Tides Foundation

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Tides Foundation
FounderDrummond Pike
TypePublic charity
Area served
ServicesDonor-advised fund, fiscal sponsorships, management services
Key people
Janiece Evans-Page (CEO)[2]
$863 million[3]
Expenses$614 million[3]

Tides Foundation is a left-leaning donor advised fund based in the United States.[4] It was founded in San Francisco in 1976 by Drummond Pike. Tides distributes money from anonymous donors to other organizations, which are often politically progressive.[5] An affiliated group, Tides Advocacy, is a "massive progressive incubator."[6] Tides has received substantial funding from George Soros.[7]


Tides was founded in 1976 by Drummond Pike, who worked with Jane Bagley Lehman, heir to the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company fortune.[8]: 265 [9] In the chapter entitled "The Givers" in his 2017 publication by the same name, The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age, which is a more recent edition of his 2010 book, Fortunes of Change: The Rise of the Liberal Rich and the Remaking of America, David Callahan wrote that Pike was an "entrepreneurial activist" and that Pike and his "wealthy friends" teamed up" to create Tides which "used donor-advised funds to direct resources to progressive causes."[8]: 202  Callahan, who is the co-founder of the think tank Demos, contrasted this with a similar approach taken by Donors Trust, an American non-profit donor-advised fund that was founded in 1999 to safeguard the "intent of libertarian and conservative donors".[10][8]: 204, 205 

Lehman served as the chair of the organization from its founding to her death in 1988.[11] Tides was conceived as a nationally oriented community foundation, and founded out of Pike's frustration with established philanthropy's perceived neglect of progressive issues.[12] He envisioned using fiscal sponsorship for progressive political activism.[13] Fiscal sponsorship uses a tax-exempt charity to provide financial support to a non-exempt project or organization, therefore lending it tax exemption as long as the charity retains control of the way its funds are spent.[14] He served as its CEO until he was replaced by Melissa L. Bradley in 2010.[15]

Pike founded a Canadian version of the organization, Tides Canada, in 2000.[16] Tides Canada, which is based in Vancouver, makes grants through its foundation and has a charity that supports environmental and social justice projects.[17] It consists of the Tides Canada Foundation and the Tides Canada Initiatives Society.[18][19]

By 2009, Tides allocated $75 million per year in donor money, most of which went to fund progressive political causes.[8]: 202  In 2011, Tides received about $90 million in funding, and awarded about $96 million to various individuals and organizations.[20]

In 2021, Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse described the Tides Foundation as an instance of "Democratic dark money", which he said mirrored – and had caught up with – similar organizations exercising covert influence on the Republican side.[21]


Organizations that began as projects of Tides include Campaign to Defend the Constitution, Higher Education Recruitment Consortium, People for the American Way, Pew Internet and American Life Project, Rockridge Institute, Social Venture Network, Urgent Action Fund, and V-Day.[22] The Tides website lists 130 current grantees.[23] As Tides is a public charity, it allows sponsors to donate money to different organizations—including for-profit as well as nonprofit entities—through donor-advised funds.[24] Donor-advised funds are funds held in accounts by nonprofit organizations, like Tides, that then make grants to third-party entities on the donor's behalf.[25] Organizations that have partnered with Tides to set up these funds include Girl Rising and the Humble Bundle.[26][27]

In 2000, Tides launched a program called "Bridging the Economic Divide." It focused on funding living wage campaigns and economic justice coalitions. Tides also launched the Tides Death Penalty Mobilization Fund, which supports the anti-death penalty movement. The Michigan Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence was founded with support from Tides.[28]

Tides has received at least $3.5 million from liberal financier and political activist George Soros.[29]

From 2003 to 2012, Tides gave around $4.4 million to media advocacy organization Media Matters for America.[citation needed] It has stated that it supports the Occupy Wall Street movement. The CEO of Tides, Melissa L. Bradley, stated in a blog post in October 2011 that the movement "represents the best of American ideals and ingenuity."[30]

In 2023, the Washington Examiner, a U.S. conservative news outlet, reported that the Tides Foundation and its affiliate, the Tides Center, had donated over $1 million to anti-Israel groups behind demonstrations pushing for an Israel-Gaza conflict ceasefire and downplaying Palestinian terror in the Middle East.[31]

Advocacy Fund[edit]

Tides is affiliated with the Tides Advocacy Fund (also known as Tides Advocacy), a liberal lobbying group.[32] In the 2012 election cycle, the Advocacy Fund gave $11.5 million to 501(c)(4) organizations, including $2 million to the League of Conservation Voters, $1.8 million to America Votes and $1.3 million to the Center for Community Change.[33] The Advocacy Fund has also supported the environmentally-focused groups Bold Nebraska, National Wildlife Federation Action Fund, NRDC Action Fund, and the Sierra Club.[34]

In 2008, the Advocacy Fund contributed to campaigns opposing Colorado Amendment 46, Colorado Amendment 47, Colorado Amendment 49 and Colorado Amendment 54.[35] The Advocacy Fund distributed $11.8 million in grants in 2013 to groups promoting mass amnesty for illegal immigrants, increased worker protections, chemical safety legal reform, and increased investment in the solar energy industry.[36]

Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization which manages Wikipedia, has worked with the Tides Foundation since 2016. The multimillion-dollar Wikimedia Endowment was created in 2016 to support the Wikimedia projects, and is managed by Tides.[37] In 2019, Wikimedia's incoming general counsel, Amanda Keton, had previously served as the general counsel of the Tides Network, the head of Tides Foundation, and the CEO of Tides Advocacy.[38] In 2020, Wikimedia established a $4.5M donor-advised fund, the Wikimedia Foundation Knowledge Equity Fund, at Tides Advocacy.[39]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Contact Us". Tides. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  2. ^ "Tides Network Selects Janiece Evans-Page as Next CEO". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. 2020-10-23. Retrieved 2021-06-23.
  3. ^ a b "Tides Foundation". Influence Watch. Retrieved 13 December 2023.
  4. ^ "Tides Foundation". Inside Philanthropy. 1 July 2022. Retrieved 13 December 2023.
  5. ^ Wexler, Celia (August 10, 2022). "Think Tank Leaders Don't Lack for Ideas, But Fundraising Can Still Be Brutal". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  6. ^ Terris, Ben (26 April 2023). "The Washington gambler". Washington Post. Retrieved 13 December 2023.
  7. ^ Mason, Melanie (17 October 2023). "Butler's lucrative post-union work included a $1M-plus Airbnb payout". POLITICO. Retrieved 13 December 2023.
  8. ^ a b c d Callahan, David (2017) [2010]. The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age. Alfred A. Knopf. p. 343. ISBN 978-1-101-97104-8.
  9. ^ Callahan, David (August 8, 2010). Fortunes of Change: The Rise of the Liberal Rich and the Remaking of America (1st ed.). Hoboken, N.J: Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-17711-2.
  10. ^ Callahan, David (March 3, 2016). "Inside DonorsTrust: What This Mission-Driven DAF Offers Philanthropists on the Right". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  11. ^ "Jane Lehman, 55; Active in Philanthropy". The New York Times. April 21, 1988. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  12. ^ McCarthy & Faber 2005, p. 133.
  13. ^ Manheim 2004, p. 69.
  14. ^ Manheim 2004, p. 67.
  15. ^ "Tides Taps Social Entrepreneur and Progressive Thought Leader as New CEO". Tides. September 15, 2010. Archived from the original on September 25, 2010.
  16. ^ "Canada Revenue Agency website, Tides Canada Foundation". Canada Revenue Agency. 27 November 2019.
  17. ^ Carlson, Kathryn Blaze (June 27, 2012). "Tides, critics clash over charity's claims of transparency". National Post. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  18. ^ Klassen, Mike (September 25, 2010). "Vision donor Drummond Pike steps down as Tides boss". CityCaucus.com. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  19. ^ "Charitable Registrations - Tides Canada". Tides Canada. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  20. ^ "Tides > Grantees". Tides.
  21. ^ Rodgers, Jack (March 10, 2021). "Dark Money Judicial Influence Examined in Senate". Courthouse News Service. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  22. ^ "History". Tides. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  23. ^ "Project Directory". Tides. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  24. ^ Kellow 2007, p. 144.
  25. ^ "A philanthropic boom: "donor-advised funds"". The Economist. March 23, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  26. ^ "What is the Girl Rising Fund?". Girl Rising. 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  27. ^ "Humble Bundle Giving Fund at Tides Foundation". Humble Support. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  28. ^ Anheier & Leat 2006, p. 57.
  29. ^ Egan, Mark; Nichols, Michelle (October 14, 2011). "Soros: not a funder of Wall Street protests". Reuters. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  30. ^ Bradley, Melissa L. (October 12, 2011). "Why We Support the #OccupyWallStreet Movement". Tides.
  31. ^ "Hamas-friendly protest groups bankrolled by Democratic dark money juggernaut Tides". Washington Examiner. 2023-12-01. Retrieved 2023-12-03.
  32. ^ Choma, Russ; Vendituoli, Monica (July 22, 2013). "Advocacy Fund Spends Millions to Lobby on Immigration". OpenSecrets.
  33. ^ Blumenthal, Paul (April 9, 2014). "Nothing Really Compares To The Koch Brothers' Political Empire". Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  34. ^ Yachnin, Jennifer (December 11, 2013). "Still 'electing the best, defeating the worst' -- but with far greater resources than before". E&E Publishing. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  35. ^ "Tides Advocacy Fund". Follow The Money. National Institute on Money in State Politics. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  36. ^ Blumenthal, Paul (January 29, 2015). "Groups With Liberal Ties Tapped To Re-Elect The GOP Establishment". Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  37. ^ "Wikimedia Endowment - Meta". meta.wikimedia.org. Retrieved 2022-11-24.
  38. ^ "Wikimedia Foundation welcomes Amanda Keton as General Counsel". Wikimedia Foundation. 2019-10-03. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  39. ^ "Knowledge Equity Fund/Frequently asked questions - Meta". meta.wikimedia.org. Retrieved 2022-11-24.

Further reading[edit]

Anheier, Helmut K.; Leat, Diana (2006). Creative Philanthropy: Toward a New Philanthropy for the Twenty-First Century. Routledge. ISBN 9781134197651.
Kellow, Aynsley J. (2007). Science and Public Policy: The Virtuous Corruption of Virtual Environmental Science. Edward Elgar Publishing. ISBN 9781847208767.
Manheim, Jarol B. (2004). Biz-War and the Out-of-Power Elite: The Progressive-Left Attack on the Corporation. Psychology Press. ISBN 9780805850680.
McCarthy, Deborah; Faber, Daniel (2005). Foundations for Social Change: Critical Perspectives on Philanthropy and Popular Movements. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9780742549883.

External links[edit]