Some of America’s largest charities have been secretly giving millions of dollars to hate groups for years. Backed by anonymous donors, the charitable gift funds have been funneling funds to white nationalists and anti-LGBTQ groups.
An investigation by Sludge reveals that Donors Trust, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, Schwab Charitable Fund, and Vanguard Charitable have given nearly $11 million to 34 groups classified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The donor-advised charitable funds have supported 12 anti-LGBT groups, 12 anti-Muslim groups, eight anti-immigrant groups, one white nationalist group, and one radical traditional Catholic group according to Sludge.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an anti-LGBTQ hate group that masquerades as a Christian legal charity, was the biggest beneficiary of the anonymous donors. The group raked in $2.7 million from mid-2014 through 2017.
ADF is the group behind many of the largest court cases opposing LGBTQ rights. They have argued in favor of “ex-gay” conversion therapy and banning transgender people from bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. They’ve argued against marriage equality and nondiscrimination laws, and represented baker Jack Phillips in his Supreme Court case seeking a license to discriminate against gay couples.
The Family Research Council, one of the most vociferously anti-LGBTQ groups in America, has also benefited from the secret funding, although the $548,000 they received is paltry compared to the ADF’s share.
“Ultimately, these [donor-advised fund] companies are serving as pass-throughs to hate groups,” Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at SPLC, told Sludge. “There’s no way around it.”
The report also singles out Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund as the only donor-advised fund who did not donate to any of the hate groups.
Vanguard Charitable told the outlet that it is “cause-neutral” as a defense for funding hate groups tracked by the FBI.
“We believe that philanthropy can best increase the public good when a variety of ideas, views and projects are supported by philanthropic dollars,” Rebecca Moffett, chief strategic planning officer, told Sludge. “Vanguard Charitable donors hold a variety of views across the political spectrum, and as such Vanguard Charitable supports organizations which may be on opposing sides of issues/debates.”
While that excuse sounds good in theory, reality shows that this isn’t about “opposing sides” when one side wants to wipe the other out entirely.
The ADF has supported re-criminalizing homosexuality in America, linked being gay to pedophilia, and defended the forced sterilization of transgender people in other countries.
The group was also a major backer of Uganda’s proposed “Kill the gays” law that would have imposed the death penalty for homosexuality. After international outcry, the version signed into law by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni mandates life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality,” and up to seven years in prison for a person who “aids, abets, counsels or procures” anyone to engage in homosexuality.