- Assets: $51,638,075 (2013)
- Grants Received: $35,321,245 (2013)
- Grants Awarded: $7,979,407 (2013)
The New World Foundation (NWF) was established in 1954 by Anita McCormick Blaine (1866-1954), the daughter of industrialist Cyrus Hall McCormick. A longtime advocate of one world government, Mrs. Blaine supported many leftist politicians including Henry Wallace, the Progressive Party candidate for U.S. president in 1948. At the start of the Cold War, Blaine opposed what she viewed as America's overly aggressive foreign policy and became a major donor to independent political causes and the peace movement. Among the entities which she funded were the World Federalist Movement and the League of Nations. According to NWF, Blaine “was starkly aware of the enormous societal injustices of the time” and of “the overall inequitable experience of those Americans who were most flagrantly and persistently denied full participation in society.”
In its early years, NWF's grantmaking supported dozens of civil-rights organizations, including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the National Urban League. The Foundation also provided seed grants for the Children’s Defense Fund in the early 1970s. By the late 1980s, NWF had “intensified its commitment to bottom-up base building as the engine of social movements and progressive social change,” with a focus on the needs of “people in poor communities throughout the country.”
In 1987-88, NWF's board of directors was chaired by Hillary Clinton. During Mrs. Clinton's tenure in that post, the Foundation gave financial backing to such organizations as the Christic Institute, the Committees in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (a.k.a. CISPES, which sought to facilitate a revolutionary communist takeover of that nation), Grassroots International (which had direct ties to Yasser Arafat's PLO), the National Lawyers Guild, and groups with links to the most extreme elements of the African National Congress.
In 1994, NWF evolved from a private national foundation to a public charity that aimed to “galvanize a consortium of funders to influence public policy with a strong emphasis on local, state and national change.”
Today NWF's grant-making strategy is designed to: “support the building of social movements by supporting organizing, which builds a sustainable mass base of activists”; “strengthe[n] community-based organizations” whose “progressive ideals” foster “social change on behalf of the poor and exploited”; and “promote race and gender equality.” Regarding the latter, NWF strongly supports the race- and gender-preference policies commonly known as affirmative action, candidly proclaiming its willingness to create “a concrete developmental plan aimed at achieving” racial and ethnic diversity in its staff. Indeed, NWF boaststhat “the majority of our staff and Board Members are social justice activists themselves.”
On the premise that “the people who suffer injustice are crucial to overcoming it,” NWF tends to “invest in people who come from — and can most effectively represent — their local communities of need.” The Foundation's grant-making program is structured into four major components:
(1) The Phoenix Fund was established in 1996 to expose “the realities of globalization by multinational corporations and regional free trade agreements which impose serious losses for workers and their communities.” Lamenting that America is beset by “an enormous divide between rich and poor [that is] further compounded by inequities of race, gender, and national origin,” this Fund “invest[s] in the creation of solidarity campaigns and networks that will help activists turn the vicious circle of globalization, which pits one group of workers against another, into a virtuous circle, where working people can come together to raise the floor for all.” Among the recipients of Phoenix Fund grants are organizations that promote “living wage” initiatives for “low-paid workers” and “exploited workers of color.” The Fund also supports immigrant worker centers that advocate on behalf of illegal aliens.
(2) The New Majority Fund, which originally began in eight U.S. states, is now a national initiative. After Republican George W. Bush won the presidency in 2000, this Fund lamented that America's “national power” was now “in the hands of militant conservatives” presiding over a “troubled and reactionary time” that was deeply at odds with NWF's “progressive vision of America.” Today the New Majority Fund provides financial support for leftist organizations that are “building the infrastructure for political participation” that will eventually coalesce into “new electoral alliances” wherein “new [Democratic] majorities can grow and govern.” Specifically, the Fund makes grants to combat the “labor exploitation, poor working conditions, and ... threats of deportation” that affect many illegal aliens in the United States; “voter suppression” campaigns (e.g., Voter ID laws); “attacks on public education” (i.e., efforts to fund school voucher programs and charter schools); “economic inequality”; and “environmental abuse & deregulation” (which NWF associates closely with capitalism and limited government).
(3) The Climate Action Fund “supports work that aims to reverse the devastating [environmental] impact of society’s dependence on fossil fuels,” which NWF blames for what it characterizes as potentially catastrophic “climate change.” This Fund also seeks to “expos[e] the dangers” of such activities as pesticide use, “mountaintop-removal coal mining,” and fracking for natural gas.
(4) The Civic Opportunities Initiative Network (COIN) aims to cultivate future social activists and political leaders by providing training, mentorship, educational enrichment classes, and “guaranteed college access” to young people “in struggling communities” across the United States.
The Capital Research Center (CRC), which rates the political leanings of nonprofit organizations, places NWF at the far left end of the political spectrum. CRC once described NWF as “one of the ten most liberal foundations in the United States.”
Noteworthy beneficiaries of NWF philanthropy over the years include the Alliance for Global Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, the Center for Community Change, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Earthjustice, the Independent Media Institute, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Organization for Women Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Peace Action Network, Planned Parenthood, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense & Education Fund, the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, The Nation Foundation, and the Tides Center and Tides Foundation.
To view a list of additional NWF grantees, click here.
NWF is a key funder of the liberal-left churches and religious organizations that act as Voluntary Agencies (a.k.a. “VOLAGS”) which participate in the resettlement of Third World refugees to the United States. For details about this resettlement process, click here.
Former Brooklyn College professor Colin Greer has been the president of NWF since 1985. During Bill Clinton's first term as U.S. President, Greer wrote briefing papers on philanthropy and government for First Lady Hillary Clinton, and he chaired the President’s White House Internship Financial Aid Committee. In 2014 Greer joined the Democracy Alliance, a major funder of leftist organizations. He also has served on the boards of New York City Interfaith Center, Tikkun magazine, and Alternet.
(Information on grantees and monetary amounts courtesy of The Foundation Center, GuideStar, ActivistCash, the Capital Research Center and Undue Influence)