Non-profit

Astor Street Foundation Inc. (Brico Fund)

Website:

www.bricofund.org

Location:

MILWAUKEE, WI

Tax ID:

39-1656190

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $426,862
Expenses: $341,807
Assets: $3,718,300

Formation:

1990

The Brico Fund is a left-of-center grantmaking organization founded in 1990 in Milwaukee by heiress Lynde B. Uihlein. The fund provides grants to a range of left-of-center causes, beginning with a focus on women’s issues and moving to providing funding for environmentalist projects in recent years.

The organization’s 501(c)(3) private foundation arm is known as the Astor Street Foundation. [1]

History

The Brico Fund (Astor Street Foundation) was founded in 1990. The Fund’s first mission was to provide grants to left-of-center feminist organizations. Over the years, the Fund has expanded its efforts, providing grants to projects on environmentalism and progressivism more broadly.

The Brico Fund is involved in many of the large, secretive funding networks of the political left. [2] The Fund is reportedly a partner with the Democracy Alliance, a major convening of liberal advocacy and political donors. [3] The Brico Fund has also been involved with the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP), a network of organizations designed to fund left-of-center election policy efforts under a banner of nonpartisan action, established by NEO Philanthropy. [4]

Grantmaking Activity

Environmentalism

In 2011, Lynde B. Uihlein and the Brico Fund gifted $2.6 million to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to build the Center for Water Policy and appoint a Chair in Water Policy [5] The Brico Fund also sponsored the creation of the Water Policy Fellowship in Great Lakes Journalism at the university. [6]

Much of the Brico Fund’s focus has been on water policy, only recently expanding to include other aspects of environmentalism. The Fund’s offered its largest grant in 2017 ($50,000) to the Island Institute in Maine, an environmentalist organization associated with Maine Conservation Voters. [7][8] The Fund made further general contributions to the Urban Ecology Center and the Wisconsin League of Conservation. [9] In 2018, the Brico Fund contributed $250,000 to develop the Milwaukee waterfront. [10] Later that year, the Fund participated in the Milwaukee Green Infrastructure Plan to create green spaces throughout the city. [11]

Left-of-Center Activism

For most of its history, the Brico Fund was a left-of-center feminist organization focusing on women’s rights and reproductive health. The organization has made substantial grants to the Ms. Foundation for Women, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin. [12]

The Brico Fund has also supported the general development of left-wing ideologies. In 2003, the Brico Fund provided grants to Political Research Associates, an organization that attempts to discredit mainstream center-right views by tarring them as extremist and bigoted. [13][14] In 2017, the Fund contributed to the Brennan Center for Justice, a left-of-center think tank and advocacy organization. [15]

Funding

Lynde B. Uihlein is the Founder and Vice President of the Brico Fund. Uihlein is one of the heirs to the Allen Bradley and Schlitz Brewing family fortunes. [16] She is also a prominent donor to the Democratic Party. Uihlein is the first ever Wisconsin donor to contribute $1 million to 527 political groups in a single election cycle, making up nearly one-third of Wisconsin’s total contributions in 2008. [17] Uihlein repeated this again in 2014, when she gave $1 million to the Democratic Party. [18]

Uilhein has been involved in the pro-abortion movement for years, contributing to EMILY’s List and NARAL Pro-Choice America. [19] Uihlein was reportedly “instrumental” to opening a Planned Parenthood clinic in Milwaukee in 2017 [20]

Sarah Zimmerman, Uihlein’s daughter, serves as the current president of the Brico Fund. Zimmerman is a Yale Law School graduate who sits on the development committee for WYMS radio station, an organization to which the Foundation granted $20,000 in 2017. [21][22]

References

  1. Astor Street Foundation, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, “Name of Foundation.” ^
  2. Edsall, Thomas B. “Are Liberals Fund-Raising Hypocrites?” The New York Times. October 01, 2014. Accessed

    July 19, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/01/opinion/are-liberals-fundraising-hypocrites.html?_r=0. ^

  3. Markay, Lachlan. “Democracy Alliance Brings on Obama White House Aide With Soros Ties.” Washington Free Beacon. February 01, 2017. Accessed July 19, 2019. https://freebeacon.com/politics/democracy-alliance-brings-obama-white-house-aide-soros-ties/. ^
  4. Johnson, Tom. “Partisan Donors Hiding Under Charity’s Banner.” Capital Research Center. October 19, 2015. Accessed July 19, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/partisan-donors-hiding-under-charitys-banner/ ^
  5. “Environmental Economist Named New Director of the Center for Water Policy.” Urban Milwaukee. March 19, 2018. Accessed July 19, 2019. https://urbanmilwaukee.com/pressrelease/environmental-economist-named-new-director-of-the-center-for-water-policy/ ^
  6. Egan, Dan. “New Non-native Species Emerges in Great Lakes after a Mostly Clean Decade.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. August 16, 2017. Accessed July 19, 2019. https://eu.jsonline.com/story/news/local/wisconsin/2017/08/15/new-non-native-species-emerges-great-lakes-after-mostly-clean-decade/568221001/ ^
  7. “Maine Conservation Roundtable.” Wiscasset Newspaper. July 7, 2019. Accessed July 19, 2019. https://www.wiscassetnewspaper.com/article/maine-conservation-roundtable/120937 ^
  8. Astor Street Foundation, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Part Fifteen, Line 3. ^
  9. Astor Street Foundation, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Part Fifteen, Line 3. ^
  10. “Harbor District’s Public Plaza Moves Closer to Reality after Philanthropic Gifts.” The Milwaukee Independent. April 12, 2018. Accessed July 19, 2019. http://www.milwaukeeindependent.com/articles/harbor-districts-public-plaza-moves-closer-to-reality-after-philanthropic-gifts/. ^
  11. “City’s Presents Environmental Infrastructure Plan to Create Sustainable Greenspaces.” The Milwaukee Independent. October 02, 2018. Accessed July 19, 2019.

    http://www.milwaukeeindependent.com/photos/citys-presents-environmental-infrastructure-plan-create-sustainable-greenspaces/ ^

  12. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted July 22, 2019. ^
  13. Annual Report. Political Research Associates. 2003-2004. ^
  14. “Welcome to the Online Archive of the Old PublicEye.Org Website.” PublicEye.org – The Website of Political Research Associates. Accessed July 19, 2019. http://www.publiceye.org/aboutpra/prainfo.html. ^
  15. Astor Street Foundation, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Part Eight, Line 1. ^
  16. “Lynde B. Uihlein.” NNDB. Accessed July 19, 2019. https://www.nndb.com/people/678/000205063/ ^
  17. “Lynde B. Uihlein.” NNDB. Accessed July 19, 2019. https://www.nndb.com/people/678/000205063/. ^
  18. Crowe, Kevin, and Jason Stein. “Burke, Walker Backers Give $1 Million to GOP and Democratic Party.”

    October 28, 2014. Accessed July 19, 2019. http://archive.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/burkes-finance-report-shows-900000-less-than-touted-b99379709z1-280652782.html. ^

  19. “NARAL Pro-Choice America Contributors, 2010 Cycle.” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed July 19, 2019.

    https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgave2.php?cycle=2010&cmte=C00079541. ^

  20. “Planned Parenthood Opening New Health Clinic in Milwaukee.” FOX6Now.com. October 06, 2017. Accessed July 19, 2019. https://fox6now.com/2017/10/06/planned-parenthood-opening-new-health-clinic-in-milwaukee/. ^
  21. Horne, Michael. “Plenty of Horne: Mystery Behind the MU Law School Poll.” Urban Milwaukee. March 20, Accessed July 19, 2019. https://urbanmilwaukee.com/2013/03/20/plenty-of-horne-mystery-behind-the-mu-law-school-poll/. ^
  22. Astor Street Foundation, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Part Fifteen, Line 3. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Lynde Uihlein
    Founder, Board Member (Brico Fund)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 1990

  • 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
    2015 Dec Form PF $426,862 $341,807 $3,718,300 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $313,127 $234,185 $3,633,245 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $83,080 $256,986 $3,554,303 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $117,463 $421,523 $3,693,209 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $43,983 $278,466 $3,997,269 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Astor Street Foundation Inc. (Brico Fund)

    1122 N ASTOR ST
    MILWAUKEE, WI 53202-3327