Sign-up for our newsletter
Only registered visitors are allowed to email content or post comments
Evaluate any page on the World Wide Web against our databases of people, recipients, and funders of the conservative movement.
Your help is essential to this website
ABOUT THIS WEBSITE
IN JULY OF 1999, I began investigating a local Minneapolis "Think Tank" called the "Center of The American Experiment." Intuitively I had sensed very close connections between the Center, a 501(c)(3) charity, and the Republican Party of Minnesota, which set me out to find what actually was happening there.
To make a long story short, what I discovered was an interconnected web of conservative organizations spanning the gamut from academia to law to publishing to politics, all being funded and coordinated by a relatively small but wealthy group of philanthropies, chief among them the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Though the Center has only received about $310,000 directly from the philanthropies, nearly every one of its speakers and presenters is in some way connected to or funded by this movement.
The Center, far from being a place where "deep thinking" takes place, can most accurately be called a cog in this movement, both producing content for the machine, as well as providing a local outlet for the rest of the movement's content providers, media faces, ideologues, and last but certainly not least, its politicians.
To accurately gauge the impact of these philanthropies, I felt it necessary to catalogue as many of the actual grants made by them as possible. Others have attempted this job. The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), which has kindly allowed us to re-use some of their data, reported in 1997 on the grant making activities of 12 foundations over the period 1992 through 1994. That report, titled "Moving A Public Policy Agenda: The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations," laid out a fine groundwork for understanding this movement, yet fell short in providing a comprehensive, interactive, open-to-all database that maps out the actual grants, for all to see. People for The American Way accurately described the engine of this movement in the title of another report on the phenomenon called "Buying a Movement."
Since the mere knowledge of who received grants is meaningless without knowing about the recipient organizations and people, this web site has also sought to supply information about both groups. To further users' research, there are four main ways to search the grants database: by grant recipient, by person, by grant purpose, or by a comprehensive All-in-One search.
About the depth of this site
The limitations of this web site are painfully obvious to me. At the very least, it should contain 15 years worth of grants lists from the 12 funders specified by the NCRP. Additionally, it should contain biographies and links for all the people who direct, receive, and/or benefit from the grants, as well as the recipient organizations. We are also trying to put together feature stories that describe the narrative and theoretical underpinnings of this movement, and to point out, when we can, when these figures and their organizations penetrate the popular culture, specifically the news. The organizers of this movement have a world view that is manifested in their system of funding, and we are attempting to describe it.
If you would like to help in any way, including funding our research - we are now a 501(c)(3) charity, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, I wish to express gratitude to those people and organizations who/which have already lent their expertise and information to this site, including the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Phil Wilayto, James D'Etremont of the The Boston Coalition for Freedom of Expression for his descriptions of some of the recipients and people, Political Research Associates, and others.