Tides Foundation

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Tides Foundation is a San Francisco, California-based 501(c)(3) non-profit social change corporation founded June 4, 1976. Tides is largely credited with pioneering anonymous “Dark Money” transactions through donor advised funds for politically liberal and progressive organizations in the areas of the environment, health care, labor issues, immigrant rights, gay rights, women’s rights, and activism against gun rights, industrial development and corporations. Tides Foundation’s skill at keeping donors anonymous and grant recipients secret became a public issue, bringing IRS attention and measures to separate its most innovative program from its normal grant-making operation.

Money

  • Tides Foundation financial assets were $150,545,700 in 2013
  • Tides Foundation’s income in 2013 was $114,031,827, including investment income of $7,337,552.
  • Tides Foundation spent $243,500 on investment management fees in 2013.
  • Tides Foundation paid $94,105,703 in grants in 2013.
  • Tides Foundation spent $394,520 on fundraising in 2013.
  • Tides Foundation paid Interim CEO Gary Schwartz compensation of $240,784 in 2013.

Power

Network Interactions

Follow this link to explore Tides Foundation’s interactions with progressive donors, organizations, activists and influentials.

Donor Network

  • From 1999 to 2013, Tides Foundation received 2,314 grants from 471 foundations totaling $522,950,992.
  • During 2013 Tides Foundation received 181 grants from 107 foundations totaling $42,557,073.     .

The 15 Largest ($1,000,000+) Foundation Donors in 2013

  • NOVO FOUNDATION $6,395,927;
  • FORD FOUNDATION $3,298,000;
  • THE M.A.C. GLOBAL FOUNDATION $2,683,438;
  • WALLACE GLOBAL FUND II $2,395,000;
  • NEW FIELD FOUNDATION $2,340,000;
  • ANNIE E CASEY FOUNDATION $2,340,000;
  • VANGUARD CHARITABLE ENDOWMENT PROGRAM $2,320,000;
  • FIDELITY INVESTMENTS CHARITABLE GIFT FUND $2,128,789;
  • FOUNDATION TO PROMOTE OPEN SOCIETY $2,014,350;
  • NATEM FOUNDATION INC $1,598,356;
  • THE CHILDREN’S INVESTMENT FUND FOUNDATION $1,500,000;
  • PEMA FOUNDATION $1,159,278;
  • ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION $1,127,434;
  • SCHWAB CHARITABLE FUND $1,070,842;
  • BROAD REACH FOUNDATION $1,000,000.

Tides Entitites

  • Tides Foundation (grantmaking, collects and distributes money to non-profits)
  • Tides Center (operates projects in three progressive issue areas: Equity, Education, and Environment, supporting about 230 projects with 500 employees and hundreds of grants)
  • Tides Network (Master corporation founded in 2007 to provide executive, leadership, and administrative control over all other Tides entities)
  • Tides Center Pennsylvania (established at the request of Teresa Heinz Kerry and her foundations to manage numerous local civic programs)
  • Tides, Inc (real estate operation providing workplace facilities for Tides and other projects)
  • Tides Canada Foundation (a conglomerate of Canadian non-profits given or taken under Tides management, stirring opposition and resentment)
  • Tides Center Canada (Sage Centre)
  • Tides Advocacy Fund (501(c)(4) lobbying and teaching lobbyists)
  • Tides Shared Spaces (real estate and office space management)
  • Tides Supporting Funds (various ad hoc and planned campaigns)
  • Tides Two Rivers Fund (supporting organization that manages a Manhattan condominium called Thoreau Center New York for green non-profit groups)
  • State Equality Fund (manages a collaboration of funders of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equal rights projects)

Background & History

Tides Foundation was co-founded by Drummond MacGavin Pike, M.S., political science, Rutgers University, and Jane Bagley Lehman, Reynolds tobacco heiress and president (1970-1980) of Washington, D.C-based Arca Foundation. Lehman relocated to San Francisco and served as Tides’ chairman of the board until her death in 1988, Her daughter Susan Lehman Carmichael served as a member of the board of directors of both the Tides Foundation and the Tides Center until 2000. Pike ran the operation as president and CEO until resigning in 2010 to pursue financial ventures. In his 34-year reign, Pike created, mentored, funded and led more progressive non-profit organizations than anyone in the world (including George Soros). Pike remains board chairman of Environmental Working Group as of 2013.

Trouble with the IRS

The Internal Revenue Service advised Tides Foundation, early on, to separate its grantmaking operations from its unorthodox program to create new tailor-made activist groups, sometimes more than 200 at a time. Tides Foundation protected these leftist organizations by lending them its tax exemption in elaborate fiscal sponsorships that included complete financial services – oversight of all revenues and expenditures, monthly financial reports, budgetary tracking, payment of all invoices, audit and governmental reporting, and training in budget preparation and financial management – comprehensive employee benefits – standard vacation and sick pay compensation, health, dental, life, and disability insurance coverage, and a retirement plan – innovative administrative support – liability insurance to grant and contract management – expert human resources policies, training, and intervention – assistance to project directors in personnel matters and annual training in a wide range of human resources areas, from supervisory skills to harassment prevention. All this cost 8 percent of the new group’s income as a Tides “management fee.”

In order to satisfy IRS rules and its own needs, Tides directors incorporated the separate Tides Center on May 26, 1994 with its own infrastructure of a 501(c)(3) entity with appropriate incorporation, separate IRS exemption, and charitable registration to run the fiscal sponsorship program efficiently and legally.

Ironically, this split gave Tides experience and expertise in running multiple groups, promoting the Tides concept to grow into a multi-division complex in the United States and Canada, offering an array of services beyond normal foundation functions: the leadership formed subsidiary foundations to fund the Tides programs, real estate services providing shared office and support spaces for its allies, assistance with grantpmaking for wealthy donors, impact investing, network formation, strategic policy consulting, advocacy work and a virtual takeover of many Canadian non-profit foundations and organizations.

Current System

Tides Foundation retains its separate identity in this complex, with a new leader, Chairman of the Board of Directors Joanie Bronfman, Seagram whiskey heiress whose PhD dissertation at Brandeis University investigated the psychoses of the rich. Tides Foundation is recognized as the ancestor and anchor of all the rest, although a central command organization, Tides Network assumed executive power over all the growing Tides entities on August 8, 2005. Tides Network provides “executive and financial leadership and coordination, strategic leadership direction, fundraising, administration, management, planning and coordination of mission communications, administration of human resources and office administration for all related Tides entities and other nonprofit organizations.”

Controversies

Media Matters Receives Funding Before It Even Exists

The Daily Caller launched an investigation into Media Matters for America, revealing a laundry list of progressive-focused donors that included the Tides Foundation ($4,384,702), George Soros’ Open Society Institutes ($1,075,000), the Ford Foundation ($966,466), and the Sandler Foundation ($400,000). The Caller revealed that more than $28.8 million in funding for Media Matters was collected before its formal incorporation in 2003 – a full 54% of every dollar the organization has raised in its history.

Wikipedia Got $2 Million From Tides That Reinforced Its Sharp Turn To The Political Left

In 2010, Tides granted $2 million to Wikimedia Foundation, the fundraiser and manager of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. The “General Support” grant was a blank check to encourage years of left-wing Wikipedia editing and administration to concentrate on sabotaging libertarian and conservative entries. This grant encouraged the corruption of the Wikimedia Foundation’s motto, “Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s our commitment.” In controversial entries, that commitment is not being lived up to and is misleading donors about the nature of their product.

The Foundation, which is the funding source and manager of the Wikipedia, freely allows leftist editors to hijack the Wikipedia profiles of libertarian and conservative organizations with libelous statements and to censor any libertarian or conservative views on controversial issues such as climate change and education. The Foundation’s executive director Lila Tretikov and board members are doing nothing to check hostile Wikipedia editors who engage in editing wars between free-speech and ideology-only editors.