Let’s be uncharitable: how charity foundations damage Western societies.
This article by a pseudonymous, London-based author originally appeared earlier this month in IM-1776—an anti-elite online magazine that, by its own description, plans on “giving a platform to, and attempting to bring together the most talented writers the anonymous and post-political scene has to offer.” With permission, we at The Giving Review republish it here—not necessarily because of full agreement with all of it, of course, but more because of its helpfully unequivocal and provocative nature, which we kind of appreciate.
Imagine a billionaire. He’s an apolitical man. The driving purpose of his life has been to create goods and services for consumers and to provide shareholder value. He’s seventy years old, and suddenly realising he won’t be around forever starts thinking about his legacy. He consults his younger wife. She is also apolitical. After a few days or so of consulting each other they decide to find a way to donate 800 million to charity. They set to go and speak to their wealth advisors, to consult on where to go from here.
The wealth advisors create a charitable foundation, the ‘Bill Foundation’. The Bill Foundation isn’t a charity itself, the couple’s advisors explain to them, but a grant-making organisation. That way, it can parcel out money to charities—500k here, 100k there—as it sees fit, with a diverse portfolio of charitable giving. Most of the 800 million will be invested in a mixture of bonds and equities before being charitably disbursed; this means that the 800 million, over time, is set to grow. That way, it can keep giving out grants for a century or more, with no real end in sight.
Mr. Billionaire and his wife help to chair the foundation. They round out this organisation with a few well-paid, grey-haired industry specialists. These specialists, if you asked one at a dinner party, would probably tell you they are ‘moderate left-liberals’. They believe in the power of markets—and the proceeds of those markets – in helping people.
The first grants of our imaginary foundation go out. 500k to help fight global poverty. Soon after that, 300k go to Shelter, to aid the homeless. Then 200k to the Malala Fund, to help bolster girls’ secondary education around the world. All handshake worthy causes which Mr. Billionaire has no issue with—even if he is, by his own smiling admission, “hardly a lefty-liberal” himself.
And so our imaginary Billionaire is happy, ensured of his legacy. A couple of years later, he dies surrounded by his loving family, an apparently fulfilling life well lived. The now widow of Mr. Billionaire, once her grief subsides, resolves to get further involved in the Bill Foundation. It’s her late husband’s legacy, after all. She thus becomes the head of the Foundation, and immediately sets about making some new hires.
One of these hires is a lady called Ms. Weiss. Ms. Weiss was a socialist activist in her youth, but quickly settled into a string of roles in government units dedicated to tackling child poverty. With a contralto voice, she projects gravitas. She is liked by the rest of the Foundation’s board.
The donations to Oxfam, Shelter, and the Malala Fund continue. Meanwhile, the 800 million endowment has been well-invested by its fund managers. Under a fiscally conservative government, the stock market is up 25%. There is capital for even more donations. So Ms. Weiss lays out a plan for a new set of funding targets.
400k goes to a group called OpenDemocracy, a news site making waves in uncovering global corruption. OpenDemocracy also receives money from the George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, and Pierre Omidyar’s Luminate, two highly respected charitable institutions. The 200k is earmarked to help fund OpenDemocracy’s investigations into dark money in politics. 300k then goes to the Center for Countering Digital Hate. This money is to help bolster its latest campaign against online anonymity. While the Foundation was initially sceptical about the group—it operates an opaque structure with no clear evidence of who funds it—the CCDH’s management did more than enough to provide assurances.
Lastly, 200k is donated to the Algorithmic Justice League. The latter group seeks to “raise awareness about the impacts of AI,” warning how “AI systems can amplify racism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of discrimination.” This played well to the board, touching on relevant themes of dark data and discrimination.
And so another successful year at our hypothetical Bill Foundation goes by.
And yet, something is still missing. Mr. Billionaire’s widow has seen the news reports about police brutality. She’s seen the studies on racial prejudice. She knows her friends and associates are talking about this. So she raises this with Ms. Weiss, who wholeheartedly concurs, and proposes a new hire. A week later Ms. Gibbs joins the team.
Ms. Gibbs is a forty-year-old black woman. Well-polished, presentable and well-spoken, she seems like a perfect fit. She is committed to combating inequalities wherever one can find them—and she can talk the talk on intersectionality in a way that no other Foundation employee can. Ms. Gibbs sets out implementing a new Social Justice Policy at the Foundation, with gusto.
And so a week later 500k go to the Racial Justice Network. This one claims to “bring together over thirty organisations and individuals to proactively promote racial justice.” The group holds a series of events at universities focusing on the decolonisation of education and activism. They provide written evidence to the government on the threat to racial equality from stop-and-search practices. Then 300k to Bail for Immigration Detainees, which provides free legal advice and representation to illegal migrants detained in removal centres, and whose annual reports boast of improving the success rate of detainees being allowed to remain in the country. They, too, create research reports and liaise with local government officials.
The last donation of the year however proves to be more difficult, as Ms. Gibbs wants to sign off a 100k tranche to the Harambee Organisation of Black Unity. She defends the decision by pointing to how the group was founded by Kehinde Andrews, an academic at Birmingham City University. But some board members are sceptical. The group’s website looks odd. There is an appeal for the funding of a nursery focused on “bring Black education to the youngest of children,” which one board member points out is in breach of the 2010 Equality Act.
Harambee seems to also have a lot of guest speakers at its events who have made some rather distasteful claims about Jewish people. This makes Ms. Weiss rather uncomfortable, so she and the board hold a Zoom meeting to discuss the proposed donation. “It seems a bit full-on,” says one foundation stalwart. However, eventually, the board unanimously concludes that the chances of a journalistic exposé are slim. The donation gets green-lighted ….
While the hypothetical put together here above is of course fictional, the charities featured, and most importantly, the structures and dynamics illustrated, are real.
Charitable foundations, and the specific charities they fund, are the single most important force in modern Western societies. They complete a triumvirate of the “journalism plus academia” shorthand of the Cathedral as Curtis Yarvin sees it. The amount of money sloshing around these organisations is simply mind-boggling. The latter is hard to reliably quantify, but in the UK, the charity ‘industry’ apparently registered £45 billion in revenues in 2021 alone. Compare this to the £40.5 billion total income in the UK higher education sector a couple of years ago and you get the idea.
Of course, some charities are innocuous, like about saving red squirrels, just as some academic expenditure goes towards useful things. However, pound-for-pound, charities are more insidious and evil than universities, at least in the UK. This might be different in the US, though America also has gigantic, influential entities like the Ford Foundation, which funds the most insane far-left disinformation.
These charities rear their heads everywhere. Every piece of legislation passed has the hands of a charity, sometimes multiple charities, on them. Legislators are fed bogus research by them, all of which coindentally conclude that differences in outcomes between individuals and between groups—which must be down to some kind of socioeconomic structural inequality – demand more money for more government programs.
Charities are the main intermediary unit between academia and journalism. They can imbibe whatever is coming out of universities, turn the issues in question into campaigns, and then use those campaigns to secure coverage in media outlets. This all serves to exert pressure on liberal-democratic legislatures, getting them to copy-paste the charity’s findings into legislation which lawmakers can rubber-stamp.
Foundations are the main way charities get their money. Their main characteristic is that they are money unmoored from capitalist accumulation. This is not oligarchs trying to cynically buy privileges off the state. Of course, that also happens, but that is entirely different (nor the subject at hand).
Philanthropist Sigrid Rausing, for example, is the 13th richest person in Britain. She’s worth roughly £9.5 billion. Coming from the Swedish family that invented Tetra Pack packaging, Ms. Rausing runs a very influential foundation in her name which bankrolls everything from Hope Not Hate in the UK (£915k to date) to an LGBTIQ rights organisation in Kyrgyzstan (£247.5k and counting).
Now, Sigrid Rausing doesn’t need to ‘buy off’ politicians for her own personal gain. What more can someone like her hope to materialistically achieve? I doubt she cares. Ms. Rausing funds what she does because she thinks it’s the right thing to do. And not only that, but also what she thinks doesn’t matter too much in the long-run. It will just get taken over by professional charity managers anyway.
This is why any attempt to integrate the activities of these foundations into some overarching theory of ‘neoliberal hegemonic capitalism’ is doomed to fail. None of this stuff really serves ‘capitalism’ as a system, or is in any way connected to making its founders richer. All of these foundations have a particular ideological bent. They are all left-wing, in some shape or form. Some are more extreme, some are less. But they all bend in that direction. Insofar as there is any explicit, conscious ‘neoliberal’ agenda, it is utterly dwarfed by the far-left charitable swamp.
Unless we collectively do something to stop them, these charitable foundations are set to go on indefinitely too. Assuming their investments are managed prudently (most hire professional investment managers), there is no reason for them not to continue splurging billions for years to come. The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust was founded in 1904 by a Quaker pacifist. By the 1970s it was funding Communists in Mozambique. It’s now one of the biggest charitable foundations in the UK, funding racial demagogues and cybertron armies alike.
Same goes for the Ford Foundation, set up of course by Henry Ford, who at least judging by the international grants it made in 2021 ($656 million worth), has also gone Communist. When George Soros dies, do people really expect his influence to suddenly stop? It won’t. It will be continued by the same machine that is currently in place, and probably going even crazier and more unhinged once the old man kicks it.
While personalising attacks on oligarchs such as Soros can be useful, what we are dealing with here is a structural problem.
While large foundations are the biggest funders of left-wing charities, it is important to remember that the state also has a direct role in doling out taxpayer money to completely opaque (but ostensibly non-party-political) third sector bodies.
Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council for instance, are very wealthy parts of London. The local government there has been Conservative-run since its inception. But that’s not what one would think by taking a look at what the council funds (page 14 here). Here are just some of the names: The Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre; Hodan Somali Community; Persian Care Centre; Migrants Organise …. In the last available year, the council spent over £120k on these and similar projects. A lot of these ‘advice centres’ fund offer advice on how various ethnic communities can claim welfare benefits – which are themselves funded by the local taxpayer.
All of this is clearly insane. But what is happening in Kensington and Chelsea, a staunch Conservative council, is basically being repeated everywhere across the UK, and no doubt in other countries too.
Some of the loopiest stuff in Britain can be found out in the Celtic fringes. This is likely because these are places isolated and parochial, making them a breeding ground for liberal yokels with a chip on their shoulder who think they’re not ‘cosmopolitan enough’. See the entire state apparatus of the Irish Republic, for instance.
One of my favourite examples is a group called Women Connect First (WCF). The group aims to “empower Black & Minority Ethnic Women in Cardiff and South East Wales.” In a news post titled ‘Politicians Racism’ [sic], the organisation boasts about sending its director Maria Mesa to a discussion in the Welsh parliament about “the political changes that the city of Cardiff and its inhabitants need.”
WCF also seems to be very committed to holding meetings with politicians to talk about how important their work is, and, of course, how the government must give them more money to basically say the same thing over and over again.
And money they shall receive. As the Charity Commission database shows, while the WCF gets funding from a handful of parastatals, in 2020 half of the organisation’s funds came from a £150k grant from the Welsh Government’s ‘Healthy Active Fund’, for what it seems to be for a project to ensure BAME women in Wales get the exercise they need and eat fruit and vegetables (with the lack thereof presumably being down to some unjust ‘structural inequality’).
While I could go on and on, hopefully by now, it should be clear how deep and filthy the swamp is.
If we want to have a shot at changing society, our goal must be to seize the state apparatus, and use it to destroy this third sector. The easiest way would be to ban every single charity in existence and then selectively allow for soup kitchens and the like to founded, which could all be shut immediately at the executive whim of the new regime. But the charities need to be shut down, and the foundations expropriated and banned.
This is necessary for any serious change to be possible. To do anything otherwise means to have a ready-made opposition primed to destroy us and reassert their fetid kingdom of lies. The regime insists on calling these charitable entities ‘civil society’. But all you have to do is read about ‘civil society’ in Belgrade or Bangkok, and you quickly realise it’s quite clearly the same class of professional activists running about, usually with the blessing of various foreign embassies of countries who are themselves more comprehensively captured by this same occupational class. It’s all nonsense.
People need to understand how this corrupt system works. We need to get to a point where when Normies see talking heads from charitable bodies, they roll their eyes, and sarcastically ask who is funding them. We need 1980s-in-the-Soviet-Union-tier cynicism. We need to make sure people start seeing these charities and the people who run them for what and who they are: sacks of money left at the random whim of decrepit billionaires and flung about by random activists.
Our enemy is unaccountable dark money spreading fake news. Why do we allow this?