Where Were the Foundations? The Philanthropies and the Economic Crisis
By JOAN ROELOFS
We in the United States have been endowed with enormous philanthropic foundations, which have been fixing up the world for the last 100 years. One might wonder how their activities relate to the current economic crisis. News on this subject is not found in the headlines, or even on page 23. There is more exposure of foundation garments than of the opulent structures overpinning our system.
We should remember that these institutions, taking to heart the “robber baron” accusation, were not intended to dispense charity, but to apply resources and “social engineering” to forestall the “evils of capitalism.” Thus the Sage Foundation created the field of professional social work. The Rockefeller Foundation, directly and through its subsidiary, the Social Science Research Council, helped to shape New Deal programs, including social security. Its massive manual, Recent Social Trends, was a blueprint for the reform of laissez-faire capitalism. The Ford Foundation created prototypes for the “War on Poverty” programs, and more recently was the designer of Individual Development Accounts to provide funding for worthy low income people.
In addition to the billions donated to non-profit organizations, economic development, and policy-oriented think tanks, foundations have been prime creators of international organizations designed to promote and defend capitalism against any and all threats.
She goes on to make an excellent case and of course ends by saying:
While critical scrutiny of foundations is rare, it is almost entirely absent from major media. A notable exception was Charles Piller’s 2007 investigation of Gates Foundation investments (published in The Los Angeles Times) that concluded: “The Gates Foundation reaps vast profits every year from companies whose actions contradict its mission of improving society in the United States and around the world, particularly the lot of people afflicted by poverty and disease.”