Knowledge and Progress Fund

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The Knowledge and Progress Fund (KPF) is a Wichita, Kansas-based foundation controlled by Charles Koch and Richard Fink, who is the president of the organization.[1]

In September of 2004, KPF became a private foundation, and the organization has given exclusively to DonorsTrust since that time.[2] This establishes the tie between Charles Koch's money and DonorsTrust's initiatives, which include funding climate change deniers such as the Heartland Institute to the tune of $13 million.[3][4]

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 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 Knowledge and Progress Fund contributed $3,000,000 to DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund between 2008 and 2010 (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]

Contributions to DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund (2005-2013)

2005: $390,000 to DT[11]
2006: $1,310,000 to DT and $1,900,000 to DCF[12]
2007: $300,000 to DT and $825,000 to DCF[13]
2008: $1,240,000 to DT[14]
2009: None
2010: $2,000,000 to DT[15]
2011: None
2012: $800,000 to DT[16]
2013: $4,850,000 to DT[17]
TOTAL: $13,615,000 (2005-2013)

Connection to Bill of Rights Institute

Before 2004, the fund was a 501(c)(3) charitable organization based in Arlington, Virginia. KPF converted to a 501(c)(3) private foundation in August of 2004 and relocated to Wichita, Kansas, the home of Charles Koch and headquarters of Koch Industries, at approximately the same time.[18][19] Until September of 2004, the Knowledge and Progress Fund was tied to the Bill of Rights Institute,[20] a conservative organization purportedly based on American founding principles with a mission to " create a citizenry that has the knowledge, values, dispositions, and skills to exercise the rights and responsibilities needed to maintain a free society."[21] and backed by the Koch brothers, Charles and David. When the Knowledge and Progress fund converted to a private foundation in 2004, it ended its official relationship with the Bill of Rights Institute.[22]

The fund also compensated The Bill of Rights Institute's former president, Victoria Hughes, through her salary in 2002.[23] and 2003.[24]

Mark Humphrey, a current director of the Bill of Rights Institute, was the secretary of the Knowledge and Progress Fund from 2003 to 2008[25] and is a senior vice president of Koch Industries.[26]

Contributions and Grants to the Institute

The $50,000 given to the Bill of Rights Institute by the fund in 2002[27] is described as being for the purpose of "education on the Bill of Rights." between 2003 and 2005, while KPF was still affiliated with the Institute, there were no contributions or grants listed.

Personnel

Contact Information

Knowledge and Progress Fund, Inc.
P.O. Box 2256
Wichita, KS 67201

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

External Resources

External Articles

References

  1. John Mashey, Fake science, fakexperts, funny finances, free of tax 2 , DeSmog Blog, October 23, 2012.
  2. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2004 Form 990-PF Supplemental Information on Change of Status, organizational Internal Revenue Service filing, August 12, 2005.
  3. John Mashey, Fake science, fakexperts, funny finances, free of tax 2 , DeSmog Blog, October 23, 2012.
  4. Bill Moyers & Company, [DonorsTrust: The ATM for Climate Denial http://billmoyers.com/2013/02/21/donors-trust-the-atm-for-climate-denial/], Feb. 1, 2013.
  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, PRWatch.org, 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, SourceWatch.org, 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, GuideStar.org, IRS form 990, 2011.
  11. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2005 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, November 7, 2006.
  12. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2006 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, November 15, 2007.
  13. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2007 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, November 17, 2008.
  14. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2008 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, November 8, 2009.
  15. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2010 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, November 15, 2011.
  16. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2012 Form 220, organizational annual IRS filing, accessed June 23, 2014.
  17. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2013 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, accessed October 19, 2015.
  18. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2004 Form 990-PF Supplemental Information on Change of Status, organizational Internal Revenue Service filing, August 12, 2005.
  19. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2003 Form 990, organizational Internal Revenue Service filing, May 19, 2005.
  20. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2004 Form 990-PF Supplemental Information on Change of Status, organizational Internal Revenue Service filing, August 12, 2005.
  21. Bill of Rights Institute, Mission and Vision, organizational website, accessed June 2013.
  22. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2004 Form 990-PF Supplemental Information on Change of Status, organizational Internal Revenue Service filing, August 12, 2005.
  23. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2002 Form 990, organization's annual Internal Revenue Service filing, April 21, 2003.
  24. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2003 Form 990, organization's annual Internal Revenue Service filing, April 20, 2004.
  25. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2003 Form 990, organization's annual Internal Revenue Service filing, April 20, 2004.
  26. Bill of Rights Institute, Board of Directors, organizational website, accessed June 2013.
  27. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2002 Form 990, organization's annual Internal Revenue Service filing, April 21, 2003.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2011 Form 990, organization's annual Internal Revenue Service filing, November 15, 2012.
  29. Knowledge and Progress Fund, 2010 Form 990, organization's annual Internal Revenue Service filing, November 15, 2011.