Our VoiceCulture

Quiz Time: Which Single Foundation Almost Solely Bankroll’s the Entirety of the John Tanton Network?


Stephen Piggott • Sep 01, 2011

What do the following anti-immigrant groups all have in common: ProEnglish, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), Center for Immigration Studies, NumbersUSA, Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR), VDARE, Negative Population Growth (NPG), and U.S., Inc?

If you guessed that all are members of the John Tanton Network, the anti-immigrant movement founded by white nationalist John Tanton, you would be correct.

Besides ties to white nationalism, all of these groups receive significant funding from one foundation, the Colcom Foundation based in Pittsburgh, PA. According to financial documents obtained by Imagine2050, from 2008-2010 Colcom has donated over $25 million dollars to the aforementioned anti-immigrant groups from 2008-2010.

That’s right—$25 MILLION!

According to Colcom’s own 2008-2010 financial documents, the “Big 3” of the anti-immigrant movement received the bulk of this money with FAIR receiving over $6.5 million, NumbersUSA receiving over $7.5 million, and CIS receiving almost $3 million. Without question, no other foundation is donating anywhere near that amount to the Tanton Network. The Sarah Scaife Foundation, just as an example, donated over $1.1 million to Tanton Network groups from 2008-2010.

After seeing these numbers, you might ask yourself why one foundation would give so much money to groups that are so virulently anti-immigrant.

To find the answer one needs to look no further than John Tanton’s good friend Cordelia Scaife May, the founder of Colcom. Scaife May died in 2005, leaving $404 million to Colcom, the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii, and the National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Unsurprisingly, of the groups that Colcom serves as supreme benefactor for, John Tanton founded or funded almost all of them.

In a 2001 letter sent to “Cordy,” as Tanton affectionately refers to her, he wrote, “Mary Lou and I attended a Christmas concert here recently with a local orchestra, and a children’s treble choir. Everyone of the kids was a blonde [sic] or redhead. You don’t see much of that anymore these days!”

In 1998 letter to his dear Cordy, Tanton wrote:

“Enclosed is the article from Virginia’s journal, Population Environment [sic] that I mentioned to you. It is written by Kevin McDonald, who has now been appointed to succeed Virginia as editor of the journal. This article is fairly long, but is very much worth the time to read it. I’m sure it will give you a new understanding of the Jewish outlook on life, which explains a large part of the Jewish opposition to immigration reform.”

The “Virginia” that Tanton is referring to is none other than Virginia Abernethy, a woman who refers to herself as an “ethnic separatist.” Kevin McDonald, which is actually spelled MacDonald, is a vehemently anti-Semitic professor out of California.

MacDonald’s anti-Semitism is well documented, stating the following in 2002:

“In the 20th century many millions of people have been killed in the attempt to establish Marxist societies based on the ideal of complete economic and social leveling, and many more millions of people have been killed as a result of the failure of Jewish assimilation into European societies… . [T]he result has been a widening gulf between the cultural successes of Jews and Gentiles and a disaster for society as a whole.”

The Colcom foundation also has another close Tanton friend in its ranks. John Rohe, Colcom’s vice president of philanthropy, worked at Tanton’s U.S., Inc. Rohe also wrote John Tanton and his wife Mary Lou’s biography, Mary Lou & John Tanton: A Journey into American Conservation.

The message is simple: the Colcom Foundation is the John Tanton Network’s lifeblood. And that blood feeds and sustains the Netork’s many extremities, and keeps its vital organs healthy and functioning. Together, they fuel the largest figure within the contemporary anti-immigrant movement.

If we are to struggle against said Network, against the anti-immigrant movement en masse – which is everyday dividing and staining our communities and states with so much bigotry – one must recognize its main source of nourishment—Colcom’s coffers of tainted cash.

Imagine 2050 Newsletter