right wingnuts rule?

rosaphil (rugosa@interport.net)
Sun, 13 Jun 1999 02:43:17 -0400 (EDT)


buyer beware!
so what are progressives doing to counter the right-wingnuts' control over
the intellectual and policy future of america?

apart from george soros and the late bill kunstler, i see little.
hrmm.
it takes more than robin williams showing his weeenie on cable tv once a
year.

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*Better Living Thru Better Living!* http://www.interport.net/~rugosa *



         
RELEASED TODAY          For More Information Contact:
July 2, 1997    Lisa Baumgartner 
                    or Beth Daley (202) 387-9177
                        Sally Covington (212) 568-1673


CONSERVATIVE FOUNDATIONS PREVAIL IN SHAPING PUBLIC POLICIES

New Report Documents Public Policy Impact of 12 Core Foundations
 
        Washington, D.C. --  With limited resources but a strong political
vision,
conservative foundations are playing a major role in shaping public policy
priorities according to a new study by the National Committee for
Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) titled Moving a Public Policy Agenda: the
Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations. 

        From 1992 to 1994, twelve conservative foundations studied by NCRP
--
including the Bradley, Scaife and Olin foundations -- controlled assets of
$1.1 billion and awarded $300 million in grants.  While the size of their
grantmaking programs may pale in comparison to some of the nation's
largest
foundations, conservative funders have unmatched success in advocating for
their right-wing political agenda.  NCRP found several factors
contributing
to this success:

     First, they departed from grantmaking norms in the philanthropic
sector by funding extremely aggressive and ideological institutions
routinely committed to influencing budget and policy priorities.
Two-thirds of their grant dollars -- $210 million out of $300 million
total
-- went to organizations and programs pursuing policy agendas based on the
privatization of government services, deep reductions in federal
anti-poverty spending, industrial deregulation, and the transfer of
responsibility for social welfare to state and local government and the
charitable sector.

    Second, at a time when foundation and corporate leaders are
increasingly committing their resources locally, the conservative
foundations maintained an unusually strong focus on national public policy
institutions.   These investments have exacerbated resource disparities
between multi-issue public policy institutions on the left and right sides
of the political spectrum.  The top five conservative multi-issue public
policy groups in the NCRP study including Heritage Foundation, Cato
Institute and Citizens for a Sound Economy operated on $77 million in
combined revenues in 1995 compared to $18.6 million of their eight
political equivalents on the left.     

--MORE--    Third, the conservative foundations demonstrated a preference
for the marketing of ideas in their grantmaking.  The majority of grantees
in NCRP's study have developed sophisticated and effective media outreach
strategies.  For example, the fifth largest grantee in the study, Citizens
for a Sound Economy, produced more than 130 policy papers, conducted 50
different advertising campaigns, appeared on 175 radio and television news
shows, placed 235 op-ed articles, and received coverage in more than 4,000
news articles in 1995 alone.  CSE's marketing and media efforts are the
norm rather than exception among the conservative grantees.  In the
absence
of similar efforts by liberal organizations and funders, communications
campaigns like these have contributed to the current climate where
right-wing ideas, sometimes based on inaccurate information, go
unchallenged.   

        The NCRP report goes on to suggest that liberal and mainstream
funders
remain standing on the sidelines of public policy debate while government
and nonprofit social programs -- many foundation-created -- are
dismantled.
  "Conservative funders see themselves as part of a larger movement to
defeat big government liberalism' and fund accordingly, but mainstream
foundations prefer to make modest, on-the-ground improvements in specific
neighborhoods.  As a result, mainstream foundations increasingly operate
within the larger policy assumptions and parameters that conservative
funders help shape," according to report author Sally Covington.

        The political implications and policy consequences of conservative
foundation funding are profound.  Heavy investments in conservative policy
and advocacy institutions have helped create a supply-side version of
American politics in which policy ideas backed by enough money inevitably
find their niche in the political arena -- regardless of citizen
viewpoints.

        The grantmaking of the 12 foundations offers valuable lessons for
grantmakers seeking to influence policy trends.  They include: 1)
Understanding the importance of ideology and overarching frameworks; 2)
Helping to build strong institutions by providing ample general operating
support; 3) Maintaining a national policy focus and concentrating
resources; 4) Recognizing the importance of media, marketing and
persuasive
communications; 5) Creating and cultivating public intellectuals and
policy
leaders; 6) Supporting multiple social change strategies including
advocacy, leadership development, and constituency mobilization; and 7)
Taking a long-haul approach.

        Moving a Public Policy Agenda presents a detailed accounting of
the grants
of the twelve conservative foundations including an analysis of major
grantee activities; an examination of the grantmaking strategies which
have
made the funders so successful; an overview of conservative resource
mobilization since the early 1970s; an inquiry into the grantmaking of
mainstream philanthropy; and a discussion of the public policy impact of
conservative philanthropy.

        NCRP was founded in 1976 as a watchdog organization with a mission
to make
philanthropic institutions more accountable and accessible to the
disadvantaged.  Copies of the 52-page report Moving a Public Policy
Agenda:
the Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations are available at
$25
per copy, prepaid.  NCRP can be reached at: 2001 S Street, NW #620,
Washington, DC 20009; phone# 202-387-9177, fax# 202-332-5084.

--30--


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