Misleading foundations and charities now fund extreme environmental groups focused on
disrupting America’s reliable energy sources

WASHINGTON DC (December 2, 2019) – The Institute for Energy Research (IER) is announcing another update to its Big Green, Inc. database, along with a caution to American citizens and companies poised to open their wallets tomorrow on Giving Day, a day dedicated to promoting charitable giving.

Today’s Big Green, Inc. update focuses on 1,583 grants made from three highly visible foundations – the Heinz Foundation, Bloomberg Family Foundation, and Kresge Foundation – which are clearly helping to fuel the environmental lobby and its efforts to restrict affordable, reliable energy. Between 2008 and 2016, these three foundations funded 513 environmental groups—many of which hold anti-energy biases—across the United States with grants totaling $473,207,264.

To date, the Big Green, Inc. database now tracks environmental grants stemming from 17 foundations and directed to 2,210 grassroots activist groups totaling $4,689,130,216.

IER President Thomas Pyle made the following statement:

“It’s becoming more and more clear that today’s environmental movement is fueled by a group of interconnected, left-leaning foundations that are seeking to disrupt the development of America’s energy resources. Despite what some seemingly local, environmental non-profits may claim, they are merely front groups bankrolled by elitist billionaires who care more about their own financial interests than saving the planet.”

“I would caution anyone thinking about donating to a foundation or charity on Giving Tuesday to run a search in our database first. You will see that many green groups are not what they appear to be. It’s a bit unfair, if not disingenuous, for so few in the press to ask or explain to readers the deceitful connection between foundations and these extreme environmental groups.”

About Big Green, Inc.

Big Green, Inc. is a project of IER that demonstrates money’s influence on energy policy in the United States. The online map enables users to navigate the various foundations that spend billions of dollars supporting aggressive climate litigation, the promotion of uneconomic renewable energy sources, and overburdening regulations. Their money has helped foment the anti-market sentiment that dominates energy policy in the United States and has played a major role in limiting economic growth in recent years.

Overview of latest additions to Big Green, Inc.

  • The Heinz Endowments, a philanthropic organization based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, focuses much of its environmental grantmaking efforts on projects opposing natural gas and coal development. The endowments granted over $120 million to a variety of environmental public engagement initiatives and regulatory campaigns during the evaluated period. The Heinz Endowments primarily funds projects in the city of Pittsburgh and its surrounding area of western Pennsylvania—a region that was built on heavy industry and continues to benefit from its bountiful natural resources and prodigious energy production. Though the projects are often ostensibly in support of worthy causes, like local air quality, many of the grant recipients work to stymie the industries that comprise the community’s backbone.
  • The Bloomberg Family Foundation, founded in 2006, is a $7 billion entity started by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. The Bloomberg Family Foundation’s environmental grantmaking focuses on high dollar donations to large environmental organizations and movements, including millions of dollars in donations to the Beyond Coal Campaign. The foundation has also awarded multi-million dollar grants to the Sierra Club, the Energy Foundation, the Environmental Defense Fund, and other large national far left environmental groups. The sum during the evaluated period exceeded $130 million.
  • The Kresge Foundation, a Michigan-based philanthropic organization, outdid both the Heinz Endowments and the Bloomberg Family Foundation during the evaluated period in terms of raw dollar contributions to environmental entities, with grants exceeding $200 million. Kresge writes environmental grants mainly to fund projects related to climate change mitigation, efficient building practices and standards, and reducing transportation-related pollution. Additionally, however, Kresge funneled millions of dollars toward ambiguous climate change and energy efficiency policy initiatives that undoubtedly supported efforts to limit energy freedom. The Kresge Foundation’s partners are nationwide, but grants were especially frequent in Michigan, New England, and the Pacific Northwest.

Three important takeaways from the information presented in Big Green, Inc.

1. Environmental groups have crafted a narrative that depicts their efforts as a “David vs. Goliath” battle against those who would like to see U.S. energy policy move in a free-market direction. This narrative is false. Environmental groups outpace conservative and free-market groups both in terms of funding and organizational capacity.

2. There is an overwhelming, well-coordinated and deeply funded sweeping influence of environmental activism and information within this database provides insight into how groups target the gatekeeping institutions of our society. As the database illuminates, environmental funding has been directed toward policymakers, journalists, academic institutions, the offices of elected officials, government organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as international institutions such as the World Bank.

3. This complicated system of financial transfers muddles efforts to reveal the sources of this funding, which has been linked to individuals who stand to benefit financially from the adoption of various environmental policies as well as foreign actors trying to influence energy policy within the U.S.

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