Multiplier, formerly the Trust for Conservation Innovation, was founded in 2002 to provide low-cost, high-value fiscal sponsorship and administrative services to environmental groups “that share our vision of a healthy and sustainable global environment.” Multiplier opposes crop biotechnology and supports campaigns designed to warn consumers about the alleged dangers of genetic engineering.
Multiplier’s biggest contribution to anti-GMO advocacy is the GMO Science initiative, an online campaign with close ties to prominent environmental groups and the organic food industry. Activist and lawyer Debbie Friedman is the initiative’s strategic advisor and has worked with the Environmental Working Group and Center for Biological Diversity on anti-pesticide campaigns. The GMO Science expert board includes Michael Hansen, Jonathan Latham and Michael Antoniou, who are in the minority of credentialed scholars that oppose crop biotechnology. The GMO Science website was originally registered to Mark Squire in August 2014. Squire is a co-founder and major funder of the Non-GMO Project and owner of Good Earth Natural Foods.
GMO Science highlights “the impacts of genetically engineered crops …. to human and ecological health.” The site claims, for instance, that herbicide-tolerant GMO crops have caused “a hidden epidemic” of cancer and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which was covered up by a “senior employee at the US Environmental Protection Agency…” GMO Science also maintains that “GM foods should be avoided by women who want to conceive,” because “pesticides in foods can harm human fertility.” Citing the rise of chronic diseases in children, GMO science also promotes “a diet based on organically grown foods that are as little processed as possible and cooked fresh at home.”
Multiplier is funded by the same private foundations that finance some of the biggest anti-GMO groups in the world. The Packard Foundation, for instance, has given over $4 million to Multiplier and also donates to groups like Greenpeace, which views GMOs as a corporate takeover of our food system. Similarly, the Marisla Foundation, which “supports the search for solutions to …. threats caused by toxic chemicals,” has donated nearly $600,000 to Multiplier since 2012. Marisla also sponsors advocacy groups including the Pesticide Action Network and Organic Consumers Association, organizations that view GMO crops as “the growth engines of the pesticide industry’s sales and marketing strategy,” and “poison-drenched” plants that are “killing the bees, butterflies [and] birds.”
Annual Revenue: $17,294,100 (2016)
Total Assets $8,435,170 (2016)
Major Donors (total contributions 2012-present)
Walton Family Foundation $6,576,527
David and Lucile Packard Foundation $4,882,075
Silicon Valley Community Foundation $1,482,000
Schmidt Family Foundation $1,050,000
Gordon E. & Betty Moore Foundation $760,500
Marisla Foundation $580,000
Rockefeller Foundation $400,000
Lucretia Philanthropic Foundation Inc $240,000
John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation $170,000
Clarence E Heller Charitable Foundation $150,000
Contribution totals only reflect publicly reported donors and may not include significant contributions from corporations, litigators and governments, domestic and foreign, through percent of sales agreements and allocations through various arrangements such as state lotteries and aid programs. Many claims by nonprofit organizations that they receive no contributions from governments or corporations are misleading or false.