Our VoiceNews & Politics

The Colcom Foundation: Bankrolling the Greening of Hate

Rebecca Poswolsky • Sep 06, 2011

The Colcom Foundation not only funds prominent John Tanton Network groups such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), NumbersUSA, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), U.S., Inc, and Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR), as it also funds environmental organizations external to the Network that are concerned with conservation and population stabilization.

The Colcom Foundation, based in Pittsburgh, PA, funds the above conglomeration of groups that are all members, again, of the John Tanton Network, i.e. the bulk of the anti-immigrant movement which was founded by and/or subsequently funded by white nationalist John Tanton. According to financial documents obtained by Imagine2050, from 2008-2010 Colcom donated over $25 million dollars to the aforementioned anti-immigrant organizations.

It goes without saying that there should be no overlap between the funding of the larger environmental preservation movement and the outright fueling of organized bigotry.  But philanthropic foundations like Colcom make delimiting such polar movements extremely difficult.

While Colcom is the lifeblood that sustains the functioning anti-immigrant movement, the foundation also supports a long list of non-Tanton groups like Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, the National Park Service, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Mount Washington Community Development Corp., Allegheny Land Trust, Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population, Population Media Center, and beyond.

That such a foundation indeed powers the largest figures within the contemporary anti-immigrant movement while also maintaining such a high level of interest in supporting conservation and population stabilization is perhaps bewildering, if not shocking.  If we truly want to talk about land preservation, population growth, and/or conservation – let alone dialogue on how to move toward an environmental movement that’s free of bigotry – Colcom comes to represent a sizable barrier.

Colcom, as expressed last week on Imagine2050, has a clear past and present of investing in the preservation of the anti-immigrant movement.  Again, a foundation that so heavily funds environmental conservation but that also has such a significant role in solidifying the anti-immigrant movement is alarming. Key to understanding such a two-pronged funding scheme is this: every day the John Tanton Network is attempting to divide and to destroy our ability to manifest rationale environmental solutions, just as they’re trying to halt our society’s ability to develop rationale solutions to immigration complications. The Tanton Network recognizes that to conquer and to control overlaps of rhetoric, they must absorb an overlap of funding, one that extends from and perchance connects the mainstream with them on the far-right.

Funding bigotry in the name of conservation is a sham, especially with the approval of so-called environmentalists.  Those of us interested in actual solutions to climate change and environmental degradation should be aware of this reprehensible overlap of funding, as this overlap just further underscores why we must take a stand against the greening of hate.

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