A vital part of that expansion has involved money: major donations from some of the nation’s wealthiest liberal foundations, including the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Open Society Foundations of the financier George Soros, and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Over the past decade those donors have invested more than $300 million in immigrant organizations, including many fighting for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here illegally.By the mid-1970s, the Ford Foundation — founded by arch-capitalist Henry Ford and his son Edsel — had been thoroughly captured by its leftist management, in keeping with John O'Sullivan's First Law: Any institution that is not explicitly right wing will become left wing over time. For example, as Wikipedia describes it:
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Beginning in the late 1960s and continuing through the 1970s, the foundation expanded into civil rights litigation, granting $18 million to civil rights litigation groups. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund ["MALDEF" — PN] was incorporated in 1967 with a US$2.2 million grant from the foundation. In the same year, the foundation also funded the establishment of the Southwest Council of La Raza, the predecessor of the National Council of La Raza. ... In 1974, the foundation contributed funds to the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project and the Latino Institute.(In her 1996 book Americans No More: The Death of Citizenship, Georgie Anne Geyer remarked on what we'd now term the "astroturf" character of organizations like La Raza, "the world of laterally funded ethnic and special-interest lobbies. This world is characterized by its absence of membership and thus its lack of accountability to any power but the activist officers of the big foundations." [p. 193] Later [p. 213], Geyer noted, "MALDEF has had a turbulent history and an energetic and determined leadership, but it was always a creature of the Ford Foundation.")
In 1977, Henry Ford II (son of Edsel Ford), who still helmed Ford Motor Company and had previously headed the Foundation, resigned as a Foundation trustee, explaining his motive with a famous letter, which included this:
The foundation exists and thrives on the fruits of our economic system. The dividends of competitive enterprise make it all possible. A significant portion of all abundance created by U.S. business enables the foundation and like institutions to carry on their work. In effect, the foundation is a creature of capitalism—a statement that, I’m sure, would be shocking to many professional staff in the field of philanthropy. It is hard to discern recognition of this fact in anything the foundation does. It is even more difficult to find an understanding of this in many of the institutions, particularly the universities, that are the beneficiaries of the foundation’s grant programs.The Ford Foundation is far from unique among hyper-rich institutions in its behavior that tends to undermine the civilization that enables its existence. In 2011, Jerry Kammer of the Center for Immigration Studies published an extensive analysis of immigration-advocacy-related funding by Carnegie similar to Ford's: The Carnegie Corporation and Immigration: How a Noble Vision Lost Its Way. [PDF]
I’m not playing the role of the hard-headed tycoon who thinks all philanthropoids are socialists and all university professors are communists. I’m just suggesting to the trustees and the staff that the system that makes the foundation possible very probably is worth preserving. Perhaps it is time for the trustees and staff to examine the question of our obligations to our economic system and to consider how the foundation, as one of the system’s most prominent offspring, might act most wisely to strengthen and improve its progenitor.