EDITORIAL

Tax-exempt foundations have made a spectacular contribution to American public welfare. Throughout the nation Carnegie libraries bear standing witness to philanthropic gifts. Rockefeller-supported research has virtually eliminated several virulent diseases. Since 1955 a series of worthy Ford Foundation grants has assisted private colleges. To an extent unparalleled anywhere in the modern world, large foundations have made staggering donations to religious, educational and scientific enterprises. While they represent only a minor phase of the total philanthropic spirit (donations of all types in 1956 reached $6 billion), the assets of 7,000 tax-exempt foundations engaged in philanthropic giving approximate $9,500,000,000.

The last few years have showered an unprecedented amount of public criticism on tax-exempt foundations, however. One reason for this criticism is the very growth in number of such foundations. The Reece Committee investigating tax-exempt foundations concludes that “the compelling motivation behind this rapid increase in numbers is tax planning rather than ‘charity’.” Another protest relates to support of projects of a pseudo-scientific nature like the Kinsey studies in sex aberrations (the Rockefeller Foundation spent $1,755,000 for research in sex problems) and other ventures whose significance for public welfare is often difficult to discover. Furthermore, foundations now wield enormous power in American life. But the main cause of criticism is the use of funds and influence by several major foundations to support left-wing projects that threaten the spiritual basis of the American heritage. So extensive has been their impact during the past generation that René A. Wormser, general counsel to the ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: