A Public Resource Compiled by the

Wallace Genetic Foundation Inc.

4910 Massachusetts Avenue, NW  Suite 221  Washington, DC 20016
501c3 nonprofit
WallaceGenetic.org

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

Key People

  • Ann Douglas Cornell, President
  • David Wallace Douglas, Secretary/Treasurer
  • Cynthia Duffy, Co-Executive Director
  • Michaela Oldfield, Co-Executive Director

Walton Family Foundation

Henry A. Wallace, founder of the Pioneer Hi-Bred Corn Company, and his wife established the Wallace Genetic Foundation (WGF) in 1959. Focused on environmental causes, the foundation funds many high-profile nonprofits engaged in anti-GMO advocacy. The foundation says these organizations “provide long-term national or global benefit” in conservation of natural resources, sustainable agriculture and biodiversity.

The foundation has given $800,000 since 2012 to EarthJustice (EJ), a legal nonprofit known for representing environmental groups in lawsuits against the EPA and private corporations. EJ opposes crop biotechnology and argued in March 2017 that developing GMO crops could mean “engineering an environmental disaster.” The groups says this is an

 industry-wide trend where crops are genetically engineered to withstand multiple pesticides, allowing pesticide companies …. to sell both expensive GE seeds and large quantities of the pesticide cocktails that …. drive a toxic spiral of increasing weed resistance and pesticide use.

WGF has also given $300,000 to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an environmental think tank that argued in an August 2018 report that “U.S. federal agencies are falling short” when it comes to monitoring glyphosate (Bayer’s Roundup) residues in food. The weed killer, commonly paired with GMO crops, is a “poison,” the group said, which was detected at alarmingly high levels in breakfast foods. In support of this claim, EWG said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had detected “a fair amount” of glyphosate while testing food samples in 2016, but had not made the data available. The FDA responded later in the month, saying its glyphosate testing was complete and “it found no pesticide residue violations for glyphosate in “preliminary testing” …. conducted between 2016 and 2017.” Besides its funding from WGF and other foundations, EWG receives funding from 20 organic food companies through a “shared service agreement.”

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), an Arizona-based conservation group and Wallace Foundation grant recipient, endorses the same conspiratorial view of glyphosate regulation. Working closely with the organic-industry funded nonprofit U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), CBD senior scientist Nathan Donley claims that Monsanto buried evidence showing that glyphosate is carcinogenic. In an August 2018 op-ed co-authored with Carey Gillam, USRTK’s director of research Donley argued that Monsanto corrupted “the scientific record by ghostwriting literature asserting [the] safety” of glyphosate. Moreover, Monsanto and the EPA conspired to “hide the truth on Roundup,” Donley claimed in a January 2018 op-ed. The Scientific community remains unconvinced by Donley’s claims, however.

Financial Data

 

Annual Revenue: $4,416,759 (2016)

Total Assets $194,073,844 (2016)

Major Recipients (total contributions 2012-present)

EarthJustice $800,000

Natural Resources Defense Council $400,000

Environmental Working Group $300,000

Union of Concerned Scientists $300,000

Beyond Pesticides $300,000

Green Science Policy Institute $130,000

Georgia Organics $100,000

Midwest Pesticide Action Group $95,000

Center for Food Safety $75,000

Center for Biological Diversity $75,000

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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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