Bainum Family Foundation


Bethesda, MD

Tax-Exempt Status:



Left-leaning family foundation


Barbara Bainum


David Daniels

Financials (2019):

Revenue: $829,488

Expenses: $28,556,462

Total Assets: $650,199,709

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The Bainum Family Foundation is a left-leaning private grantmaking foundation located in Bethesda, Maryland. The foundation was founded by the late Maryland businessman Stewart Bainum, Sr., who was the founder of Choice Hotels, which operates several hotel brands including Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, and MainStay Suites, and Manor Care, a large retirement home chain. 1

Bainum remained active with the foundation until his death in 2014, and the foundation is currently directed by his daughter, Barbara Bainum, who previously served as CEO of the foundation and is now the board chair. The foundation provides grants to many local organizations in the greater Washington, D.C., area, as well as funding dozens of large left-leaning national organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. 2


The Banium Family Foundation was founded by Stewart Bainum, Sr., and his wife Jane in 1968 and was originally referred to as the College Foundation and then as the Commonweal Foundation. One of the first projects of the foundation was the “I Have a Dream” program which promised 70 seventh-graders in an impoverished Washington, D.C. neighborhood college scholarships upon their graduation from high school. Many of the foundation’s programs have centered around supporting K-12 education and scholarships in the D.C. area as well as in developing countries. 3

The Banium Family Foundation was founded by Stewart Banium, Sr., a wealthy Maryland businessman who founded Choice Hotels and Manor Care, both of which grew into large publicly traded companies. Banium and his wife Jane had four children. Barbara Bainum took over the Commonweal Foundation in 2008 and implemented several changes including a restructure of the board and the implementation of a strategic plan. Barbara Bainum rebranded the foundation as the Bainum Family Foundation in 2015. Barbara Bainum retired as the chair of the foundation in 2019. 4  She earned total compensation of around $490,000 in 2019 according to public tax records for the foundation. 5

Another of the Bainums’ children, Stewart Bainum, Jr., took over from his father as the chairman and CEO of both Choice Hotels and Manor Care in the 1980s. Stewart Bainum, Jr., also served as a Democratic member of the Maryland House of Delegates and State Senate and is a longtime Democratic activist and donor along with his wife Sandy. In April 2021, Bainum made a bid to purchase Tribune Publishing, the parent company of the Chicago Tribune and the Baltimore Sun, among several other news outlets across the United States, which is pending as of late April 2021. 6


Much of the Bainum Family Foundation’s work historically centered on providing funding to community programs. In recent years, the foundation has stressed “prioritizing racial equity” 7 and has embraced left-leaning rhetoric concerning social justice and “anti-racism.” 8

The Bainum Family Foundation also funds many national left-leaning advocacy and activist groups including the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. 9


  1. “History.” Bainum Family Foundation. Accessed April 18, 2021.   
  2. “IRS form 990” Bainum Family Foundation. 2018.
  3. “History.” Bainum Family Foundation. Accessed April 18, 2021.
  4. “Timeline.” Bainum Family Foundation. Accessed April 18, 2021.
  5. “IRS form 990” Bainum Family Foundation. 2018.
  6. Channick, Robert. “Maryland hotel exec and Swiss billionaire make fully financed $680 million bid for Tribune Publishing.” Chigago Tribune. April 4, 2021 Accessed April 18, 2021.
  7. “2019-2020 Annual Report.” Bainum Family Foundation. Accessed April 18, 2021.
  8. “2019-2020 Annual Report.” Bainum Family Foundation. Accessed April 18, 2021.
  9. “IRS form 990” Bainum Family Foundation. 2018.
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Bainum Family Foundation

Bethesda, MD