John William Pope Foundation

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Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.

This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

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]

From July 2012 to June 2013, the John William Pope Foundation reported a total annual revenue of $9,373,410, $10,554,990 in expenses and contributions, and total assets of $145,857,004 (fair market value).[6]

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.[7] 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."[8][9]

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.[10]

DonorsTrust Funding

The John William Pope Foundation contributed $140,000 to DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund between 2007 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.[11]

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.[11] 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.[12]

Finances and 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:[6][2][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27]

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:[6][2][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27]

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.

Personnel

Board of Directors

As of January 2015:[28][6]

  • 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

Executive Management

As of January 2015:[28]

  • 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

Former Board Members

  • the late Joyce W. Pope

Former Executive Management

  • David W. Riggs, former Vice President of Operations and Programs
  • David N. Bass, former Communications Director and Grants Officer

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. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 John Williams Pope Foundation, 2012 Form 990 (for the period July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013), foundation's IRS filing, November 13, 2013.
  7. 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.
  8. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  9. Suzanne Goldenberg, "Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks," The Guardian, February 14, 2013.
  10. Center for Media and Democracy, DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund Grant Recipients, SourceWatch.org, accessed December 2014.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Paul Abowd, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, Center for Public Integrity, February 14, 2013.
  12. Donors Trust, GuideStar.org, IRS form 990, 2011.
  13. 13.0 13.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2010 Form 990, foundation IRS filing, November 15, 2010.
  14. 14.0 14.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2009 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, March 19th, 2010.
  15. 15.0 15.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2008 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, November 24, 2008.
  16. 16.0 16.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2007 Form 990, foundation IRS filing, November 14, 2007.
  17. 17.0 17.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2006 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, November 14, 2006.
  18. 18.0 18.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2005 Form 990, foundation IRS filing, November 8th, 2005.
  19. 19.0 19.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2004 Form 990, Foundation IRS filing, July 20th, 2005.
  20. 20.0 20.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2003 Form 990, foundation IRS filing, July 20, 2005.
  21. 21.0 21.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2002 Form 990, foundation IRS filing, July 20th, 2005.
  22. 22.0 22.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2001 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, July 28,2005.
  23. 23.0 23.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2000 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, August 3rd, 2005.
  24. 24.0 24.1 John William Pope Foundation, 1999 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, July 28, 2005.
  25. 25.0 25.1 John William Pope Foundation, 1998 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, August 16, 2009.
  26. 26.0 26.1 John William Pope Foundation, 1997 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, July 28, 2005.
  27. 27.0 27.1 John William Pope Foundation, 1994 990 Form, foundation IRS filing, August 16, 2005.
  28. 28.0 28.1 John William Pope Foundation, Board of Directors, foundation's website, accessed January 2015.