Non-profit

Amalgamated Charitable Foundation

Website:

www.amalgamatedfoundation.org

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

82-1517696

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $252,946
Expenses: $96,622
Assets: $156,324

Type:

Ideological Donor-Advised Fund Provider

Formation:

September 2017

Affiliates:

Amalgamated Bank of New York

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Workers United (SEIU division)

President:

Anna Fink

The Amalgamated Charitable Foundation is a donor-advised fund that was spun off from the Service Employees International Union-owned Amalgamated Bank in 2017. [1] It funds a number of left-progressive advocacy organizations and sponsors a campaign targeting social-conservative and immigration-restrictionist organizations identified as “hate groups” by the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center.

Amalgamated Bank

For additional information, see Amalgamated Bank of New York

The Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America created the Amalgamated Bank in 1923 to provide services to union members.  The Amalgamated Clothing Workers, after several mergers, became the Union of Needle Trades, Industrial, and Textile Employees or UNITE, which then, in 2004, merged with the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union to form Unite Here.  In 2009, about 100,000 Unite Here members split from the national union and became Workers United, which became a division of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

In 2009, Workers United and the rump Unite Here were in acrimonious “divorce” negotiations over the union’s assets, including Amalgamated Bank. [2] Ultimately, the courts declared that Amalgamated Bank would be under the control of Workers United, SEIU.

During the Great Recession, Jack Milligan reported in Bank Director magazine, Amalgamated Bank “had ventured into risky loan categories that later resulted in losses, including subprime mortgages.” The bank had several branches located in expensive Manhattan real estate. The bank closed these branches and in 2012 sold 40 percent of its stock to Wilbur Ross, currently Secretary of Commerce in the Trump administration, and Ron Burkle of the Yucaipa Companies, who provided President Bill Clinton with a substantial amount of work between 2001 and 2009. [3]

Workers United has since sold an additional 20 percent of its Amalgamated Bank shares, but its 40-percent holding means that it remains the bank’s largest shareholder. Noel Beasley, emeritus president of Workers United and president of the Eugene V. Debs Foundation, is a member of the Amalgamated Charitable Foundation’s board.

Amalgamated Bank has had a close relationship with the Democratic Party. In 2012 the bank became the principal banker for the Democratic National Committee. [4] The New York Times reported in 2015 that the Ready for Hillary Super PAC borrowed a million dollars from Amalgamated Bank and that the bank’s president, Keith Mestrich, acted as a recruiter for new members of the Democracy Alliance. In addition, the bank, which handled $40 billion in pension fund assets, warned Walmart and The Gap that they could face lawsuits over alleged unsafe working condition in factories that supplied clothes to these companies. [5]

As of September 2019, Amalgamated Bank handled the accounts of five Democratic presidential candidates:  former Vice President Joe Biden; U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); and Kamala Harris (D-CA), and then-South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg. [6]

Policies and Procedures

Ten Percent Policy

The Amalgamated Charitable Foundation was incorporated in 2017.  Unlike other donor-advised funds that do not have a minimum payout requirement, the Amalgamated Charitable Foundation requires donors to spend at least 10 percent of its assets in grants each year.  In addition, donors to Amalgamated Charitable have the option to place one percent of their assets in a communal fund to be administered by the foundation’s program officers.

In an interview with the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Amalgamated Charitable’s executive director Anna Fink, formerly with the AFL-CIO and the Wyss Foundation, said that requiring an annual payout rate of 10 percent (which the foundation calls the “10 Percent For Impact Pledge”) was part of the foundation’s goal of being “a financial partner to the social change field so we don’t have an incentive to just keep the resources sitting in investments.” She said her foundation had consulted with two older left-wing donor-advised funds, the Tides Foundation and the Proteus Fund, and might be open to collaborations with these groups in the future. [7]

Campaign against SPLC-Targeted Groups

In March 2019, Amalgamated Charitable Foundation launched the “Hate Is Not Charitable” campaign, in which the foundation said that donor-advised funds should not give money to 34 organizations branded by the controversial left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center as “hate groups.” As of December 2019, the foundation says it has enlisted 87 organizations (largely left-progressive in ideological outlook) in its campaign, including the Appleton, Brooklyn Community, East Bay Community, Embry Family, Geyelina, Hazen, Hill-Snowdon, Horizons, Jessie Smith Noyes, Liberty Hill, Reis, San Francisco, and Tides Foundations; the Chicago Theological Seminary; the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy; and the Proteus Fund. [8]

In a 2018 article in the Washington Post Magazine, David Montgomery profiled some of the organizations involved in mainstream politics and advocacy condemned by the SPLC as “hate groups.” He noted that the Center for Immigration Studies’ policy analysts had testified 100 times before congressional committees and that the public-interest law firm Alliance Defending Freedom “has won nine cases before the U.S. Supreme Court in the past seven years.” [9]

Other donor-advised fund providers, typically of a commercial orientation, have not endorsed Amalgamated’s ideological efforts, preferring to follow legislative and regulatory standards. The Chronicle of Philanthropy contacted large donor- advised funds about the Hate is Not Charitable campaign: Fidelity Charitable said, “Grants are made only to qualified charitable organizations”; Vanguard Charitable said they followed “a strict grant review” to “ensure compliance to IRS guidelines”; and Schwab Charitable said it ensured that its grants “are used only for qualified charitable purposes” and that it blocked any grants used for illegal activity. [10]

“As an independent charity that is cause-neutral, it is not Fidelity Charitable’s role to dictate what their values should be,” a Fidelity spokesperson told CBS News in December 2019. “Each of our individual donors has the right to decide which IRS-qualified charities they choose to support.” [11]

Associations with Other Left-Progressive Institutions

Amalgamated Charitable is a member of the Funders Committee for Civic Participation, “a donors’ affinity group for get-out-the-vote and immigration advocacy” and a sponsor of Jobs for Justice, part of a union-sponsored coalition advocating a $15 per hour minimum wage. [12]

In June 2019 the Hewlett Foundation gave the Amalgamated Charitable Foundation $1.5 million for the Platform for Carbon Accounting Financials Project. [13]

Grantmaking

In 2018 the Amalgamated Charitable Foundation gave six grants of over $100,000: two grants totaling $250,000 to the New Virginia Majority Education Fund, two grants totaling $500,000 to ACRONYM for the Show Up To Vote Project and the Ledge Statehouse Rock PSA Project, a $160,000 grant to the New Leaders Council, a $150,000 grant to the Tides Foundation for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Project, and $100,000 to the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Amalgamated Charitable’s 2018 tax returns indicate the New Leaders Council grant as follows: “Please report publicly as anonymous.” [14]

References

  1. “Amalgamated Foundation:  Vision,” https://www.amalgamatedfoundation.org/vision  ^
  2. Patrick J. McDonnell, “2 Unions Bitterly Split Over Members,” Los Angeles Times, November 9, 2009, https://latimes.com/archives-la-xpm-2009-nov-09-fl-union-fight9-story.html ^
  3. Jack Milligan, “Labor of Love,” Bank Director Magazine, https://www.amalgamatedbank.com/news/labor-of-love ^
  4. “Democratic National Committee Moves Its Money To Amalgamated Bank,” press release from Amalgamated Bank, August 10,2012, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/democratic-national-committee-moves-its-money-to-amalgamated-bank/165778666.html ^
  5. Nicholas Confessore, “Owned By Union, Amalgamated Bank Gives Lift to the Left,” New York Times, August 29, 2015, https://nyti.ms/1ErDBU3 ^
  6. Jack Milligan, “Labor of Love,” Bank Director Magazine, https://www.amalgamatedbank.com/news/labor-of-love ^
  7. Alex Daniels, “New Donor-Advised Fund Pushed To Keep The Cash Moving,” Chronicle of Philanthropy, April 11, 2018, https://www.philanthropy.com/article/New-Donor-Advised-Fund-Pushes/243086 ^
  8. “Hate Is Not Charitable Campaign,” https://www.amalgamatedfoundation.org/hate-is-not-charitable ^
  9. David Montgomery, “The State of Hate,” Washington Post Magazine, November 18, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/magazine/wp/2018/11/08/feature/is-the-southern-poverty-law-center-judging-hate-fairly. ^
  10. Maria Di Mento, “Campaign Urges DAF Providers Not To Give to Hate Groups,” Chronicle of Philanthropy, March 20, 2019, https://www.philanthropy.com/campaign-urges-DAF-partners/245938 ^
  11. Stephen Gandel, “Fidelity Charitable Fund Bankrolls ‘Hate Groups,’ Critics Say,” CBS News, December 10, 2019, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fidelity-401k-provider-criticized-for-funding-hate-groups ^
  12. Hayden Ludwig, “Trade Union Bank Gets Into The ‘Dark Money’ Game,” Capital Research Center, July 10, 2018, https://www.capitalresearch.org/article/trade-union-bank-gets-into-the-dark-money-game ^
  13. https://hewlett.org/grants/amalgamated-foundation-for-the-platform-for-carbon-accounting-financials-pcaf-project  ^
  14. Amalgamated Charitable Foundation Form 990, Schedule I. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Anna Fink
    Executive Director
  2. Keith Mestrich
    Chair of the Board
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 2017

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $252,946 $96,622 $156,324 $0 N $252,946 $0 $0 $0

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Amalgamated Charitable Foundation

    275 SEVENTH AVE
    NEW YORK, NY 10001-6708