Conservative Crusaders

In Milwaukee last July, President Bush stood before a

predominantly black audience at Holy Redeemer Institutional

Church of God in Christ and basked in its applause. Touting his

faith-based initiative, Bush spoke of how churches such as Holy

Redeemer-which runs a variety of job-training programs, four

schools, and a housing facility for seniors-help welfare

recipients and educate poor children through school voucher

programs.

“The federal government should not ask, ‘Does your

organization believe in God?’ ” Bush told the approving crowd.

“They ought to ask, ‘Does your program work?’ ” Federal agencies,

the president declared, should remove regulations that

“discriminate” against providers of faith-based social services.

Bush’s words not only resonated among the 5,000

congregants of Holy Redeemer; they also brought a smile to

Michael Grebe, who was in the audience that day. Grebe is

president of Milwaukee’s Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,

which has been a generous supporter of Holy Redeemer’s programs,

as well as other faith-based social service efforts in the city.

Grants from Bradley have also funded the work of intellectuals

who’ve studied faith-based programs, three of whom-John DiIulio,

Stanley Carlson-Thies, and David Kuo-were named by Bush to guide

the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

during its heady first days.

The Bradley Foundation has always “been willing to

challenge the status quo,” Bush said at Holy Redeemer. “I’m

honored you’re here.”

The Bradley Foundation’s financial and ideological

backing of Bush’s faith-based initiative is just one example

among many of how conservative foundations across the United

States are working hard to influence the policy agenda in

Washington and elsewhere in the nation.

Where the traditional, well-established, and more-liberal

lions of the foundation world such as the Ford Foundation and the

Carnegie Corporation of New York were once seen as the

trendsetters, today it is the conservative grant-makers-the

Bradley Foundation, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, the

John M. Olin Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, and others-

that are creating a buzz.

Grants from these well-heeled conservative donors have

supported everything from school vouchers to Social Security

privatization to welfare reform to pro-marriage programs, all

among the most radical public policy ideas promoted by anyone, of

either the political Left or the Right, in recent years.

Today, foundations of all ideological stripes are

spending more than ever before to promote their pet social and

political causes. Despite the hit foundation coffers have taken

from the stock market’s decline, foundation grants have held

steady in recent years, according to a report by the

authoritative and nonpartisan Foundation Center.

In 2001, according to the center, the 1,000 largest

private foundations in the United States spent nearly $650

million on public-affairs, civil-rights, and social-action

projects, a category that includes local, state, and federal

spending on everything from think tanks to interest-group

activism. That amount was more than twice what those foundations

spent on such grants in 1997. And it’s fair to say that overall,

private philanthropy enjoys a sterling reputation in Washington.

But the talk in Washington-among both liberals and

conservatives-is all about the cadre of conservative and

strategically aggressive philanthropic groups. “Who would have

thought 20 or 30 years ago that we’d be talking about Social

Security privatization, the dismantling of the progressive tax

system, and school vouchers?” asks Chuck Collins, program

director for the liberal group United for a Fair Economy.

Conservative foundations, he said, have “really changed the terms

of the debate.”

William Voegeli, program officer at New York City-based

conservative Olin Foundation, one of the most highly regarded in

public policy circles, says that the right-of-center foundations

are “wary of supporting endeavors that preach to the choir.”

Instead, Voegeli said, they are looking for people who are making

new arguments and are “getting noticed, shaping the agenda, and

moving the ball down the field.” Even more critical, say the

myriad grantees that have benefited from the largesse of the

Bradleys and Olins, is the steadfastness of these foundations;

they are willing to fund programs for the long haul.

Bush’s plan to funnel additional government funds to

faith-based social service providers has failed to overcome

Democratic opposition in the Senate. But Grebe said that the

Bradley Foundation is pouring more money than ever into promoting

the idea through its research. To keep the faith-based issue on

the front burner, the Bradley Foundation is underwriting a new

Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal at the Hudson

Institute, an Indianapolis think tank. The center will conduct

research into the merits of faith-based social services; its head

is William Schambra, a former vice president at the Bradley

Foundation. On April 22, President Bush named Schambra to a

recess appointment as a board member of the federal Corporation

for National and Community Service.

And win or lose in Washington, Schambra says that

Bradley-with help from President Bush-has turned stereotypes of

conservatives on their heads. Bradley’s $1 million grant to help

Holy Redeemer build a community center was among the largest ever

from a foundation to a black Pentecostal church.

“This is peculiar politics,” Schambra said, but it makes

sense. The Bradley Foundation’s mission is to promote such

conservative values as self-respect and personal responsibility-

values that Holy Redeemer stresses as well. The foundation also

champions an overarching belief that community organizations

generally provide better services than government-run programs

can. Regardless of the fate of Bush’s original faith-based

initiative, Schambra said, “the fact that he is using the

presidency to bring that message is incredibly critical.”

Strategic Agenda

The conservative foundations have made long-term grants-and

collaborated with other conservative grant-makers-to fund myriad

elements of the conservative movement. Right-leaning think tanks

have enjoyed some of the most-generous support. Since the mid-

1980s, the Bradley Foundation, for example, has given more than

$14 million to the American Enterprise Institute for Public

Policy Research and more than $12.5 million to the Heritage

Foundation, according to the foundation watchdog group Media

Transparency. During the same period, the Olin Foundation gave

more than $7.6 million to Heritage and more than $6.5 million to

AEI.

Much of that funding has come in the form of general

operating grants that aren’t limited to any particular project.

Both Bradley and Olin have also given millions of dollars to many

other smaller think tanks and activist groups. Bradley has funded

conservative periodicals such as Commentary, First Things, and

The National Interest.

Other conservative foundations are using the same model.

The Sarah Scaife Foundation has given more than $15 million to

Heritage since 1985. The David Koch Foundation helped the

libertarian Cato Institute get off the ground in the late 1970s,

and has given millions to it since then. Universities have

benefited, too. The Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation has

given more than $10 million to George Mason University to allow

it to set up the anti-regulatory Mercatus Center, and to lure

Nobel Prize economist Vernon Smith from the University of

Arizona.

“We have a role to play in sustaining a conservative

intellectual infrastructure,” Grebe explained.

Making their work all the more interesting is that the

Bradleys, Kochs, Olins, and Scaifes of the world are tiny

compared with the resources of other foundations. At the end of

2001, the Bradley Foundation was the 83rd-largest in the United

States, with $580 million in assets, according to Foundation

Center rankings. Scaife, with $323 million in assets, Olin, with

$71 million, and the Koch family foundations, with $68 million,

didn’t even make the top 100. The Bill & Melinda Gates

Foundation, by contrast, was the largest in the United States,

with nearly $33 billion in assets.

Many of the large foundations maintain a substantial

presence in Washington. Almost universally, however, they say

they eschew ideology and view their role in the public policy

process as that of a facilitator, not an advocate. Consider the

Gates Foundation. In October 2001, it opened a Washington office

run by former Clinton Commerce Department official David Lane.

But foundation spokesman Joe Cerrell says that the Washington

office’s main functions are to keep tabs on the foundation’s East

Coast grantees, and to provide information to government agencies

on health care and education when they request it. The foundation

steers clear of activism, Cerrell said.

The conservative foundations, by contrast, are willing to

show their ideological stripes. Liberal critics, as a result,

speak of them in conspiratorial terms. These critics say that the

conservative foundations tread too close to the legal line

separating philanthropic enterprises from activist ones. That

delineation is important, because foundations cannot lobby or

specifically earmark grants for lobbying as it is defined in

Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Such foundations,

the code says, cannot actively promote a particular viewpoint on

legislation to a member of Congress.

Peter Dreier, a professor at Occidental College in Los

Angeles who has studied foundations, believes that conservative

foundations “are much more willing [than liberal or traditional

foundations] to cross the line on the 501(c)(3) stuff.”

Steve Clemons, executive vice president of the New

America Foundation, is another critic. He argues in a recent

report, “The Corruption of Think Tanks,” that some of these

policy institutes have become nothing more than conduits through

which wealthy individuals lobby Congress while avoiding taxation.

To further their agendas, Clemons writes, the wealthy can pay

lobbyists or make political contributions-both of which are

taxable expenses-or they can “make major unlimited contributions

to think tanks to host congressional staff for dinners,

conferences, and trips.” Of course, these think tanks may not do

“lobbying” as the IRS defines it. But, he contends, they

regularly produce and distribute policy reports aimed at

advocating change.

Similarly, liberal writer Mark Dowie in his recent book,

American Foundations: An Investigative History, argues that

foundations need to be made more accountable to the public.

Because foundation funds are sheltered from taxation, he says,

the public should have a say in how they are spent. Dowie

contends that no foundation should be allowed to hold more than

$1 billion in assets, and that elected officials should appoint

some of the members on every foundation’s board.

Perhaps more noteworthy than the critics’ arguments,

however, is how little their complaints have resonated among

public policy activists and in official Washington. Even the

most-liberal activists interviewed for this article said that

they respect the means of the conservative foundations, even as

they deplore their ends.

Rick Cohen, executive director of the liberal National

Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, said that conservative

foundations recognize that “Washington is a battleground for

ideas,” and that conservative foundations are “unabashed” in

their willingness to join that battle. “Their effectiveness,” he

said, is “quite admirable.”

Critics From the Left and Right

Although it’s certainly not the case today, liberal and

conservative efforts to reform or even eliminate private

foundations have occasionally resonated strongly in America.

Almost as soon as the first major foundations were formed, early

in the 20th century, liberals denounced them “as instruments of

capitalist manipulation,” wrote Waldemar Nielsen in his history

of foundations, The Golden Donors. By the 1950s, the tables had

turned, and it was the conservatives who were on the attack.

These conservative critics condemned foundations as a venue for

an unaccountable elite to exercise undue influence.

And private foundations, of course, have long dabbled in

the Washington game. “Working with and influencing government

programs in certain fields, particularly health, education, and

scientific research, has long been a practice of the larger and

more energetic foundations,” Nielsen wrote. From the beginning,

the granddaddies of the foundation world, such as the Carnegie

and Ford Foundations, gave money to think tanks and activist

groups.

In the 1960s, Ford broke new ground by pouring

unprecedented sums into some of the major ideological fights of

the era, working to expand civil rights and reduce poverty.

But it was around the same time that Democratic Rep.

Wright Patman of Texas launched a multiyear investigation into

foundations. What he found became a major scandal: Wealthy

Americans were using foundations to promote political campaigns,

to enrich friends and family members, and to maintain control

over business assets. In some cases, the foundations were engaged

in little or no philanthropy. In 1969, Congress passed reforms

that limited the amount of money that foundations can pay to

employees, required foundations to donate at least 5 percent of

their assets each year to charitable causes, and restricted the

amount of stock a foundation can hold in any single corporation.

In the 1990s, the Bradley-funded National Commission on

Philanthropy and Civic Renewal, headed by current Sen. Lamar

Alexander, R-Tenn., studied the effectiveness of foundation

philanthropy. The commission’s 1997 report, Alexander recalled in

an interview, was one of the first serious critiques of

foundations in at least a decade. But, he explained, “we weren’t

Wright Patman.” Indeed, the commission concluded that foundations

were not doing enough to move government policy. “I’d like to see

foundations be the forerunners of government action,” Alexander

said.

According to Alexander, it is exceedingly difficult for

government to tackle controversial and experimental programs. By

contrast, he argued, foundations are free to pursue ideological

agendas and radical new public policy experiments that might not

appeal to the average American, but may ultimately prove highly

effective. Alexander cites welfare reform and school vouchers as

prime examples of foundation-backed pilot projects that

eventually became models for more-widespread action.

Today, it would seem, most in Washington agree with

Alexander. “I know of no big movement to limit foundations or

question them,” he said.

Laissez-Faire Thinking

Conservative foundations may be tiny compared with many middle-

of-the-road organizations, but they are taking full advantage of

that laissez-faire attitude, and none more so than the Bradley

Foundation. The trust was founded in 1985 after the family sold

its motor-components business, the Allen-Bradley Co., to Rockwell

International. The brothers who had founded Allen-Bradley, Harry

and Lynde Bradley, had long since passed away. But Grebe, who

last year took over for longtime foundation President Michael

Joyce, says that the foundation has stayed true to its original

donors’ conservative values. And the Bradley Foundation can

justly claim credit for fueling two of the most promising

conservative movements of the last decade: school vouchers and

welfare reform.

In the mid-1980s, the Bradley Foundation began to fund

the research of two conservative scholars, John Chubb and Terry

Moe, into public education. Their 1990 book, Politics, Markets,

and America’s Schools, exhaustively detailed the failings of

public schools and urged broad reforms. One such reform, the

authors suggested, would be a system of vouchers in which parents

could opt out of the public school system and use the money to

send their children to private and religious schools.

It was a revolutionary concept then, and it remains

controversial today. But the Bradley Foundation was enthusiastic

from the start. It began to fund additional research that

eventually prompted Wisconsin’s state Legislature to fund a small

pilot program in Milwaukee. When legal challenges from teachers

unions and First Amendment activists-who objected to channeling

public funds to religious schools-stymied that program, the

Bradley Foundation stepped in to fund the program privately. In

addition, Bradley continued to pay for the legal defense of the

state-run program, ultimately winning a decisive state Supreme

Court victory in 1991. Soon thereafter, the state restarted its

voucher program on a larger scale.

Clint Bolick is one of the lawyers who defended

Milwaukee’s voucher program. The Bradley Foundation, he said, was

“willing to get into the trenches with their philanthropy.” In

1990, “there was not a single urban choice program. Bradley

created something out of nothing.” To the present day, Bradley

continues to fund Bolick’s public-interest law firm, the

Institute for Justice, which is defending school voucher programs

nationwide.

Around the same time, the Bradley Foundation embarked on

another crusade, this time to reform Wisconsin’s welfare system.

Then-Gov. Tommy Thompson was an early reform proponent. The state

welfare program Thompson implemented-which ended the welfare

entitlement, set a time limit on receipt of benefits, and

required recipients to work for their welfare checks-is widely

credited with sparking the 1996 federal reforms that became a

hallmark of the Clinton presidency.

In designing his reforms, Thompson relied heavily on

research performed by the Hudson Institute, which had received

nearly $2 million from Bradley in the early 1990s to support

welfare policy research.

At the same time, the John M. Olin Foundation, whose

benefactor was a conservative ammunition manufacturer, has gained

attention for its funding of research done by opponents of

affirmative action and gun control. Olin, for example, helped

former Reagan administration official Linda Chavez found the

Center for Equal Opportunity, a group known for criticizing

affirmative action.

Meanwhile, American Enterprise Institute scholar John

Lott wrote More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun

Control Laws while on an Olin fellowship at the University of

Chicago in the late 1990s. His book’s argument-that states that

passed laws allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms have

seen a reduction in violent crime-has made him a favorite of the

National Rifle Association and a reviled foe of gun control

activists.

Long-Term Funding

As often as the conservative foundations have championed

innovative policy proposals, they have also proved far more

willing than their liberal counterparts to simply fund their

favored organizations and intellectuals with few, if any, strings

attached.

Numerous institutions of the conservative intelligentsia

were formed with foundation money, often in the form of general

operating grants that aren’t tied to any particular program.

Think tanks are the prime example, but there are many other

grantees that are best described as activist groups. The Olin

Foundation, for example, has for years funded the Federalist

Society, the conservative legal organization that has counted as

members many of President Bush’s judicial and political

appointees.

For years, the anti-regulatory Citizens for a Sound

Economy Foundation has been living off conservative foundation

money, as have the Free Congress Foundation, which advocates

conservative social policies, and the American Legislative

Exchange Council, which is a clearinghouse for conservative state

lawmakers. In many instances, the conservative foundations have

simply picked a conservative scholar and funded his work over a

period of years. The list of these grantees includes such

prominent writers as William Bennett, Allan Bloom, Dinesh

D’Souza, and Charles Murray.

Perhaps the best example of this type of long-term

funding is the David Koch Foundation’s support for the Cato

Institute. For more than 25 years, since the founding of the

institute, Koch has funded Cato’s efforts to bring Social

Security privatization into the political mainstream. David Koch,

executive vice president of Kansas-based energy firm Koch

Industries, currently sits on Cato’s board of directors.

In more recent years, Charles Koch, David’s brother, has

been nearly as generous with George Mason University, giving more

than $10 million to support the creation and continuing

operations of the anti-regulatory Mercatus Center. Koch’s first

grant, which got Mercatus off the ground, was for five years, a

length of time that is extremely rare in the world of grant-

making. Mercatus has used the money to critique the performances

of federal agencies and federal regulations and to run a popular

lecture series for Capitol Hill staffers.

As John Miller recently wrote in a report for the

conservative Philanthropy Roundtable, “A small handful of

foundations have essentially provided the conservative movement

with its venture capital.” Liberals, notably, agree. Cohen of the

National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy says that

conservative foundations are “institution builders,” while

mainstream and liberal foundations are merely “project

supporters.”

The next big success story for the conservative

foundations, predicts Rutgers University professor David Popenoe,

may be the restoration of a traditional view of marriage in

American society. Since 1996, Popenoe wrote in a recent article

for Philanthropy magazine, “a marriage movement in America has

blossomed, supported in part by foundation dollars.”

In recent years, foundation money has backed the Heritage

Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, Focus on the Family, the

Family Research Council, and other conservative institutions in

their efforts to promote marriage through the issuing of reports.

And the work of these groups has helped move the debate. Popenoe

argues that Americans increasingly are thinking of marriage again

as a central building block of society; consequently, the

percentages of single-parent families and teen pregnancies are

dropping. This year, the Bush administration has picked up on

this theme as well, and has included funding for marriage

promotion in its reauthorization plan for the 1996 welfare

reforms.

‘Follow Your Heart’

The large traditional foundations provide a striking contrast to

their conservative brethren. The Henry J. Kaiser Family

Foundation, with $600 million in assets in 2001, is another

Washington fixture, and it has long funded events on, and

research about, the health care system. Last month, the Kaiser

Foundation opened a new downtown office with state-of-the-art

conference and broadcast facilities and a health-related news

ticker tape. Even so, said foundation President Drew Altman,

“we’re not an advocacy group.” Rather, the foundation’s role, he

said, is as a “purveyor of credible and objective research …

from all sides of the ideological spectrum.”

The Pew Charitable Trusts, also one of the most prominent

foundations in Washington, with more than $4 billion in assets in

2001, often targets its funding to groups lobbying on some of the

most controversial public policy fights of the moment. Last year

alone, Pew doled out $17 million to advocates of campaign finance

reform who were seeking to influence the congressional debate on

this issue. Reform proponent Trevor Potter, a former commissioner

on the Federal Election Commission, was one of Pew’s principal

grantees. But Pew also gave money to Jack Kemp’s Empower America,

a think tank that favored a far different system.

Pew President Rebecca Rimel and her colleagues call

themselves “raging moderates.” And, to be sure, it’s hard to pin

down an organization that gives money to both Potter and Kemp, to

the environmentalist Sierra Club, and to the anti-regulatory

Citizens for a Sound Economy. Pew, Rimel explains, views its role

not as an advocate, but as a discussion builder. Pew will target

an issue area-such as campaign finance reform-and then fund

thinkers on all sides of the debate. Let the best idea win, she

says.

Ironically, adamant conservatives founded Pew. J. Howard

Pew, who ran the family oil business for 35 years directed that

his foundation, one of the seven Pew trusts, “acquaint the

American people [with] the values of a free market [and] the

vital need to maintain and preserve a limited form of

government.”

The Ford Foundation, No. 3 among all foundations with

assets of nearly $11 billion in 2001, is perhaps the most

activist of the large foundations. It has funded myriad

Washington groups and causes, from liberal think tanks such as

the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic

Policy Institute to civil-rights organizations such as the

National Council of La Raza. Ironically, it, too, was once a

conservative bastion.

Henry Ford II was badly disturbed by his family

foundation’s leftward trend in the 1960s and 1970s, and he quit

the foundation’s board. In his resignation letter, Ford suggested

that the board might consider the possibility that “the

[capitalist] system that makes the foundation possible very

probably is worth preserving.” John M. Olin was so affected by

Ford’s decision, and so convinced that his own foundation would

inevitably be co-opted, that he decreed that the Olin Foundation

would survive no longer than one generation after his death. True

to its donor’s intent, the Olin board is currently spending down

the foundation’s resources and plans to close its doors by the

end of 2005.

Cohen says that most of the large foundations put

considerable effort into monitoring the results of their grants,

and they require extensive paperwork from their grantees. The

conservative foundations take a more relaxed approach, he says.

Voegeli, the Olin program officer, agrees: “Unlike the private

sector, where you can read the balance sheets, we must rely much

less on quantitative results,” he says. “We use common sense:

Which groups are getting the most traction? Which arguments are

getting noticed?”

That approach, says Occidental professor Dreier, works

best in public policy grant-making, where goals often take years,

if not decades, to achieve. “Right-wing foundations give a blank

check and say, ‘Follow your heart,’ ” Dreier said, adding that,

by contrast, “every liberal foundation asks for a set of

deliverables, and wants to look at your progress every six

months.”

And many left-of-center activists are clearly jealous.

Indeed, a recent forum on philanthropy held in Washington by the

National Community Reinvestment Coalition provided a good example

of the tension that exists between many liberals and their

foundation benefactors. Challenging the panel of liberal

foundation executives, coalition President John Taylor asked

sarcastically whether any of them were worthy of the name. “Left-

wing foundations?” he asked. “Like who?”

Among the panelists from liberal foundations, the

consensus was that foundations should put more money into

“advocacy and organizing.” (Foundations attending included the

Open Society Institute, the New York Foundation, and the Edward

W. Hazen Foundation.) But frustration from the activists was

palpable, and the message they delivered was clear: “We’re so

frustrated with piddling grants,” said Taylor. “We want to make a

real difference in our communities, but no one will fund us to do

that.”

To be fair, many liberal foundations have taken up public

policy causes. George Soros’s Open Society Institute Policy

Center, for one, has urged a halt in new prison construction. The

Public Welfare Foundation has funded the “environmental justice”

movement, helping local groups in poor and minority communities

organize to fight environmental hazards. Some, including the Open

Society Institute and the California-based Kirsch Foundation,

have even set up separate arms to lobby Congress directly.

And in some cases, liberal foundations have proved just

as generous and foresighted in funding liberal intellectuals as

conservative foundations have been in funding their top thinkers.

For example, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities-perhaps

the best-respected liberal think tank in Washington-receives 90

percent of its funding from foundations. Perhaps less strident in

their analyses, but generally considered left-of-center, are the

Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, two other think

tanks that have benefited handsomely from foundation funding. The

Urban Institute, according to the Foundation Center, was the top

think-tank recipient of foundation largesse from 1998 to 2002,

taking in more than $58 million.

And liberal foundations are increasingly willing to take

on causes that challenge deeply rooted values and societal

stereotypes. The Arcus Foundation, for example, last year

provided the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force with a $1

million grant, the largest in its history, to support

organizational efforts in the 50 states. “When I first started

out in fundraising, no foundations would give to [gay and

lesbian] organizations,” says soon-to-be former task force

Executive Director Lorri Jean. “Now, more and more are.”

In recent months, some smaller foundations have plowed

money into the anti-war movement. The Institute for Policy

Studies, a liberal think tank that receives funding from the

Ford, MacArthur, and Turner Foundations, has provided office

space for Code Pink Women for Peace, one of the most prominent

anti-war groups, The Washington Times has reported. San

Francisco’s Tides Foundation has given $1.5 million to anti-war

efforts since September 11, 2001, according to The Times,

including paying the salary for the director of the Win Without

War coalition. Similarly, the Turner Foundation and the San

Francisco-based Plowshares Fund have provided $1.5 million in

funding to TrueMajority.com, allowing the activist group to pay

for five full-time staffers and six consultants.

Even so, executives at liberal foundations acknowledge

that culture clashes between liberal activists and their

foundation benefactors are a regular occurrence. The very concept

of private foundations should make liberals uncomfortable,

explains Larry Kressley, executive director of the Public Welfare

Foundation. “Foundations preserve the influence and resources of

rich people,” he said.

Such an objection, of course, is not a problem for

conservative activists. But, says Kressley, “a left way of

thinking would be that in a just society, foundations wouldn’t

exist. It’s almost an oxymoron to have ‘progressive’ and

‘foundation’ in the same phrase.”

Throughout the history of liberal movements, most have

risen from the grassroots, said Gara LaMarche, vice president and

director of U.S. programs for the Open Society Institute. That

may be an inherent difference between liberal and conservative

activism. Liberal activists, LaMarche said, should do everything

they can “to leverage foundations, but [should] recognize that

foundations are only part of what needs to change” in order for

liberal movements to gain traction in Washington.

Meanwhile, conservative grant-makers, spared any cultural

clashes with their movement activists and intellectuals, or with

their generous benefactors, are just hoping to build on their

successes. The Bradley Foundation, for one, has recently launched

an effort to recruit additional conservative foundations into the

fold.

“We think that over the course of the next few years,

there will be a tremendous amount of wealth transferred to

philanthropic foundations,” Grebe said. “We would like to make

sure that more of it goes to conservative causes.”

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