The National Christian Foundation is America’s eighth largest public charity, but it doesn’t build houses, educate children, feed the hungry, or provide other goods or services one might commonly associate with a charity. It’s also not a household name like the Red Cross, but that doesn’t prevent it from having vast influence. According to a new investigation from Sludge, the far-right, evangelical NCF “has donated $56.1 million on behalf of its clients to 23 nonprofits identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups.”
Ilana Novick | truthdig
These nonprofits include multiple anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate groups. In fact, as reporter Alex Kotch points out, Inside Philanthropy has said that NCF “is probably the single biggest source of money fueling the pro-life and anti-LGBT movements over the past 15 years.”
In addition to not being a direct service charity, the NCF is also not a conventional foundation that a wealthy donor uses as a vehicle to grow and then give away their money to multiple other charities over time. Instead, it’s a donor-advised fund, offering its Christian donors “expert guidance and creative giving solutions,” Kotch writes.
Helaine Olen, writing in The Atlantic, calls these donor-advised funds a “waiting room for charitable donations,” in which anyone, not only the wealthy, can place money into the fund, let it grow, and then have it distribute the money gradually to organizations of the donor’s choice.
According to Kotch, these funds allow their clients “immediate tax breaks on donations.”
They also give individual donors who pay into the fund anonymity. While Sludge was able to use publicly available tax findings to determine which organizations NCF funded, the names of the fund’s donors stay hidden.