Alliance Defending Freedom

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The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is an American conservative Christian nonprofit organization founded by more than 30 Christian ministries, as a response to the American Civil Liberties Union, to defend "family values." ADF's major focus is strategizing and coordinating with hundreds of lawyers and right-wing groups to defend what they define as "Christian legal issues." Formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund, the group was established in January 31, 1994 and is currently based in Scottsdale, Arizona. People for the American Way notes that ADF's founding groups "are influential members of the Right, they are pro-life and anti-gay and their ultimate goal is to see the law and government of the US enshrined with conservative Christian principles."

News and Controversies

ADF Condemns Biden Title IX Proposal

ADF released a statement in opposition of the Biden Administration's proposed changes to Title IX, claiming the changes would endanger both parents and children. This argument centered around school districts "enabling students to lead double lives-- using one name and set of pronouns at school and another at home, without their parents' knowledge and consent". The letter claimed, "Many public schools are indoctrinating students in harmful views of human sexuality and race, injecting ideas from critical race and critical gender theories into classrooms. ADF helps parents and teachers challenge this indoctrination of students."[1]

ADF Receives Award from the Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation's annually awarded Innovation Prize, which includes a $100,000 cash prize, was given to Alliance Defending Freedom in 2022 for the organization's new "Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index". The index seeks to measure "whether companies respect the diverse viewpoints of their customers, employees, and other stakeholders" and is part of a greater pushback against "woke capitalism".[2] The Innovation Prize is awarded every year to organizations who share the goal of "serving the movement and uniting conservatives... to defeat the destructive ideology and designs of the radical left".[3]

Former AG Bill Barr Criticizes "Secular-Progressive" Public School Climate at CNP Annual Meeting

William Barr Receives ADF’s Edwin Meese III Award, Alliance Defending Freedom

On May 20, 2021, during Council for National Policy's 2021 Annual Meeting, former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr received ADF’s Edwin Meese III Award for Originalism and Religious Liberty.[4]

In his acceptance speech, Barr criticized the "increasingly militant and extreme secular-progressive climate of our state-run education system", which he called "greatest threat to religious liberty in America today." He described how some schools teach children they can express whichever gender identity (or lack thereof) they wish, without anyone else having a say. A lesson such as this, he said, "does not just contradict particular religious teachings on gender and the authority of parents; it is a broadside attack on the very idea of natural law, which is integral to the moral doctrines of a number of religious denominations."[4]

Barr also criticized Critical Race Theory (CRT), which he called "nothing more than the materialist philosophy of Marxism, substituting racial antagonism for class antagonism." CRT, according to Barr, "is fundamentally incompatible with Christianity" and "antithetical to the Christian view."[4]

Barr argued that "secular-progressivism" should be seen as a religion and be given the same Constitutional protections and prohibitions as other faith traditions. He asked, "how is it Constitutional to have a state-run school system fervently devoted to teaching little else? And how on earth can these same institutions be allowed to use the state to punish traditional religious doctrines as hate speech?"[4]

Barr concluded his speech arguing in favor of vouchers, saying they "would also promote all kinds of diversity in our schools— diversity of viewpoints, backgrounds, and ways of thinking... a universal voucher system would solve some of our most intractable and contentious social problems."[4]

Council for National Policy

The Council for National Policy (CNP) is a secretive, Christian Right organization of funders and activists founded in 1981 by activist Morton Blackwell, commentator Paul Weyrich, direct-mail pioneer Richard Viguerie, right-wing activist Phyllis Schlafly and Left Behind author Tim LaHaye. Anne Nelson's book about CNP, Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right, describes how the organization connects "the manpower and media of the Christian right with the finances of Western plutocrats and the strategy of right-wing Republican political operatives.”

CNP membership as of September 2020 is available here.

Politicizing the Courts in Tennessee

ADF is a supporter of the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) and its advocacy arm, Family Action of Tennessee in their efforts to politicize state courts in favor of a radical right-wing agenda. The FACT National Associations page lists ADF as a partner, stating it is one of their "key national associations or national allies for us as we seek to defend the biblical definition of marriage and family, life, and religious liberty."[5]

FACT has tried to reshape Tennessee state courts by removing judges it dislikes through retention election campaigns. In 2006, FACT was part of a coalition of right-wing groups trying defeat four state Supreme Court justices who had affirmed a right to abortion in Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee v. Sundquist. The coalition surveyed dozens of appellate judges on specific political positions including abortion rights and other issues. Most judges refused to answer but FACT still distributed 300,000 information packets about the justices to voters. Despite those efforts, the justices all won their retention elections.[6]

The group attempted to sway elections through a voter survey again in 2014 but failed to receive significant responses from judicial candidates. However, FACT was part of a successful campaign to abolish merit selection of judges, giving the governor power to appoints Supreme Court and Appellate Court judges, subject to review by the state legislature.[6]

In December 2017, FACT's leader, David Fowler, urged judges in Tennessee to rule that the state must refrain from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the legislature brings state law into accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. "It's time state judges begin to restore the rule of law that the United States Supreme Court subverted in Obergefell … and the states quit pretending we have laws we don't have," Fowler said.[6]

Participation in State-Funded Federalist Society Event

The Alliance Defending Freedom participated in the "Inaugural Wisconsin Chapters Conference" hosted by the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy in Madison, Wisconsin on May 4, 2018. The Federalist Society is a right-wing legal association which has been helping Republican presidents and politicians pack the courts. The event received state funding from the Office of State Courts and participation by judges bestowed mandatory continuing legal education credits. 15 Wisconsin judges protested the event, writing to the organizers "would the Office of State Courts financially underwrite the event and incentivize judicial attendance with credits towards the judges' mandatory continuing legal education?"[7]

At the event, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel delivered the keynote speech. Schimel kicked off his presentation by reminding the audience that "it is an election year." He then cataloged his accomplishments in a campaign-like speech. Schimel concluded by recognizing his "friend from the Alliance Defending Freedom" in the room and stating that his time spent at the ADF's conference last year was "some of the best time I ever spent."[7]

One Wisconsin Now Files Complaint Against Schimel for ADF Conference Appearance

Wisconsin Attorney General Schimel appeared at the Alliance Defending Freedom's 2017 conference at a luxury resort in California. Although Schimel defended his appearance at the Federalist Society's Inaugural Wisconsin Chapters Conference, One Wisconsin Now filed a request under state open records law demanding disclosure of his statements. In return for his participation, Schimel received a $4,100 appearance fee as well as accommodation while appearing in his official capacity. One Wisconsin Now Director Scott Ross stated "Brad Schimel appeared in his official capacity as the Attorney General of the state of Wisconsin at a conference hosted by an anti-LGBTQ hate group. We deserve to know what he said in exchange for the luxury resort accommodations and appearance fee they gave to him."[8]

SPLC Classification as a Hate Group

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) classified ADF as a hate group because it "has supported the recriminalization of homosexuality in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has linked homosexuality to pedophilia and claims that a "homosexual agenda" will destroy Christianity and society. ADF also works to develop "religious liberty" legislation and case law that will allow the denial of goods and services to LGBT people on the basis of religion."[9]

The SPLC profile on ADF includes numerous quotes from its leadership that exemplify their radical right-wing agenda and views:

  • "The endgame of the homosexual legal agenda is unfettered sexual liberty and the silencing of all dissent." —ADF Senior Counsel Erik Stanley at the Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage conference, 2014
  • "The government should promote and encourage strong families. When school officials have to choose between protecting children in those families or furthering the homosexual agenda, the choice is obvious: protecting our children comes first." —Austin Nimocks, then-ADF senior counsel opposing a "Welcoming Schools" curriculum, 2008
  • "In the end, those who profess to be 'gay' or 'lesbian,' or who have otherwise slipped in and out of homosexual behavior, including 'cruising' for anonymous partners, are people who succumb to a dangerous temptation." —Austin Nimocks, then-ADF senior counsel, writing at, 2007

The SPLC describes the ADF's obsession with the "homosexual agenda", stating it is a conspiracy theory that sees the LGBT community as "a nefarious scheme to destroy Christianity and, eventually, civilization through LGBT people's efforts to secure equality under the law." The profile catalogs a variety of books, white papers and court briefs which attached the supposed homosexual agenda, including, the 2003 book, The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today, by former ADF president and CEO, Alan Sears.[9]

The SPLC profile also describes the common ADF tactic of disguising their hateful arguments under the cloak of "religious liberty." This tactic has been ramped up since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in the United States in June 2015. The ADF has been pushing Religion Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) and lawsuits that couch discrimination against LGBT people as a "right" and call Christians a persecuted minority.[9]

In September 2022, U.S. Justice Department Official Eric P. Burskin publicly replied to assistant deputy secretary Jason Weida's LinkedIn post about working with ADF. Burskin wrote, "Jason, this is a hate group. You're speaking at a conference for a hate group. Are these the beliefs you hold? If so, then it's time we end our professional association."[10]

ADF Dropped from AmazonSmile

Following SPLC's profile on ADF as a hate group, Amazon dropped the organization from AmazonSmile, a program that allows users to choose a nonprofit foundation to receive a small percentage of their Amazon purchases. ADF had participated in the program since it began in 2013.[11]

In response, ADF Attorney Kristen Waggoner appeared on Fox News which allowed her to characterize the ADF as a religious freedom organization without discussing the evidence contained in the SPLC's profile. Waggoner stated "Amazon needs to realize it's marginalizing not just those of the Christian faith, but those of the Jewish, Islamic faiths who share similar beliefs. We stand for the fundamental freedoms of all Americans, even those we disagree with and those from all walks of life."[12] ADF General Counsel Michael Farris also accused Amazon of "hiding behind the Southern Poverty Law Center."[11] A blog post on the ADF website also called SPLC a "propaganda machine" and stated "If it's tolerance Amazon is looking for, that's not the way to get it."[13]

Major Lawsuits

ADF litigates to support its right-wing agenda, either as lead counsel or through submission of amicus curiae briefs. ADF divides its casework into three major categories: "Sanctity of Life," "Marriage & Family," and "Religious Freedom."[14]

Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization

ADF collaborated with Mississippi lawmakers to draft Mississippi's Gestational Age Act in 2018, which prohibits abortion from being performed after 15 weeks of gestation. ADF served on the legal team that defended the act in the 2022 case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision protecting reproductive health care like abortion.[15]

Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. At issue was the right of a cake maker to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, based on First Amendment claims of free speech and free exercise of religion. After cake maker Jack Phillips refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple, the couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. At that point, ADF and affiliated attorneys began representation of Phillips. In July 2016, ADF attorneys and allied attorneys petitioned the United States Supreme Court.[16] In addition to pushing the argument that refusing to serve a persecuted group such as homosexual couples, ADF and allied attorneys are promoting the argument that baking a cake is constitutionally protected artistic expression.[17]

ADF also has connections to the amicus brief filed by Congressional Republicans in support of the discriminatory position against same-sex rights. U.S. Representative Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) helped author the brief along with Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah). Johnson is a former ADF staff attorney who had previously participated in numerous cases against marriage equality.[17]

On June 4, 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop in a 7-2 decision. The ruling does not broadly empower merchants to deny service based on sexual orientation but rather narrowly addresses the question of whether the Colorado Civil Rights Commission demonstrated hostility toward Phillips's religious views in ruling against him.[18]

Obergefell v. Hodges

In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that marriage is a fundamental right that is guaranteed equally to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. ADF partnered with the Attorney General of Alabama to author an amicus brief in opposition to the right to marriage for all. The brief read, "If the traditional definition of marriage is not a rational basis for legislative action, it is hard to imagine what is. Put another way, if rational-basis review invalidates traditional marriage, it seems likely that few other laws would be safe from the federal courts."[19]

After the decision, ADF attorney Jim Campbell wrote that the Supreme Court "took" freedom from the people of America to define marriage. In his blog post, Campbell failed to closely examine the majority opinion's reasoning, opting to post long quotes from Justice Antonin Scalia's dissent.[20]

Lawrence v. Texas

In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court issues a decision in Lawrence v. Texas which invalidated anti-sodomy laws across the country and upheld the legal right to engage in adult same-sex sexual activity. ADF supported upholding the anti-sodomy laws through the submission of an amicus brief. In the brief, ADF attorney Glen Lavy wrote "The issue under rational-basis review is not whether Texas should be concerned about opposite-sex sodomy, but whether it is reasonable to believe that same-sex sodomy is a distinct public health problem. It clearly is."[9] ADF called the ruling "devastating," but has continued its work supporting the criminalization of gay sex abroad, including in Jamaica, Belize, and India.[21]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

ADF has been a "private sector member" of ALEC since at least 2018[22] In 2019, ADF hosted an "Inaugural Free Speech Dinner" at the ALEC States and Nation Policy Summit of that year. [23]

University Campus Speech

ADF has campaigned against universities attempting to regulate speech on campus to stop harassment and promote civility through "speech codes." The group has challenged such policies in Iowa and North Carolina and claims their action led to changes in policy. ADF supports the use of model bills to change policy for every state in the country to remove speech codes and any other efforts to regulate speech which they see as a threat to students and campus groups which support their agenda.[24]

In particular, ADF supports the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) model bill. An ADF blogpost reads, "the American Legislative Exchange Council's new 'FORUM Act' would address all three of these threats to student free speech: ending speech codes, speech zones, and violations of students' freedom of association. The legislation would also allow students to pursue legal action in state or federal court when their rights are violated."[24] In an ALEC blog post on the need for the FORUM Act, Shelby Emmett, the Director for the ALEC Center to Protect Free Speech, says she looked to ADF as a source of inspiration for the model bill.[25]

In a video posted by the Palmetto Family Council, the South Carolina family values group working in association with Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, ADF's Travis Barham and ALEC's Shelby Emmett appear in a video with South Carolina State Rep. Garry Smith to discuss a bill on promoting "free speech" on university campuses.[26]

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.

Ties to the Koch Brothers

Casey Mattox

The Charles Koch Institute hired Casey Mattox as a senior fellow focusing on toleration and free speech. Mattox previously worked with ADF as senior counsel and director of the Center for Academic Freedom. His casework at ADF focused on speech issues on university campuses.[27]

Koch Wiki

Charles Koch is the right-wing billionaire owner of Koch Industries. As one of the richest people in the world, he is a key funder of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on Charles Koch and his late brother David include: Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, Stand Together, Koch Family Foundations, Koch Universities, and I360.


The Alliance Defending Freedom, then known as the Alliance Defense Fund, was founded on January 31, 1994. The organization was launched at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Washington, D.C. with Alan Sears as president. ADF immediately began involvement in Supreme Court cases concerning religion's role in law and society. To date, ADF claims to have played a role in "53 victories" at the Supreme Court.[28]

ADF was intended to be a response to the progressive legal groups that had won important victories at all levels of the courts in the previous decades, such as the Anti-Defamation League and the American Civil Liberties Union. Regarding the impetus for ADF's establishment, Jeff Hunt, director of the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, which has hired Alliance for Defending Freedom lawyers on Obamacare mandates, stated "having a place where conservative attorneys are trained up and equipped to fight on equal footing in the judiciary has been important. I think this will be a paradigm shift. I think when people go back and look at the judiciary in America … You've had an equaling of the playing ground."[29]

In 1997 ADF created a Legal Academy to training Christian attorneys in their version of constitutional law to enable pro bono/dedicated service.[28] ADF continued investing in legal education by creating the Blackstone Legal Fellowship in 2000. This fellowship "prepares Christian law students for careers marked by integrity, excellence, and leadership."[30] The program includes a three-week training program followed by a six-week legal internship.

In 2008, ADF launched their "ministry publication," Faith & Justice (formerly known as Truth & Triumph). In 2012, the group officially adopted the name Alliance Defending Freedom to "more effectively communicate our mission, strengthen our efforts, and attract like-minded Allied Ministry Friends."[28]

Prior to the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, ADF achieved a reputation as the largest and most dangerous anti-LGBT advocacy group in the nation according to many equality advocacy groups. In 2014, the Human Rights Campaign wrote, "ADF is the nation's largest anti-LGBT legal advocacy group in the nation, raising over $178 million over the past 5 years, with an annual budget of over $45 million and rapidly expanding."[31]

As of June 2018, ADF claims to have accomplished:

  • 3,200+ Allied Attorneys
  • 300+ Allied Organizations
  • 1M+ Pro Bono Hours
  • $209M+ In Pro Bono Hours
  • 2,000+ Attorneys Trained
  • $47M+ In Case Funding
  • Victories in 80% of cases
  • Involvement in hundreds of international legal cases[32]


Alliance Defending Freedom is not required to disclose its funders. Its major foundation funders, however, can be found through a search of IRS filings. Here are the know funders of Alliance Defending Freedom:

  • Abbvie Foundation: $950 (2018-2019)
  • ADF Foundation: $486,731 (2014-2019)
  • Albert W. Cherne Foundation: $25,000 (2015-2018)
  • Ali Foundation: $1,035 (2016-2017)
  • Allen Family Foundation: $5,000 (2019)
  • American Endowment Foundation: $399,453 (2016-2019)
  • American Online Giving Foundation: $37,061 (2019-2020)
  • Anchor Foundation: $165,000 (2013-2018)
  • Ann Sputh Family Foundation: $9,500 (2013-2017)
  • Arbol Christian Communications: $4,000 (2016)
  • Armstrong Family Foundation: $8,500 (2014-2019)
  • Arnhold Foundation: $14,925 (2016)
  • Arthur G. Jaros Sr. and Dawn L. Jaros Charitable Trust: $13,900 (2013-2019)
  • Ayco Charitable Foundation: $11,200 (2019)
  • AZB Foundation: $71,000 (2016-2019)
  • Bader Family Foundation: $100,000 (2019)
  • Bailey Family Foundation: $27,500 (2013-2020)
  • Barnabas Foundation: $175,350 (2014-2017)
  • Batt Family Foundation: $3,000 (2017-2019)
  • Baxter Foundation: $75 (2019)
  • Bethel World Foundation: $5,000 (2019)
  • Big Hill Foundation: $2,700 (2015-2019)
  • Blackbaud Giving Fund: $15,888 (2017-2019)
  • Blake Family Charitable Foundation: $40,000 (2015-2020)
  • Bob and Charmaine Bush Family Foundation: $1,300 (2016-2019)
  • Bobb Family Foundation: $4,500 (2018-2020)
  • Bondie Foundation: $4,000 (2013-2016)
  • Borduin Charitable Foundation: $6,000 (2016-2020)
  • Bosk Foundation: $4,000 (2017-2018)
  • Boyd and Joan Kelley Charitable Foundation: $65,000 (2016-2019)
  • Bradley Family Foundation: $300 (2016)
  • Brakebush Family Foundation: $50,000 (2018)
  • Brannan Family Foundation: $400 (2017)
  • Brian and Sonya Emerick Family Foundation: $1,000 (2019-2020)
  • Brocker Foundation: $42,500 (2015-2019)
  • C. Wayne and Patricia J. Miller Foundation: $1,000 (2019)
  • California Community Foundation: $305,000 (2016-2019)
  • Calkins Foundation: $22,500 (2017-2019)
  • Calvary Foundation: $32,000 (2014-2020)
  • Carl A. Davis and Lois E. Davis Foundation: $15,000 (2013-2019)
  • Carl H. and Edyth B. Linder Foundation: $100,000 (2020)
  • Catherine V. and Martin Hofmann Foundation: $250 (2014-2018)
  • Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota: $5,100 (2018)
  • Charitable Management Foundation: $26,000 (2015-2019)
  • Charles and Jean Woodsby Private Foundation: $10,000 (2015)
  • Christian Community Foundation: $1,583,830 (2014-2021)
  • Christian Community Foundation of Memphis and the Mid-South: $11,250 (2020)
  • Christian Foundation of the West: $11,500 (2018-2019)
  • Christian Heritage Foundation: $10,000 (2018)
  • Christian Service Charities: $39,756 (2020)
  • Christopher and Misty Spoelhof Foundation: $5,000 (2020)
  • CMS Foundation: $1,000 (2020)
  • Colegato Foundation: $3,000 (2017)
  • Columbus Foundation: $5,400 (2014-2019)
  • Convoy of Hope: $15,000 (2017)
  • Cornerstone Legacy Foundation: $2,500 (2019)
  • Counsellor Foundation: $5,000 (2020)
  • Cousineau Family Charity: $5,000 (2020)
  • Cousins Family Foundation: $800 (2017-2018)
  • Crawford Family Foundation: $2,900 (2013-2020)
  • Crebs Family Foundation: $4,500 (2015-2019)
  • CSO: $1,000 (2020)
  • Cultivate Optimum Opportunities for Learning Foundation: $3,900 (2013-2020)
  • D. James Kennedy Foundation: $1,500 (2020)
  • Dallas Seminary Foundation: $50,555 (2014-2020)
  • David and Lezlie Hudiburg Family Foundation: $25,000 (2018)
  • David W. Henderman Foundation: $43,000 (2015-2020)
  • Davis Family Foundation: $3,090 (2018-2020)
  • Dayton Foundation Depository: $5,190 (2016)
  • Do Right Foundation: $19,000 (2014-2019)
  • Donald F. and Charlene K. Lamberti Foundation: $35,000 (2017-2019)
  • Donors Capital Fund: $330,000 (2015)
  • DonorsTrust: $657,447 (2015-2022)
  • Dove Givings Foundation II: $13,500 (2013-2019)
  • Dunn Foundation: $275,000 (2021-2022)
  • Dwight and Vicki Hanger Foundation: $1,300 (2014-2019)
  • East Texas Communities Foundation: $90,000 (2014-2018)
  • Eastland County Open Door: $12,500 (2018-2019)
  • Eden Bridge Foundation: $20,000 (2018)
  • Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation: $280,000 (2014-2019)
  • Elden E. and Judith A. Von LeHe Foundation: $5,500 (2014-2018)
  • Electric Power Equipment Company Foundation: $95 (2015-2017)
  • Elizabeth McEachern Foundation: $400 (2018)
  • Ellenwood Foundation: $10,000 (2017)
  • Emelco Foundation: $15,000 (2016)
  • Emma Balsiger Foundation: $1,000 (2014)
  • Emmerich Foundation: $25,000 (2017-2020)
  • Ensio Family Foundation: $40,000 (2014-2017)
  • Evening Star Foundation: $59,800 (2014-2019)
  • Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund: $5,506,190 (2016-2020)
  • Freedom and Justice Foundation: $20,000 (2019)
  • Fuller Foundation: $250,000 (2020)
  • Gaby Family Foundation: $50,000 (2020)
  • Ganahi Family Foundation: $2,000 (2018-2019)
  • Garcia Family Foundation: $200,000 (2020)
  • Garippa Foundation: $1,000 (2019)
  • Gary and Lennie Michelson Family Foundation: $9,000 (2013-2017)
  • Gary J. and Susan O. Ferrentino Foundation: $10,000 (2017-2019)
  • Gerry-Corbett Foundation: $13,800 (2013-2019)
  • Getsch Charitable Trust: $6,000 (2018-2020)
  • Gianforte Family Charitable Trust: $250,000 (2013-2018)
  • Gods Gift: $675,000 (2016-2017)
  • Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund: $10,000 (2019)
  • Granadillo Foundation: $2,000 (2020)
  • Greater Cincinnati Foundation: $18,976 (2020)
  • Haass Family Foundation: $15,000 (2017-2020)
  • Haberman Foundation: $864 (2013-2015)
  • Hamlin Family Foundation: $3,200 (2014-2016)
  • Hannah Foundation: $4,000 (2015-2019)
  • Haushalter Family Foundation: $500 (2019)
  • Helen Katz Charitable Trust: $63,513 (2018-2020)
  • Henry Safford Peacock Foundation: $2,500 (2013-2020)
  • Heritage Foundation: $200,000 (2020-2022)
  • Herschend Family Foundation: $5,000 (2016)
  • High Rock Foundation: $8,500 (2019)
  • Hofer Family Foundation Trust: $58,000 (2013-2019)
  • Hofshi Foundation: $1,200 (2018)
  • Homer Vinson Foundation: $200 (2018)
  • Horst Foundation: $103,000 (2015-2018)
  • Hughes Philanthropic Society: $1,500 (2019)
  • Huizenga Foundation: $1,500 (2013)
  • II Corinthians Foundation: $2,500 (2020)
  • Immanuel Charitable Foundation: $10,000 (2019)
  • Intuit Foundation: $550 (2014-2016)
  • Jacks Family Foundation: $3,800 (2019)
  • Jacobsen Lake Foundation: $9,260 (2013-2019)
  • James E. and Linda L. Falck Foundation: $5,500 (2013-2017)
  • James E. Elliot Charitable Trust: $100 (2017)
  • James F. Causley Jr. Family Foundation: $58,000 (2013-2018)
  • Jay and Phyllis Conrad Family Foundation: $2,000 (2017)
  • Jesus Fund Foundation: $100,000 (2017-2018)
  • Jim Hicks Family Foundation: $27,000 (2014-2017)
  • JM Smith Foundation: $400 (2017-2018)
  • John 316 Foundation: $15,750 (2015-2019)
  • John and Miki Ford Foundation: $10,000 (2019)
  • Johnson-Weaver Foundation: $9,000 (2017-2019)
  • Jon L. and Beverly A. Thompson Foundation: $500,000 (2020)
  • Jonathan Hesed Okamoto Foundation: $2,000 (2020)
  • Josetta Fund: $390,000 (2016-2017)
  • JPMorgan Chase Foundation: $3,020 (2014-2017)
  • Julian G. Lange Family Foundation I: $75,000 (2013-2019)
  • Juniper Tree Foundation: $2,400 (2016-2019)
  • Kenneth and Alice Martin Family Foundation: $65,000 (2014-2019)
  • Kenneth and Doniella Winter Family Foundation: $900 (2017-2018)
  • Kenneth Heinz Family Foundation: $80,000 (2020)
  • Kingdom Foundation: $40,000 (2020)
  • Koehr Family Foundation: $25 (2015)
  • Korff Foundation: $5,000 (2019)
  • Laird Norton Family Foundation: $17,000 (2014-2019)
  • Lawrence and Sandra Post Family Foundation: $17,000 (2014-2019)
  • LE Foundation: $200 (2019)
  • Lisa and Bob Cheeley Foundation: $600 (2020)
  • Live the Call Shema: $5,000 (2016)
  • Living Stones Foundation: $10,000 (2017)
  • Lowell Berry Foundation: $12,000 (2013-2020)
  • Luhrsen Family Foundation: $25 (2017)
  • Luke and Lori Morrow Family Foundation: $10,000 (2018)
  • Lynn P. Demarco Charitable Foundation: $93,025
  • Maclellan Foundation: $6,500 (2018-2019)
  • Mae Casali Bonvicini Charitable Foundation: $9,500 (2015-2016)
  • Magee Family Charitable Trust: $3,050 (2013-2017)
  • Maranatha Foundation: $32,000 (2017-2019)
  • Margaret CB and S. Spencer N. Brown Foundation: $200 (2018-2020)
  • Mark H. and Blanche M. Harrington Foundation: $162,500 (2020)
  • Marvin Buzz Oates Charitable Foundation: $5,000 (2019)
  • Masters Table: $82,000 (2018-2019)
  • Matthew 633 Foundation: $25 (2018)
  • Middlemas Family Foundation: $2,000 (2016-2017)
  • Midway Foundation: $5,000 (2019)
  • Miles Family Foundation: $170 (2018-2019)
  • Minneapolis Foundation: $93,000 (2018-2019)
  • Minnie and Bernard Lane Foundation: $1,000 (2018-2019)
  • Montera Family Foundation: $40,000 (2018-2019)
  • Morgan Stanley Global Impact Funding Trust: $185,027 (2016-2019)
  • Mosow Family Foundation: $800 (2016-2017)
  • Motorolo Solutions Foundation: $450 (2020)
  • Murdoch Charitable Trust: $500,000 (2016-2017)[33][34]
  • Natan Foundation: $23,000 (2014-2018)
  • National Christian Charitable Foundation: $92,757,833 (2014-2021)
  • National Philanthropic Trust: $968,150 (2014-2020)
  • NDSP Family Foundation: $259,127 (2019)
  • Nelson Family Charitable Foundation: $25,000 (2013-2017)
  • Network For Good: $29,927 (2017-2019)
  • New Hope Foundation: $60,000 (2018-2020)
  • Nolen Family Foundation: $2,000 (2016)
  • Oarsmen Foundation: $20,000 (2019)
  • Odell Foundation: $2,000 (2020)
  • Oscar G. and Elsa S. Mayer Family Foundation: $29,000 (2015-2017)
  • Patricia and Ronald Schardt Foundation: $47,000 (2015-2020)
  • Peery-Cauthen Charitable Trust: $3,500 (2013-2016)
  • Perfect Light Foundation: $1,000 (2015-2019)
  • Philanthropy International: $500 (2015)
  • Pillmore Family Foundation: $79,500 (2013-2018)
  • Pinkerton Foundation: $1,000 (2016)
  • Piper Jaffray Foundation: $500 (2020)
  • Poole Family Foundation: $500 (2018-2019)
  • Potters Hands Foundation: $10,000 (2017)
  • Prayer Unlimited: $26,200 (2013-2020)
  • Psalms Foundation: $300,071 (2015-2017)
  • R. Keith Cullinan Family Foundation: $1,000 (2017)
  • Randall K. and Rebecca L. Craig Family Foundation: $4,450 (2015-2020)
  • Raymond James Charitable Endowment Fund: $136,550 (2014-2020)
  • Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, established by Amway Founder and father-in-law of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, are major donors to "family values groups," including ADF.[35]
  • Richardson Family Foundation: $227,300 (2014-2019)
  • Rivers of New Life Foundation: $500 (2015-2018)
  • Robert A. and Jean Norling Foundation: $400 (2017-2018)
  • Robert and Marie Hansen Family Foundation: $5,000 (2013)
  • Robert and Molly Tarr Charitable Foundation: $5,000 (2019)
  • Roderick P. Lucas and Joyce I. Lucas Charitable Foundation: $21,000 (2015-2019)
  • Rotary Foundation of Rotary International: $300,000 (2019)
  • Sacred Family Causes Foundation: $900 (2013-2019)
  • Sam and Labibie Azar Family Foundation: $9,000 (2020)
  • Samaritan Ministries International: $162,500 (2014-2019)
  • Samaritan's Purse: $150,000 (2019-2020)
  • San Diego Foundation: $25,000 (2014-2016)
  • Sarkes and Mary Tarzian Charitable Foundation: $20,000 (2019)
  • Schwab Charitable Fund: $4,845,788 (2014-2021)
  • Sedwick Charitable Foundation: $250,000 (2016-2019)
  • Servant Foundation: $65,992,079 (2018-2021)
  • Seven Trails Foundation: $1,400 (2017-2020)
  • Sharon A. Fordham Foundation: $1,150 (2013-2018)
  • Shell Oil Company Foundation: $23,400 (2015-2019)
  • Shepherd Sower Sentinel and Scholar Foundation: $645,000 (2014-2020)
  • Shepherds Hand: $30,000 (2017-2020)
  • Silicon Valley Community Foundation: $99,415 (2015-2018)
  • Sonscope Foundation: $3,500 (2017)
  • Southwest Florida Community Foundation: $115,000 (2014-2016)
  • Stafast Foundation: $57,500 (2016-2019)
  • Stauffer Family Foundation: 31,400 (2017-2019)
  • Stephen E. and Maryanne G. Means Foundation: $5,000 (2019)
  • Steven and Natalee Herrig Family Foundation: $5,000 (2019)
  • Stover Foundation: $210,000 (2014-2020)
  • Strider Charitable Foundation: $1,000 (2017)
  • Strong Foundation: $70,000 (2013-2019)
  • Thomas and Nancy Rost Foundation: $41,000 (2014-2020)
  • Thomas S. Carter Foundation: $35 (2016)
  • Thrivent Charitable Impact and Investing: $13,922 (2019)
  • Towering Pines Foundation: $31,000 (2013-2020)
  • Trade Family Foundation: $25 (2016)
  • True Vine Foundation: $30,000 (2017-2020)
  • TYL Foundation: $5,000 (2015)
  • United Way Worldwide: $30,999 (2016-2019)
  • Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust: $5,000 (2019)
  • Wagner Agape Foundation: $38,000 (2018-2019)
  • Whispering Fox Foundation: $50,000 (2020)
  • Whitener Family Foundation: $2,000 (2018-2019)
  • William H. and Ella W. McMahan Foundation: $4,500 (2017-2018)
  • Williamson Family Foundation: $23,000 (2014-2017)
  • Wiseheart Foundation: $40,000 (2016-2018)
  • WL Amos Sr. Foundation: $5,000 (2019)
  • Woodford Faith and Freedom Foundation: $12,500 (2018)
  • Wormlad Family Foundation: $6,500 (2014-2016)
  • Wright Family Foundation: $2,000 (2020)
  • XCEL Energy Foundation: $150 (2019)
  • Young Peoples Church of the Air: $57,500 (2018-2019)
  • ZTYL Foundation: $1,500 (2020)

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $104,490,113
  • Total Expenses: $81,311,475
  • Net Assets: $74,998,324

Grants Distributed

  • Adams & Graham LLP: $20,000
  • American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists: $25,000
  • Charlotte Lozier Institute: $27,387
  • Child & Parental Rights Campaign: $85,000
  • Cooper & Kirk PLLC: $42,396
  • County Citizens Defending Freedom: $50,000
  • Dalton & Tomich: $19,500
  • Ethics and Public Policy Center: $78,000
  • Family Foundation of Virginia: $84,183
  • Frontline Policy Council (Georgia): $20,928
  • Hixson & Brown PC: $30,000
  • Kriegshauser Ney Law Group: $30,000
  • Live Action: $25,000
  • Mauck & Baker LLC: $25,000
  • McKenry Dancigers Dawson, P.C.: $6,449
  • Mitchell Law PLLC: $8,810
  • NMAR Inc.: $7,850
  • Nussbaum, Speir, Gleason PLLC: $25,000
  • Patrick Henry College: $40,000
  • Religious Freedom Institute: $11,430
  • Shreffler Law, PLLC: $8,163
  • Smith Appellate Law Firm PLLC: $28,042
  • Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge: $16,766
  • Spero Law LLC: $8,608
  • Wadleigh Starr & Peters, PLLC: $41,406
  • Women's Liberation Front: $50,000


  • Total Revenue: $78,833,050
  • Total Expenses: $67,142,893
  • Net Assets: $57,388,377

Grants Distributed

  • ADF Foundation: $40,000
  • Charis Lex P.C.: $160,078
  • Child & Parental Rights Campaign: $68,125
  • Claremont Institute: $23,490
  • Cooper & Kirk PLLC: $10,089
  • Dalton & Tomich PLC: $7,710
  • Ellis, Li & McKinstry PLLC: $63,890
  • Indiana Family Institute: $19,985
  • International Organization for the Family: $50,000
  • Kaempf Law Firm PC: $26,039
  • Law Office of Nic Cocis: $5,610
  • Martin Law & Mediation, PLLC: $7,950
  • Mauck & Baker LLC: $54,560
  • McKenry Dancigers Dawson P.C.: $16,350
  • Mitchell Law PLLC: $56,599
  • National Center for Public Policy Research: $22,500
  • Patrick Henry College: $13,219
  • Religious Freedom Institute: $38,570
  • Shreffler Law PLLC: $12,999
  • Susan B. Anthony List: $52,533


  • Total Revenue: $65,187,555
  • Total Expenses: $59,289,188
  • Net Assets: $42,813,699


  • Total Revenue: $69,949,233
  • Total Expenses: $57,262,014
  • Net Assets: $37,329,602


  • Total Revenue: $55,187,996
  • Total Expenses: $54,685,295
  • Net Assets: $29,401,436


  • Total Revenue: $51,173,952
  • Total Expenses: $50,304,647
  • Net Assets: $29,596,108



As of September 2022:[40]

  • Michael P. Farris, President and CEO
  • Kristen K. Waggoner, General Counsel

Board of Directors

As of September 2022:[40]

  • Terry Schlossberg, Board Chairman
  • Seth Morgan, Board Vice Chairman
  • Mark Maddoux, Board Secretary/Treasurer
  • John Rogers, Board Member
  • Ruth Ross, Board Member
  • Scott Scharpen, Board Member
  • Gary Smith, Board Member
  • Michael Whitehead, Board Member
  • Chapman Cox, Chairman Emeritus
  • Tom Minnery, Board Vice Chairman


As of September 2022:[41]

  • Bradley Abramson, Senior Counsel
  • Kate Anderson, Legal Counsel
  • Ryan Bangert, Senior Counsel, Vice President for Legal Strategy
  • Travis Barham, Senior Counsel
  • Erik Baptist, Senior Counsel
  • Gregory S. Baylor, Senior Counsel, Director of Center for Religious Schools
  • Julie Blake, Senior Counsel
  • Roger G. Brooks, Senior Counsel
  • Nathaniel Bruno, Senior Counsel for Allied Legal Affairs
  • Matt Bowman, Senior Counsel
  • Denise Burke, Senior Counsel
  • John Bursch, Senior Counsel, Vice President of Appellate Advocacy
  • Timothy D. Chandler, Senior Counsel, Senior Vice President of Alliance Advancement
  • Ken Connelly, Senior Counsel
  • David A. Cortman, Senior Counsel, Vice President of U.S. Litigation
  • Rebecca Eggleston, Chief of Staff to the General Counsel
  • Michael P. Farris, President and CEO
  • Kellie Fiedorek, Senior Counsel, Government Affairs Director
  • Hal Frampton, Senior Counsel
  • Jeremiah Galus, Senior Counsel
  • Andrew D. Graham, Senior Counsel
  • Rory Gray, Senior Counsel
  • Denise Harle, Senior Counsel, Director of Center for Life
  • Brett Harvey, Senior Counsel, Vice President of Grants & Funding
  • Erin Morrow Hawley, Senior Counsel
  • Emilie Kao, Senior Counsel, Vice President of Advocacy Strategy
  • Christiana Kiefer, Senior Counsel
  • Ali Kilmartin, Senior Counsel, Director of Attorney Network
  • Tyson Langhofer, Senior Counsel, Director of the Center for Academic Freedom
  • Glen Lavy, Corporate Counsel

Conscience Initiatives

  • Mark Lippelmann, Senior Counsel
  • Jordan Lorence, Senior Counsel, Director of Strategic Engagement
  • Valerie Londono
  • Kyle McCutcheon, Legal Counsel, Church Alliance
  • Bob Pruitt, Senior Counsel, Director of Corporate Affairs
  • Zack Pruitt, Senior Counsel, Federal Government Relations Director
  • Chris Schandevel, Senior Counsel
  • Jonathan Scruggs, Senior Counsel, Director of the Center for Conscience Initiatives
  • Phil Sechler, Senior Counsel
  • Matt Sharp, Senior Counsel, State Government Relations National Director
  • Jeremy Tedesco, Senior Counsel, Vice President of U.S. Advocacy and Administration
  • Kevin Theriot, Senior Counsel, Vice President of Center for Life
  • Ryan Tucker, Senior Counsel, Director of the Center for Christian Ministries
  • Jeffery J. Ventrella, Senior Counsel, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Training
  • Kristen K. Waggoner, Senior Vice President of U.S. Legal Division, General Counsel – Arizona
  • Jake Warner, Legal Counsel
  • Edna Wyatt, Senior Counsel, Director of Professional Development

Former Attorneys

  • Blake Meadows, Legal Counsel
  • Christen Price, Legal Counsel
  • Christiana Holcomb, Legal Counsel
  • Douglas H. Napier, Senior Vice President of Alliance Relations
  • Elissa Graves, Legal Counsel
  • Erik W. Stanley, Senior Counsel, Director of the Center for Christian Ministries
  • Gary McCaleb, Senior Counsel
  • James Gottry, Director of Marketing, Legal Counsel
  • Jeana Hallock, Legal Counsel
  • Jim Campbell, Senior Counsel, Director of the Center for Cultural Engagement & Scholarship
  • Joseph Infranco, Senior Counsel, Vice President of the Alliance Coordination Team
  • Ray Kaselonis, Senior Counsel, Church Alliance
  • Samuel Green, Legal Counsel


  • Alan Sears
  • Marlin Maddoux
  • Dr. James C. Dobson
  • Dr. D. James Kennedy
  • Dr. Bill Bright
  • Larry Burkett
  • William Pew

Former Board Members

  • Alfonso Aguilar, Board Member
  • Marjorie Dannenfelser, Board Member
  • Charles W. Pickering, Sr., Board Member

Contact Information

Alliance Defending Freedom
15100 N. 90th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Articles and Resources

IRS Form 990 Filings






Financial Reports

2016 & 2017


Related SourceWatch


  1. Courtney O'Brien, Alliance Defending Freedom Tells Education Department that Biden's Title IX Proposals Will 'Endanger Children', "Fox News", September 12, 2022.
  2. David Armiak, Heritage Gives Award to Anti-LGBTQ Hate Group, "Exposed by CMD", June 27, 2022.
  3. Heritage Foundation, Heritage Foundation Announces Winners of New Innovation Prise, "Heritage Foundation", June 1, 2022.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Alliance Defending Freedom, William Barr is a Friend of Freedom, organizational website, May 20, 2021, accessed May 24, 2021.
  5. Family Action Council of Tennessee, National Associations, accessed May 28, 2018. FACT is similarly supported by the Family Policy Alliance, the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Arn Pearson, Conquering the Courts: The Religious Right's Fight to Rig the Rules and Undermine Judicial Independence, Center for Media and Democracy, May 1, 2018.
  7. 7.0 7.1 David Armiak and Mary Bottari, 15 Judges Object to State Funds for Federalist Society Conference Where WI AG Brad Schimel Plugged Campaign, Praised Hate Group, Center for Media and Democracy, May 10, 2018.
  8. One Wisconsin Now, What Did Brad Schimel Say to Hate Group at Their Conference?, May 10, 2018.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Southern Poverty Law Center, Alliance Defending Freedom, accessed June 1, 2018.
  10. Steve Warren, Justice Dept. Official Publicly Smears Alliance Defending Freedom as 'Hate Group' in Social Media Post, "CBN News", September 6, 2022.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Bradford Richardson, Alliance Defending Freedom removed from AmazonSmile after 'hate group' designation, Washington Times, June 1, 2018.
  12. Zack Ford, Anti-LGBTQ group freaks out after Amazon blocks it from using donation system to raise money, Think Progress, May 4, 2018.
  13. Sarah Kramer, Amazon Gives ADF the Boot from Its AmazonSmile Program: Here's What You Can Do, Alliance Defending Freedom, May 3, 2018.
  14. Alliance Defending Freedom, View Our Cases, accessed June 2, 2018.
  15. Alliance Defending Freedom, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, "Organizational Website", July 21, 2022.
  16. Alliance Defending Freedom, Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, accessed June 2, 2018.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Sarah Posner, The Christian Legal Army Behind 'Masterpiece Cakeshop', The Nation, November 28, 2017.
  18. Jack Crowe, SCOTUS Rules in Favor of Baker who Refused to Make LGBT-Wedding Cake, National Review, June 4, 2018.
  19. Alliance Defending Freedom, ADF, Alabama to US Supreme Court: Affirm the people's liberty, uphold marriage laws, April 6, 2015.
  20. Jim Campbell, Supreme Court: Americans cannot affirm marriage as one man, one woman, Alliance Defending Freedom, June 26, 2015.
  21. Brennan Suen, ADF and friends: Hate group Alliance Defending Freedom is at the center of an anti-LGBTQ industry, 'Media Matters for America, September 28, 2017.
  22. ALEC, AZ State Senate Deputy COS ALEC List, "American Legislative Exchange Council], July27, 2018.
  23. Michael Bowman, ALEC and ADF Inaugural Free Speech Dinner, ALEC Action Email, November 19, 2019.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Alliance Defending Freedom, State Laws on Student Free Speech – How Does Your State Measure Up?, accessed on June 3, 2018.
  25. Shelby Emmett, Why Conservative Lawmakers Are Turning to Free-Speech Bills as a Fix for Higher Ed, American Legislative Exchange Council, June 8, 2017.
  26. Palmetto Family, Free Speech on College Campuses in South Carolina, accessed June 4, 2018.
  27. Charles Koch Institute, Charles Koch Institute Welcomes Casey Mattox to Free Speech Team, accessed June 4, 2018.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Alliance Defending Freedom, History, accessed June 6, 2018.
  29. Allison Sherry, Who Is The Alliance Defending Freedom, The Legal Team Behind Masterpiece Cakeshop?, Colorado Public Radio, December 5, 2017.
  30. Blackstone Legal Fellowship, Home Page, accessed June 6, 2018.
  31. Stephen Peters, 10 Shocking Facts About the Alliance Defending Freedom, Human Rights Campaign, October 15, 2014.
  32. Alliance Defending Freedom, Who We Are, accessed June 6, 2018.
  33. Murdoch Charitable Trust, 2016 990 Form, organizational IRS filing, November 13, 2017.
  34. Murdoch Charitable Trust, 2017 990 Form, organizational IRS filing, November 12, 2018.
  35. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named inside
  36. 36.0 36.1 Alliance Defending Freedom, 2021 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, May 11, 2023. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "adf20" defined multiple times with different content
  37. Alliance Defending Freedom, 2019 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, May 13, 2021.
  38. Alliance Defending Freedom, 2018 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, May 11, 2020.
  39. 39.0 39.1 Alliance Defending Freedom, 2017 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, April 29, 2019.
  40. 40.0 40.1 Alliance Defending Freedom, Our Leadership Team, accessed September 23, 2022.
  41. Alliance Defending Freedom, Our Attorneys, accessed September 23, 2022.