Foundation Urged to Eliminate Funds for Anti-Immigrant Groups

Foundation Urged to Eliminate Funds for Anti-Immigrant Groups

An immigration advocacy group is calling on the board of the Foundation for the Carolinas to eliminate funding for anti-immigration organizations, Politico reports.

In a letter addressed to FFTC board chair Todd Mansfield, CEO of Crescent Communities, and copied to all board members, America's Voice founder and executive director Frank Sharry writes that "[p]er the foundation's financial statements from 2014 until 2017, more than $11 million has been disbursed to groups like the Center for Immigration Studies and the Federation for American Immigration Reform...that have played a major role in normalizing bigotry and shaping inhumane and abusive immigration policy....They — and others you fund...distribute content that cites Holocaust deniers, anti-Semitic ideas, and white nationalist ideology."

According to the letter, the funding for groups opposing legal immigration "is largely tied to a single foundation donor: billionaire Fred Stanback," who reportedly has given the foundation nearly $400 million and "has a long history of supporting groups and individuals who believe that immigrants are inherently inferior and that drastic steps are needed to control global population growth." While the foundation has claimed it maintains political neutrality, Sharry writes, "this goes against your own internal giving guide, and there should not be neutrality when these organizations are promoting extremist ideology."

The letter urges Mansfield to ensure that the foundation "stops all funding to organizations that promote anti-immigrant policies; returns to donor any funds designated to these groups in future years; [and] launches a transparent, independent review of the Foundation for the Carolinas' management and internal controls to ensure this never happens again."

In a statement to Politico, FFTC president Michael Marsicano wrote that the foundation, which administers more than three thousand charitable funds set up by individuals and businesses, is "a big tent of fundholders who support a wide range of IRS-sanctioned nonprofit organizations. However, the foundation makes its own discretionary donations to pro-immigration causes.” A spokesperson for Wells Fargo, whose Charlotte regional president Kendall Alley serves on the board, also said the funding for anti-immigration causes had been directed by the donor and not by the board, adding that the foundation "does not advocate for or against these organizations."

The America's Voice letter comes amid growing scrutiny of companies that have cooperated with the Trump administration's aggressive immigration crackdown. More than a thousand Google employees, for example, signed a petition calling on the company to refuse to support federal immigration agencies "until they stop engaging in human rights abuses." And Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo have all said they would cut ties with private prisons amid protests over their use as immigration detention facilities.

Anti-immigrant views "are not only fueling violence, but also perpetuating policies that have left thousands of children jailed in awful conditions along our border and are undermining the fabric of American communities, including in the Carolinas," Sharry argues in his letter. "The Foundation for the Carolinas is one of the nation's largest community foundations and, as such, has an obligation to carefully consider the impact of every grant it makes."

Ted Hesson, Daniel Lippman. "Immigration Advocates Press to Cut Off Charitable Funds for Anti-Immigration Groups." Politico 08/20/2019. "Dear Todd Mansfield." America's Voice Letter 08/20/2019.