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 Reece Committee, claims the activity of some foundations “has heavily damaged our society and can continue to injure us.”

Vast and favorable publicity has haloed beneficent contributions to natural science, medicine and public health. For this reason obscurity shadows and protects those questionable aspects of this multi-billion dollar foundation activity that are of doubtful if not negative import to the nation. Since foundations accrue honor for their desirable projects, should they be excused from undesirable ventures whose baneful consequences are not repudiated? Foundation funds have underwritten left-wing purposes to such an extent that in his new book Foundations: Their Power and Influence (The Devin-Adair Company, $7.50), Mr. Wormser asserts:

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The emergence of this special class in our society, endowed with immense powers of thought control, is a factor which must be taken into account in judging the merits of contemporary foundation operations. The concentration of power, or interlock, which has developed in foundation-supported social-science research and social-science education is largely the result of a capture of the integrated organizations by like-minded men. The plain, simple fact is that the so-called “liberal” movement in the United States has captured most of the major foundations and has done so chiefly through the professional administrator class, which has not hesitated to use these great public trust funds to political ends and with bias.

It should be noted that Mr. Wormser’s survey specifically exempts some large foundations from any subversive involvement. (The Reece Committee in no way criticized the Kellogg, Duke or Pew foundations. In addition, Mr. Wormser himself pointedly remarks that “the work of the Erhart Foundation, the Volker Fund, the Richardson Foundation, the Pew Foundation, the American Economic Foundation, and a few others has been unorthodox enough to support conservative writers and projects.”)

Mr. Wormser indicates that unlike the power of the churches, that of foundations is not governed by firmly established canons of value. Several colleges and universities actually abandoned sectarian affiliations and charter clauses relating to religion in order to secure Carnegie endowments. The Walsh Commission decades ago thereupon observed that “if an institution will willingly abandon its religious affiliations through influence of these foundations, it will even more easily conform to their will any other part of its organization or teaching.” In his book, The Claims of Sociology: A Critique of Textbooks, Professor A. H. Hobbs of University of Pennsylvania showed that foundation-supported social-science projects reveal certain tendencies. They are prone to attack big business, to adulate big government, and to plead “for some sort of modernization of religion to eliminate its ‘mysticism’ [super-naturalism?] and relate it to ‘modern society.’ ” The “objectivity” they prize almost invariably involves an attack on established institutions and traditions. Professor Norman Woelfel, contributor to The Progressive Education Magazine and author of Moulders of the American Mind, has said, for example: “In the minds of the men who think experimentally, America is conceived as having a destiny which bursts the all too obvious limitations of Christian religious sanctions and of capitalist profit economy.” This assault on the Western heritage of both the Judeo-Christian religion and the tradition of free enterprise is called “scientific.” By this magical term left-wing educators and researchers often curry eligibility for foundation sponsorship and grants, privileged status for subversive projects, and respectability for radical theories.

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The subtle success of “left-wingers” who cultivate, and then exploit, American industrial giants, is ironic indeed. The fortunes that free enterprise accumulated for John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford, among others, in our generation are used to discredit the very tradition of liberty that made possible this wealth and its private and voluntary distribution. Warnings are not amiss. If exploitation of large foundations for radical ends continues unchallenged, American industry sooner or later faces control by trusts and foundations, insurance companies and labor unions. Society will unintentionally slip into some form of socialism. The masses will herald the spectacle as a magnificent display of benevolence for public welfare. A Congressional committee was cautioned that not totalitarian political powers but financial potentates, through intellectuals supported by vast funds, will “tell the public what to study and what to work on, and … set up a framework” of social reconstruction. So far only a minority of foundations has “fallen victim to the obsession for social change.” But Mr. Wormser adds that this minority includes “some of the wealthiest and … oldest endowments.”

Ambiguity of the Internal Revenue Code (Section 501, C, 3) complicates assessment of foundation activities. This code approves exemption for educational activities, but not if their propaganda aims to influence legislation. The right of religious propaganda is not in doubt, however, for this would threaten freedom of religion. Nevertheless, enamored of the social gospel, liberal Protestantism and some religious journals defected from proclaiming supernatural redemption to evangelize the world. Instead, they used religious propaganda to promote direct social changes, to establish lobbies and to influence legislation in the name of the churches. While Mr. Wormser does not emphasize the indirect help given leftist causes by foundation subsidy to some religious agencies, he points to “many para-religious organizations whose only relationship to religion is that their membership comes from one confession” and which are “principally devoted to the advancement of political group interests in legislation.… They are dedicated to such diverse causes as the political and financial support of the State of Israel; the fight against segregation; the liberalization of the immigration laws for the benefit of their co-religionists; and opposition to the political aims of certain other religious groups.” Wormser argues that, in view of the Internal Revenue Code, militant religious organizations openly spending tax-exempt funds to influence legislation “should be deprived of their tax advantage.” There is little doubt that some religious agencies have promoted particular brands of social philosophy which, while promising better things for society, have actually served to advance leftist and subversive causes.

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Mr. Wormser does not seek government “policing” of foundations to conform them to a particular approved philosophy, right or left. He does think, however, that taxpayers could insist on legislative restrictions on foundation activities detrimental to public welfare. He especially prompts foundation trustees to recognize their exploitation by the apostles of social reconstruction. He warns that some foundation boards and administrative ranks have perhaps already been penetrated by anticonservative professionals. Moreover, trustees cannot be absolved from social responsibility for their approval and support of quasi-socialistic projects, however intellectually timely or novel they may appear. Mr. Wormser points out that a small platoon of professional anticapitalistic advisors has ingratiated itself in the role of “expert” consultants to design programs and to determine grants and grantees. Such predetermination of approved projects and methods of research, he avers, not only strips the individual scholar of creative initiative but also becomes a tool for academic conformity. Foundations acting in concert through interlocking trustees (the 20 trustees of one foundation held 113 such positions in philanthropic organizations) not only favor special enterprises and recipients, Wormser reports, but exercise a one-sided influence on public affairs as well. Moreover, by often serving on government advisory boards as “experts” who control government expenditures for research, foundation executives accumulate multiplied power. Wormser asserts that

to a great extent, the same persons who control or expend the funds of the complex in the social-science fields also direct or advise on the expenditures of the Federal government in these areas. It is not surprising, therefore, that government agencies operating in social-science areas have exhibited the same preferences and idiosyncrasies as has the foundation complex.

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In foreign affairs, Mr. Wormser comments, foundation activity has

conquered public opinion and has largely established the international-political goals of our country. A few major foundations with internationalist tendencies created or fostered a varied group of organizations which now dominate the research, the education, and the supply of experts in the field.… The foundation complex in internationalism has reached far into government.… This has been effected through the pressure of public opinion, mobilized by the instruments of the foundations; through the promotion of foundation-favorites as teachers and experts in foreign affairs; through a domination of the learned journals in international affairs; through the frequent appointment of State Department officials to foundation jobs; and the frequent appointment of foundation officials to State Department jobs.

To illustrate the political influence of foundations that gained exemption ostensibly for educational purposes, Mr. Wormser points to the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace. In the State Department, in schools of international law, in foreign offices of other nations, and in the United Nations, this foundation has promoted its particular concepts of international relations. Another group, the Committee to Frame a World Constitution, has championed national surrender to world government. The American Labor Education Service has worked for political labor objectives. The League for Industrial Democracy has promoted the elimination of capitalism (and has successfully resisted efforts to annul its tax exemption by emphasizing the similarity between its work and some collegiate courses in the social sciences!). The Institute of Pacific Relations, which major foundations supported with millions of dollars, became an organ of pro-communist opinion in the United States and lost its tax exemption in 1955. While chiefly supported by large tax-exempt American foundations, this Institute conditioned Americans generally and even influenced the State Department to abandon the Chinese mainland to Communists.

Especially in social science and in education, wealthy foundations have sponsored movements and projects having adverse repercussions on American life. While these spheres may have no direct relation to politics or legislation, they have often attempted to redesign government and public life. Produced with foundation funds, reference works like The Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences created an aura of respectability for left bank positions. Mr. Wormser notes that communist scholars prepared rightist as well as leftist topical discussions. To implement social science projects, foundations work through intermediate clearing agencies and in cooperation with learned societies. As a result, certain professors have been shown repeated preference. Furthermore, many become special advisors to government agencies through foundation support which “in the past has been chiefly given to persons, institutions, and ideas of a progressive-liberal, if not Socialist coloring.” A case in point is the Social Science Research Council. Gaining disproportionate influence by an impression of fully representing American scholarship in that field, it assigned special types of research to groups and persons of its choice. In education, the Reece Committee names the American Council of Education as a strong power bloc. As a council of national education associations, it has effected considerable control or influence in American education.

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Mr. Wormser contends that the social scientists favor totalitarian thinking over against the principle of limited government, and communicate the impression as well that only social scientists can solve our problems. Actually, their “science” often reduces to merely an empirical bias against fixed traditions and values, and discloses more socialism than science. The Reece Committee acknowledged

a strong tendency on the part of many of the social scientists whose research is favored by the major foundations toward the concept that there are no absolutes, that everything is indeterminate, that no standards of conduct, morals, ethics and government are to be deemed inviolate, that everything, including basic moral law, is subject to change, and that it is the part of the social scientists to take no principle for granted as a premise in social or judicial reasoning, however fundamental it may heretofore have been deemed to be under our Judeo-Christian moral system.

Early Carnegie and Rockefeller grants significantly aided the field of American education. But in recent decades tax-exempt foundation funds and allied agencies implemented specific educational theories, wielded wide control in education, and dictated the acceptable research subjects. “There is much evidence that, to a substantial degree, foundations have become the directors of education in the United States.” Research and experimental stations nurtured at Columbia, Stanford and Chicago bred “some of the most ardent academic advocates of upsetting the American system and supplanting it with a Socialist state.” Accelerated by socialist forces, the radical movement in education whittled away the doctrine of inalienable rights, the right to private property in particular. Enamored of John Dewey’s speculations, National Education Association shaped heavily endowed activities that weakened and enfeebled the public schools.

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Congressional evidence disclosed use of foundation funds to implement a new collectivistic order through the schools. The American Historical Association’s Commission on Social Studies offered Conclusions and Recommendations accepting collectivism as inevitable and encouraging boards of education “to support a school program … adjusted to the needs of an epoch marked by transition to some form of socialized economy.” The Carnegie Corporation had thus underwritten “scientific research” which British socialist Harold J. Laski openly called “an educational program for a socialist America.” Collectivistic textbooks spread surmises of the Historical Association (foundation-favored in excess of $4,000,000) into all areas of education.

Politico-social deviation in research projects is often concealed by semantic manipulation of the terms “socialism” and “New Deal,” and by misrepresenting as “reform” the subversion of principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Materialistic images of government and economy crowd out American ideals and arouse doubt over historical figures and national institutions, while Soviet programs gain open commendation without hint of the repression and obliteration of freedoms.

Radical writers find easy foundation support for projects disparaging free enterprise and American traditions, while conservative writers and projects are discriminated against. Mr. Wormser finds evidence “that Communists made substantial, direct inroads into the foundation world, using its resources to promote their ideology … that The Marshall Field Foundation, The Garland Fund, The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The Robert Marshall Foundation, The Rosenwald Fund, and The Phelps Stokes Fund had been successfully penetrated or used by Communists and that some of the larger and more important foundations have made almost a hundred grants “to individuals and organizations with extreme leftist records or affiliations.”

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The Ford Foundation is largest of the foundation giants, with an annual income of $100,000,000. While noting a more constructive policy in recent Ford grants, in contrast with a disappointing past record, Mr. Wormser is critical because Roman Catholic institutions and scholars have not been proportionately favored by special grants. (Is Mr. Wormser’s thesis really valid, that in assigning special gifts in the field of research and education a foundation “does not … have any right to discriminate and to favor certain groups and individuals”? May we expect Catholic grants for educational purposes to be shared proportionately with Protestant enterprises?)

From the outset Ford Foundation administrators and major staff members reflected a “liberal” frame of mind—in the words of one appraiser, “habituated to collective, nonprofit enterprise …”—and conservatives were virtually excluded. Philosophical bias crowded its program in further evidence of the propaganda power of foundation grants. The Fund for the Advancement of Education reflected Dr. Robert M. Hutchins’ educational philosophy (doubtless an improvement over John Dewey’s).

Mr. Wormser’s fullest criticisms are directed against administration of the Fund for the Republic, which draws this rebuke:

In permitting their creature … to become a propaganda machine for the advancement of leftist political ideas, the Ford trustees abandoned their duty to the public to whose service they were dedicated by accepting appointment. By suffering the Fund for the Republic to fall into the hands of persons who might have been expected to use it for propaganda, these Ford trustees, by negligence at least, became party to actions against the public welfare.

There is danger of an unworthy reaction to this widespread subversion of foundation trust. If the present drift is not rectified within the framework of freedom, there is prospect of restrictive legislation and hence of an expansion of controls. Government temptation to “police” foundation activities with an eye on approved (as against subversive) philosophies would simply replace thought control through foundation neglect by thought control through government design. Moreover, government may withhold tax exemption from legitimate groups; religious exemptions may be unjustifiably curtailed because some erring agencies have virtually replaced evangelistic propaganda by political legislative goals. Government may be further tempted to think that all wealth belongs to the state, that tax exemption is simply a matter of state “tolerance” after recognizing that punitive taxation is wrong and properly encourages charity.

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In the last analysis, the problems created by foundations must be met at the level of national conscience. The citizenry—as well as the industrial giants who provide philanthropic funds—must awaken to the fact that tax exemption intended for public welfare dare not undermine the liberties which preserve meaning and worth for human life but must strengthen the moral pillars on which our free society rests. Trustees of foundations carry special obligation to discern ventures that most justify tax exempt activity in a time of national uncertainty and international crisis.

More is needed than an awareness of liberal and leftist objectives and strategy. Discrimination against conservative causes must end, and equal opportunity provided for scholars whose worthy research projects do not necessarily conform to established committee prejudices. In an era already bent to suspect absolutes, the philosophy of change (with its constant review and revision of all presuppositions except its own) needs to be met head-on. Had foundation support existed to oppose radical and leftist policies and programs, the destinies of our decade might now be different. Instead of nourishing programs of radical social change, support for agencies of social stability is long overdue; instead of catering to the fatal modern clamor for a continuous revision of values and laws and for the ultimate revolution of society, there should be enthusiasm for stress on the abiding elements, on unchanging truth and morality, on freedoms and duties wherewith man is endowed by his Creator. If fundamental and inalienable rights exist, including private property, then these must be sustained through patient research and exposition.

The fact that Communism is widely repudiated today by prominent educators and social scientists provides no decisive evidence that subversive forces no longer exist. Some years ago a businessman in Britain said: “We have been drinking the poison of communism from the cup of socialism.” Wormser notes the parallel situation in American life:

Whereas today they generally despise communism, the intellectual proponents of change in America still consider socialism as eminently respectable. They do not see the central identity of communism and other forms of socialism; they believe that a gradual transition of our society to one in which “production” is “for use and not for profits” can prevail without any suppression of freedom. The bloody extermination of liberty in Russia is, to these intellectuals, merely an evidence that the Stalinist variety of socialism is reprehensible. They are disappointed lovers, rather than true opponents. They are blind to this fact: whether the approach to socialism is by way of force or soft propaganda, the system will inevitably call for the rape of the masses, for the suppression of liberty and freedom.

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It may even be argued with some force that no foundation funds should be used at all to advance social science projects, irrespective of whether their objectives are conservative or liberal, and that foundation activities should be especially limited so that evil objectives are excluded. What is beyond debate is the need for new outlook and vision. Substantial foundation support is needed for constructive programs in social sciences, in education, in public affairs, and especially for reinforcement of those evangelical spiritual and moral ideals which have shaped profound ingredients of the American heritage. Over against the generation of revolt—with its denial of moral law and its anti-religious bias—must rise a generation of rededication. With the help rather than hindrance of American wealth and influence, we must, we must honor those high and holy priorities that secure our country’s place of honor among the nations; that quicken a lively and duteous sense of national purpose; and that renew the allegiance of children in our schools, workers in our factories, and leaders in professional life, to the Creator who has conferred on human life its special dignity and worth.

Church Courts Should Remember The Cup Has Two Sides

A study of the actions of Church courts over the last decade shows a surging interest in the areas of human relations, economic life, public education, international politics and world government. Anxious to emphasize and implement the influence of the Church it would seem that the major denominations have vied one with the other in passing resolutions and making pronouncements, some of which would appear to be on the extreme fringe of the Church’s responsibility.

But in the area of personal Christian conduct there has only too often been a resounding silence. Entirely too much has been taken for granted. Trying to make people act like Christians have we not been far too silent on how they shall become Christians?

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It is high time that the Church regain her true perspective. What shall it profit our nation, and the world as a whole, if we attain a goal of perfection in human relations only to find that the Frankenstein of immorality and insobriety has destroyed our souls? What is there of permanent import if we bring into actuality a brotherhood of good will and mutual forbearance only to find we are walking the road of God’s impending judgment for the sins of the flesh?

In our eagerness to reform society as a whole are we not in danger of hearing the words of our Lord: “… these ought ye to have done, and not leave the other undone”?

We all are rightly concerned that our young people shall have their minds and hearts divested of all prejudices and discriminations against others. But are we showing a commensurate concern that they shall be pure and sober? A study of the actions of recent Church courts will show an amazing lack of awareness of the lowered moral standards to be found on every hand, a situation that is a grievous pitfall to our youth.

Even a casual inquiry among high school and college young people will reveal the concept of personal purity lowered to a place where society itself is being jeopardized. Biblical standards are denied or ignored and freedom of behavior is now becoming a bond of license.

Admitting that morals cannot be legislated nevertheless Church leaders have shown an amazing indifference to the menace of alcohol, paraded on every hand as a symbol of “gracious living” and it’s consumption as leading to “distinction”.

Having surrendered the Sunday evening service to the television screen or other secular pursuits the Church has with it surrendered the sanctity of the Lord’s day to the god of mammon.

In our concern that the Church shall make an impact for righteousness in the unregenerate world we have erected a facade of Christian brotherhood while through the back door of our indifference the termites of an ever receding moral code, intemperance and desecration of the Lord’s day are gnawing at the very foundations of our homes and of society as a whole.

In this season our Church courts will be meeting and there will be spirited debates on the Church’s contribution to social reform. Fine! But let them show an even greater concern for personal regeneration, without which no man shall see the Lord.

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