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The Arca Foundation, by Matthew Vadum (Foundation Watch, October 2011)

The Arca Foundation, by Matthew Vadum (Foundation Watch, October 2011)

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Published by Matthew Vadum
This article, published by Capital Research Center, is called The Arca Foundation, by Matthew Vadum (Foundation Watch, October 2011).

Matthew Vadum (matthewvadum.com) is the author of Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers (WND Books, 2011).
This article, published by Capital Research Center, is called The Arca Foundation, by Matthew Vadum (Foundation Watch, October 2011).

Matthew Vadum (matthewvadum.com) is the author of Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers (WND Books, 2011).

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Published by: Matthew Vadum on Jul 25, 2012


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Stopping Juvenile Detention:
October 2011
The Arca Foundation
Page 1
Philanthropy Notes
Page 6 
By Matthew Vadum
he fact that
magazine edi-tor Katrina vanden Heuvel adoresthe Washington, D.C.-based ArcaFoundation ought to serve as a red
ag forconservatives. Arca is “one of the most inter-esting small progressive foundations workingtoday, with a commitment to social justice athome and abroad that spans over 50 years,”says vanden Heuvel, a well-connected andstylish leftist who used to serve on the Arcaboard of directors.If by “interesting” vanden Heuvel meanshaving a knee-jerk antipathy toward main-stream American politics, then’s she abso-lutely right.In 1952 Arca started out as the Nancy Reyn-olds Bagley Foundation when it was foundedby its namesake, who was the last survivingchild of the founder of the R.J. ReynoldsTobacco Company. In 1953 she divorcedher husband Henry Walker Bagley. After asubsequent marriage and divorce she revertedto the name Nancy Susan Reynolds. Shedied at age 74 in 1985. Reynolds had whatArca calls “her own ideas — some decidedlymodern ideas for a Southern woman, a wifeand a mother of four — about what the worldshould and could be.”Upon founding the philanthropy she wrote,“I have been troubled and dissatis-
ed with the manner in which Ihave given to charitable enterprises.Each cause may be worthy in itself,but such isolated giving does notachieve the results that the sameamount could realize if concentratedin one
eld or a few related ones.Foundations do not work in sucha haphazard fashion. The naturaldiversity of opinion found in anygroup leads to more thorough plan-ning and eventually achieves morecontinuity and sustained interest.”
: Few outside the world of phi-lanthropy have heard of the nearly 60 year old Arca Foundation but that doesn’t meanit hasn’t been effective. Founded by a to-bacco heiress, Arca has been on the cuttingedge of radical left-wing causes, embracingFidel Castro’s Cuba, the Palestinian cause,Saul Alinsky-inspired community organiz-ing, and the never-ending social justicecampaigns of the Left.
The Arca Foundation
In 1968 Reynolds changed the foundation’sname to Arca, the Latin word for
and the Italian work for
, a vesselthat provides safety and protection. She feltthat charitable foundations should blaze atrail instead of merely substitute giving forgovernment. And what a trail Arca blazed.Arca trustees take educational journeys totroubled lands to see strife up close. Yet when
2October 2011
Matthew Vadum
Terrence Scanlon
Foundation Watch 
is published by Capital ResearchCenter, a non-partisan education andresearch organization, classi
ed bythe IRS as a 501(c)(3) public charity.
1513 16th Street, N.W.Washington, DC 20036-1480
(202) 483-6900
(800) 459-3950
E-mail Address:
Web Site:
Organization Trends 
welcomes let-ters to the editor.
are available for $2.50 pre-paid to Capital Research Center.
they visit countries like El Salvador, SouthAfrica, the former Soviet Union, Cuba, orthe Middle East they seem to consistentlydraw the wrong conclusions. Throughout its59 year history Arca has advocated solvingproblems at home and abroad by denigratingmarkets and economic freedoms and by cel-ebrating the bene
ts of revolutionary politicalchange and government coercion.Arca’s mission statement is stuffed withconventional liberal rhetoric that cloaks theradicalism of its grantmaking:The Arca Foundation is dedicatedto advancing social equity and justice, particularly given thegrowing disparities in our world.The Foundation believes that avibrant democracy requires anorganized and informed citizenrythat has access to information andfree expression.In pursuit of these principles, Arcasupports innovative and strategicefforts that work to advance equity,to the General Board of the United Method-ist Church for travel and related expensesassociated with the legal representation of Gonzalez’s father. (Seehttp://www.cubanet.org/CNews/y00/may00/09e11.htm.)Arca has also given grants to the CubaPolicy Foundation ($350,000 in 2001),Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba($467,050 since 2000), the Lexington Insti-tute ($375,000 since 2000), a conservativegroup favoring changes in U.S.-Cuba policy;and Persephone Productions ($150,000 in2001) to produce a program for the PBSshow “To the Contrary” about U.S. policytoward Cuba. A $75,000 grant in 2001 wentto the John F. Kennedy Center for the Per-forming Arts in Washington, D.C., to bringthe Ballet Nacional de Cuba to the KennedyCenter stage.Arca prides itself on giving money to groupsthat focus on “international affairs, foreignpolicy, international human rights, publicpolicy, and research.” It supports higher fund-ing levels for failing public schools, highertaxes on the rich, socialized medicine, andwealth redistribution. Arca also funded the Il-linois Death Penalty Education Project whichtakes credit for convincing then-Illinois Gov.George Ryan to put a moratorium on capitalpunishment in 2000, a move that saved thelives of more than 160 death row inmates.With her inheritance, Nancy ReynoldsBagley and her husband Henry bought a600-acre estate in Georgia and named it Mus-grove. According to DiscoverTheNetworks,the property “is used as a retreat for whatthe Arca Foundation calls ‘policy-makers,in
uential thinkers and progressive activistsfrom around the world.’ President JimmyCarter held his
rst pre-inaugural Cabinetmeeting in the seclusion of Musgrove.”Members of the Bagley family remainaccountability, social justice andparticipatory democracy in the USand abroad. While the Foundation’sareas of focus evolve over time, weachieve our fundamental purposeby supporting efforts that affectpublic policy.In practice what this means is that Arca iscommitted to funding the policy prioritiesof the Left. It gives grants to radical envi-ronmentalists, anti-corporate activists, andfriends of the Communist regime in Cuba andthe former Communist regime in Nicaragua.Unsurprisingly, Arca praises
gures such as
lmmaker Michael Moore and Democraticpolitician Howard Dean. Arca is a memberorganization of both the far-left Peace andSecurity Funders Group (pro
led by John J.Tierney,
Foundation Watch
, August 2009)and the International Human Rights FundersGroup (IHRFG).For many years a favorite Arca cause hasbeen Communist Cuba. While Cuba is rightlydenounced for its repression of dissidents,Arca makes grants to groups that denouncethe U.S. trade embargo against the islandnation. Cuba remains on the State Depart-ment’s list of state sponsors of terrorism,alongside Iran and Syria, but Arca continu-ally calls for dialogue and understanding.Before six-year old Elian Gonzales wasforcibly returned to Cuba in 2000, he andhis father were the guests of Arca presidentSmith Bagley at a dinner party held in theirelegant Georgetown home.Elian’s mother died in trying to bring her sonto America. But Arca agreed that he shouldbe returned to Cuba. Said a spokesman forthe anti-Castro Cuban American NationalFoundation, “Arca is a walkup window forfree checks passed out to any and all comerswith an ideological ax to grind against U.S.policy on Cuba.” In 2000 Arca gave $5,000
3October 2011
involved in Arca’s affairs. Until he died inJanuary 2010, Smith Bagley (son of NancyReynolds Bagley) served as the foundation’spresident. His daughter Nancy R. Bagleysucceeded him as president.Nancy R. Bagley is also editor-in-chief of 
Washington Life,
a glossy “lifestyle”magazine that chronicles the balls and galasattended by what passes for the social set inthe nation’s capital. She is also a trustee onthe board of the Z. Smith Reynolds Founda-tion, named for Nancy Reynolds’s brother. Itfocuses its liberal advocacy on the people of North Carolina. Earlier, Bagley worked onthe Clinton-Gore presidential campaign andthen on HillaryCare when she took a positionin the Clinton White House.
Finances and Grantmaking
Arca is not a large foundation. Foundation-Search ranks it 2,072th in asset size amongU.S. foundations. Even in the District of Columbia it ranks 51st in asset size witha reported $48 million in 2009. Arca’s in-come (mostly on investments) was $14.7million.But what the foundation lacks in size it morethan makes up for in the focus and intensityof its giving to radical organizations. Arcafunds groups such as the Institute for PolicyStudies ($584,200 since 2001), a strongholdof Marxist thinking; the Center for Constitu-tional Rights ($115,000 since 2001), a publicinterest law
rm that looks for opportunitiesto defend anti-American radical activists;and Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now”($40,000 in 2004), a daily program of left-ist news stories broadcast on 900 radio andtelevision stations nationwide.Arca has a special af 
nity for making grantsto activist media outlets that tend to portrayconservatives as irrational zealots. Amongthese organizations are Media Matters forAmerica ($150,000 since 2004); Com-mon Cause Education Fund ($1,395,000since 2000); Institute for America’s Future($625,000 since 2000); US Action Educa-tion Fund ($245,000 since 2002); People forthe American Way Foundation ($650,000since 2001); Working America EducationFund ($200,000 since 2008); Nation In-stitute ($100,000 since 2004); LeadershipConference on Civil Rights Education Fund($225,000 since 2003); Center for PublicInterest Research ($300,000 since 2003);Drum Major Institute ($250,000 since 2007);League of Conservation Voters EducationFund ($250,000 since 2004); Center forIndependent Media a.k.a. American Indepen-dent News Network ($250,000 since 2008);and the anti-Israel J Street Education Fund($50,000 in 2009).Arca also funds Saul Alinsky-inspired com-munity organizing networks including theCenter for Community Change ($350,000since 2003) and the Gamaliel Foundation($325,000 since 2004), which used to employBarack Obama as a trainer. It gives largegrants to the Tides Foundation and TidesCenter ($940,000 since 2001), which supportand nurture many small and obscure radicalgroups. Arca even gave a $25,000 grant in2003 to the eco-terrorist Ruckus Society.
Donna Edwards: Community Organizer,Grantmaker, Member of Congress
Arca’s staff is mostly comprised of commit-ted but little-known activists. The currentexecutive director, Anna Lefer Kuhn, is aformer program of 
cer at George Soros’sOpen Society Institute. However, DonnaEdwards is a former executive directorwho is far better-known. Now a Democraticmember of the House of Representativesrepresenting Washington, D.C. suburbsin Maryland, Edwards’s career trajectoryillustrates how even the most radical leftistcan achieve political power.Edwards joined Arca in 2000, where shecoordinated grantmaking before winningelection to Congress in 2008. Prior to joiningArca, Edwards worked to enact the ViolenceAgainst Women Act (VAWA), a 1994 law thatestablished a $1.6 billion government pro-gram that focused on crimes against women.The law also created the Of 
ce of ViolenceAgainst Women within the U.S. Departmentof Justice. Subsequently, from 1996 to 1999,Edwards served as executive director of theNational Network to End Domestic Violence,a group she co-founded.Many critics regard VAWA as a well-inten-tioned law that is misconceived because itexpands the de
nition of domestic violence,makes it a federal crime in some cases, andenhances the penalties for perpetrators com-mitting acts of violence against women
Civilliberties groups on the Left and Right haveexpressed concern that the law de
nes thecrime of domestic violence too loosely andgives police and courts too much power tosuppress it.The U.S. Supreme Court agreed, much toEdwards’s chagrin. Like other politicalradicals, Edwards sees such matters as theseparation of powers in the U.S. Constitutionas an obstacle to social justice. In a 2000 casecalled
U.S. v. Morrison
the Supreme Courtstruck down the provisions in VAWA thatgave victims of gender-related violence theright to sue attackers in federal court. Thelaw’s defenders argued that the Constitu-tion’s Commerce Clause gave the federalgovernment the power to make legislationabout what is usually considered a state mat-ter. But the high court ruled that Congresshad no power to regulate violence againstwomen because, simply stated, violenceisn’t commerce.From 1992 to 1994, Edwards was a lobbyistfor Public Citizen’s Congress Watch project,

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