JM Foundation

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The JM Foundation was created by Jeremiah Milbank, co-founder of the Borden Milk Company, in 1924. Originally its mission was to help integrate people with disabilities from WWI into American life at a time where they were quite stigmatizing. He proponent of limited government and the "independent liberty" of Social Darwinist thought popular around universities like Yale during his age. "To realize his vision, The JM Foundation Directors support activities that foster self-sufficiency, personal responsibility, and private initiative."[1]

Milbank helped Herbert Hoover found the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and served as their treasurer for 25 years.

According to its website, the Foundation’s current philanthropic goals "are to encourage market-oriented public policy solutions and to enhance America’s unique system of free enterprise, entrepreneurship, private property ownership, and voluntarism."[1]

JM Foundation is a major right-wing funder. It's current executive director Carl Helstrom works as Vice President for programs at another major right-wing funder: the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.[2]

JM Foundation has assets of $27.3 million according to its latest IRS filing.[3]

Ties to the Bradley Foundation

JM Foundation executive director Carl Helstrom works as Vice President for programs at the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.[4] Bradley staff calls Helstrom in an internal document examined by the Center for Media and Democracy, "a longtime friend and institutional ally of Bradley's."

Bradley Files

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.

Find the series here at

Ties to the State Policy Network

JM Foundation has deep ties to the State Policy Network. JM Foundation executive director Carl Helstrom is Chairman of the Board at SPN.[5] Between 2010 and 2018, JM Foundation gave $825,000 to SPN and more than this in grants to SPM member organizations.

SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 49 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and the United Kingdom. As of March 2019, SPN's membership totals 162. It is an $83 million right-wing empire as of the 2011 funding documents from SPN itself and each of its state "think tank" members. 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.[6]

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.'"[7]

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.[8]

Grants Distributed

JM Foundation provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to non-profits each year, many of which have ties to the right-wing. JM Foundation lists its grant priorities on its website as "supporting education and research that fosters market-based policy solutions, especially at state think tanks; developing state and national organizations that promote free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and private initiative; and identifying and educating young leaders."[9]



















As of June 2019:[18]


Former Staff


Former Directors

Contact Details

JM Foundation
The JM Foundation
116 Village Boulevard – Suite 200
Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone: 609-951-2283

Articles and Resources

IRS Form 990 Filings






  1. 1.0 1.1 JM Foundation, About the JM Foundation, JM Foundation, June 2019.
  2. LinkedIn, Carl Helstrom Profile, LinkedIn, June 2019.
  3. JM Foundation, 2017 990 Form, JM Foundation, November 14, 2018.
  4. LinkedIn, Carl Helstrom Profile, LinkedIn, June 2019.
  5. SPN,About, SPN, June 2019.
  6. 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.
  7. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  8. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  9. JM Foundation, Grant Guidelines, JM Foundation, June 2019.
  10. JM Foundation, 2018 Grants, JM Foundation, June 2019.
  11. JM Foundation, 2017 Grants, JM Foundation, June 2019.
  12. JM Foundation, 2016 Grants, JM Foundation, June 2019.
  13. JM Foundation, 2015 Grants, JM Foundation, June 2019.
  14. JM Foundation, 2014 Grants, JM Foundation, June 2019.
  15. JM Foundation, 2013 Grants, JM Foundation, June 2019.
  16. JM Foundation, 2012 Grants, JM Foundation, June 2019.
  17. Foundation Center,[1], Foundation Center.
  18. JM Foundation, Directors and Officers, JM Foundation, June 2019.