Where the Greenbacks Come From

 You’re 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 . . .

 Wait a minute. Back up. "Save the environment" groups?

 As 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 mining project.

 "‘The Trustees of Alaska’ has a nice ring to it," says Borell, "but its sole mission is to attack and stop all mine development in the state."

 While 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 environmental policy.

 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.

 EGA’s 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.

 Here’s a brief look at a few of the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA) members:

 Pew 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.

 The 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."

 Founded in 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 mining.)

 The 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.

 The 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 million.

 Ben & 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."


 These websites (with information about foundations) were located by searching:

 http://www.Google.com and using the search terms:  “American” + “Foundations” + “Global” + “History” + “United Nations”




(Baker Library Industry Guide, non-profits, government and education)