John M. Olin Foundation
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc.
With over $700 million in assets1 (down to $489 million in 2002), the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the country's largest and most influential right-wing foundation. As of the end of 1998, it was giving away more than $30 million a year [The Bradley Foundation 1998 Annual Report].
Its financial resources, its clear political agenda, and its extensive national network of contacts and collaborators in political, academic and media circles has allowed it to exert an important influence on key issues of public policy. While its targets range from affirmative action to social security, it has seen its greatest successes in the areas of welfare "reform" and attempts to privatize public education through the promotion of school vouchers.
What Bradley Money Buys:
Within Milwaukee, Bradley money goes to a host of local organizations and institutions, most of which are not political in character. Virtually all the cultural institutions and most of the local colleges receive grants. The money buys good will and helps secure the hometown base.The overall objective of the Bradley Foundation, however, is to return the U.S. - and the world- to the days before governments began to regulate Big Business, before corporations were forced to make concessions to an organized labor force. In other words, laissez-faire capitalism: capitalism with the gloves off.
To further this objective, Bradley supports the organizations and individuals that promote the deregulation of business, the rollback of virtually all social welfare programs, and the privitization of government services. As a result, the list of Bradley grant recipients reads like a Who's Who of the U.S.Right. Bradley money supports such major right-wing groups as the Heritage Foundation, source of policy papers on budget cuts, supply-side economics and the Star Wars military plan for the Reagan administration; the Madison Center for Educational Affairs, which provides funding for right-wing research and a network of conservative student newspapers; and the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, literary home for such racist authors as Charles Murray (The Bell Curve) and Dinesh D'Souza (The End of Racism), former conservative officeholders Jeane Kirkpatrick, Jack Kemp and William Bennett, and arch-conservative jurists Robert Bork and Antonin Scalia.
Other Bradley grantees include the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation; the Hoover Institute on War, Revolution, and Peace; and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.There are the major conservative publications, such as The Public Interest, The National Interest,and The American Spectator. And there are organizations set up to play specific roles in promoting the right-wing agenda, such as the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm that promotes privatization and deregulation, and the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, a vehicle for building support for privitization in low-income communities.
Where the Money Came From: The Allen-Bradley Company
Although not born into wealth, the late Lynde and Harry Bradley brothers were members of one of Milwaukee's most prominent families. Their maternal grandfather was William Pitt Lynde, one of Wisconsin's first two congressmen who also served as the state's U.S.Attorney, an alderman, and a mayor of Milwaukee. In 1903,Lynde and Harry founded a business that would become the Allen-Bradley Company, a major manufacturer of electronic and radio components. Harry was the more politically active of the two. A man with extreme right-wing views, he was an early financial supporter of the John Birch Society, one of the country's leading far-right organizations,based in nearby Appleton, WI.
Robert Welsh, who founded the Society in 1958, was a regular speaker at Allen-Bradley sales meetings. Harry distributed Birchite literature, as did Fred Loock, another key figure at the company. They also supported the Australian doctor Fred Schwarz, founder of the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade; William F. Buckley, Jr.'s National Review; and a right-wing Midwest radio program produced by anti-communist producer Bob Siegrist. Harry's main political targets were "World Communism" and the U.S. federal government, not necessarily in that order. His political philosophy was laissez-faire capitalism, and he was strongly opposed to anything that might restrict his freedom to conduct his business as he saw fit. His promotion of "freedom", however, did not extend to his own workers. While women had worked at the plant since 1918, and made up nearly a third of the workforce during World War II, they weren't paid the same as men. They finally sued in 1966, charging the company paid less to women than male workers operating the same machines. A federal judge ruled in their favor.
Allen-Bradley was one of the last major Milwaukee employers to racially integrate, and then only through public and legal pressure. By 1968, when the company's workforce had grown to more than 7,000, Allen-Bradley employed only 32 Blacks and 14 Latinos. That year, demonstrators led by the civil rights leader Father James Groppi picketed the plant, demanding the hiring of more workers of color. The company was eventually forced to adopt an affirmative action plan, after the federal government backed a discrimination suit. And although Allen-Bradley had been unionized since 1937 (United Radio and Electrical Workers of America Local 1111), the company had bitterly resisted recognizing a closed or union shop. Around 1970, a 76-day strike forced management to agree to allow payroll deduction of union dues. All of these advancements for their workers did nothing to endear the company's owners to the idea of government regulation of industry. Lynde, Harry, and Frank Loock all shared a view of themselves as benevolent dictators over their workers, more than able to decide what their employees needed, without any advice from the federal government. If that included racial and gender discrimination, that was their business and no one else's, and they were determined to oppose any perceived threat, whether it came from Moscow or from Washington.
In 1942, the brothers formed the Allen-Bradley Foundation, which quickly became a key benefactor for local institutions such as St. Luke's Hospital, the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and the Boy's Club. In addition to being a major employer, Allen-Bradley was now an important source of money for the city as well. But while it gave a few grants to right-wing groups like the Freedoms Foundation and Morality in Media, it was still basically a local philanthropy.
A Newly Enriched Foundation Hires Chairman Mike
Things changed dramatically in 1985, when the Allen-Bradley Company was sold to Rockwell International, a leading defense and aerospace conglomerate, for a whopping $1.651 billion. The Foundation benefited heavily from the sale, seeing its assets shoot up overnight from less than $14 million to more than $290 million, catapulting it into the ranks of the country's largest foundations. At that point its name was changed to the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, to publicly separate it from the company. Flush with new money and an understanding that they were now poised to play a more national role, foundation trustees decided it was time to hire a professional to run the organization. They found their man in New York at the John M. Olin Foundation.
Michael S. Joyce, Bradley's current president2, is a former high school teacher from an Irish Catholic Democratic Party family in Cleveland, Ohio. By 1972 he was voting for Richard Nixon and advancing in conservative circles. "His move to the political big time came in 1978," wrote Barbara Miner in the Spring, 1994 issue of the Milwaukee-based education newspaper Rethinking Schools, "when he went to New York to work for the Institute for Educational Affairs, a neoconservative organization started by right wing trailblazer Irving Kristol and William Simon, secretary of the treasury for Presidents Nixon and Ford. The following year Simon asked Joyce to head the Olin Foundation."
The New York-based John M. Olin Foundation grew out of a family manufacturing business in chemicals and munitions. It funds nationally influential right-wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute for Public Policy Research, and the Hoover Institute of War, Revolution and Peace. It also gives large sums of money to promote conservative programs in the country's most prestigious colleges and universities. After Joyce left to take charge of the Bradley Foundation, William Simon replaced him as president at Olin.
Joyce had the national connections that the Bradley Foundation was looking for. He had served on Ronald Reagan's presidential transition team in 1980 and in the following years on several Reagan-Bush advisory boards and task forces. According to a 1985 profile in the Milwaukee Business Journal, he is believed to have helped William Bennett get his job as Secretary of Education under Reagan. Bennett himself served as a Bradley board member from 1988-89 [The Bradley Legacy, by John Gurda]. Joyce and Bennett remain close. Says Bennett, "When I've needed his advice, he has returned my calls saying, 'This is Coach Joyce and this is what I want you to do'"[Barbara Miner, Rethinking Schools, Spring, 1994.]
When Bennett, Jack Kemp, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Lamar Alexander, and Vin Weber went on to found the national Republican advocacy group Empower America in 1993, the founding conference was held in Milwaukee. In 1986, Joyce was named in an Atlantic Monthly article as one of the three people most responsible for the triumph of the conservative political movement. About the same time, The Chicago Tribune said he may be the voice of the GOP's future.
Joyce's personal viewpoint is more than traditional, emphasizing a view of family, "kinship" and community drawn from the cultures of ancient Israel and Greece. "I'm not talking about the 1950's," Joyce once told an interviewer, "I'm talking about 1950 B.C." (Milwaukee Journal,(10/30/94.) Joyce brought a more focused, sophisticated view to Bradley's funding. Under his leadership, Bradley strategically funded the authors and writers who could set the terms for national debate on key issues of public policy, the think tanks that could develop specific programs, the activist organizations that could implement those programs, and the legal offices that could defend those programs in court, as well as carry out legal offensives against other targets.
"Mike is pretty close to being the central figure [within conservative foundations]. The chairman of the board or whatever you want to call it," says Waldemar Nielsen, author of Golden Donors, a book on the foundation movement. By 1992, he was receiving $310,000 in salary and benefits as president of the Bradley Foundation [Barbara Miner, Rethinking Schools, Spring,1994]. By Dec. 31, 1995, the foundation's total assets were $461,601,000, and it was making annual grants in excess of $20 million. [From Bradley's 1995 annual report].
Bradley's influence increased considerably after the Republicans lost the White House and leading conservative figures lost their influential government positions. It was these three factors - the Rockwell windfall, the hiring of nationally-connected Joyce and the Republicans' loss of the presidency - that made the Bradley-sponsored network of institutes, conservative writers, and think tanks so important in continuing to influence the direction of public policy in the U.S. It is now the premier right-wing foundation in the country.
"The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation illustrates the power of a well-financed foundation with a clearly articulated political and ideological vision...it is one of the nation's largest supporters of conservative thought and activity" [Buying a Movement: Right-Wing Foundations and American Politics, by People for the American Way].
Targeting the Black Community
In recent years, Bradley has increasingly turned its attention to the African American community, posing as a friend with real solutions to long-term urban problems, particularly around the issue of school "reform". A brief review of its past role, however, tells a far different story. Bradley is a major funding source for the Center for Individual Rights, the public law firm that successfully argued Hopwood vs. the State of Texas, a challenge to affirmative action policies at the University of Texas Law School. That 1996 decision effectively eliminated affirmative action in the state university system of Texas as well as in neighboring Mississippi and Louisiana.
Through its funding of the National Association of Scholars (NAS), Bradley played a key role in the 1996 successful anti-affirmative action referendum campaign in California, known as the California Civil Rights Initiative. The co-author of CCRI is Thomas Wood, executive director of the state affiliate of the NAS, which receives over $100,000 a year from Bradley. The effect of the overturn of affirmative action in Texas and California has been enormous, not only drastically reducing the number of students of color in these two heavily populated states, but also choking the pipeline for future Black and Latino attorneys and elected officials.
Bradley is also a heavy funder of University of California Regent Ward Connerly and his American Civil Rights Institute. Connerly was a leading figure in the anti-affirmative action campaign in California. His Institute helped repeat that success in Washington state and is now trying to do the same in Florida. Bradley money supports the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative legal advocacy group that provided pro bono representation to California Gov. Pete Wilson in his challenge to five state statutes dealing with affirmative action in state employment and contracting goals.
A bill that would end affirmative action on the federal level was drafted by Clint Bolick, vice president and director of litigation for the Institute for Justice, another recipient of Bradley money. Earlier in his career, Bolick led the legal defense for the the first Wisconsin voucher law, while working for the Landmark Legal Foundation, another Bradley recipient. (Bolick's co-counsel in that case was the now notorious Kenneth Starr, who had previously done other legal work for Bradley.) Bolick also played a pivotal role in attacks on Lani Guinier, President Clinton's nominee to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. Bolick's Wall Street Journal opinion piece headlined "Clinton's Quota Queen" dredged up the worst racist and sexist stereotypes and helped throw the Guinier nomination on the defensive. Bolick also teamed up with another Bradley-funded organization, the Free Congress Foundation, to orchestrate further attacks on Guinier.
In 1992, Bradley gave $11,850 to author David Brock for the publication of his work The Real Anita Hill: The Untold Story. The book, which attacked Hill's credibility, was based on an article Brock wrote for The American Spectator magazine, another Bradley grantee.
Welfare Reform and School Vouchers
Two of Bradley's greatest successes have come in its home town of Milwaukee, a city now known for its radical welfare reform and school voucher programs. Both are promoted as providing opportunities for upward mobility to disenfranchised communities. In reality, the major role of both programs has been to further undermine the principle that the people are "entitled" to anything from their government, while expanding the opportunities for the privitization of public services.
The case of welfare reform is particularly instructive. Throughout the 1980s, Bradley-funded authors and writers began to attack the ideological underpinnings of social welfare programs that grew out of the great labor struggles of the 1930s and the social movements of the 1960s. Three books in particular played key roles in this effort: Wealth and Poverty, by George Guilder; Losing Ground, by Charles Murray; and Beyond Entitlement, by Lawrence M. Mead. At the time these books were written, all three writers were working out of the Bradley-funded Manhattan Institute in New York City.
In Losing Ground, Murray argued that poverty is the result, not of economic dislocations like plant shutdowns and layoffs, periodic cycles of recession and depression, or racial and gender discrimination, but of individual failings. That being the case, he argued, most government-sponsored anti-poverty programs were ill-conceived and should be eliminated. In particular, he called for an end to all government programs that provide economic support for single mothers, such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), subsidized housing, or food stamps. From at least 1986 to 1989, Bradley was giving Murray an annual grant of $90,000. By 1991, it was paying him $113,000 per year. In response to intense criticism of Losing Ground, Bradley president Michael Joyce said, "Charles Murray, in my opinion, is one of the foremost social thinkers in the country."
After writing Losing Ground, Murray teamed up with the late Harvard psychologist Richard Hernstein to write the book The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. According to an article in the New York Times, Hernstein "predicted that as a society became more meritocratic, individuals with low I.Q.s could congregate on the bottom of the economic scale, intermarry and produce offspring with low I.Q.'s." The Bell Curve incorporated elements of both Murray's Losing Ground and Hernstein's genetic theories.
The book argued that poverty is the result, not of social conditions or policies, but of the inferior genetic traits of a sub-class of human beings. The book was widely seen as a piece of profoundly racist and classist pseudo-science, and was denounced by the American Psychological Association. It had relied heavily on studies financed by the Pioneer Fund, a neo-Nazi organization that promoted eugenicist research. Immediately after its publication, Bradley raised Murray's annual grant to $163,000.
Murray and Hernstein's prescription for an end to poverty and the threat of a growing "underclass" was the elimination of all social welfare programs and their replacement by a work-centered program of coercion and behavioral modification. The goal was not the"empowerment" of poor people through acquiring jobs and independence, but rather their total regulation, on the theory that these were basically inferior people incapable of running their own lives. Harry Bradley would have felt right at home with the classist, sexist,and racist paternalism of the thesis.
W-2: Moving from Concept to Reality
About the time The Bell Curve was published, Bradley awarded a $175,000 grant to the Hudson Institute, a right-wing think tank based in Indianapolis. Members of Hudson's Board of Trustees include former vice president Dan Quayle and former Nixon chief of staff Gen. Alexander Haig. The grant was "to support a study of welfare reform in Wisconsin" [Bradley's 1995 annual report.] Hudson opened a branch office in Wisconsin's state capital, Madison, and went to work, creating the "Welfare Policy Center." According to Hudson's website, the Center is "... an outgrowth of Hudson's unique participation in helping the state of Wisconsin design and implement Wisconsin Works [W-2], the landmark welfare replacement plan passed into law early in 1996. A partof the policy team, Hudson worked closely with the state for over two years helping facilitate policy deliberations, researching specific issues, and acting as an independent contributor to the policy development process."
One of the people Hudson brought in as a consultant for the development of W-2 was Bell Curve author Charles Murray. As a result of W-2, Wisconsin's welfare rolls have been slashed by 90 percent, and in 1999 the state received a national award by the Ford Foundation for innovations in government. For the majority of former AFDC mothers, however, W-2 has been a disaster. A few women have found better jobs and income, but many more have found themselves strapped into a life of low-wage, dead-end jobs, many of them at temp agencies. A significant minority has seen the complete destruction of family life and livelihood. In Milwaukee, evictions have skyrocketed, as has homelessness. Food pantries are overwhelmed.
Most tragically, many single mothers have lost their children to the child welfare system. But privately operated W-2 agencies have made huge profits, while local businesses and "non-profits" have found free labor for their enterprises. Jason Turner, the former Bush administration official who headed the Wisconsin task force that developed W-2, now runs the largest workfare program in the country, WEP in New York City, where he is diligently applying the Wisconsin model. In the view of the right-wing social engineers, W-2 is a success story, and the Bradley Foundation is determined to repeat this "success" in other areas of public policy.
Bradley is certainly not the only conservative foundation promoting right-wing causes. It works in concert with a number of others to develop, maintain and promote a right-wing intelligencia that can play a major role in the manipulation of public opinion and the formulation of public policy. In fact, the Olin, Sarah Scaife, Smith Richardson and Bradley foundations are often called the "Four Sisters" for their tendency to fund similar conservative projects, publications and institutions. But Bradley, with the largest assets of the conservative foundations, with its national connections and a sharply focused political agenda, plays a leading role in the conservative movement.
Who's Who In the Foundation: The Board of Directors
Michael S. Joyce - President & CEO
Andrew "Tiny" Rader - Chairman of the Board3
Allen M. Taylor - Vice Chairman
Wayne J. Roper - Secretary Attorney
Michael W. Grebe
J. Clayburn La Force
Brother Bob Smith
David V. Uihlein, Jr.
Notable former members include:
W. H. Brady, Jr.
Sheldon B. Lubar
(c) 2000 by Phil Wilayto
For more information on the Bradley Foundation, see "The Feeding Trough: The Bradley Foundation, 'The Bell Curve', & the Real Story Behind W-2, Wisconsin's National Model for Welfare Reform". An Investigative Report by A Job is a Right Campaign. 140 pages; $12.00 (includes shipping &handling;). Send check or money order (made payable to "AJRC") to: A Job is a Right Campaign, PO Box 06053, Milwaukee, WI 53206; Phone: 414.374.1034; Fax: 414.372.7624;Email: email@example.com; website: www.execpc.com/~ajrc.
Assets & Grants:
1. As of 2003, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was reporting that Bradley assets had lost 30 percent of their value since 1999. [2003 Update: From the Bradley Foundation's 2003 990 they list $468.7 million as total net assets or fund balances at end of year (line 6, Part III of 990)]
...In a war of ideas, you naturally funded the people who were on your side, and you made sure they were warriors who expressly aimed to influence government, the media and public policy. But ideological soldiers are rarely the same as great scholars.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Payment stems from early payoff of long-term bonds sold by philanthropy to finance baseball stadium
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Bradley foundation is offering $20 million over five years in low interest loans to charter and private schools in Milwaukee, trying to build up enough private educational institutions to further subvert the local public schools
Bradley is funneling its money through its funded sub-entitity called "Partners Advancing Values in Education" (PAVE), which originally was called the "Milwaukee Archdiocese and Education Fund".
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Two well-known national political figures...have been named to the board of directors of the Bradley Foundation
The foundation announced Wednesday that Pete du Pont IV, a Republican candidate for president in 1988 who served two terms as governor of Delaware, and Bill Armstrong, a Republican senator from Colorado for 12 years, are joining the board.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
($715 million) to 2003 ($500 million)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Bradley Foundation's Michael Joyce is retiring
After 15.5 years as head of the Bradley Foundation, Michael Joyce will retire in July, possibly to become part of the Republican George W. Bush Administration.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Michael W. Grebe, chairman of Foley & Lardner and an influential figure in national Republican politics, will become president of the Bradley Foundation next summer
The Bradley Foundation is the right�s economic fount for ideas promoting neoracist empire
Milwukee Journal Sentinel
A comprehensive new report makes clear the foundation's import in the feeding and nurturing of the Neoconservative Movement that has led the US to war in the Middle East
It directly ascribes the war on Iraq to the "playbook" of the neocons, a group of "mostly Republicans," "many of whom have gotten funding from Milwaukee's Bradley Foundation."
Name a conservative idea -- whether it's school vouchers, faith-based initiatives or the premise that there's a worldwide clash of civilizations -- and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation is apt to have its fingerprints on it.
Editor and Publisher
When the conservative Bradley Foundation awarded a $250,000 prize to George Will last week, it raised some eyebrows at a time when Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher, and Michael McManus have been criticized for accepting government money...Both Will and Bradley Foundation President/CEO Michael Grebe did not return E&P; phone calls asking for comment.