Pew Charitable Trusts

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Pew Charitable Trusts is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based public charity. The organization is the sole beneficiary of seven separate private foundations, all established between 1948 and 1979 by the children of Sun Oil founder Joseph Newton Pew. Before 2003, Pew Charitable Trust was a private foundation, but became a public charity in order to gain a larger endowment and the ability to lobby the Federal government.

Pew and his children were politically conservative however, the modern organization is considered to be far left-leaning, focusing its efforts on environmental activism, specifically in regard to ocean conservation. This is thanks, largely, to the work of Rebecca Rimel, instrumental in Pew’s leadership since 1998, herself a radical environmentalist, who dramatically altered the organization’s scope.

Money

  • Tax status: Pew Charitable Trusts is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt independent organization that gives grants and receives grants from many other foundations and from public donations. From 2007 to 2010 Pew Charitable Trusts also received annual government grants.

Trustee Organization

Pew Charitable Trusts is unique in that it is is the sole beneficiary of seven individual private foundations established by the children of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph Newton Pew:

  • Pew Memorial Trust (founded 1948)
  • N. Pew, Jr. Charitable Trust (founded 1956)
  • Howard Pew Freedom Trust (founded 1957)
  • Mabel Pew Myrin Trust (founded 1957)
  • Mary Anderson Trust (founded 1957)
  • Knollbrook Trust (founded 1965)
  • Medical Trust (founded 1979)

The sole trustee of each one of the seven trusts is the family bank, Glenmede Trust Company, National Association, with wealth management by The Glenmede Company. “The Pew Charitable Trusts” was an informal name until registered in 1986 as a legal “fictitious name” owned by the Glenmede Trust Company. In 2004, the Pew Charitable Trusts was separately incorporated as an independent private charity and the sole beneficiary of the seven trusts. The Pew Charitable Trusts has an endowment of over $5 billion, but receives an annual contribution from the seven trusts. The year’s contribution is recorded on the front page of the IRS Form 990, which was $302,131,777 in 2014. Pew Charitable Trusts is allowed to lobby within IRS rules.

2014 Financials

  • Pew financial assets: $809,837,967
  • Pew total income: $327,878,042
  • Pew investment portfolio income $22,188,751.
  • Pew grants given $111,594,858
  • Pew employee compensation $107,399,725.

(Source: IRS Form 990, most recent year available)

Power

EPA Connections

Bob Perciasepe, the Deputy Administrator of the EPA, became President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, formerly the Pew Center for Climate Solutions. Watchdog groups uncovered evidence that Perciasepe used his personal email to communicate with environmentalists in violation of EPA policy.

(Source: Bob Perciasepe named new president of C2ES at http://www.c2es.org/newsroom/releases/bob-perciasepe-named-new-president-c2es  and page 34, Senate Billionaire Club Report.)

Revolving door with Congress

  • 24 Pew Charitable Trusts employees came from or went to U.S. congressional staffs.

Revolving door lobbyists

  • 15 people who lobbied on behalf of Pew Charitable Trusts have also worked in a congressional office.

Pew has been represented by:

  • 37 hired lobbyists or lobbying firms.

Paid Congressional Junkets

  • Pew paid for 184 trips to 11 destinations, 10 in the United States and 1 in Turkey, costing $115,498.

(Source: Legistorm)

Network Interactions

See the Pew Charitable Trusts Muckety Map for an interactive view of the foundation’s vast social network.

Money In – Grants received by Pew Charitable Trusts

The Pew Charitable Trusts has received 734 grants from 219 foundations totaling $2,609,143,689 between 2003 and 2016. The top 15 anti-industry donors:

  1. PEW MEMORIAL TRUST $1,628,449,110
  2. J HOWARD PEW FREEDOM TRUST $271,578,327
  3. MABEL PEW MYRIN TRUST $206,923,512
  4. J N PEW JR CHARITABLE TRUST $162,027,235
  5. THE MEDICAL TRUST $78,907,263
  6. LENFEST FOUNDATION $52,456,250
  7. WILLIAM & FLORA HEWLETT FOUNDATION $27,858,000
  8. MARY ANDERSON TRUST $20,823,671
  9. ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION $14,369,693
  10. THE ANNENBERG FOUNDATION $10,000,000
  11. ELMINA B SEWALL FOUNDATION $9,375,000
  12. SANDLER FOUNDATION $9,064,000
  13. THE OAK FOUNDATION USA $6,650,000
  14. JOHN D & CATHERINE T MACARTHUR FOUNDATION $5,317,000
  15. GORDON E AND BETTY I MOORE FOUNDATION $4,135,000

(Source: IRS Forms 990 and the Foundation Search databank)

Money Out – Grants given by Pew Charitable Trusts

The Pew Charitable Trusts has paid 16,494 grants to 4,177 recipients totaling $4,243,757,051 between 1998 and 2016. The top 20 most anti-industry recipients:

  1. PEW RESEARCH CENTER $251,932,495
  2. OCEANA $58,653,000
  3. DUCKS UNLIMITED $32,540,000
  4. STRATEGIES FOR THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT $26,390,000
  5. MAINE COAST HERITAGE TRUST $17,667,349
  6. CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA’S WILDERNESS $16,800,000
  7. NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL TRUST $14,993,500
  8. APPALACHIAN MOUNTAIN CLUB $14,990,788
  9. SCENIC HUDSON LAND TRUST $7,599,181
  10. SAVE OUR WILD SALMON COALITION $5,770,233
  11. EARTHJUSTICE $5,609,843
  12. NEW ENGLAND FORESTRY FOUNDATION $4,514,457
  13. TIDES CENTER $4,371,828
  14. NATURE CONSERVANCY $4,358,956
  15. ENERGY FOUNDATION $4,247,600
  16. NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES $4,211,815
  17. TROUT UNLIMITED – NATIONAL OFFICE $4,182,000
  18. DUCKS UNLIMITED – ONE WATERFOWL WAY $4,163,000
  19. UNITED STATES PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH $4,000,000
  20. NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL $3,778,450

(Source: IRS Forms 990 and the Foundation Search databank)

Influential Network Connections

Background & History

Pew Charitable Trusts Leadership 2016:

Links take you to the Muckety Bio of key leaders of the foundation:

Background & History

When J. Howard Pew founded the Pew Freedom Trust – one of the seven trusts that make up the Pew Charitable Trusts – he intended his namesake organization to “acquaint the American people” with “the evils of bureaucracy,” “the values of a free market,” and “the paralyzing effects of government controls on the lives and activities of people.” Pew also wanted to “inform our people of the struggle, persecution, hardship, sacrifice and death by which freedom of the individual was won…. J. Howard’s worldview and philanthropic goals have played little role in Pew’s charitable giving.”

By 1980, however, the family members originally responsible for the Pew Charitable Trusts had passed away, and Pew philanthropy became more ad hoc, and less aligned with the founding Pew’s ideology. Rebecca Rimel became Pew’s Executive Director in 1988, and immediately transitioned the organization to full time ecological activism. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Wall Street Journal, Pew grants to local organizations, the family’s tradition, dropped to only 23% of the organizations giving, while Pew expanded it’s national giving to incorporate a number of leftist causes.  The “political ghosts” of the Pews “were gone,” Ms. Rimel told Foundation News in 1991. That year she told Town & Country: “If we could reinfuse the idealism of the Sixties into our work, it could get the country out of this morass that problems are insoluble.”

Rimmel remains as CEO of the Pew Charitable Trusts, assisted by executive Vice President Joshua Reichart, who runs the Pew Charitable Trust’s public policy operation. According to Pew’s web page, their mission priorities include state policy, economic policy and health and human services, “Pew works to protect our shared environment, encourage responsive government, support scientific research, and improve civic life.”

Pew is active in environmental causes, claiming that it’s mission is to “preserv[e] large intact wilderness ecosystems, protecting the global marine environment, and promoting clean energy.” Their web page on Environment page focuses almost entirely on fishing and ocean preservation, with little information about ecosystems and alternative energy sources. It has one link to a “climate change” article that does demonstrate a bias on the subject, however.

 

Controversies

Pew Promotes Questionable Science on Ocean Ecology

According to Pew Charitable Trusts, the oceanic ecosystem is irretrievably devastated, largely due to the fishing industry. Pew developed the line of messaging sometime in the mid-2000s, but the argument that over-fishing has had a dramatically negative effect on ocean life is in question. According to experts, the anti-fishing efforts are predominantly “anti-industry,” and that more recent data indicates a resurgence in both the fishing industry and fishing levels across the domestic US.

Experts have also expressed concern that Pew’s position on fishing and it’s impact on the ecosystem is developed without primary experience in the fishing industry. As such, the Pew project neglects to consider both the economic impact of its environmental policies, and the real world operations of the fishing industry itself, which has a reputation of promoting sustainability, as sustainability ensures the future of the industry.

 

In one particular instance, in 2006, Science published a Pew-funded article concluding that over-fishing and coastal waters degradation were responsible for a disappearance of marine life, arguing, in an alarmist manner, that should fishing continue at its current rate, that the seas could be empty of fish in 40 years. Aside from its methodological problems, the study, according to Big Game Fishing Journal, had a significant, negative impact on the American fishing industry.

Energy Foundation Involvement

In 1991, Pew joined with two other giant philanthropies, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($4.2 billion assets 2001) and the Rockefeller Foundation ($2.6 billion assets 2001), to create a single-purpose consortium that argues against fossil fuels: the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation.”

Involvement in the COMPASS Project

Fishing industry experts report that the Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation have been instrumental in spreading an anti-fishing, anti-industry agenda among marine researchers, through their grant program. Major grantees through the Pew Fellows program include:

  • $  1.3 million to Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association
  • $40.0 million to Oceana
  • $  4.4 million to Seaweb
  • $26.5 million to Earthjustice
  • $  3.8 million to Environmental Defense
  • $  0.5 million to Ecotrust
  • $  6.3 million to National Audubon Society
  • $  1.1 million to Conservation Law Foundation
  • $  3.6 million to Marine Fish Conservation Network
  • $10.8 million to Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

Pew partnered with the Packard Foundation through the Energy foundation to train scientists and marine researchers in promoting a policy and social agenda through their scientific work. The program, COMPASS (Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea), was founded with a Packard Grant.

In October of 2002, according to the Gloucester Times, COMPASS gathered Pew Charitable Trust marine fellows in Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles to train marine scientists in the ways of the media, in order to better market Pew’s message.

An investigative reporter for the Gloucester Times reported on an unorthodox COMPASS training session taught by noted reporters from big media outlets. “Learn how to navigate the stormy waters of the media,” read the description of one Bonaire workshop. “Packaging your message is a key to success — whether talking to the media, submitting a paper to Science or Nature (magazine), writing a grant proposal, or writing an op-ed for your local paper.” “Barside discussions blurred the line that usually separates reporters and those they cover and the line between trainers and trainees.

The mingling of major journalists with Pew-financed marine researchers had its desired effect. When called upon to pen stories on ocean ecology, the reporters contacted the now-familiar scientists directly for their expertise – and also received Pew’s politically focused messaging. By June of 2003, COMPASS found success in a US News & World Report cover story entitled “Fished Out,” warning that over-fishing could lead to mass marine extinctions. The article quoted 14 experts, all of whom claimed that jellyfish might be the “food of the future” thanks to ocean die-outs. Of those 14 experts, 13 were Pew-financed marine researchers, Pew fellows or recipients of Pew grants.