"Vital Voices Global Partnership A Radical Vision of Gender"
Vital Voices Global Partnership: A Radical Vision of “Gender Equity” Group Advances Pro-Prostitution Policy Agenda by Christopher Yablonski Summary: The Washington, DC-based group Vital Voices Global Partnership cham- pions Afghan women who suffered under the Taliban regime and is a partner in the Bush Administration’s “war on terror.” Who would suspect that this nonpartisan women’s organization is a platform for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-NY) feminist agenda? Yet Vital Voices is marshalling government, foundation, and corporate fund- ing to support a worldwide network of femi- nist activists. V Vital Voices is an advocate for Af- ghan women. It celebrates women’s par- ticipation in government and business, and decries international sex trafficking. These efforts have fixed Vital Voices’ im- age as a nonpartisan group, and its pow- erful bipartisan connections have helped Vital Voices is a platform for Hillary Clinton’s feminist political agenda. with fundraising. But while Vital Voices presents itself as a mainstream advocate with it have lobbied for the legalization of Proctor and Gamble, Liz Claiborne, and for female empowerment around the world, prostitution in foreign countries. They Mary Kay cosmetics. These and other what we know of its background and claim to be combating sex trafficking, but funders provided nearly $1 million to Vital sources of funding suggests that its long- their goal is to organize and legitimate “sex Voices in 2000 and 2001. Several other term goals are at odds with common-sense workers.” companies, including General Motors, Wal notions of equality and traditional con- Mart, and Timberland, pledged unspeci- cepts of family and gender. The individu- The U.S. government funds much of als at the heart of Vital Voices support a what Vital Voices promotes. During the March 2003 feminist agenda, which was crystallized at waning days of the Clinton Administra- the 1995 Beijing Women’s Conference. tion federal agencies distributed millions CONTENTS That agenda emphasizes highly political of dollars in federal grants to organiza- women’s studies programs at all levels of tions that eventually became part of the Vital Voices Global Partnership: Vital Voices “Global Advisory Council.” A Radical Vision of “Gender education, government-mandated wages, Equity” gender preferences in hiring and educa- Vital Voices also received start-up funds page 1 tion, and “gender balance” in public and from the Summit Charitable Foundation, private decision-making bodies. More dis- the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, as well Philanthropy Notes turbing, some associates of Vital Voices page 8 and the organizations that have partnered as Texaco and foundations sponsored by Foundation Watch fied financial support to Vital Voices at the declarations it endeavored to replace the Social conservatives like Dr. James same time that the Bush Administration term “mother” with “caregiver,” and re- Dobson, president of Focus on the Family, Labor Department awarded the group placed “family” with “household.” U.S. harshly criticized the U.S. delegation: $300,000 for a program of highly-publi- delegates also fought to maintain language cized assistance to Afghan women. By in a draft “Platform for Action” that was “They focused on redesigning the supporting Vital Voices, the Bush Admin- hostile to traditional ideas of the family. family, reordering the way males istration is giving its seal of approval to a This document, presented for review by and females interrelate, promot- group profoundly at odds with the conference delegates, contained fifteen ing ‘reproductive rights for President’s own commitment to faith and references to motherhood—but twelve women,’ distributing condoms and family. discussed it as a threat to women’s inde- safe-sex nonsense to kids, propa- pendence. The Declaration endorsed tax- gating ‘homosexual and lesbian State Department and Beijing payer-funded “family planning” and lauded rights,’ weakening parental au- ’95 Origins gender-based quotas across public life, thority, undermining ‘patriarchal’ Vital Voices’ origins lie in the U.S. even in legislative bodies. In language religious teachings and spreading delegation to the 1995 United Nations typical of the U.N., it outlined the basic feminist ideology to every nation World Conference on Women, which was problem: on earth.” held in Beijing, China. As honorary chair- man of the delegation, First Lady Hillary “The widespread exclusion of half Dobson quoted a shocked delegate Rodham Clinton was returning to a public of humanity from institutions of from Kenya: “Apparently in the United role in the Administration following the power and governance underscore States, the most powerful country in the humiliating rejection of her healthcare pro- the need to continue the search for world, the family is considered as nothing posals and Republican victories in the development, peace and security anymore.” 1994 elections. At this conference, she and for ways of assuring people- dramatically asserted: “Women’s rights centered sustainable development. Upon their return from Beijing, Mrs. are human rights and human rights are The participation and leadership Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine women’s rights.” of the half of humanity that is fe- Albright set about implementing the Plat- male is essential to the success of form as if it were a formal treaty. They used The sentiment seemed reasonable that search.” the newly-established President’s Inter- enough, but the real work of the Clinton agency Council on Women (PICW) as a Administration’s delegation took a more The Declaration arbitrarily urged na- mechanism to imprint the Platform on the radical bent. In conference documents and tions to reduce defense spending in order federal government. PICW included senior to allow for more welfare spending: “Ex- representatives of nearly 30 agencies, in- cessive military expenditures, including cluding the Departments of Justice, De- Editor: John Carlisle global military expenditures and arms trade fense, Labor, State, and Health and Human Publisher: Terrence Scanlon or trafficking, and investments for arms Services, and the U.S. Agency for Interna- production and acquisition have reduced tional Development (USAID). In this way, Foundation Watch the resources available for social develop- PICW was able to coordinate Administra- is published by Capital Research ment.” The Declaration also attacked free tion policy with no reported costs and little Center, a non-partisan education and research organization, classified by markets: “Accelerated economic congressional oversight. It set in motion the IRS as a 501(c)(3) public charity. growth…does not by itself improve the programs transferring taxpayer money to quality of life of the population…it is in- feminist nongovernmental organizations Address: dispensable to search for new alternatives (NGOs) around the world. This embryonic 1513 16th Street, N.W. that ensure that all members of society network eventually became the Vital Voices Washington, DC 20036-1480 benefit from economic growth.” “Global Advisory Council,” which includes Phone: (202) 483-6900 U.S. government grantees and subgrantees Long-Distance: (800) 459-3950 While the final Platform for Action like Hungary’s Women Together with was changed somewhat, it remained a bold Women Against Violence, Ukraine’s La E-mail Address: manifesto for government intervention in Strada, and Russia’s ANNA organization. email@example.com the economy and alteration of traditional Web Site: social institutions. The Platform calls for State Department official Theresa Loar, http://www.capitalresearch.org women’s studies programs at all levels of a former New York advertising executive— education, government-mandated wages, she created the “Where’s the Beef?” cam- Foundation Watch welcomes letters gender preferences in hiring and educa- paign for the Wendy’s hamburger chain— to the editor. tion, and “gender balance” in public and ran PICW in the Clinton White House and Reprints are available for $2.50 private decision-making bodies. advised the Clintons and Secretary Albright prepaid to Capital Research Center. on international women’s issues. At PICW, 2 March 2003 Foundation Watch Loar was personally concerned with com- bating the problem of sex trafficking and undoubtedly drew much-needed attention to this international tragedy. Foundation Grants to Vital Voices (2001 Grants) But by the end of the Clinton term, PICW was claiming credit for far more. It claimed to have engineered a massive re- Summit Foundation — $100,000 orientation of federal programs along the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation — $62,500 lines of the Beijing Platform. The 2000 PICW report, “America’s Commitment: Open Society Institute (George Soros) — $50,000 Federal Programs Benefiting Women,” Liz Claiborne Foundation — $50,000 catalogued grantmaking activities in doz- ens of agencies offering everything from a Carnegie Corporation of New York — $25,000 “gendered perspective on public hous- Mary Kay Foundation — $25,000 ing” and the recruitment of women into Wallace Foundation — $25,000 construction jobs to consulting with femi- nist groups on ways to monitor gender Texaco — $15,000 balance in federal contracting. For example, Procter & Gamble Foundation — $10,000 the feminist National Committee on Pay Equity partnered with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to enforce gender-based preferences in contracts participate fully in the economic and politi- mance of civil service and foreign service awarded by the Administration. cal lives of our nations.” personnel.” In 1997, the State Department an- Building public-private partnerships In 2000, Loar boasted that since the nounced the launching of the Vital Voices was not mere rhetoric. The 1999 Vital first Vital Voices conference in Vienna the Global Democracy Initiative under the di- Voices conference in Reykjavik showcased U.S. government had awarded $3 million in rection of Loar and PICW. The initiative how USAID, the State Department, and grants to feminist groups and micro-loans produced a series of conferences around the U.S. Information Agency could fund programs to women-owned businesses. the world bringing together women lead- feminist political formation in Russia. For She went on to praise the Clinton Admin- ers to network and seek funding from pri- instance, USAID boasted of a June 1999 istration for having made since 1997 com- vate and government sources. Major con- agreement with the Russian Women’s NGO mitments of $10 million overall to such ferences were held in Vienna, Austria in Consortium aimed specifically to “increase groups in Europe. July 1997, Belfast, Northern Ireland in Sep- the capacity of women’s organizations to tember 1998, Montevideo, Uruguay in advocate more effectively on women’s is- Other agencies were even more expan- October 1998, Reykjavik, Iceland in Octo- sues and to provide information on gender sive. As part of PICW’s five-year review of ber 1999, and Washington, D.C. in Febru- issues to journalists.” The State progress, USAID reported that it had spent ary 2000. Department’s Bureau of Educational and $500 million annually toward “advancing Cultural Affairs (BECA) announced, “Ex- women’s economic, social, and political From the start, the Vital Voices confer- changes and training programs supported status,” and claimed “a critical leadership ences served to ingratiate Mrs. Clinton to by institutional grants from the Bureau role in helping countries in all regions of her international constituency. Loar de- should provide women and women’s the world to fulfill their Beijing promises.” scribed how feminist delegates in groups opportunities to increase their vis- Montevideo greeted the First Lady as a ibility and effectiveness in the political, Organization and Staff “rock star,” and an unnamed aide allowed social and democratic spheres.” Vital Voices Global Partnership would that “[Mrs. Clinton] never deviated from outlive the Clinton Administration. In mid- her goal, which is creating a post-presi- PICW directed the flow of U.S. tax- 2000, it transformed itself from a White dency platform.” Comparing Mrs. Clinton payer money to feminist NGOs overseas House and State Department “initiative” to Eleanor Roosevelt, Secretary Albright and used the Vital Voices conferences to into an independent 501(c)(3) tax-exempt laid out high hopes for the initiative: “With market programs to them. At USAID, fed- public charity. Loar and Melanne Verveer, the leadership and active participation of eral employees were reminded by the Mrs. Clinton’s chief of staff, left their yet another great First Lady, Hillary agency’s Beijing-inspired Gender Plan of government positions to run the organiza- Clinton, we…[are] bringing women to- Action that “attention to gender issues tion as president and chair of the board. Of gether from around the world to build pub- will be part of the evaluation process used course, the organization already had a glo- lic-private partnerships, and to help women by staff and committees rating the perfor- bal network of supporters in place—all the March 2003 3 Foundation Watch NGOs that received grants and micro-loans being of the planet - its people and its Human Rights Watch, and the Interna- under the auspices of PICW. Headquar- natural environment - by empowering tional Research Exchanges Board (IREX). tered in Washington, D.C., Vital Voices women and youth, stabilizing global popu- The latter two figure prominently in ef- reported total revenue in 2000 of $432,102 lation growth, and protecting the earth’s forts to shift anti-sex-trafficking programs and expenses of $192,469. In 2001, revenue biodiversity.” Victoria Sant, a member of in Russia towards the legalization of pros- was $514,661 and expenses of $501,344. the Vital Voices board, is president of Sum- titution and the unionization of “sex work- mit, which she founded with her husband ers.” The Mott Foundation also funds In board chair Melanne Verveer Vital Roger, chairman of the global power com- IREX and is a funding clearinghouse for Voices has a skilled political insider. pany AES and #292 on the 2001 Forbes list radical policy agendas generally. It was Verveer’s resume is far more political than of the world’s richest people. established by a pioneer founder of the Theresa Loar’s. She and her husband General Motors Corporation. Philip, a telecommunications attorney, For the last two years Summit has have known Bill Clinton since they all distributed about $12 million annually to The Open Society Institute (OSI), an- attended Georgetown University in the international development and women’s other Vital Voices supporter, is the philan- 1960s. Before becoming an advisor to the groups like the Campaign to Preserve U.S. thropic vehicle of Hungarian emigrant Clintons Melanne Verveer worked for lib- eral advocacy groups like Common Cause and People for the American Way, where she was executive vice president. In board chair Melanne Verveer Vital Voices has a Vital Voices is nominally bipartisan. skilled political insider. Verveer’s resume is far more Now-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton serves as “honorary co-chair” along with political than Theresa Loar’s. She and her husband Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and former Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker Philip, a telecommunications attorney, have known Bill (R-KS). But other members of the Vital Clinton since they all attended Georgetown University Voices board include actress/activist Sally Field; Ann Jordan, wife of Clinton confi- in the 1960s. Before becoming an advisor to the Clintons dant Vernon Jordan; Donna McLarty, wife Melanne Verveer worked for liberal advocacy groups of Clinton chief of staff Mack McLarty; and Peace Links founder Betty Bumpers, like Common Cause and People for the American Way, wife of former Arkansas Senator Dale Bumpers. where she was executive vice president. Corporate and Foundation Funding Vital Voices earliest documented fund- Global Leadership, Global Fund for Women, George Soros (See the February 2003 Foun- ing came mostly from liberal foundations and the International Center for Research dation Watch article, “George Soros: A (See Box on page 3). They include the on Women. The Foundation’s program Bridge to Radicalism”). OSI also funds Summit Charitable Foundation, the forms a population control nexus between Women Together with Women Against Carnegie Corporation of New York, the pro-abortion rights groups like Catholics Violence (NaNE), an anti-domestic vio- Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the for a Free Choice, the Center for Reproduc- lence campaign in Hungary that receives Open Society Institute. tive Law and Policy, and Planned Parent- U.S. government funding. NaNE is a mem- hood, and environmental activists such as ber of the Vital Voices Global Advisory The Summit Charitable Foundation Conservation International Foundation Council. OSI funds dozens of organiza- was particularly important in helping Vital and Conservation Law Foundation. As a tions committed to population control and Voices convert from a State Department grantee, Vital Voices’ combination of “sus- abortion rights, including the Abortion initiative to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. A tainable development” and “empowering Access Project, Catholics for a Free $100,000 Summit start-up grant in 2000 was women and girls” reflects the principal Choice, and the Alan Guttmacher Insti- followed by another $100,000 in 2001. themes of Summit’s giving. tute, a Planned Parenthood affiliate. Summit’s mission statement is exception- These foundations and corporate ally bold. Its website proclaims its commit- The Carnegie Corporation of New York funders provided Vital Voices with ment “to a world where people can thrive and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation $100,000 in 2000 and $362,500 in 2001. The and nature can flourish - a world in which are well-established philanthropies in the group’s 2001 IRS Form 990, faxed by Vital one is not sacrificed for the other,” and its same mould. Carnegie funds NGOs close Voices at my request, also shows three desire to “promote the health and well- to Vital Voices: Global Fund for Women, individual contributors: Joan Challinor of 4 March 2003 Foundation Watch Washington, D.C. — $10,766; Samia guages. ued funding for its anti-trafficking projects Farouki of McLean, Virginia — $50,000; and it cancelled existing programs without and Colette Rhoney of Washington, D.C. Vital Voices’ activities in Russia and cause. In June 2001, it announced that — $15,000. Farouki is a Vital Voices board the former East Bloc countries particularly IREX would be the sole recipient of BECA’s member; all are Democratic Party support- highlight the sorry role played by U.S. anti-trafficking project funding for Russia. ers. Historian Challinor, a Clinton appoin- government grants in supporting a pro- Subsequently, IREX was named the sole tee to the National Libraries and Informa- prostitution agenda. In 2000 and 2001, recipient for USAID anti-trafficking fund- tion Sciences Commission, and Clinton attorney-activist Jordan lobbied the State ing in western Russia and the sole recipient friend Farouki together gave more than Department to shift all U.S. anti-traffick- for Department of Labor anti-trafficking $25,000 to Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate ing funding to IREX and its Russian part- funds. In effect, IREX now controls all U. S. campaign and the Democratic Senatorial ner, which goes by the name ANNA. Like government funding for anti-trafficking Campaign Committee for the 2000 election Jordan, they are supportive of legalized projects in Russia. cycle. “consensual” prostitution. Vital Voices’ Ukrainian partner La Lobbying for Prostitution with Jordan’s effort to defund the MiraMed Strada also has been instrumental in the Taxpayers’ Money Institute, a group that does not propose IREX takeover. In October 2000, La Strada Vital Voices condemns international alternative public policies for consensual representatives informed MiraMed they sex trafficking – the trading of women and and non-consensual prostitution, illus- were “concerned about their children into prostitution. What’s extraor- trates the determination and power of the U.S.government funding because the State dinary is that leaders and associates of the activists who are building a global femi- Department saw them as being against the group, acting through other organizations, nist network. Seattle-based MiraMed has legalization of prostitution,” according to are working to have the U.N. redefine pros- a strong track record working against traf- Engel. La Strada, along with the groups titution so that only “forced” prostitution ficking in Russia. Since 1998 it has pro- Human Rights Watch and IREX, later en- is considered an illegal and illicit activity. vided the most comprehensive programs dorsed a document that took a position in of public education, training, and research favor of the legalization of prostitution as A Vital Voices ally in these efforts is about international sexual trafficking to a way to solve the issue of involuntary Ann Jordan, director of the Initiative Russian and international NGOs and to trafficking. In other words, it converted a Against Trafficking at the International the Russian government. It created the sexual trafficking issue into a labor issue. Human Rights Law Group, a key NGO that anti-trafficking Angel Coalition with 43 worked in partnership with the PICW un- NGO members in Russia and the former When MiraMed and the Angel Coali- der Clinton. (She is not to be confused Soviet republics. MiraMed received U.S. tion refused to accept the terms of this with the Ann Jordan who serves on the government funding for these activities document, La Strada ceased work with the Vital Voices board.) Jordan is a leader in with an initial $120,000 grant from State’s Angel Coalition. According to La Strada international efforts to legalize voluntary Bureau of Economic and Cultural Affairs officials speaking to Engel, “Ann Jordan of prostitution and organize “sex workers” (BECA). the State Department” said that MiraMed into labor unions. She traveled to several and the Coalition were “on the wrong side U.S. embassies in the waning Clinton years But in February 2001, Angel Coalition of the prostitution issue.” La Strada feared promoting her pro-prostitution agenda members in Russia alerted MiraMed that that working with them threatened its con- with PICW’s approval. Another activist is they had received threatening “advisory” tinued U.S. funding. Ruchira Gupta, a member of the Vital Voices phone calls. According to MiraMed presi- Global Advisory Council from Mumbai, dent Juliette M. Engle, M.D., staff from the Former IREX board members confirmed India who heads the Apne Aap organiza- groups IREX and ANNA told coalition to MiraMed that IREX had reached an agree- tion. It is described in an Indian newspa- members that if they did not “remove their ment with Jordan: it would promote the per as a “community based organization of names from the Angel Coalition list, they legalization of prostitution throughout women and children in prostitution” that would not be considered for U.S. govern- Russia if Jordan would work with the State offers prostitutes workshops in hygiene ment funding.” Coalition members were Department to de-fund the MiraMed Insti- and safe sex. informed that IREX would soon receive $2 tute and shift U.S. government funding to million dollars from the U.S. government IREX, which had no previous anti-traffick- Sadly, this is how “anti-trafficking” is to combat sex trafficking in Russia, and ing experience. understood by organizations that received the MiraMed Institute would be defunded. PICW support and USAID funding during By June 2001, eleven Angel Coalition part- Despite its loss of funding the Angel the Clinton Administration. It’s even been ners had informed MiraMed of these “ad- Coalition remains strong—and strongly reported that one USAID subcontractor in visory” calls. opposed to legalized prostitution. How- Cambodia used its resources to teach chil- ever, several Coalition members are being dren in brothels how to say, “Please use a In May 2001, the State Department replaced by pro-prostitution NGOs allied condom before you insert” in various lan- denied MiraMed’s proposals for contin- with Vital Voices. In two Russian cities March 2003 5 Foundation Watch where the Angel Coalition has run exten- attention to Russia and former East Bloc Washington, D.C.-based marketing sive anti-trafficking programs, countries. In 1999, just prior to Vital Voices’ and public affairs consultant Claudia Petrozavodsk and Saratov, BECA and Reykjavik conference, Russian NGOs com- Barlow has conducted research on PICW USAID have funded IREX to work with piled a document itemizing U.S. programs and Vital Voices. She asserts that the inexperienced Russian NGO’s on anti-traf- for Eastern European women. It shows the transformation of Vital Voices from Ad- ficking programs. far-reaching influence that PICW and Vital ministration project to independent non- Voices have had on U.S. government mi- profit and the flow of taxpayer funds to its The Micro-Enterprise Racket cro-lending grants. favorite overseas NGOs suggests that the Until it had to face a conservative Administration was “dumping money off- Republican Administration, Vital Voices USAID led other agencies in the 1999 shore by executive order.” She reports promoted the agenda of the Beijing Plat- compilation with $1 million in assistance to that Vital Voices “scrubbed their website,” form. It endorsed a vision of equality that a U.S. group called Opportunity Interna- removing references to controversy-prone demanded statistical parity between the tional. Showcased in Vital Voices confer- U.S.-funded NGOs less than a month be- sexes across many sectors of society, es- ences, it sponsors a Small Business Op- fore First Lady Laura Bush announced pecially among “decision-making” insti- portunities Program in Russia. Two other that government aid bound for Afghani- tutions. The group built up a network of groups, Counterpart International, Inc. and stan would pass through Vital Voices. foreign NGOs that trained feminist activ- FINCA International, were also USAID ists, and it promoted government-funded micro-loan partners championed by Vital Courting the Bush White House childcare and world-wide “family plan- Voices. PICW approved grants to these If the election of George W. Bush in ning.” groups, and Vital Voices conferences pro- 2000 created a big hurdle for Vital Voices, the events to September 11, 2001 offered Vital Voices a golden opportunity to clear Vital Voices condemns international sex traf- it. Vital Voices’ latest activities on behalf of Afghan women are generating much ficking – the trading of women and children into positive publicity. They bolster its bipar- prostitution. What’s extraordinary is that leaders tisan board and nonpartisan credentials, and help it gain status as a federal grantee and associates of the group, acting through other and disburser of federal money. organizations, are working to have the U.N. rede- How did this happen? Vital Voices’ partnership with the Bush Administration fine prostitution so that only “forced” prostitu- grew out of the Administration’s efforts to build support for the reconstruction of tion is considered an illegal and illicit activity. Afghan civil society following the over- throw of the Taliban regime. In November 2001, Verveer and Loar organized a meet- Vital Voices also encouraged its non- moted their work. IREX and the American ing between First Lady Laura Bush and profit network to fund “micro-enterprises.” International Health Alliance were also on Afghan women refugees. It followed the In its “Beijing Plus Five” report, issued the list as USAID partners that made grants First Lady’s November 17, 2001 radio ad- after a 2000 U.N. conference on the status to women’s centers across Russia. dress condemning the Taliban’s treatment of women, USAID reported making avail- of women and girls. Vital Voices also for- able $120 million annually for micro-loan “Micro-lending” conjures up images warded to the State Department its recom- programs, of which “more than two-thirds of village seamstresses and bakers secur- mendations of Afghan women leaders who of the borrowers are women.” The report ing a stake in their communities. But the could play a role in creating a new civil cited programs in Nicaragua, Nepal, Haiti, spigot that funds these ventures is easily order. Kyrgyzstan, and Jamaica. Crunching the turned on and off, and only a few large numbers for its 1998 micro-loan players control it. Take Counterpart Inter- In March 2002, the Department of grantmaking, the agency tracked services national and FINCA. During the years 1999, Labor’s International Labor Affairs Bu- to “23,148 organizations and 2.2 million 2000, and 2001, the U.S. government, usu- reau (ILAB) made a $300,000 award to Vital individuals, most of whom were women.” ally through USAID, awarded these orga- Voices to provide sewing machines and Certainly, Loar at PICW had some say over nizations $76.8 million, which they used to fabric to Afghan women. A new school how USAID disbursed these funds. sponsor micro-lending programs across year was starting—the first time in years the globe. What procedures did they fol- that girls would be allowed to attend school As with support for sex-traffic pro- low when they let overseas NGOs to tap in Afghanistan—and the award would pro- grams, micro-loan programs pay particular into U.S. taxpayer-funds? vide jobs for Afghan seamstresses and 6 March 2003 Foundation Watch uniforms for Afghan schoolgirls. uniforms. J.R. United, a Miami-based cloth- tions effort. Unfortunately, Vital Voices ing company, donated sewing machines does not harbor a benign public policy To its credit, Vital Voices had been and fabric. So did Liz Claiborne. L.L. Bean, agenda. White House intervention to as- working with refugees from the Taliban Bass, Sebago, and New Balance donated sist Vital Voices’ short-term project gives well before September 11th. Yet why expe- thousands of pairs of shoes. General Mo- too much credit to the President’s long- dite an award to Vital Voices when there tors, Wal Mart, and Timberland all pledged term adversaries. were other humanitarian groups already financial support to Vital Voice’s Afghan on the ground in Afghanistan? The project. Corporate sponsorship and pub- Christopher Yablonski is a free-lance $300,000 grant was included in a memoran- lic interest are giving Vital Voices a healthy writer living in Arlington, Virginia. He is dum of understanding with the new Af- dose of mainstream legitimacy. former Manager of the Government Integ- ghan government that provides $1.5 mil- rity Project at The Heritage Foundation. lion in recovery and development funds The Department of Labor grant also He wishes to thank Claudia Barlow and for Afghanistan over the next three years. establishes Vital Voices as a federal Elizabeth O’Connell for their assistance. awardee, giving it a track record when it ILAB issued no standard solicitation applies for future grants. Certainly, Vital for grant applications in advance of award- Voices might have won a federal grant to ing the grant. Indeed, it awarded the money benefit Afghan women and girls by follow- without any competition at all. The grant ing a normal competitive award process. will go directly to pay the wages of the But by skirting the process, the Bush Afghan seamstresses making school uni- Administration let the politics of the mo- forms – Vital Voices receives no overhead ment undermine its goal of competitive expenses. sourcing of grants. In the wake of the award U.S. compa- The Afghan project is laudable of nies have begun to pledge hundreds of course, and the Bush Administration’s thousands of dollars in cash and goods to award to Vital Voices amounts to a rela- support the production of Afghan school tively small grant for a benign public rela- Guide To Feminist Organizations Read the New Capital Research Center Book Exposing Leading Feminist Organizations Capital Research Center’s new book, Guide To Feminist Organizations, provides in-depth analysis and criticism of the nation’s feminist movement. 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All of us who think and care about the real lives of girls and women (not to mention men) owe both author and sponsor a genuine debt of gratitude.” Midge Decter, From the Foreword to the Guide To Feminist Organizations March 2003 7 Founda Foundation Watch PhilanthropyNotes In January, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a gift of $200 million for disease prevention programs in developing nations. Notes Ron Bailey of Reason magazine, “The Gates Foundation gift fills a market gap. Profit-making corporations cannot justify spending research dollars to develop treatments the poor cannot afford.” The Gates Foundation has already donated millions of dollars to support research as part of its program, “Grand Challenges in Global Health.” The program includes developing treatments for HIV/AIDS and preventing the spread of tuberculo- sis. The Gates Foundation also has donated millions to malaria research and supports studies to make mosquitoes incapable of transmitting certain diseases. Washington Legal Foundation has just released a new paper on donor intent. “Donor Intent: Preserving the Mission of Charitable Foundations,” by Washington, D.C. attorney Lloyd Mayer, provides a detailed overview of the legal landscape governing the mission of foundations and dis- cusses strategies donors can use to ensure that foundations they establish maintain their mission. The first section discusses current law regarding how a donor can enforce his intent through provi- sions in the governing documents of the private foundation he creates. It includes a general review of corporate and trust law. The second section reviews specific strategies to preserve donor intent and the risks of each. An appendix contains sample language for implementing these strategies. In January, the Associated Press conducted a survey of 126 charities and found a drop in contributions is causing many to reduce their operations. According to the survey, 66 charities said donations were down from 2001, 38 said donations were up, and 22 reported a stable financial condition. President Bush is using executive orders and changes to regulations to advance his faith-based initiative. Seven government departments now have faith-based offices, which steer religious groups toward billions of dollars in grant money. On the legislative front, the Senate Finance Com- mittee is set to approve legislation that would allow people who do not itemize their taxes to deduct a portion of their charitable giving, which would be of particular benefit to religious organizations. However, some proposals are causing controversy. The Department of Housing and Urban Develop- ment (HUD) has proposed a rule to allow taxpayer money to be used for the construction, acquisi- tion, or rehabilitation of houses of worship. Civil liberties groups claim this violates the constitutional principle of separation of church and state. Some Administration supporters are also concerned. Says Joe Loconte of the Heritage Foundation, “It’s as close to the church-state line as I think the administration has gotten.” Loconte warns, “When government money goes directly to houses of worship, it will invite unnecessary government intrusion.” Harvard University blames the economy for its decision to abandon plans to use a $12.5 million gift pledged by actress Jane Fonda to establish a research center on gender in education. The gift to Harvard’s Graduate School of Education was announced in 2001, and Fonda immediately pro- vided $6 million, of which a portion was invested to generate income for an endowed chair. How- ever, Harvard has announced it will return some of the $6 million because the invested amount has failed to generate sufficient income. Fonda will not fulfill the second half of her pledge. 8 March 2003