the Greenbacks Come From
filling out the donor information form from the United Way, earmarking
which local charities the employees of your mining company will be
supporting and how they’ll be making their contribution. There’s a
long list of worthy causes – boys’ and girls’ clubs, nursing
homes, "save the environment" groups, neighborhood reclamation
projects . . .
minute. Back up. "Save the environment" groups?
implausible as it sounds, your company could be contributing unwittingly
to an environmental organization with a radical agenda that opposes your
very livelihood – or may even be suing your company over a local
Trustees of Alaska’ has a nice ring to it," says Borell,
"but its sole mission is to attack and stop all mine development in
environmental causes in this country continue to rely on donations from
concerned citizens, the real money comes from a well-heeled network of
foundations, which are increasingly playing a major role in shaping
A quick look
at the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA), headquartered in New
York City reveals some 200 members from private, corporate and community
foundations. All of them have money burning holes in their pockets,
waiting for the right environmental cause.
agenda is to promote recognition that the environment and its
inhabitants are endangered by unsustainable human activities. It
encourages all types of philanthropic programs to protect the
environment and to increase the resources available to address
environmental concerns. Members meet once a year to decide which causes
get money, and they receive frequent briefing packets on topics like
"trade and the environment," "population and the
environment," and "reauthorization of environmental
legislation." EGA has a powerful voice in setting the environmental
agenda and influencing the programs carried out by its activists.
brief look at a few of the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA)
Charitable Trusts (http://www.pewtrusts.com) – For the moment, these
seven individual trusts established by the children of Joseph Pew,
founder of Sun Oil Company, are the largest environmental grant givers.
Of the $181 million in grant commitments, Pew Trusts give $23 million
annually to environmental groups.
Turner Foundation (http://www.turnerfoundation.org)
- At the top of the Turner Foundation’s Web site is this quote from
media baron/billionaire philanthropist Ted Turner: "I see the whole
field of environmentalism and population as nothing more than the
survival of the human species."
1990, this foundation already is one of the biggest environmental grant
givers – after Turner sold TBS to Time-Warner and tripled the
foundation’s endowment to $500 million. Grants are parceled out in
four general categories: energy, water/toxins, forests/habitats and
population. The foundation’s president, Peter Bahouth, is the former
head of Greenpeace, USA, and states in his message, "The fate of
our air, water and land is being decided by state regulators, county
courts and local planning boards to a greater extent than ever before.
This devolution could result in ‘stealth’ reduction of environmental
safeguards, as most states continue to cut staff and programs and pass
laws that favor polluters." (Read: extractive industries like
David and Lucile Packard
Foundation (http://www.packfound.org) – A private family foundation
created in 1964 by David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Co.,
this grant giver has assets of over $200 million, and in 1997 gave $37
million in conservation grants, specifically to projects in the West.
Surdna Foundation (http://www.surdna.org)
– In 1917, businessman John Andrus (surdna spelled backward)
established his foundation to pursue a range of philanthropic interests.
He already had made a fortune from his Arlington Chemical Company and
his investments in timber, oil, and real estate. In 1989, the third and
fourth generations of the Andrus family established programs in
environmental and community revitalization. Assets are close to $500
& Jerry’s Foundation
(http://www.benjerry.com/foundation) – The Vermont-based ice cream
company is well-known for its commitment to global social and
environmental issues. The foundation receives approximately 7.5 percent
of pre-tax profits from the company for grant giving. In 1996, Ben &
Jerry’s Foundation gave away a modest $323,000 in grants. Recipients
included Ohio’s Coalfield Citizens Organizing Project, a grassroots
education and organizing campaign directed at "empowering Coalfield
citizens with the skills they need to protect themselves and the land
from the effects of mining."
websites (with information about foundations) were located by searching:
and using the search terms: “American”
+ “Foundations” + “Global” + “History” + “United
Library Industry Guide, non-profits, government and education)