Our VoiceImmigration

Community Members Protest Weeden Foundation in New York


Jill Garvey • Jul 26, 2010

NWBCCC_1Community members in the Bronx are fed up with anti-immigrant bigotry. And today they are exposing a powerful New York foundation for funding the anti-immigrant movement.

The Weeden Foundation was confronted by over 100 community members in front of its Manhattan headquarters in a protest organized by the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) and Sistas and Brothas United (SBU). According to the group’s press statement, members “protest the Weeden Foundation’s funding groups that scapegoat immigrants for ecological problems. Weeden has a history of attempting to inject NWBCCC_5anti-immigrant agendas into the environmental movement, and also supporting anti-immigrant hate groups…As representatives of diverse immigrant communities, Northwest Bronx community members instead call for an immigration reform that provides all immigrants with full civil rights and a humane pathway to legalization, and an end to racial profiling, raids, mass detentions, deportations, and government programs that criminalize immigrants.”

The Weeden Foundation was featured in a report released by the Center for New Community just last week. The report outlined how anti-immigrant groups have corrupted the dialogue on population and the environment over the last 14 years.

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The report said this specifically about The Weeden Foundation:

Created in 1963 by the late Frank Weeden, The Weeden Foundation provides grants “used to address the adverse impact of growing human populations and overuse of natural resources on the biological fabric of the planet.”

Its funding is significant; for the financial years 2001-2008, total annual grants from the Foundation exceed a million dollars in all but two years. Alongside its funding for national and international “Biodiversity” projects, the Foundation also has a “Population/Consumption Program” whose domestic grants often go to fuel anti-immigrant bigotry. From 2001-2008, the Weeden Foundation disbursed nearly $700,000 in grants to controversial Tanton organizations with ties to white nationalists, such as Californians for Population Stabilization, the Center for Immigration Studies, and NumbersUSA.

The objective of the Weeden Foundation in funding these organizations is to create enough anti-immigrant leadership overlap to steer the environmental movement towards a course fueled by bigotry and racism. The leadership of the foundation is not content merely to fund these organizations, but to hold high-level leadership positions as well. For example, Weeden Foundation Executive Director Don Weeden is also on the Board of Directors for the Tanton-created NumbersUSA, whose Executive Director Roy Beck was a featured speaker at the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens in 1997.

Additionally, Alan Weeden, the father of Don Weeden, serves on not just the Board of Directors of the Weeden Foundation, but also on the Board of Directors of FAIR, also founded by white nationalist John Tanton. During the early 1990s, the Weeden foundation made at least one donation to FAIR at the same time that FAIR was still accepting funds from the pro-eugenics and white supremacist Pioneer Fund. Alan Weeden was also one of the FAIR board members who met with then Pioneer Fund President Harry Weyher in 1997 — three years after FAIR had ceased taking Pioneer Fund money — to discuss fundraising for FAIR.

Despite its funding of politically extreme organizations, The Weeden Foundation has maintained a facade of legitimacy up until this point. But with communities in its own backyard outraged by its activities, The Weeden Foundation’s reputation may be beyond repair.

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