- Assets: $175,042,093 (2014)
- Grants Received: $0 (2014)
- Grants Awarded: $7,511,257 (2014)
See also: Peace and Security Funders Group
The Educational Foundation of America (EFA) was established in 1959 by Richard Prentice Ettinger, co-founder of the Prentice-Hall Publishing Company, and his wife, Elsie P. Ettinger. Convinced that overpopulation was the most serious problem facing the world at that time, Mr. Ettinger used his Foundation's assets to address that issue.
Two of Ettinger's children—Richard Ettinger Jr. (1924-96) and Elaine P. Hapgood (1917-2012)—took the reins of EFA after their father's death in 1996. The younger Richard, who died soon thereafter, had been deeply committed to Native American causes ever since he had read Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a 1970 book that was essentially an unrelieved narrative of white cruelty and Indian victimhood. Ms. Hapgood, who served as the Foundation's board president beginning in 1996, was similarly inspired while attending an International Planned Parenthood Foundation Conference in Pakistan; she thereafter became a tireless crusader for unrestricted, government-funded access to abortion-on-demand for all women.
Describing itself as "an advocate for progressive change in our society," EFA's philanthropy is focused on three distinct grant program areas:
(1) The Arts program supports “arts-driven approaches to social and economic revitalization of depreciated communities” by “investing in artists, creative initiatives, and cultural institutions” whose proposals promote “positive, community-based change.”
(2) The Environment program was launched in the wake of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in New York State. Over the ensuing three decades, EFA awarded more than $70 million in grants to environmental organizations. Since 2010, the Environment program has focused heavily on “address[ing] climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.” Toward that end, the Foundation currently administers three major campaigns designed to promote “economic and political incentives for transitioning to a clean energy economy”:
The Coal Ash Initiative aims to “increas[e] the cost of dirty energy” by advocating ever-greater amounts of litigation and government regulation that force utilities to “pay the true cost of burning coal,” a process that produces ash which contains arsenic, lead, and mercury. EFA's partners in this campaign include Earthjustice, the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Environmental Integrity Project, and the Prairie Rivers Network.
The Ocean Acidification Initiative seeks to influence legislators and regulatory decision-makers by providing them with scientific evidence that excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, thereby lowering the water's pH and gradually eroding the shells of oysters, mollusks, and other marine species.
The Carbon Pricing Initiative “positions clean energy as a cheaper alternative to fossil fuels” by calling for the imposition of “carbon taxes” at the state level.
Demonstrating its desire to “link its grantmaking values with its investments to promote greater social responsibility of corporations,” EFA is a founding member of the Divest-Invest Initiative, a group of philanthropies that have pledged to entirely divest their endowments from the fossil-fuel industry.
(3) The Reproductive Health and Justice program was originally established in 2009 as the Sustainable Population project and took its current name four years later. Animated by an “unwavering commitment to abortion rights and contraceptive access ... for all,” this program emphasizes the importance of using “litigation, policy reform, and movement-building” to attract and retain the support of the “Rising American Electorate”—i.e., “young people, unmarried women, and people of color”—demographics that consistently back Democrats in political elections. The objective is to remind these voting blocs that their abortion-related rights could be jeopardized if Republican lawmakers are elected to key offices.
Recent recipients of EFA grants include the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, the Center for Public Interest Research, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, Environmental Defense, Friends of the Earth, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, the Institute for America’s Future, the Institute for Policy Studies, the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, the Ms. Foundation for Women, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Abortion Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Nature Conservancy, Planned Parenthood, Population Connection, the Proteus Fund, the Rainforest Action Network, State Voices, the Tides Center, Trust for Public Land, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Wilderness Society, and the Women’s Action for New Directions.
To view a list of additional noteworthy grantees of the Educational Foundation of America, click here.
EFA is a member organization of the Peace and Security Funders Group, an unincorporated association of foundations and individual philanthropists that give money to leftist anti-war and environmentalist causes.
(Information on grantees and monetary amounts courtesy of The Foundation Center, GuideStar, ActivistCash, the Capital Research Center and Undue Influence)