Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Obama's The Poster Child And His Cousin Warren Buffet's The Money Behind Black Lives Matter

tabletmag  |  Tides was founded in 1976 by Drummond Pike, a California real estate investor who named the entity after a Bay Area bookstore popular among left-leaning activists. From the beginning, according to their own documents, Tides was designed unlike most other nonprofit institutions. Rather than building up or spending down an endowment, it sought to become more like a sophisticated piece of software—a financial instrument that would allow wealthy individuals and donors to contribute to the causes of their choosing with more anonymity than is generally allowed by the laws governing ordinary nonprofits.

Recently, after Pike stepped away, the Tides network has taken on a distinctly political role, whose guiding star appears to be Barack Obama. The secretary of the Tides board is Suzanne Nossel, the CEO of PEN America and a former deputy assistant secretary of state for international organizations in the Obama administration; board member Cheryl Alston was appointed by Obama to the advisory committee of the federal pension program. Peter Buttenwieser, the heir to the Lehman Brothers fortune who passed away in 2018, financed a fund in his own name which is administered and distributed entirely by the Tides Foundation. A “major behind-the-scenes supporter of Democratic candidates,” Buttenwieser was one of President Obama’s earliest high profile backers, helping the then-senator organize his bid for the White House.

Moreover, Atlantic Philanthropies, a nonprofit created by billionaire retailer Chuck Feeney in the 1980s, has directed more than $42 million in grants through the Tides network since 2000. Based in Bermuda, Atlantic Philanthropies was able to participate in political lobbying efforts in ways that continental United States nonprofits cannot. Atlantic became increasingly aggressive under the Obama administration. As Gara LaMarche, Atlantic’s president, said in one think tank address, when Obama was elected “we saw opportunities to assist our grantees in moving forward more rapidly and broadly in a number of areas central to our mission.” In return, Atlantic dispensed $27 million to help push Obamacare through Congress. At the ceremony to sign Obamacare into law, LaMarche stood beside President Obama in the East Room of the White House.

In any case, what’s clear is that there is now a sophisticated and complex structure underneath what many assume to be an organic and spontaneous social movement, one with deep pockets and ambitious goals. “After over fourteen years of learning and over 700 million dollars invested ... the collapse we have been expecting is surely underway,” reads the NoVo Foundation’s website. Right now there’s only this one statement on the site, which is under construction as noted: “Working on solutions now so old patterns of power can’t, once again, re-form to rebuild and continue to repress.”

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