A group that serves as a fiscal sponsor for various liberal-leaning organizations has reportedly been the recipient of almost $170 million in government grant money.
One tumbles down a rabbit hole when exploring the financials of the Tides Center, the gatekeeper of these taxpayer funds. The San Francisco-based nonprofit, in conjunction with its sibling Tides Foundation and working under the Tides umbrella, has shrouded itself behind a 501(c)(3) status, while cloaking its extensive heritage as a left-wing cash clearinghouse.
The Tides Foundation, for its part, has been transparent in its new partnership with BLM, which it announced July 2, as Black Lives Matter protests persisted throughout the United States after the May 25 death of George Floyd.
“Tides Foundation has launched the Black Lives Matter Support Fund, which will support BLM’s grantmaking activities,” the statement on Tides’ website read. “This unique partnership will further amplify the extraordinary, unparalleled successes of BLM’s chapter-led, decentralized organizational model, while also allowing BLM to build the necessary infrastructure for sustainability.”
BLM’s fundraising torch was passed from the group’s former sponsor from 2016 through 2020, Thousand Currents, a 501(c)(3) that is located in Oakland, California.
Thousand Currents, a grant recipient in April of a $10,000 federal COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance, said it sunsetted its BLM relationship “in order to focus on its core grantmaking to grassroots groups and movements in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.” Thousand Currents gave a reciprocal blessing on its website about Tides and BLM’s new nuptials.
And according to documents filed in July with the California Department of Justice by Thousand Currents’ attorneys, the Tides Center “will serve as the new fiscal sponsor of the Black Lives Matter Global Network project.”
Meanwhile, the Tides Center has been the recipient of millions in federal grant money.
According to USASpending.gov, an official website of the U.S. government, the Tides Center has been gifted a total of $34.1 million in government grants between 2008 through 2020, with the Agency for International Development ($18.47 million) and the Department of Health and Human Services ($12.57 million) serving as the top two grant donors.
But according to the Washington Free Beacon, the Tides Center’s USASpending profile doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, the organization, which “houses numerous left-wing groups,” has received nearly $170 million in government funding overall, including $139 million from 2008 to 2020, the Free Beacon reported, citing the Tides Center’s tax data.
“During the period of time in which the website says the Tides Center received $34 million in federal funding, the group’s own tax forms show that it had received $139 million in government grants,” the outlet reported.
“The total annual sum of government grants awarded to projects at the Tides Center has steadily risen over the years. In 2001, the Tides Center reported $3.4 million in such grants on its tax forms. By 2018, the number shot up to $19.2 million, which was nearly 15 percent of the $137 million it reported in total grants and contributions that year. The $170 million in government funding was disbursed to projects between that time.”
The Free Beacon noted that “[d]ue to the Tides Center’s set up as a fiscal sponsor with numerous nonprofits that fall below it, it is virtually impossible to pinpoint where the government grants end up.”
But Scott Walter, president of the Capital Research Center, pointed out that the “Tides Center is as liberal and politically active as they come.”
“Its entire purpose is to create new activist groups,” he told the Free Beacon. “For example, we recently revealed that the Tides Center sponsors the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, one of the top groups in the Marxist-led BLM movement. It’s fair to question whether tax dollars sourced from all Americans should flow to nonprofits that have such an open ideological axe to grind.”
Government grants aren’t the only source of funding for the Tides Center, which on its 2018 IRS Form 990 — hosted on the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica — boasted net assets of more than $101.5 million.
The Tides Center admitted on its Form 990 to lobbying, with the form asking organizations if they engaged in activities in attempts to “influence foreign, national, state or local legislation, including any attempt to influence public opinion on a legislative matter or referendum.”
For the 2018 fiscal year, the Tides Center said it re-granted nearly $931,000 toward other organizations’ lobbying efforts and $732,000 for “direct contact with legislators, their staffs, government officials or a legislative body.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents the 12th Congressional District — which encompasses most of San Francisco, where the Tides Center is based — has even received a slice of the Tides pie in the distant past.
According to the nonpartisan, money-tracking, fact-finder OpenSecrets.org — a website published by the Center for Responsive Politics, which focuses on sniffing out funds funneled into U.S. politics to impact elections and public policy — the Tides Foundation donated $5,000 to Pelosi’s leadership political action committee during the 2002 election cycle, back when she represented California’s 8th Congressional District.
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