A Public Resource Compiled by the

CS Fund

469 Bohemian Highway
 Freestone, CA 95472
501c3 nonprofit
CSFund.org

Donor to anti-GMO organizations as part of a broader philanthropic strategy

Key People

  • Bailey Malone, Executive Director
  • Maryanne Mott, trustee
  • Melanie Adcock Program Director, Food Sovereignty
  • Monica Moore Program Director, Emerging Technologies

CS Fund

Established by Maryanne Mott and Herman Warsh in the 1980s, the CS Fund and Warsh-Mott Legacy (CSF) is a private family foundation that opposes emerging technologies and promotes “food sovereignty.” CSF’s food sovereignty program “is grounded in traditional agricultural knowledge and agroecological practices,” and the organization views “synthetic biology – the design, manufacture and release of artificially created DNA” as a source of “negative social, environmental and political consequences.”

CSF is closely linked to other foundations that share the same views on farming and biotechnology. Melanie Adcock, food sovereignty program director at CSF, previously served as ecological agriculture program director at the Foundation for Deep Ecology (FDE). As of 2012, FDE has donated $52 million dollars to anti-GMO advocacy groups to help “protect wilderness and wildlife, promote sustainable agriculture, and oppose pernicious forms of megatechnology.”

Adcock also collaborated with the Center for Food Safety (CFS) in 2002 to produce a collection of anti-GMO essays called The Fatal Harvest Reader: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture. CFS has received $130,000 since 2012 from the CS Fund and still campaigns against the use of GMO crops, because the “FDA has given the biotech industry carte blanche to produce and market [GMOs] without a scientific [study] showing that these foods are safe to consume.”

The anti-biotech nonprofit ETC Group has been CSF’s biggest grant recipient since 2012, taking in just over $1 million from the foundation. In its position statement on corporate monopolies, “Who Owns Nature? Corporate Power and the Final Frontier in the Commodification of Life,” ETC group argued that “agribusiness” uses biotechnology to monopolize food production around the world. “From almost a thousand biotech startups 15 years ago,” ETC Group claimed, “ten companies now have three quarters of industry revenue. And, six of the leaders in seeds are also six of the leaders in pesticides and biotech.” Alongside the Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth, both CS Fund grant recipients, ETC Group also helped form the SynBIO Watch coalition, which opposes the use of new breeding techniques (NBTs) like CRISPR-Cas9. The group says the biotech industry is waging a “propaganda war” in defense of these gene-editing technologies.

Financial Data

 

Annual Revenue: $1,457,585 (2017)

Total Assets: 4,832,632 (2017)

Major Recipients (total contributions 2012-present)

ETC Group $1,027,800

Public Citizen $250,000

Friends of the Earth $140,000

Sierra Club $140,000

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy $140,000

Center for Food Safety $130,000

Center for International Environmental Law $120,000

As You Sow $105,000

Xerces Society $80,000

Center for the Study of the Americas $80,000

Rural Advancement Foundation International $80,000

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Note that there are three “levels” of both donors and recipients.

Donors
Donations to advocacy groups are sometimes designated to support a specific cause, such as organic agriculture or mitigating climate change. There is no way for us to know from publicly-available documents on what the money will be spent, as we can only see the total amount donated. When we assign the levels below to donors and recipients, we assume that all donations are available to the recipient for all advocacy, including anti-GMO advocacy.

  • Level 1: Donates primarily to dedicated anti-GMO organizations
  • Level 2: A large portion of donations go to anti-GMO organizations; some donations go to organizations without a position on GMOs
  • Level 3: A small portion of donations go to anti-GMO organizations
    * Most donations go to organizations without a formal position on GMOs but which have aligned themselves with anti-GMO activists

Recipients
For Level 1 recipients, all donations are used for anti-GMO advocacy. For Level 2 and 3 recipients, we don’t know how much of each donation is used for anti-GMO advocacy.

  • Level 1: Dedicated to anti-GMO advocacy
  • Level 2: Involved in anti-GMO advocacy along with other causes
  • Level 3: No specific anti-GMO advocacy, but general support
    * Organizations without a formal position on GMOs but which have aligned themselves with anti-GMO activists
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