Heinz Endowments to Leftist Causes through The Tides Foundation?-Disputed!

Presidential Candidate John Kerry’s Wife has Donated Millions of Dollars to a Foundation that Funds “Anti-American” efforts-Disputed!

Summary of eRumor:

The eRumor says that Senator John Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, donates millions of dollars to The Tides Foundation.
The eRumor says that the foundation supports various antiwar groups including one that offered to defend Saddam Hussein, another that seeks to ease restrictions on immigration from Muslin terrorist states, a group that has close relations with the terrorist group Hamas, and a radical Hispanic group that advocates returning all of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Arizona to Mexico.

The Truth:

This story is a complex one and each side has its own explanation.

It got started with a report in December of 2003 by the Capitol Research Center, a conservative watchdog group in Washington, DC.
It was quoted in several newspapers including the Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal.
The report was titled “The Tides Foundation…Liberal Crossroads of Money and Ideas.”
It explored the founding of the organization and a companion group called the Tides Center and charged that they are used as channels for wealthy liberals to make donations to activist causes but without being tied directly to the activist organizations.
The article didn’t focus on Teresa Heinz Kerry or the Heinz Endowments but did use Heinz donations as an example of what it was describing.
It claimed that between 1999 and 2001 the Howard Heinz endowment, one of two of the Heinz endowments, donated $4,298,500 to the Tides Foundation or the Tides Center.
There is no dispute that the Tides Foundation and Tides Center fund liberal groups.
But supporters of Teresa Heinz Kerry say the Heinz Endowments donations have been for specific projects in Pennsylvania.
They liken the Tides Foundation and Tides Center to the United Way through which donations can be given for a specific group or cause and don’t suggest that there is support for all the other United Way organizations.
A statement by the Tides Foundation disputes the Capitol Research Center’s estimate of more than four million dollars in donations to Tides.
It says that the Heinz Endowments have given only $230,000 to the Foundation and that was between 1994 and 1998 and used solely to support  a “pollution prevention initiative and other environmentally friendly practices by industries in Western Pennsylvania.”
Confusingly, however, a document on the Heinz Endowments website itemizes its own donations to the Tides Foundation and the Tides center, which total $8,116,000 between 1994 and 2004.
Both the Tides Foundation and the Heinz Endowments are headquartered in Pennsylvania.
The president of the Heinz Endowments, Maxwell King, said that any of the articles that charged that donations were being secretly given to political activist groups are wrong.
One of the contentions of the Capitol Research Center that some of the donations are “fungible,” meaning that they can be used for something other than the stated reason for the donation.
In a response to an article about all this in the Washington Times in March, 2004, King said, “In fact, by contract, every penny of our support to Tides has been explicitly directed to specific projects in our region.  It cannot legally be redirected and is the exact opposite of ‘fungible.'”
So the bottom line is that the Tides Foundation and the Tides Centers do provide grants to many left-wing activist organizations.
The Heinz Endowments to make sizable donations to the Tides Foundation and the Tides Centers.
But there is dispute over whether any of those Heinz donations find their way into some of the leftist causes that are mentioned in the eRumor.
Heinz supporters say they do not and that the money donated has gone to specific community causes in Pennsylvania.
Heinz critics say the Tides organizations exist, in part, to provide ways of making donations to activist groups in secret so the Heinz contributions should be scrutinized.
Last updated 7/13/04