Earhart Foundation

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The Earhart Foundation is a foundation that funds research and scholarship. The foundation, according to Right Web, 'was active in the 1980s supporting burgeoning conservative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, which became a prominent source of ideas and people for the Reagan administration. According to a 1981 New York Times article, “About 60 percent of [AEI’s] money comes from foundations, such as the Lilly Endowment, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Trust, and the Earhart Foundation. The rest of the money is donated by major corporations, including Bethlehem Steel, Exxon, J.C. Penney, and the Chase Manhattan Bank.”' [1]

As detailed by Jane Mayer in her book Dark Money,

"James Piereson, a scholar at the Manhattan Institute who became a crucial figure in several conservative foundations, said, "We didn't have anything when we started in the late 1970s. We had no institutions at all in the mainstream of American political life." He debunked what he called the liberal misconception that corporations directly funded most of the far-right movement, arguing, "What we did was way too controversial for corporations." Instead, he said, in the beginning "there were only a small number of foundations," including the Earhart Foundation, based on an oil fortune, the Smith Richardson Foundation, derived from the cough and cold medicine dynasty, and, most importantly, the various Scaife family foundations."[2]

'Also in the early 1980s, Earhart teamed up with several over-conservative foundations—including Scaife and Olin—to fund rightist newspapers on college campuses. One notable example was The Dartmouth Review, where a young Dinesh D'Souza, author of Illiberal Democracy, got his start attacking the purported "liberal bias" at U.S. universities. The Review made a controversial splash when it published letters that had been stolen from the university’s Gay Student Alliance. Parents of these students discovered their children’s sexual orientation through the Review’s reports.' [1]


The Earhart Foundation has total assets of nearly $62 million (2005 IRS Form 990). [3]

Since at least 1995 the Earhart foundation has been engaged in the pursuit of publishing the collected works of Eric Voegelin. From 1995 to 2002, the Earhart Foundation issued at least twelve grants totalling at least $115,000 "for (a) research assistance and (b) general operating support to continue preparation for publication of The Collected Works of Eric Vogelin"[1]

The Philanthropy Roundtable said of the Earhart Foundation in 2004, "For 75 years, the Earhart Foundation has epitomized achievement in the humanities and social sciences. ... Harry B. Earhart started the foundation in 1929 with the fortune he made with White Star Oil Company. Among his foundation's early beneficiaries was Friedrich von Hayek of the London School of Economics, who wrote The Road to Serfdom and The Constitution of Liberty."[2]

The foundation supports free-market scholars through a network of 50 "Earhart professors" across the United States: "We find promising young men and women that we think would be ideal, not only from an intellectual but also from a character point of view, to be teachers and academic leaders in the future. And when we so identify them, we recommend them to the Earhart Foundation. They provide grants, and we continue to mentor these students as they go through graduate school." [3]


Contact details

2200 Green Road, Suite H
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Phone: 734 761-8592
URL: Unknown

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 Earhart Foundation Profile, Right Web, accessed October 2007.
  2. Jane Mayer, [Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right], 2016.
  3. Earhart Foundation Profile, Media Tranparency, accessed October 2007.

External articles