A Public Resource Compiled by the

Park Foundation

140 Seneca Way Suite 100 Ithaca, NY 14850
501c3 nonprofit
ParkFoundation.org

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

Key People

  • Adelaide P. Gomer President
  • Alicia P. Wittink Vice President
  • Amy B. Panek Senior Program Officer, Environment
  • Roberta M. Norman Finance Director

Park Foundation

Founded in 1966, the Park Foundation is “dedicated to the aid and support of education, public broadcasting, environment, and other selected areas of interest to the Park family.” The foundation takes no stance on agricultural biotechnology, however A 2017 Park report indicated that the foundation may refuse to invest in companies that have “significant involvement in the development and commercialization of genetically modified organisms.” The foundation also provides environmental grants beyond it stated goals of protecting drinking water and restricting fossil fuel use “at the Foundation’s initiative.” Many of these donations go to openly anti-pesticide and anti-GMO organizations.

As You Sow, a group dedicated to promoting “environmental and social corporate responsibility,” argued in its 2017 Roundup Revealed report that “the modern industrial food system, which heavily uses herbicide-resistant GE crops, is increasingly understood to be unsustainable.” The group also argued that the herbicide glyphosate is carcinogenic and Monsanto colluded with the EPA “to quash a review of glyphosate to be conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services.” (p 9). Fellow Park Foundation grant recipients Environmental Working Group and Center for Biological Diversity also endorse this interpretation of events, though experts believe glyphosate is safe.

The Park Foundation has contributed $125,000 to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), a politically progressive nonprofit run by attorney Lisa Graves. Graves sits on the board of U.S. Right to Know, an organic industry-funded nonprofit that attacks biotech researchers who engage in public science outreach. CMD also collaborated with the anti-GMO group Bioscience Resource Project in 2017 on the Poison Papers Project, an effort to demonstrate that government regulators and the chemical industry worked together to conceal “the extraordinary toxicity of many chemical products.”

Financial Data

 

Annual Revenue: $14,881,814 (2016)

Total Assets: 330,922,046 (2016)

Major Recipients (total contributions 2012-present)

As you Sow $285,000

Food and Water Watch $255,000

EarthJustice $230,000

CERES $130,000

Center for Media and Democracy $125,000

Corporate Accountability International $125,000

Rural Foundation Advancement International $110,000

Environmental Working Group $100,000

Center for Biological Diversity $100,000

Public Citizen $100,000

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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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