Donald & Paula Smith Family Foundation
The Donald & Paula Smith Family Foundation (DPSFF) is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2001. Paula and her husband Donald hold monthly political debate events in New York, purportedly with the aim of representing a wide spectrum of political and philosophical stances. The family members involved in the foundation "sit on opposite sides of the political fence," but Philanthropy Roundtable provides numerous examples of participants in the foundation's debates whose perspectives have moved further to the right as a result. Debates are described as having 300 to 400 attendees.
In 2012, DPSFF reported a total annual revenue of $9,015,620 and gave a total of $1,910,700 in contributions, gifts and grants.
Ties to DonorsTrust, a Koch Conduit
DonorsTrust is considered a "donor-advised fund," which means that it divides its funds into separate accounts for individual donors, who then recommend disbursements from the accounts to different non-profits. Funds like DonorsTrust are not uncommon in the non-profit sector, but they do cloak the identity of the original donors because the funds are typically distributed in the name of DonorsTrust rather than the original donors. Very little was known about DonorsTrust until late 2012 and early 2013, when the Guardian and others published extensive reports on what Mother Jones called "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement."
The Donald & Paula Smith Family Foundation contributed $2,000,000 to DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund between 2009 and 2011 (see links to the foundation's IRS forms 990 below).
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.
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. 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, the Heartland Institute, Illinois Policy Institute, Independence Institute, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, South Carolina Policy Council, American Legislative Exchange Council, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, and the Cascade Policy Institute.
Finances and Donations to State Policy Network Organizations
In 2012, DPSFF reported a total of 8,700,000 received in contributions, gifts, and grants that came completely from Donald Smith himself. The Foundation paid a total of $1,910,700 in contributions, most of which consisted of $441,534 in donations to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation and $244,912 to the Cato Institute. DPSFF also donated to the following think tank members of the State Policy Network:
- Competitive Enterprise Institute - $75,000
- Goldwater Institute - $50,000
- Manhattan Institute - $5,000
In 2011, DPSFF reported a total of 8,810,000 received in contributions, gifts, and grants that came completely from Donald and Paula Smith themselves. The Foundation paid a total of $1,515,850 in contributions, most of which consisted of a $1,364,100 donation to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, $168,184 to the Cato Institute, and $111,000 for the Students for Liberty 2011 conference (a Libertarian event and 501(c)(3) organization). DPSFF donated to the following think tank members of the State Policy Network:
In 2010, DPSFF reported a total of $5,136,200 received in contributions, gifts, and grants that came completely from Donald and Paula Smith themselves. The Foundation paid a total of $1,390,057 in contributions, most of which consisted of a $498,600 donation to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, $248,891 to Cato University, $212,794 to the Cato Institute, and $64,940 for the Students for Liberty 2010 conference (a Libertarian event and 501(c)(3) organization). DPSFF donated to the following think tank members of the State Policy Network:
- Donald Smith - President, Treasurer. Also president of Donald Smith & Co., Inc. investment management firm and board member of the Cato Institute and the Foundation for Economic Education
- Paula Smith - Vice President, Secretary
- Julie Smith - Director
- Laura Smith - Director
- Gary Gerstein - Director
The Donald & Paula Smith Family Foundation
152 West 57th Street, 22nd Floor
New York, NY10019
Phone: (646) 452-9995
Previous Website: http://www.thesmithfamilyfoundation.org/
Current Website: Unknown
Articles and References
Related SourceWatch Articles
- Donald & Paula Smith Family Foundation, 2012 Form 990, organizational annual tax filing, January 14, 2013.
- Martin A. Davis Jr., A House Divided Stands Tall, The Philanthropy Roundtable, May/June 2003.
- Rebekah Wilce, A Reporters' Guide to the "State Policy Network" -- the Right-Wing Think Tanks Spinning Disinformation and Pushing the ALEC Agenda in the States, PRWatch.org, April 4, 2013.
- Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
- Suzanne Goldenberg, "Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks," The Guardian, February 14, 2013.
- Center for Media and Democracy, DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund Grant Recipients, SourceWatch.org, accessed December 2014.
- Paul Abowd, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, Center for Public Integrity, February 14, 2013.
- Donors Trust, GuideStar.org, IRS form 990, 2011.
- Donald & Paul Smith Foundation, 2011 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, January 11, 2012.
- Donald & Paula Smith Foundation, 2010 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, January 14, 2011.
- Center for Public Integrity, Following the DonorsTrust money trail, organizational report, accessed June 6th, 2013.
- Laura Smith, Thomas Winner, Jr., The New York Times, January 4, 2009.