Adolph Coors Foundation

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The Adolph Coors Foundation is a private 501(c)(3) family foundation established in October 1975 with funds from the Adolph Coors, Jr. Trust and headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Adolph Coors, Jr. was the son of the founder of the Coors Brewing Company. The Coors family now controls both the brewing company and the foundation. The Adolph Coors Foundation describes its vision for America as including "the wisdom of the free enterprise system, traditional Judeo-Christian values and the rule of law."[1]

The Foundation states that its public policy funding priorities include:[2]

  • "Enhancing understanding of the free enterprise system"
  • "Preserving the principles upon which our democracy was founded to help ensure a limited role for government and the protection of individual rights as provided for in the Constitution"
  • "Encouraging personal responsibility and leadership"
  • "Upholding traditional American values"

After growing protest to the racist and anti-gay behavior of the Adolph Coors Foundation in the 1970's and 1980's, in 1993 the foundation publicly restricted its grants to Colorado organizations. In 1994, the Adolf Coors Foundation then formed the Castle Rock Foundation with an unrestricted $36.5 million in assets to continue funding radically conservative organizations under a different name.[3] In November 2011, the Castle Rock Foundation and its more than $38 million in assets were dissolved back into its father foundation again.[4]

The Foundation has provided $274 million in grant funding since 1976. In 2019, the Foundation funded 114 grants for a total of $8.88 million.[5]

In 2018, the Adolph Coors Foundation reported a total of $14,819,922 in net investment income, made a total of $7,326,583 in contributions, gifts and grants and reported $170,181,331 in total assets.[6]


Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

The Adolph Coors Foundation granted $330,000 to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) between 2012 and 2018, according to an analysis of the Foundation's 990 Forms by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).[6][7][8][9][10]

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 ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.

Ties to the State Policy Network

The Adolph Coors Foundation has granted over $20.4 million to the State Policy Network and its member organizations between 2009-2018.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 50 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and the United Kingdom. As of January 2021, SPN's membership totals 163. Today's SPN is the tip of the spear of far-right, nationally funded policy agenda in the states that undergirds extremists in the Republican Party. SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told the Wall Street Journal in 2017 that the revenue of the combined groups was some $80 million, but a 2019 analysis of SPN's main members IRS filings by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that the combined revenue is over $120 million.[15] 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.[16]

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.'"[17]

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.[18]

Grants Distributed

2018

The Adolph Coors Foundation gave at least $3,152,550 to SPN, its members, and associate members in 2018. These groups, as well as other entities that received grants in 2018, are broken down as follows:[14]

2017

The Adolph Coors Foundation gave at least $2,547,550 to SPN, its members, and associate members in 2017. These groups, as well as other entities that received grants in 2017, are broken down as follows: [6]

2016

The Adolph Coors Foundation gave at least $1,225,000 to SPN, its members, and associate members in 2016. These groups, as well as other entities that received grants in 2016, are broken down as follows: [10]

2015

The Adolph Coors Foundation gave at least $4,255,000 to SPN, its members, and associate members in 2015. These groups, as well as other entities that received grants in 2015, are broken down as follows: [9]

2014

The Adolph Coors Foundation gave at least $1,245,000 to SPN, its members, and associate members in 2014. These groups, as well as other entities that received grants in 2015, are broken down as follows:[8]

Grants Made to SPN Members Between 2009 and 2014

The Adolph Coors Foundation gave at least $8,063,402 to SPN, its members, and associate members from 2009 to 2014, broken down as follows:[7][8][11][13]

Core Financials

2018[14]

  • Total Revenue: $8,441,647
  • Total Expenses: $12,509,151
  • Net Assets: $166,048,471

2017[6]

  • Total Revenue: $16,196,106
  • Total Expenses: $10,364,281
  • Net Assets: $170,181,331

2016[10]

  • Total Revenue: $16,290,925
  • Total Expenses: $9,915,531
  • Net Assets: $164,284,150

2015[9]

  • Total Revenue: $2,316,353
  • Total Expenses: $11,198,807
  • Net Assets: $157,908,756

2014[8]

  • Total Revenue: $9,787,003
  • Total Expenses: $6,900,375
  • Net Assets: $166,791,210

2013[11]

  • Total Revenue: $22,828,360
  • Total Expenses: $6,340,372
  • Net Assets: $160,587,325

2012[7]

  • Total Revenue: $3,910,478
  • Total Expenses: $9,249,440
  • Net Assets: $144,099,337

2011[13]

  • Total Revenue: $11,262,275
  • Total Expenses: $5,873,142
  • Net Assets: $149,438,299

Personnel

Staff

As of March, 2021:[19]

  • Alejandra Major
  • Cindy Kennedy
  • Carol Strathman
  • Carrie Tynan
  • Liz Tara Losinski

Board of Directors and Trustees

As of March 3, 2020:[14]

  • John Jackson, Executive Director, Secretary
  • Peter H. Coors, President and Chairman
  • Jeffrey H. Coors, Treasurer
  • Melissa Coors Osborn, Vice President
  • Cecily Coors Garnsey, Vice President
  • Benjamin R Windsor
  • Carin Coors Bremer
  • Christina Coors Williams
  • Carrie Tynan, Executive Director/Secretary (from April 2019)
  • Michael Garnsey

Former Board of Directors and Trustees

  • Robert G. Windsor
  • William K. Coors

Contact Information

Adolph Coors Foundation
215 Saint Paul Street
Suite 300
Denver, Colorado 80206

Employer Identification Number (EIN): 51-0172279
Phone: (303) 388-1636
Email: generalinfo@acoorsfdn.org
Web: http://www.coorsfoundation.org [20]
Facebook: Adolph Coors Foundation
Twitter: @acoorsfdn

Resources and Articles

IRS Form 990 Filings

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

Related SourceWatch Articles

Other Resources

  • Center for Media and Democracy, ALECexposed.org, organizational resource website.

References

  1. Adolph Coors Foundation, Our Vision, foundation website, accessed July 19th, 2020.
  2. Adolph Coors Foundation, Grant Priorities, foundation website, accessed July 19th, 2020.
  3. Richard Kim,The L Word, The Nation, October 19, 2004.
  4. American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, Donor: Castle Rock Foundation, ConservativeTransparency.org, accessed December 2014.
  5. Adolph Coors Foundation, Grant Priorities, foundation website, accessed July 19th, 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 , Adolph Coors Foundation, 2017 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, 2018.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 , Adolph Coors Foundation, 2012 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, 2012.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Adolph Coors Foundation, 2014 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, 2015.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 , Adolph Coors Foundation, 2015 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, 2016.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 , Adolph Coors Foundation, 2016 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, 2017.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Adolph Coors Foundation, 2013 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, April 9, 2014.
  12. Adolph Coors Foundation, 2010 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, 2010.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Adolph Coors Foundation, 2011 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, 2011.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 , Adolph Coors Foundation, 2018 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, March 3, 2020.
  15. David Armiak, Revenue for State Policy Network and State Affiliates Tops $120 Million, ExposedbyCMD, November 13, 2019.
  16. 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.
  17. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  18. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  19. Adolph Coors Foundation, Meet Our Team, organizational website, accessed March 4, 2021.
  20. Adolph Coors Foundation, Contact, foundation's website, accessed June 10th, 2013.