Talk:William H. Donner Foundation

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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.[1] 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."[2][3]

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.[4]

DonorsTrust Funding

The William H. Donner Foundation contributed $273,000 to DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund between 2009 and 2011 (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.[5]

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.[5] 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.[6]

Finances and Grants Paid by Foundation

Fiscal Year 2009

In 2009, the Foundation reported 4.5 million dollars worth of grants paid out to different foundations. Of that 4.5 million dollars, approximately $950,000 went to right-wing think tanks included in the State Policy Network[7]



Fiscal Year 2010

In 2010, the Foundation reported 4.5 million dollars paid out in grants, and of that 4.5 million, approximately $835,000 was granted to conservative think tanks involved in the State Policy Network.[8]



Fiscal Year 2011

In 2011, the Foundation reported 4.5 million paid out in grants, and of that 4.5 million approximately $750,000 was paid to right-wing thinktanks. [9]



Officers, Directors, and Trustees

Fiscal Year 2009

  • Michael Hunter Spencer, Treasurer
  • David Donner, Vice President
  • Anita Winsor Edwards, President
  • Monica Winsor, Secretary

Trustees

  • Hon. Curtin WInsor, Jr.
  • Robert Donner Jr.
  • Joseph W. Donner Jr.
  • Deborah Donner
  • Alexander Donner
  • Brittany Roy
  • Timothy E. Donner
  • Stephanie K. Hanson
  • Cristina Winsor
  • Robert D. Spencer
  • William M. Spencer
  • Curtin Winsor, III
  • Rebecca Winsor
  • Sharon Lainhart



Fiscal Year 2010

  • Michael Hunter Spencer, Secretary
  • David Donner, President
  • Monica Winsor, VP & Assistant Treasurer
  • Timothy E. Donner, Treasurer

Trustees

  • Christopher K. Roosevelt
  • Robert Donner Jr.
  • Joseph W. Donner III
  • Sharon Lainhart
  • Anita Winsor Edwards
  • Rebecca Winsor
  • Curtin Winsor III
  • William M. Winsor III
  • Robert D. Spencer
  • Cristina WInsor
  • Stephanie K. Hanson

Fiscal Year 2011

  • Timothy E. Donner, Secretary
  • Cristina Winsor, Treasurer
  • Michael Hunter Spencer, VP & Assistant Treasurer
  • Monica Winsor, President

Trustees

  • Hon. Curtin Winsor Jr
  • Joseph W. Donner Jr.
  • Deborah Donner
  • Alexander Donner
  • Brittany Roy
  • Stephanie K. Hanson
  • Robert D. Spencer
  • William M. Spencer III
  • Curtin Winsor III
  • Rebecca Winsor
  • David Donner
  • Anita Winsor Edwards
  • Sharon Lainhart
  • Joseph W. Donner III
  • Dillon Roy
  • Christopher K. Roosevelt
  • William H. Donner III



Fiscal Year 2013

  • Timothy E. Donner, President
  • Cristina Winsor, Vice President & Assistant Treasurer
  • Joseph W. Donner, III, Secretary
  • Rebecca D. Winsor, Treasurer

Trustees

  • Alexander B. Donner, Esq.
  • David W., Donner
  • Deborah Donner
  • Joseph W. Donner, Jr.
  • Joseph W. Donner, III.
  • Timothy E. Donner
  • Anita Winsor Edwards
  • Stephanie K. Hanson
  • Sharon W. Lainhart
  • Christopher K. Roosevelt
  • Brittany D. Roy
  • Dillon Roy
  • M. Hunter Spencer
  • Robert D. Spencer
  • William M. Spencer, III.
  • Cristina S. Winsor
  • Curtin Winsor, Jr.
  • Monica Winsor
  • Rebecca D. WInsor

References

  1. 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.
  2. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  3. Suzanne Goldenberg, "Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks," The Guardian, February 14, 2013.
  4. Center for Media and Democracy, DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund Grant Recipients, SourceWatch.org, accessed December 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Paul Abowd, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, Center for Public Integrity, February 14, 2013.
  6. Donors Trust, GuideStar.org, IRS form 990, 2011.
  7. William H. Donner Foundation,2009 Form 990,Foundation IRS Filing, October, 31, 2009
  8. William H. Donner Foundation.2010 IRS 990, Foundation tax filing, October 31, 2010.
  9. WIlliam H. Donner Foundation2011 IRS 990, Foundation IRS filinf, October 31, 2011.