Conservative foundations

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A number of wealthy conservative foundations have emerged as primary bankrollers of right-wing politics in the United States.

  • The Koch Family Foundations, controlled by David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch, the billionaire owners of Koch Industries.
  • The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, with assets exceeding $532 million, was founded by brothers Lynde and Harry Bradley, who made their fortunes producing electronic and radio components. Harry Bradley was an active member of the John Birch Society and a contributor to William F. Buckley, Jr.'s National Review. It has played a key role in promoting the privatization of education, funding research and pilot projects in school vouchers in its home state of Wisconsin.
  • The John M. Olin Foundation, which grew out of a family manufacturing business (chemical and munitions), had assets of approximately $90 million in 1998. Since the year 2000, however, it has begun spending down its endowment at a rate of about $20 million per year, with the goal of putting itself out of business by the end of the year 2005.
  • The Scaife Foundations, controlled by billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife.
  • The Adolph Coors Foundation, funded by the family that owns the Adolph Coors brewery, earned notoriety in the 1970s and 19980s for its anti-union, anti-gay, anti-minority stance. Recipients of its funding have included the Heritage Foundation, Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum and STOP ERA campaign, the John Birch Society and a variety of organizations affiliated with the religious right. In the 1990s, the Coors company also launched an aggressive public relations campaign to repair its image with gay consumers, offering money to gay and lesbian rights groups and becoming one of the first companies in the United States to offer marriage benefits to employees in same-sex relationships. It hired Mary Cheney, the openly lesbian daughter of current vice president Dick Cheney, as its "corporate relations manager for the gay and lesbian market," and signed a marketing contract with Witeck-Combs Communications, a public relations firm that specializes in niche marketing to the gay community. The Coors family itself took steps to distance the Coors name from its political activities. In 1993, the Castle Rock Foundation was established with a $36.6 million endowment from the Coors Foundation. Castle Rock continues to pour $2 to $3 million of Coors profits each year into anti-gay and other conservative causes, but the company itself is officially gay-friendly.