NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 31, 2006

Big business primarily supports right-wing advocacy groups, right?  Think again.  A recent report from the Capital Research Center shows Fortune 100 corporate foundations give overwhelmingly to liberal groups.  In fact, in the sample year studied (2001), these corporate foundations gave 14 times more money to liberal causes than business-friendly ones.  Even more surprising, says the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), is that environmental causes got the most funding, approximately 75 percent of the $60 million from 53 corporate foundations.

It should be noted that one environmental organization, the Wildlife Conservation Society -- which funds and manages zoos, including the famous Bronx Zoo -- received a grant of about $35 million from Goldman Sachs in 2001, skewing results somewhat for the sample year in the study.

  • When you remove that grant, the total amount given comes to about $28 million, of which $24 million, or 85 percent, went to left-leaning groups.
  • In fact, liberal groups received all of the top 10 largest grants, with six out of the 10 going to environmental groups.
  • Environmental groups got a total of $12 million or 44 percent.

Many of the environmentally-related groups that received generous contributions focus considerably on political action, says CEI.

One can only wonder why so much support from corporate foundations flows to these groups.  Have environmental groups suddenly become more business friendly?  It doesn't appear so.  For some reason, corporate foundations give to groups that are obviously pushing policies that work against corporate interests.

Businesses may believe such support represents a strategic business decision for a number of reasons.  Some business lobbyists may think they are just being pragmatic; they figure that like death and taxes, regulation is inevitable.  Their only choice is to mitigate the impacts by negotiating the best deal they can get.  Some -- usually larger businesses -- might actually benefit as their competitors suffer more from regulations, says CEI.

Source: Angela Logomasini, "Business Bankrolling of the Left," Competitive Enterprise Institute, October 26, 2006.

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