The $9 billion Ford Foundation has announced new grantmaking policies that would prevent future funding of some violent activist groups — if Ford takes its own guidelines seriously. On Monday the giant money machine sent a letter to U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) admitting its support for groups that promote anti-Semitic violence. “We now recognize that we did not have a clear picture of the activities, organizations and people involved,” Ford’s president wrote. Now would also be a good time for the Foundation to examine how its funds have been used to advocate the destruction of restaurants, grocery stores, biotech crops, and other mainstays of modern society.
Here’s how the Ford Foundation describes its new policy changes:
The Foundation’s standard grant agreement letter that grantees around the world must sign to receive Ford funds will now include explicit language requiring the organization to agree that it will not promote violence or terrorism. This prohibition applies to all of the organization’s funds, not just those provided through a grant from the Ford Foundation. Organizations unwilling to agree to these terms will not receive Foundation support. (emphasis added)
Keeping in mind Ford’s newfound opposition to the promotion of violence, let’s take a look at three recipients of Ford Foundation money: the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Friends of the Earth, and the Tides Foundation.
As we pointed out yesterday, Friends of the Earth, the happy recipient of more than $2 million in Ford money over the last 10 years, has signed on to a campaign to destroy biotech crop fields. Moreover, the Chairman of Friends of the Earth UK supports an organization whose motto is an open invitation for violence against people: “The Earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.”
The original eco-vandals at Earth First! have adopted that same phrase as their rallying cry. And guess what? The Ford Foundation has provided funds, indirectly, to Earth First!.
The Tides Foundation, which takes money from major philanthropic organizations and passes it on to activist groups that are perhaps too radical for mainstream foundations to embrace officially, has received more than $36 million from the Ford Foundation since 1989. One Tides recipient is the Fund for Wild Nature (FWN), which used to be called the Earth First! Foundation. FWN regularly supports the Earth First! Journal as well as local EF! groups like Arizona Earth First!; FWN also funds the Ecology Center in Missoula, Montana, which partially funded the legal defense of convicted arsonist Rodney Coronado.
In addition, Tides financially supports the Independent Media Center (IMC); in February, IMC published a screed by an Earth Liberation Front arsonist who is serving a five-year sentence for setting fire to three logging vehicles. It reads in part:
There are necessary evils if we want to be effective in our struggles, such as the use of petro-fuels in igniting huge bonfires in which we can watch corporations go bankrupt … I hope I don’t sound as if I’m condemning these activities-by all means, burn the [expletive deleted] to the ground.
Lastly, Ford has given more than $2 million to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), which has a close relationship with recently paroled saboteur Jose Bove. IATP has sponsored events where Bove was the primary speaker — including one during the 1999 World Trade Organization riots in Seattle where Bove called for protestors to vandalize supermarkets. Bove, you may recall, went to prison after attacking a McDonald’s restaurant in France, and is perhaps the most famous supporter of genetically enhanced crop destruction.
The Ford Foundation has some additional housecleaning to do.