Donors Capital Fund is a Virginia-based donor-advised fund with assets of over $32 million at the end of 2010. The fund is associated DonorsTrust, a well-known donor-advised fund set up to “safeguard the charitable intent of donors.” In other words, it is a philanthropic organization whose primary purpose is to protect the anonymity of its members. According to the group’s website, “DonorsTrust refers clients to Donors Capital Fund if they expect to open donor-advised funds of over $1,000,000.” In 2010, Donors Capital Fund dispersed more than $41 million in grants, most of which went to conservative groups around the country. Since 2002, the fund has dispersed more than $235 million in grants, largely to conservative groups. (DonorsTrust has dispersed $54 million over the same period.)
In 2008, Donors Capital Fund distributed almost $18 million to the Clarion Fund, which used the funding to distribute 28 million copies of “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” an anti-Muslim documentary, in swing states. The DVDs were sent out months after conspiracy theories started to circulate about then-Senator Obama’s time at an Islamic school in Indonesia and weeks before the 2008 presidential election. The fund has also given grants to other anti-Muslim groups, including the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the Middle East Forum. The fund’s donors are secret and the only known contributor, based on tax forms submitted to the IRS, is the Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation.
Major beneficiaries of Donors Capital Fund’s money include the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy, the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity Foundation, and the Heartland Institute, receiving $5 million, $1 million, and $11.4 million respectively from Donors Capital Fund since 2005. (These groups have also received large grants from DonorsTrust.)
Donors Capital Fund’s Board of Directors is comprised of the heads of the conservative movement’s leading organizations: John Von Kannon, Vice President of the Heritage Foundation; Kris Alan Mauren, Executive Director of the Acton Institute; and William H. Mellor, President of the Institute for Justice. Arthur C. Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, a prominent conservative think tank, also sits the board. AEI has received over $15 million in donations from the Donors Capital Fund since 2002. Whitney L. Ball, former executive director of the Philanthropy Roundtable, is the fund’s chief executive. Adam Meyerson, the current president of the Philanthropy Roundtable, also sits on the board.
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