James E. Casey (1888-1983), the founder of United Parcel Service, and his family created the Annie E. Casey Foundation in 1948. When Casey died, the foundation received much of his estate, and the endowment doubled when, in 1999, UPS raised $5.47 billion from an initial public offering.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation specializes in programs that deal with children, with an emphasis on programs that deal with families and with juvenile justice. It publishes Kids Count, an annual statistical reference that is widely cited by the media when they write about children. It funds fellowships for journalists who write about children and families and is the largest funder of research about children and families; it therefore plays a major role in the public policy debates about policies towards children.
The Casey Foundation is also one of the two largest foundations in Baltimore, and awards millions in grants each year to organizations in that city. The foundation, collaborating with Johns Hopkins University and the city of Baltimore, has been a partner in East Baltimore Development Inc., (EBDI), a project that started in 2003 and that has no definite date for its completion. The Casey Foundation works closely with the Open Society Institute-Baltimore (also known as the Alliance for Open Society International), the only branch of George Soros’s Open Society Foundations not located in New York of Washington. In 2005, the Casey Foundation was the largest contributor in a bailout that kept the Open Society Institute-Baltimore from closing. More recently, the two organizations have worked together on programs to improve school attendance for Baltimore public school students and to provide legal services for immigrants.
James Casey and UPS
In 1907, James E. Casey started the American Messenger Company, employing a corps of bicycle messengers to deliver messages and packages in the Seattle area. In 1913, the company’s name changed to Merchants Delivery Service to reflect its shift to a package delivery company. In 1919 the name changed for a third time to United Parcel Service. During Casey’s lengthy career — he stopped being chairman of the board of UPS in 1962, and stayed on the board until a month before his death — UPS further evolved, transforming itself from a company that delivered packages for department stores in large cities into a common carrier that delivered packages nationwide. 
Part of UPS’s corporate strategy was that it was a large, privately held company that tried to tell its competitors—and the public—that it was much smaller than it actually was.
“We have made no secret of our policies, but have believed it inadvisable to broadcast all our business affairs to the world,” James E. Casey announced at a 1957 conference celebrating UPS’s 50th anniversary. “We have kept confidential facts and figures pretty close to ourselves, as most prudent people to with their private affairs. In building this privately held company for all of us, we have found that it pays to mind our own business and keep on sawing wood.” 
Casey was similarly tight-lipped about his charity and politics. It is not known if Casey was a Democrat or a Republican, and his political donations, if there were any, remain unknown. The chief primary source for James Casey’s writing is Our Partnership Legacy, a memorial volume issued by UPS in 1985. The book says nothing about Casey’s views on charity.
In his lifetime, Casey made three major donations to charity. He created the Annie E. Casey Foundation in 1948. In a speech in 1986, UPS chairman George Lamb quoted a statement Casey made at an unknown date: “The members of the Casey family have from the beginning intended the principal purpose of the Annie E. Casey Foundation would be to support needy children in foster homes.” He added “the Foundation does not support care for children as its exclusive purpose. Other projects are taken at the discretion of the trustees.” 
Casey also donated to Seattle University, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1957 and which named a building after him.
Early Foundation Years
Lamb explained that in 1965, Casey wrote, “the Annie E. Casey Foundation will eventually have assets great enough to support a project of its own—rather than contribute to organizations already set up and in operation. It should be able to do something that will fit the individual needs of the person it wants to help.” 
According to Lamb, in 1968 Casey, working with Joseph Reid of the Child Welfare League of America, created two agencies, Casey Family Services on the east coast, and Casey Family Programs in Seattle, which took orphans, placed them with foster parents, and provided a stipend so that the child could have his needs for foods and clothing met and get a decent start in life. Casey Family Services, a division of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, stopped being a foster care provider in 2012. Casey Family Programs continue to exist as an operating foundation separate from, but allied with, the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Lamb, in his 1986 speech, said that in 1985 the Casey Foundation “decided to expand the focus of its concern” away from the two Casey foster care programs “to other areas affecting children and youth. He said the foundation’s board had decided that there were many problems troubled children faced—drug use, poor schools, disease. He said the foundation was not sure whether these problems should be fought by expanding their spending on foster care, giving grants to worthy organizations, or doing something else.
“The fact is that we do not know how to proceed,” Lamb said. “In some respects we are a Foundation in transition.” 
In 1990, the Annie E. Casey Foundation shifted from being an operating foundation to being a grantmaking one. In a 1997 issue of Foundation Watch, Patrick Reilly analyzed Casey Foundation grantmaking in 1994 and 1995. He found that while the Casey Foundation gave four grants to conservative and libertarian organizations — two to the American Enterprise Institute, one to the Hudson Institute, and one to the Institute for Justice — Reilly reported that most of Casey’s grantmaking went to liberal groups such as the AFL-CIO, Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Defense Fund, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, and the anti-welfare-reform group HandsNet. 
In a 2012 profile of the Casey Foundation for Foundation Watch, David Hogberg reported that Casey continued to give substantial suns to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Alliance for Children and Families, and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, which had received $6.8 million in Casey grants since 2000. Hogberg reported that the Casey Foundation had given $1.1 million to the controversial, now-defunct left-wing organizing group ACORN and the affiliated ACORN Housing Corporation from 2000-09, but that the foundation had apparently cut off funding to ACORN several months before the group’s dissolution. 
An analysis of Casey Foundation tax returns from 2015 through 2017 shows that the Casey Foundation’s grantmaking primarily favors left-progressive organizations.
|2015 Casey Foundation grants|
|American Enterprise Institute||$110,000|
|Jack Kemp Foundation||$10,000|
|Alliance for Justice||$50,000|
|CASA of Maryland||$125,000|
|Center for Budget and Policy Priorities||$1,072,000|
|Center for the Study of Social Policy||$1,378,000|
|Institute for Policy Studies||$50,000|
|Southern Poverty Law Center||$25,000|
|2016 Casey Foundation grants|
|Center for Law and Social Policy||$180,000|
|Center for the Study of Social Policy||$100,000|
|Congressional Black Caucus Foundation||$75,000|
|Points of Light Foundation||$50,000|
|U.S. Public Interest Research Group||$25,000|
|2017 Casey Foundation grants|
|Bread for the World||$300,000|
|Center for the Study of Social Policy||$470,000|
In addition, the Annie E. Casey Foundation paid the liberal communications consultancy Fenton Communications $817,000 in 2016 and $1,070,000 in 2017 for public relations services. Fenton Communications says the Casey Foundation has been a client since 2011 and the public relations firm “has taken a deep dive into the important work of this leading philanthropy to elevate its work.” 
When the Annie E. Casey Foundation was created, it was headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, where United Parcel Service had its corporate headquarters. In 1994, after UPS moved its headquarters to Atlanta, the Casey Foundation moved its headquarters to Baltimore.
In a 1994 interview with the Baltimore Sun, Casey Foundation president Douglas Nelson said “we asked ourselves” if Greenwich “is relevant to the work we are doing? We thought not.” Baltimore “is a location that seemed to make more sense for our work.” 
The Casey Foundation is one of the two largest foundations based in Baltimore, along with the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. The Casey Foundation regularly contributes to Baltimore-based nonprofits: In 2015, in the wake of riots after the death of Freddie Gray, the Casey Foundation donated $5 million to Baltimore nonprofits to help the city recover after the riots. 
The foundation works closely with the Open Society Institute-Baltimore (OSI-Baltimore), the only branch of George Soros’s “Open Society”-branded philanthropies that operates outside of Washington and New York. In 2002 Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the Casey Foundation each contributed $5 million to a venture capital fund for nascent Baltimore businesses. 
In 2005, all of the Open Society Institutes in the U.S. were closed except for Open Society Institute-Baltimore, which remained open after the Casey Foundation led a fundraising drive for the organization, including agreeing to donate $1 million over five years. 
Currently, Casey Foundation grants have supported the Baltimore Community Fellows, which has awarded grants to liberal activists since 1998. Currently, the Open Society Institute-Baltimore awards ten activists a year 18-month grants of $60,000. 
In 2016, the Open Society Institute-Baltimore, the Casey Foundation, and the Maryland Governor’s Office for Children created the Baltimore School Climate Collaborative, which awarded $37,000 grants to Baltimore public schools over two years and distributed brochures telling students to get enough sleep and to show up for class every day. 
In 2017, the Open Society Institute—Baltimore, the Casey Foundation, and the city of Baltimore created Safe City Baltimore, a $500,000 legal defense fund that provides legal aid for immigrants and their families, including helping American-born children of immigrants get passports and providing legal assistance for foreigners facing removal from the country. 
East Baltimore Development, Inc.
The Casey Foundation’s largest project in Baltimore is East Baltimore Development, Inc. (EBDI) that plans to clear and rebuild an 88-acre parcel near the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The project, started in 2002, remains incomplete.
“The partners in EBDI—Johns Hopkins, the City of Baltimore, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation…have been careful not to call it ‘urban renewal,’ Siddhartha Mitter reported in The Guardian in April 2018. “Still, the venture is a bit of a throwback to the old slum-clearance days.” 
The funding for EBDI is so complicated that public officials contacted by Baltimore’s legal newspaper, the Daily Record, in 2011 — including then-city council president Bernard “Jack” Young (D), who later became mayor — could not explain how much the project cost or who was paying for it. The Record estimated that the Casey Foundation had contributed $63.9 million to the project between 2002-2010.  The foundation donated $1.27 million to EBDI in 2015, $15,000,000 in 2016, and $15,000,000 in 2017. Other donors include the Atlantic Philanthropies, which has contributed $925,000 to EBDI.
In March 2018, the Casey Foundation launched a second urban project when they announced construction of Pittsburgh Yards in Atlanta.  The development is a joint venture between the Casey Foundation and private developers. In August 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration gave the Casey Foundation a $1.5 million grant for Pittsburgh Yards, under a program designed to help communities recover from disasters. 
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has an extensive program on juvenile justice reform. The foundation says the goal of their juvenile justice programs is “to improve the odds that at-risk youth can make successful transitions to adulthood… We are working to create a system that locks up fewer youth and relies more on proven family-focused interventions.’
In a 2013 article in Organization Trends, Fred Lucas noted that the Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) was operating in 33 states and that the Casey Foundation had done a great deal to reduce incarceration rates for juveniles. He charged that the Casey Foundation, along with similar programs by the MacArthur Foundation, “swayed the thinking of a majority of states (red and blue) on the issue of crime and punishment for minors.”