, 2005.
  29. 29.0 29.1 John William Pope Foundation, 1999 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, July 28, 2005.
  30. 30.0 30.1 John William Pope Foundation, 1998 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, August 16, 2009.
  31. 31.0 31.1 John William Pope Foundation, 1997 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, July 28, 2005.
  32. 32.0 32.1 John William Pope Foundation, 1994 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, August 16, 2005.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 ProPublica, John William Pope Foundation, ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer, Accessed August 30, 2017.
  34. 34.0 34.1 John William Pope Foundation, Board and Staff, John William Pope Foundation website, Accessed August 30, 2017.
  35. John William Pope Foundation, Board and Staff, foundation's website, accessed January 2015.