Einhorn Family Foundation

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The Einhorn Family Foundation (EFF) is a Milwaukee-based private family foundation founded by Stephen and Nancy Einhorn that provides grants to non-profits and "public governmental units" focused on "the areas of arts, education, and promoting liberty." [1] The foundation has a self-professed commitment to conservative ideology. Nancy Einhorn has explained that one of the key goals of the foundation is "promoting conservative ideas and liberty." [2]

Controversial Billboards

On Monday, October 29th, 2012 the progressive organization One Wisconsin Now and news source 'theGrio' exposed the Einhorn Family Foundation as being behind a series of controversial political billboard advertisements. The billboards featured threatening messages about voter fraud stating that "Voter Fraud is a Felony! 3 1/2 years & 10,000 dollar fine." [3] The billboards where placed in largely Black and Hispanic neighborhoods throughout the cities of Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Columbus, Ohio. The billboards first appeared in the 2010 election, and resurfaced in September of 2012. During the time period in between, Wisconsin attempted to pass a strict ALEC-inspired voter ID law in May 2011 that threatened to disenfranchise thousands of African Americans, Hispanics, the elderly and students. Civil Rights Groups, fearing that confusion over the status of the law would deter minority voters from the polls, criticized the ads and placed pressure on Bain Capital owned Clear Channel to take the advertisements down. [4] Clear Channel took down the advertisements, officials from Clear Channel explained that the billboards violated the company's policy of displaying anonymous political ads. When Clear Channel requested that the Einhorn Family Foundation identify themselves on the advertisements, the Einhorn family then chose to have the advertisements taken down. [5]

For a detailed map of where these advertisements were located in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Area, click here.

Donations to Scott Walker

The Einhorn Family Foundation has a history of making contributions to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. In 2011 the foundation donated $15,000 to Scott Walker's campaign for his impending recall election. [6]

Connections Conservative Causes and Organizations

Since 2004 the foundation has made donations to The Fund for American Studies(TFAS), a nonprofit that seeks to educate young people about "the ideas of freedom and a free-market economy." [7], [2] In 2010, the foundation gave TFAS a $5,000 grant. Nancy Einhorn is listed as a "featured supporter" on the website for the Fund for American Studies. She is noted for her idea to donate her Social Security checks to the group's scholarship for its "Capital Semester" program. Einhorn described the reasoning for her decision, explaining that "I have found a way to use this money that really belongs to the taxpayers in a way that may in the long run actually benefit the taxpayers by helping young people to understand what they need to do to preserve the values that I hold dear."[2]

The foundation has also given grants to the conservative Heritage Foundation[8] In 2010, the Heritage Foundation received a $1,000 grant from the Einhorn Family Foundation

The fund of the neoconservative Commentary Magazine received $2,500 from the EFF in 2010.

The conservative Bradley Foundation awarded the EFF a $10,000 grant to "support a public education project." [9]

Other Political Activity

Nancy and Stephen Einhorn have also made significant political contributions outside of the foundation. The couple donated $20,000 to Walker's campaign for governor in 2010, which made the Einhorns one of the top contributors to his campaign.[10] And in 2011 Steve Einhorn donated $12,500 to Walker's campaign to defeat recall efforts. [11]

During the 2010 election cycle, Nancy Einhorn made campaign contributions to the following Republican candidates for state office in Wisconsin[12]:

In the same cycle, Steve Einhorn contributed $1,000 to Senator Wanggaard's campaign and $250 to Representative Jacque's campaign. [13]

Role of Einhorns in Wisconsin's Venture Capital Industry

Stephen Einhorn and his son Daniel are Principals at a Milwaukee-based venture capital firm called Capital Midwest Fund that specializes in investing in "life science and information technology" companies. In June 2011, the company worked together with Republican Senators Alberta Darling and Randy Hopper on a bill that would have established a Wisconsin Venture Capital Authority. The agency "would issue $200 million of bonds to raise money for venture capital funds that invest in young, high-potential companies." The bill included a provision that favored "Wisconsin-based funds." [14] Republicans have thus far failed to pass the legislation due to concerns about the bills effectiveness in creating Wisconsin jobs and its impact on the budget. [15]

Stephen Einhorn is also the founder of Einhorn Associates, inc., a Milwaukee-based firm that provides investment banking services to chemical companies. [16]


  1. Einhorn Family Foundation Application Guidelines, accessed March 9, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Featured Supporter: Nancy Einhorn, The Fund for American Studies, accessed March 9, 2012
  3. Reid, Joy-Ann.Little known Wisconsin foundation behind ‘voter fraud’ billboards Accessed October 31, 2012.
  4. Rowan, Harriet.Einhorn Family Foundation Behind Voter Suppression Billboards Accessed 10/31/2012
  5. Bice, Daniel. Venture capitalist Einhorn paid for voter fraud billboards Accessed October 31st, 2012
  6. Contributions over $1,000 to Governor Walker, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, December 16, 2012, accessed March 9, 2012
  7. Einhorn Family Foundation Application Guidelines, accessed March 9, 2012
  8. Einhorn Family Foundation: Grants Given, accessed March 9, 2011
  9. Bradley Foundation 2010 Grant Awards: Bradley Legacy, accessed March 9, 2012
  10. Pritsch, Mark, Balance of Power: Walker's union proposal could be major setback for state's Democratic Party, Wisconsin State Journal, March 7, 2011, accessed March 9, 2012
  11. Contributions over $1,000 to Governor Walker, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, December 16, 2012, accessed March 9, 2012
  12. Nancy Einhorn Contributor Summary, National Institute on Money in State Politics, accessed March 9, 2012
  13. Steve Einhorn Contributor Summary, National Institute on Money in State Politics, accessed March 9, 2012
  14. Kathleen Gallagher and Mark Johnson, Venture capital bill coming back with revisions, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 19, 2011, accessed March 9, 2012
  15. Jason Stein, Lee Bergquist, and Kathleen Gallagher, Legislature winding down with major work undone, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 8, 2012
  16. Executive Profile: Stephen Einhorn, Bloomberg Businessweek, accessed March 9, 2012