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Donor’s Trust, Dark Money and their ties to West Michigan

March 27, 2018

Donor’s Trust is a non-profit that was created in 1999 and committed to the, “ideals of limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise.” It’s sister organization , is called Donors Capital Fund and both of them are made up of members of the Capitalist class to provides big donors an opportunity to hide their money that can influence public policy.

According to SourceWatch, “As a rule, Donors Trust refers clients to Donors Capital Fund if they expect to open donor-advised funds of more than $1,000,000. The twin Donors organizations are advertised as a way for very wealthy people and corporations to remain hidden when “funding sensitive or controversial issues,” creating a lack of accountability.”

In 2013, we ran a story about how the Richard & Helen DeVos Foundation was a major contributor to the Donor Trust and the Donor Capital Fund. Along with the Koch Brothers and other Wealthy families in the country, the DeVos family channels funds to Donors Trust to help hide some of their funding that might otherwise be scrutinized.

The Center for Media and Democracy just posted a new article about how much money Donors Trust gave out to support right wing groups that are engaged in promoting hate against Islamic groups, undermining unions, denying climate change and a whole litany of organizations that are deeply committed to imposing harsh neoliberal austerity measures on the public. 

One such organization that is deeply committed to these neoliberal economic principles, is the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty

In 2015, based on the 990s from Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, the Acton Institute received $1,083,200 to support their work to promote neoliberal capitalist economic policies. When looking at the 990s, the funding from Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund to groups like the Acton Institute, it always says the money is for “general operations.” Such designation’s are purposely vague, as a means to make it harder to find out what they do with these funds.

Dark Money entities like Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund help to channel money to other non-profits that can influence public policy, as well as elections – see the info graphic from the Center for Public Responsibility here on the right. The Center for Public Responsibility also has great resources and analysis on the function of Dark Money

The very fact that the Acton Institute is a major recipient of Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund monies, is just one more reason that this Grand Rapids institution in should be exposed and resisted.

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