Biden to Close Foundation

Biden to Close Foundation

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. plans to wind down the Biden Foundation after he enters the 2020 presidential race, the New York Times reports.

Co-founded by Biden and his wife, Jill, after Biden left office in 2017, the foundation had raised $6.6 million by the end of that year in support of initiatives focused on a range of issues, including gay rights, college affordability, and violence against women. Biden is expected to announce his candidacy for the presidency this week, and people briefed on his plans told the Times that the foundation likely would suspend its activities immediately and begin the process of winding down. Plans for the other nonprofits and initiatives the Bidens have created and/or supported, such as the Biden Cancer Initiative, the Beau Biden Foundation, and the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Public Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania, have not been announced.

By taking steps to dismantle the foundation, the Times reports, Biden may be hoping to avoid some of the financial and conflict-of-interest questions that dogged Hillary Clinton during her campaign for the presidency in 2016. To date, much of the Biden Foundation's funding has gone toward staff salaries, and the only grant it made in 2017, totaling about half a million dollars, was used to spin off the Biden Cancer Initiative as a separate project. In what appears to be another sign that Biden is seeking to minimize his political vulnerabilities in advance of the 2020 election, aides said that none of the nonprofits he and his wife have created have accepted foreign funding, while the cancer initiative reportedly refuses donations from pharmaceutical companies.

According to a donors list on its website, the Biden Foundation has received large contributions from several influential figures, including Gill Foundation founder and gay rights activist Tim Gill; Bernard Schwartz, an investor and longtime Democratic donor; and Peter Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles. According to the Times, at least some of those supporters are expected to help underwrite Biden's presidential candidacy, for which he has begun to accept donations.

Alexander Burns. "Joe Biden Plans to Close Foundation When He Enters 2020 Race." New York Times 04/22/2019.