HomeoldA look at The Laura and John Arnold Foundation which pours millions...

A look at The Laura and John Arnold Foundation which pours millions into the abortion industry and its political arms

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Over the years, those who are pro-life have read numerous accounts of billionaires investing vast sums of money into the advancement of abortion, both at home and abroad. The most favoured recipient of these funds is, of course, Planned Parenthood (and International Planned Parenthood), although there are many others.

The individuals in question are well-known figures in the field of philanthropy, representing a veritable Who’s Who of the sector. Notable examples include the George Soros and Open Society Institute (OSI), the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named after Warren Buffett’s late wife, and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, run by the heirs of one of the founders of printer manufacturer Hewlett Packard.

Another entity that has emerged but has not received the same level of scrutiny is the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. A cursory examination of the available historical documentation (accessible via the invaluable web.archive.org) reveals the following description: In 2008, Laura and John established the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. They espouse the view that philanthropy should be transformational and should seek to address persistent societal issues through innovation.

According to InfluenceWatch.org, the foundation’s areas of focus include criminal justice, education, public pensions, dietary policy, and scientific research reform. However, regardless of the other initiatives that are funded, an examination of their giving (corporate and personal) reveals that a significant proportion of their funding is directed towards organisations that are aligned with the pro-abortion movement.

To illustrate, under the heading of “personal advocacy and political contributions,” we find that between December 2015 and December 2017, Planned Parenthood Action Fund received donations amounting to $5,000,000 to $9,999,999, while Planned Parenthood Texas Vote received donations amounting to $100,000 to $499,999.

In the category of “Charitable Contributions,” the following organizations received funding during the specified time period:

  • Planned Parenthood Federation of America: $5,000,000 to $9,999,999
  • Center for Reproductive Rights: $1,000,000 to $4,999,999
  • Guttmacher Institute: $1,000,000 to $4,999,999
  • National Network of Abortion Funds: $50,000 to $99,999

We now turn our attention to the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and the recent major changes that have been implemented.

In January, David Callahan, writing at Inside Philanthropy, observed that those who closely follow the billionaire couple behind this operation are aware that they have long engaged in political giving alongside their foundation’s grantmaking. The Arnolds are now combining their philanthropic and political giving activities in a new limited liability corporation, Arnold Ventures. The objective is to establish a more unified approach to influencing public policy on a range of issues that have long been of interest to the couple.

Upon accessing the list of “public policy issues” at Arnold Ventures, one encounters the category “health,” which includes a link to an article bearing the headline “State lawmakers pass trio of reproductive-rights bills.”

In the opening sentence, Jennifer Henderson presents an inaccurate account of the New York State “Reproductive Health Act.” She describes the Act as a law “to protect reproductive rights and abortion access even if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.” As has been documented on numerous occasions at NRL News Today, the RHA not only extended the scope of Roe v. Wade, but also revoked the state’s protections for abortion survivors.

Callahan’s account, entitled ‘When Philanthropy Is Not Enough’, The article, entitled “A Top Donor Couple Takes a Broader Approach to Impact,” not only illuminates the ambitions of the Arnolds but also provides insight into the motivations of other billionaires who are eager to fund abortion groups. He states, “Some of today’s most astute mega-donors employ a strategic blend of philanthropic and political giving.” Callahan designated them as “hybrid entities.”

As Kelsey Piper explained

“Private foundations in the United States are, under most circumstances, limited to making grants to recognised 501(c)(3) nonprofit organisations. …

That’s led many prominent philanthropists to structure their giving differently, through limited liability companies rather than nonprofits. That’s what the Arnold Foundation did last week [January 2019], when it announced it would combine its philanthropic and political giving under Arnold Ventures.

Grantmaking/traditional philanthropy, as Callahan observes,

a notoriously limited instrument. The sums involved are chump change compared to what moves through capital markets or what governments spend. You can see why so many wealthy people who want to change the world have recently turned to impact investing to harness the power of markets to achieve their goals. And you can see why so many donors are trying to influence government policy. But making grants to 501(c)(3) groups will only get you so far. You can have much more impact if you also support ballot initiatives, help elect candidates who support your causes, and engage in other electoral activities. [Underline added].

So which party is getting almost all of Arnold’s money to elect candidates?

Kate Patrick writes

Another source of criticism is the Arnolds’ political partisanship.

The Arnolds were top donors to both of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, and they have given extensively to the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. They’ve partnered with other liberal philanthropists such as Michael Bloomberg on the soda tax, George Soros on the Brennan Center for Justice, and they support Patients for Affordable Drugs, an organisation run by former Clinton and Obama staffers.

The Arnold Foundation has also turned to Democratic politicians to guide its giving. Firms run by Obama strategists Robert Gibbs, Ben LaBolt and Joel Benenson received a combined $1.5 million in 2015-2016, the two most recent years for which disclosures are available.

While it’s true that they’ve contributed to several Republican House candidates in safe GOP districts this election cycle, they’ve also given the maximum allowed donation to Democratic candidates in key races: Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, Beto O’Rourke and Conor Lamb.

Mr Arnold’s succinct response to the criticism came in a tweet:

I’m now being called the next Koch Brother by the far left press and the next George Soros by the far right. I’m an equal opportunity special interest pot stirrer.

However, by providing overwhelming support for the Democratic Party and by investing millions of dollars into the Abortion Industry, it could be argued that this stance is more accurately described as pro-abortion Democratic partisan.

As Callahan astutely observed,

The model behind Arnold Ventures serves as a reminder that the boundaries between different forms of influence spending by the super-wealthy are becoming increasingly blurred. Nevertheless, while there are numerous organisations dedicated to limiting one form of such spending, namely political campaign donations, there is no comparable effort to rein in philanthropic giving, which often has the same legislative goals as campaign donors.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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