Influence of the Tides Foundation is broad and international

March 12, 2010 15:17

Sebastian County Libertarian ExaminerBrian Leach

The Tides Foundation, based out of San Francisco, is a huge, tax-exempt group founded by Drummond Pike in 1976.  The current board of directors includes Wade Rathke, founder of ACORN and SEIU Local 100 and Local 880.

The Tides Foundation’s central tenet is “healthy societies rely fundamentally on respect for human rights, the vitality of communities and a celebration of diversity.”  Seems quite harmless at first glance but upon further inspection of this organization, the group’s motivation becomes quite clear: the promotion of radical leftist beliefs on the American public through any means possible.

The Tides Foundation has generated revenues between $67 million and $115 million every year since 2004.  Its offshoot, Tides Center, raised funds totalling between $47 million and $53 million between 2003 and 2006.  Both tax-exempt non-profit groups are supposed to be non-aligned politically but the reality is both Tides groups have provided more than $650 million since 2002 to radical progressives and social activists.

Form 990 also lists groups that receive funds from the Tides Foundation.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of recipients, including several hundred outside of the United States.  In 2008, the Tides Foundation provided $20.04 million for these “foreign charities.”  This does not include the “sister charity” – the Tides Center as its 2008 990 form was not available.

Of course many more groups are funded by the Tides Foundation within the United States.  On Form 990 the recipients are listed in order of value and at the top of the list is $1.5 million to the Rudolf Steiner Foundation.  A quick browse to the Rudolf Steiner Foundation website says that the group is dedicated to “using the tools of finance to bring about positive, real-world change,” adding that “our goal is not only to make capital available to innovative projects; it’s to fundamentally transform the way the world works with money.”

“Fundamentally transform” that is certainly a popular catchphrase with the Obama administration and we’re seeing these radical changes proposed and forced through Congress with little input from the public.  All that has stood in the way of socialized medicine is an outpouring of opposition at August town hall meetings throughout the country.

Listed second on the list of recipients, also with a grant of $1.5 million is Third Way.  Third Way’s website says the group is “the leading think tank of the moderate wing of the progressive movement.”  The group is careful to use the term “moderate” – it couldn’t use Marxist or radical could it?  Click on any of the links on the site and you will find the talking points of the Obama administration – “Winning the Debate on Health Care Reform” for example.

I’ve only mentioned the first, and largest, recipients of Tides Foundation money in 2008.  There’s also $350,000 for the Urban Zen Initiative at the Beth Israel Medical Center, $275,000 for something called the Election Protection and Election Administration Reform Program, and a total of $200,000 for two groups with “ACORN” in the name.  Last year was an election year and there are dozens of groups with “election” or “vote” in their names that received funding.  In all there are thousands of groups funded within the U.S. – they are listed on pages 47 to 139 on the document.

I have not included any of the groups funded by the Tides Center here, which will have to come in a future post.  Both groups are listed officially as 501(c) organizations on their most recent Form 990 filings with the IRS.  As previously stated these groups are technically supposed to be non-affiliated politically but the only relevant IRS language I could find limits the specific endorsement of a political candidate or a donation to a politician’s campaign.

“Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.  Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.” – The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations

Hmm…I wonder if Obama’s record campaign funds will ever be  scrutinized for a connection?  Somehow I doubt it…

Charities are the only way for Americans to freely choose to provide help to fellow citizens in unfortunate situations.  However, the vast majority of Tides Foundation grants only go to politically motivated projects.  It would be interesting to see a donor list.

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