John William Pope Foundation

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The John William Pope Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization describing itself as "work[ing] to improve the well-being of the citizens of North Carolina and the nation through the advancement of individual freedom and personal responsibility." Chaired by North Carolina businessman Art Pope, the John William Pope Foundation was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina.[1][2]

A 2010 analysis of tax records found the John William Pope Foundation supplied about 90% of the income of leading conservative nonprofits in North Carolina, such as SPN Members John Locke Foundation and Civitas Institute, as well as the North Carolina branch of Americans for Prosperity.[3]

News and Controversies

Art Pope Appointed to University of North Carolina Board of Governors

In June 2020, North Carolina's state senate appointed Art Pope to serve a one-year term on the University of North Carolina's Board of Governors.[4][5]

Funded American Media Institute, Part of a Right-Wing Megadonor Media Push

Center for Media and Democracy names John William Pope Foundation in a 2020 investigation of right-wing megadonors funding of media platforms. The report focuses on the foundation's funding of American Media Institute (AMI), noting how AMI "bills itself as an independent investigative news service, but from 2015-16, DonorsTrust, Donors Capital Fund, the John William Pope Foundation, and the Sarah Scaife Foundation gave it nearly $6.1 million, which was more than two-thirds of its total revenue."[6]

Helped Fund InfluenceWatch, the Right-Wing Copy of SourceWatch

John William Pope Foundation contributed $50,000 towards the creation of Influence Watch, a right-wing copy of SourceWatch launched in 2017 by Capital Research Center and supported by Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.[7]

Ties to the State Policy Network

The Pope Foundation is a major funder of the State Policy Network, contributing over $87.3 million to SPN, its members, and associate members between 1993-2018. (See below) SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 50 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and the United Kingdom. As of August 2020, SPN's membership totals 162. Today's SPN is the tip of the spear of far-right, nationally funded policy agenda in the states that undergirds extremists in the Republican Party. SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told the Wall Street Journal in 2017 that the revenue of the combined groups was some $80 million, but a 2019 analysis of SPN's main members IRS filings by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that the combined revenue is over $120 million.[8] Although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, the Center for Media and Democracy's in-depth investigation, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government," reveals that SPN and its member think tanks are major drivers of the right-wing, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-backed corporate agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders.[9]

In response to CMD's report, SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told national and statehouse reporters that SPN affiliates are "fiercely independent." Later the same week, however, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer caught Sharp in a contradiction. In her article, "Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?," the Pulitzer-nominated reporter revealed that, in a recent meeting behind closed doors with the heads of SPN affiliates around the country, Sharp "compared the organization’s model to that of the giant global chain IKEA." She reportedly said that SPN "would provide 'the raw materials,' along with the 'services' needed to assemble the products. Rather than acting like passive customers who buy finished products, she wanted each state group to show the enterprise and creativity needed to assemble the parts in their home states. 'Pick what you need,' she said, 'and customize it for what works best for you.'" Not only that, but Sharp "also acknowledged privately to the members that the organization's often anonymous donors frequently shape the agenda. 'The grants are driven by donor intent,' she told the gathered think-tank heads. She added that, often, 'the donors have a very specific idea of what they want to happen.'"[10]

A set of coordinated fundraising proposals obtained and released by The Guardian in early December 2013 confirm many of these SPN members' intent to change state laws and policies, referring to "advancing model legislation" and "candidate briefings." These activities "arguably cross the line into lobbying," The Guardian notes.[11]

Ties to the Koch Brothers

John William Pope Foundation has contributed over $1.3 million to the Koch-founded nonprofit Americans for Prosperity (AFP) since 2004. In 2010, a report named John William Pope Foundation as AFP's second-largest institutional funder.[12] Americans for Prosperity, along with FreedomWorks, served as a principal organizer in Tea Party Patriots protests in 2009.[13]

Between 2004 and 2015, John William Pope Foundation received $117,586 from Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

Koch Wiki

Charles Koch is the right-wing billionaire owner of Koch Industries. As one of the richest people in the world, he is a key funder of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on Charles Koch and his late brother David include: Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, Stand Together, Koch Family Foundations, Koch Universities, and I360.

Ties to the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation

The Pope Foundation is closely tied to the Bradley Foundation. The current chairman of the board of both foundations is Art Pope. Also, between 2012 and 2016 the Pope Foundation received $2,029,000 from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. See: Contributions of the Bradley Foundation

Bradley Files

In 2017, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of SourceWatch, launched a series of articles on the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, exposing the inner-workings of one of America's largest right-wing foundations. 56,000 previously undisclosed documents laid bare the Bradley Foundation's highly politicized agenda. CMD detailed Bradley's efforts to map and measure right wing infrastructure nationwide, including by dismantling and defunding unions to impact state elections; bankrolling discredited spin doctor Richard Berman and his many front groups; and more.

Find the series here at ExposedbyCMD.org.

Funding

Donors Capital Fund and DonorsTrust

A report by the Center for Public Integrity exposes a number of DonorsTrust funders, many of which have ties to the Koch brothers. One of the most prominent funders is the Knowledge and Progress Fund, a Charles Koch-run organization and one of the group's largest known contributors, having donated nearly $9 million from 2005 to 2012. Other contributors known to have donated at least $1 million to DonorsTrust include the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, Donald & Paula Smith Family Foundation, Searle Freedom Trust, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the John M. Olin Foundation.[14]

Since its inception in 1999, DonorsTrust has been used by conservative foundations and individuals to discretely funnel nearly $400 million to like-minded think tanks and media outlets.[14] According to the organization's tax documents, in 2011, DonorsTrust contributed a total of $86 million to conservative organizations. Many recipients had ties to the State Policy Network (SPN), a wide collection of conservative state-based think tanks and media organizations that focus on shaping public policy and opinion. In 2013, the Center for Media and Democracy released a special report on SPN. Those who received DonorsTrust funding included media outlets such as the Franklin Center and the Lucy Burns Institute, as well as think tanks such as SPN itself, Heartland Institute, Illinois Policy Institute, Independence Institute, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, South Carolina Policy Council, American Legislative Exchange Council, Manhattan Institute, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, and Cascade Policy Institute.[15]

Between 2010 and 2015, John William Pope Foundation received at least $101,750 combined from Donors Capital Fund and DonorsTrust. These two organizations advertise themselves as a way for donors to remain hidden, especially when "funding sensitive or controversial issues."[16] (See DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund Grant Recipients for more).

Grants Distributed

2018

The John William Pope Foundation gave at least $5,826,817 to SPN, its members, and associate members in 2018. These groups, as well as other entities that received grants in 2018, are broken down as follows:[17]

2017

The John William Pope Foundation gave at least $7,112,383 to SPN, its members, and associate members in 2017. These groups, as well as other entities that received grants in 2017, are broken down as follows:[18]

2016

The John William Pope Foundation gave at least $7,138,300 to SPN, its members, and associate members in 2016. These groups, as well as other entities that received grants in 2016, are broken down as follows:[19]

2015

The John William Pope Foundation gave at least $6,668,394 to SPN, its members, and associate members in 2015. These groups, as well as other entities that received grants in 2015, are broken down as follows:[20]

2014

The John William Pope Foundation gave at least $6,668,394 to SPN, its members, and associate members in 2015. These groups, as well as other entities that received grants in 2015, are broken down as follows:[21]

Funding the Right Wing

Funding SPN and SPN State Think Tanks

TOTAL to SPN and SPN Members and Associate Members July 1, 1993 - June 30, 2013: $56,191,325.50, broken down as follows:[2][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37]

Additional Conservative Think Tank Organizations

TOTAL to Additional Right Wing Think Tanks July 1, 1993 - June 30, 2013: $2,829,500, broken down as follows:[22][2][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37]

Core Financials

2018[17]

  • Total Revenue: $7,827,537
  • Total Expenses: $12,027,743
  • Net Assets: $162,320,323

2017[18]

  • Total Revenue: $11,815,345
  • Total Expenses: $14,081,877
  • Net Assets: $165,699,433

2016[19]

  • Total Revenue: $5,238,985
  • Total Expenses: $12,476,797
  • Net Assets: $172,937,245

2015[20]

  • Total Revenue: $15,941,873
  • Total Expenses: $11,273,387
  • Net Assets: $168,268,759

2014 [38]

  • Total Revenue: $50,855,270
  • Total Expenses: $10,355,507
  • Net Assets: $168,268,759

2013 [38]

  • Total Revenue: $5,890,684
  • Total Expenses: $8,475,852
  • Net Assets: $127,934,445

2012 [38]

  • Total Revenue: $9,373,410
  • Total Expenses: $10,554,990
  • Net Assets: $130,228,075

2011 [38]

  • Total Revenue: $3,781,931
  • Total Expenses: $10,173,720
  • Net Assets: $131,409,655

Personnel

As of September 2020:

Staff [39]

  • Earle Pope
  • Clarice Smith, Program Manager
  • Lindsay Hollandsworth, Communications Director and Program Officer
  • Iris Turner
  • Anna Martina, Blundell Fellow

Board [39]

  • James Arthur "Art" Pope, Chairman
  • John Hood, President
  • Amanda Pope, Vice Chairman
  • Joyce L. Pope, Board Member
  • Mike Smith, Board Member
  • David Stover, Board Member

Former Executive Management

  • John Hood, President of the Foundation
  • Joyce L. Pope, Vice President of the Foundation, Asst. Sec. and Treasurer of the Board
  • Lindsay Hollandsworth, Communications Director of the Foundation
  • David W. Riggs, former Vice President of Operations and Programs
  • David N. Bass, former Communications Director and Grants Officer

Board Members In Memoriam

  • the late Joyce W. Pope
  • the late John William Pope, Sr.
  • the late John William Pope, Jr.

Contact Information

Employment Identification Number (EIN): 58-1691765

John William Pope Foundation
Landmark Center One
4601 Six Forks Rd., Suite 300
Raleigh, NC 27609

Phone: 919-861-6445
Fax: 919-790-9526
Email: info@jwpf.org

Website: https://jwpf.org/
Facebook: @PopeFoundation
Twitter: @PopeFoundation

Articles and Resources

IRS Form 990 Filings

2018

2017

2016

2015

Related SourceWatch

References

  1. John William Pope Foundation, Foundation Overview, foundation website, accessed July 17,2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 John William Pope Foundation, 2011 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, November 9, 2012.
  3. Chris Kromm, Institute for Southern Studies, "North Carolina's Art Pope: Staying in control", Facing South, Oct. 19, 2010. Archived from the original on May 6, 2016, accessed September 9, 2020.
  4. Lisa Sorg, "Senate approves wealthy Republican donor Art Pope for UNC Board of Governors", NC Policy Watch, June 26, 2020, accessed September 10, 2020.
  5. Jack Stripling, "Adding Republican ‘Godfather’ to Its Ranks, U. of North Carolina Board Solidifies Its Hard-Right Rep", Chronicle of Higher Education, June 29, 2020, accessed September 10, 2020.
  6. Alex Kotch, "Right-Wing Megadonors Are Financing Media Operations to Promote Their Ideologies", PR Watch, January 27, 2020, accessed September 10, 2020.
  7. David Armiak, "‘Influence Watch’ Website Launched: Berman, ALEC, Heartland Copy CMD’s Sourcewatch.org Site", PR Watch, December 22, 2017, accessed September 10, 2020.
  8. David Armiak, https://www.exposedbycmd.org/2019/11/13/revenue-state-policy-network-state-affiliates-tops-120-million/ Revenue for State Policy Network and State Affiliates Tops $120 Million], ExposedbyCMD, November 13, 2019.
  9. Rebekah Wilce, Center for Media and Democracy, EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
  10. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  11. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  12. Chris Kromm, Institute for Southern Studies, "Blessed to have a Pope", Facing South, Oct. 14, 2010.Archived from the original on June 20, 2016, accessed September 9, 2020.
  13. Lee Fang, "Spontaneous Uprising? Corporate Lobbyists Helping To Orchestrate Radical Anti-Obama Tea Party Protests", Think Progress, April 9, 2009. Archived from the original on January 24, 2020, accessed September 9, 2020.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Paul Abowd, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, Center for Public Integrity, February 14, 2013.
  15. DonorsTrust, 2011 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, 2011.
  16. DonorsTrust, Frequently Asked Questions, organizational website, accessed August 30, 2017.
  17. 17.0 17.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2018 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, November 11, 2019.
  18. 18.0 18.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2017 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, May 1, 2019.
  19. 19.0 19.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2016 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, November 7, 2017.
  20. 20.0 20.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2015 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, (full date censored), 2017.
  21. John William Pope Foundation, 2014 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, December 12, 2016.
  22. 22.0 22.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2012 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, November 8, 2012.
  23. 23.0 23.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2010 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, November 15, 2010.
  24. 24.0 24.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2009 IRS Form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, March 19, 2010.
  25. 25.0 25.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2008 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, November 24, 2008.
  26. 26.0 26.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2007 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, November 14, 2007.
  27. 27.0 27.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2006 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, November 14, 2006.
  28. 28.0 28.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2005 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, November 8th, 2005.
  29. 29.0 29.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2004 IRS Form 990, annual organizational filing, July 20th, 2005.
  30. 30.0 30.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2003 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, July 20, 2005.
  31. 31.0 31.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2002 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, July 20th, 2005.
  32. 32.0 32.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2001 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, July 28,2005.
  33. 33.0 33.1 John William Pope Foundation, 2000 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, August 3rd, 2005.
  34. 34.0 34.1 John William Pope Foundation, 1999 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, July 28, 2005.
  35. 35.0 35.1 John William Pope Foundation, 1998 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, August 16, 2009.
  36. 36.0 36.1 John William Pope Foundation, 1997 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, July 28, 2005.
  37. 37.0 37.1 John William Pope Foundation, 1994 IRS Form 990, annual organizational tax filing, August 16, 2005.
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 ProPublica, John William Pope Foundation, ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer, Accessed August 30, 2017.
  39. 39.0 39.1 John William Pope Foundation, Board and Staff, organizational website, accessed September 10, 2020.