Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge
The Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge (FFVF) is a right-wing, Pennsylvania-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has been tax exempt since 1974. FFVF's mission includes a "Bill of Responsibilities" and an "American Credo" which emphasize personal responsibility, individual freedom, constitutional government, and a fundamental belief in God.
News and Controversies
FFVF has fifteen volunteer chapters, which are "comprised of dedicated individuals who want to spread the message of engaged and responsible citizenship to schools and communities across America." As of March 2021, FFVF was active in the following states:
- New York
Ties to the State Policy Network
The Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge is an associate member of the State Policy Network, a group of right-wing think tanks and politically-active nonprofits. 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. 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.
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.'"
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.
Ties to the Bradley Foundation
The Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge received $345,250 from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation between 2013-2019. Of these contributions, $2,000 supported general operations, $41,250 supported history education for Wisconsin teachers, and $302,000 supported U.S. history education projects.
FFVF also received $25,000 in 2016 from the Bradley Impact Fund, a donor-advised fund aligned with the Bradley Foundation that gives grants to organizations identified by the foundation.
In 2017, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of SourceWatch, launched a series of articles on the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, exposing the inner-workings of one of America's largest right-wing foundations. 56,000 previously undisclosed documents laid bare the Bradley Foundation's highly politicized agenda. CMD detailed Bradley's efforts to map and measure right wing infrastructure nationwide, including by dismantling and defunding unions to impact state elections; bankrolling discredited spin doctor Richard Berman and his many front groups; and more.
- Total Revenue: $1,180,024
- Total Expenses: $1,597,955
- Net Assets: $12,234,625
- Total Revenue: $3,503,227
- Total Expenses: $2,924,326
- Net Assets: $13,261,607
- Total Revenue: $4,715,596
- Total Expenses: $2,594,071
- Net Assets: $13,329,841
- Total Revenue: $2,346,569
- Total Expenses: $2,207,199
- Net Assets: $10,849,413
- Total Revenue: $1,801,463
- Total Expenses: $1,861,325
- Net Assets: $10,977,701
- Total Revenue: $1,813,613
- Total Expenses: $1,942,469
- Net Assets: $10,927,536
- Total Revenue: $5,627,704
- Total Expenses: $1,968,708
- Net Assets: $10,533,885
- Total Revenue: $2,098,610
- Total Expenses: $2,089,655
- Net Assets: $7,095,299
- Total Revenue: $1,550,376
- Total Expenses: $1,865,112
- Net Assets: $7,168,209
- Adolph Coors Foundation: $50,000 (2016)
- Armstrong Foundation: $20,000 (2015-2016)
- Bank of America Charitable Foundation: $8,750 (2012-2014, 2016)
- Bradley Impact Fund: $25,000 (2018)
- Columbus Foundation: $6,000 (2010-2015)
- Congressional Medal of Honor Society of the United States of America: $15,000 (2015)
- Daniel M Tabas Family Foundation: $5,000 (2010)
- Dillon Foundation: $12,650 (2013-2015, 2017-2018)
- Foundation for Individual Liberty: $8,000 (2018)
- Franci Neely Foundation: $3,000 (2012)
- Hbe Foundation: $30,000 (2017-2019)
- Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative: $5,000 (2010)
- Hoxie Harrison Smith Foundation: $60,085 (2013-2019)
- James R Crane Foundation: $3,000 (2012)
- Joe M and Doris R Dealey Family Foundation: $15,000 (2017-2018)
- JPMorgan Chase Foundation: $38,000 (2013)
- Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation: $345,250 (2013-2019)
- Malvern Federal Charitable Foundation: $46,000 (2014-2017)
- Medal of Honor Foundation: $50,000 (2018)
- Rhonda Fleming Foundation: $1,075 (2016-2017)
- Sacramento Region Community Foundation: $10,339 (2014)
- Schwab Charitable Fund: $160,500 (2014-2018)
- Snider Foundation: $66,000 (2018)
- Strake Foundation: $5,000 (2018)
- Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States: $5,000 (2019)
Board of Directors
As of March 2021:
- Sally Brinton
- Jordan W. Clements (Chairman)
- Sandy Cook
- Diane Deshong (Vice Chair)
- David Harmer
- John C. Heenan
- Col. Walter J. Marm Jr., USA (Ret.)
- Jon Nehlsen
- Christopher M. Rothey (Treasurer)
- Marvell Ruppel
- Shelby Scarbrough (Secretary)
- Dianne Sehler
Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge
P.O. Box 67
Valley Forge, PA 19481
Phone: (214) 800-5590
Articles and Resources
- Adolph Coors Foundation
- Bank of America Corp.
- Bradley Impact Fund
- Contributions of the Bradley Foundation
- JPMorgan Chase
- Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
- Snider Foundation
- SPN Members
- State Policy Network
IRS Form 990 Filings
- Guidestar, Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, organizational website, accessed March 1, 2021.
- Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Bill of Responsibilities, organizational website, accessed March 1, 2021.
- Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, American Credo, organizational website, accessed March 1, 2021.
- Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, About Our Chapters, organizational website, accessed March 1, 2021.
- David Armiak, Revenue for State Policy Network and State Affiliates Tops $120 Million, ExposedbyCMD, November 13, 2019.
- 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.
- Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
- Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
- Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, 2018 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 14, 2019.
- Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, 2017 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, May 13, 2019.
- Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, 2016 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, May 14, 2018.
- Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, 2015 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, April 27, 2017.
- Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, 2015 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, February 12, 2016.
- Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Board of Directors, organizational website, accessed March 1, 2021.