Non-profit

Biden Foundation

Website:

archive.bidenfoundation.org/

Location:

Washington, DC

Tax ID:

81-1329470

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $3,223,083
Expenses: $2,553,544
Assets: $4,008,798

Status:

Inactive

The Biden Foundation was a nonprofit organization established by former Vice President Joe Biden and former Second Lady Jill Biden in 2017 to support the left-of-center policies that Vice President Biden had worked to implement during his time in the Senate and the Obama administration. [1] The Foundation closed its doors in April of 2019 after Vice President Biden announced his 2020 Presidential campaign. [2]

During its period of operation, the Foundation advanced left-of-center initiatives surrounding violence against women, LGBT issues, and economic redistribution. [3] The Foundation also partnered with a number of left-of-center organizations to promote its mission, including the Trevor Project, the LGBT Community Center, and the True Colors Fund. [4] The Foundation has received financial support for its initiatives from left-of-center grantmaking organizations including the Gill Foundation, the David Bohnett Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. [5] [6]

Despite the Biden Foundation being ostensibly nonpartisan, the Foundation board included several Democratic operatives and public officials, many of whom joined the Biden 2020 Presidential campaign after the Foundation suspended its operations. [7]

History

In November of 2016, former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, former Second Lady Jill Biden, announced the creation of the Biden Foundation. [8] The couple built the Foundation to continue Vice President Biden’s career, advocating for the left-of-center policy goals which he had advanced during his career as a United States Senator and as Vice President. [9]

At its outset, the Foundation announced that it would focus its attention on advancing left-of-center initiatives within seven different policy “pillars.” Much of the Foundation’s work focused on social issues, including advancing left-of-center LGBT-interest policies, promoting increased attendance at community colleges, and supporting left-of-center economic policy to reduce income inequality. [10] Another Foundation pillar focused on advancing the foreign policy initiatives supported by Vice President Biden during the Obama administration. The Foundation further included pillars on preventing violence against women, offering support to military families, and preventing child abuse. [11]

The Biden Foundation announced that it would suspend all of its operations on April 25, 2019, the same day that Vice President Biden announced his 2020 Presidential campaign. [12] This included suspending all fundraising, staffing, partnerships, and policy programs. [13] Former U.S. Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE), former chair of the Biden Foundation, attributed the end of the Foundation to Vice President Biden’s 2020 campaign. [14]

Foundation Activities

During its two years of operations, the Biden Foundation promoted left-of-center economic policies, ran campaigns on LGBT issues, and supported efforts to prevent violence against women. Despite being ostensibly nonpartisan, Vice President Biden and Foundation staff often used the Foundation as a platform to promote the work of the Obama administration and support Vice President Biden’s further political aspirations.

Left-of-Center Economic Activism

In May of 2018, the Biden Foundation cohosted an event with the Brookings Institution, a left-of-center think tank. [15] The event, entitled “The Future of the Middle Class,” claimed that middle-class Americans were being “left-behind” by the growing United States economy due to increasing automation and workforce competition and called for left-of-center policies to limit wealth inequality. [16]

Vice President Biden gave the keynote address at the event on behalf of the Biden Foundation, alleging that a “bargain has been broken” between company owners and the middle class as the result of policies which limit corporate tax rates. Vice President Biden also decried stagnant wages and the rising costs of childcare and college education, promoting increased taxes on the wealthy and advocating for taxpayer-funded public college for all. [17] In the same speech, Vice President Biden called Xi Jinping, leader of the Communist Chinese regime, a “bright guy.” [18]

LGBT Advocacy

In May of 2018, the Biden Foundation joined with the YMCA of the USA promote LGBT-friendly communities, organizing a cohort of YMCA organizations to develop and implement local strategies to support LGBT individuals and families. [19] The initiative recommended that YMCAs train staff on LGBT issues, engage LGBT YMCA members directly, and create community outreach programs for LGBT people. [20] The collaborative initiative received support from the Gill Foundation and the David Bohnett Foundation, two left-of-center grantmaking organizations that focus on LGBT issues. [21]

In August of 2018, the Biden Foundation launched the “As You Are Initiative,” a public education program designed to highlight the harm caused by family rejection of LGBT youth and promote research on family acceptance of LGBT children. [22] The Foundation recruited activists from a number of left-of-center organizations to participate in announcing the initiative, including representatives from the Trevor Project, the True Colors Fund, and the LGBT Community Center. [23]

In early 2019, the Biden Foundation announced the “Advancing Acceptance” public education campaign in collaboration with the Movement Advancement Project and Gender Spectrum, two LGBT advocacy organizations. [24] The campaign sought to elevate stories about transgender children who are supported by their families to encourage other families to allow their children to change their genders or align as “gender-nonconforming.” [25] The campaign sought to gather video testimonials of supportive families, while also providing resources to transgender children, their families, and policymakers. [26]

Emily Hecht-McGowen, director of LGBTQ equality at the Biden Foundation, used the Biden Foundation’s LGBT campaigns to advocate for left-of-center policy change, claiming that the Trump administration had damaged the LGBT community by rolling back regulations imposed by the Obama administration. Hecht-McGowen, speaking on behalf of the Biden Foundation, decried the Trump administration’s decision to remove the mandate that children be allowed to use restrooms in public schools which correspond to their self-proclaimed gender identity, not their biological sex. [27]

In August of 2020, the left-of-center National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) Action Fund announced its support for Biden’s 2020 Presidential campaign, citing the Biden Foundation’s transgender activism as its core reason to support Vice President Biden’s campaign. [28]

Domestic Violence Campaigns

When the Bidens launched the Biden Foundation in February of 2017, they announced that the Foundation would focus heavily on preventing violence against women on college campuses. [29] Much of the Biden Foundation’s additional work on domestic violence centered around strengthening and promoting the provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a 1994 bill signed by then-President Bill Clinton and supported by then-U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE). [30]

Even after the Biden Foundation officially disbanded, former officials continued to advocate in favor of expanding left-of-center regulatory policies under the guise of preventing violence against women. In October of 2020, former Biden Foundation director of violence against women initiatives Lynn Rosenthal advocated in favor of expanding gun control measures as part of the reauthorization of VAWA, arguing that firearm ownership should be banned for all people who have been convicted of even misdemeanor domestic violence crimes. [31]

In the same interview, Rosenthal argued for a number of left-of-center policies under the guise of preventing domestic violence, including passing an additional COVID-19 stimulus package, increasing taxpayer-funded housing subsidies for domestic violence victims, and providing funding directly to African-American communities on the grounds that they are at increased risks of domestic violence due to “systemic racism in criminal justice.” [32] Rosenthal also used the article to advocate in support of Biden’s 2020 Presidential campaign. [33]

Partnerships

Until it was suspended in 2019, the Biden Foundation officially partnered with four other organizations, all associated with Vice President Biden and his family. These include the Biden Cancer Initiative, the Penn Biden Center, the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children, and the University of Delaware Biden Institute. [34]

The Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement

The Biden Foundation supports the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania, which promotes the left-of-center foreign policy initiatives for which Vice President Biden advocated during his time in office. [35] The Center supports globalization, specifically by promoting global engagement among young people, and advocates for the maintenance of the “liberal international order,” accusing Russia specifically of trying to exert influence around the world and encouraging global coalition-building with other democracies. [36] The Center has also introduced left-of-center policies related to refugees, creating the Refugee Admissions Project to encourage the United States to engage in a “multifold” increase in the number of refugees allowed in the country. [37]

The Penn Biden Center launched the Democracy Project in 2019 in collaboration with the George W. Bush Institute and Freedom House. The Project sought to understand American attitudes toward democracy and found that 55% of Americans viewed democracy as “weak,” while 68% viewed American democracy as “getting weaker.” [38] 50% of respondents claimed that America is in danger of becoming an “authoritarian country.” [39] The survey received funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a left-leaning private foundation that focuses on funding projects related to media. [40]

The Biden Cancer Initiative

The Biden Foundation is the fiscal sponsor of the Biden Cancer Initiative. [41] Vice President Biden spearheaded the initiative while in office after losing his son to glioblastoma, pledging to “end cancer as we know it” and prompting the Obama administration to establish a “cancer moonshot” initiative to invest in prevention and treatment. [42] After the Obama administration ended, Vice President Biden moved the initiative to be sponsored by his private foundation. [43]

The University of Delaware Biden Institute

The Biden Institute at the University of Delaware is a left-of-center research and policy center that brings together scholars, policymakers, and activists to develop domestic policy proposals, specifically related to social justice, environmentalism, and the economy. [44] The Institute has advocated for expanded government-run health care programs, increased environmental regulation, and increased legal protections for LGBT communities. [45]

In addition to promoting policy research and offering classes at the University of Delaware, the Biden Institute hosts the Biden Challenge, an annual competition for research teams to prevent solutions to the allegedly shrinking middle class. [46]

Other Partners

In March of 2019, the Biden Foundation co-hosted an event with It’s On Us, an project dedicated to combatting sexual assault on college campuses. It’s On Us began as an initiative of the Obama administration in 2014, but since the end of the administration, the project has been organized by Civic Nation, a left-leaning nonprofit organization. [47] At the event, on behalf of the Biden Foundation, Vice President Biden claimed that the United States allowed a culture of sexual harassment to permeate society, calling it “a white man’s culture.” [48] The Foundation has also worked with It’s On Us to put forth advertisements encouraging college students to pledge to intervene to prevent cases of sexual assault. [49]

People and Funding

In its first year alone, the Biden Foundation raised $6.6 million in support of its projects. [50] Vice President Biden and his wife contributed $100,000 to the charity at the time it was established. [51] Over the duration of its existence, the Bidens contributed up to $499,000 to the Foundation. [52] In 2018, the Biden Foundation reported $3.2 million in revenue and $3.8 million in assets. [53]

Joe and Jill Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden and former Second Lady Jill Biden founded the Biden Foundation to continue their work and advocate for left-of-center policy implementation. Vice President Biden spent 36 years as a Democratic U.S. Senator from Delaware before being elected Vice President for the first time in 2008 with former President Barack Obama. [54]

During his time in the U.S. Senate, Vice President Biden sponsored several controversial political measures, including opposing integrated busing for students to end de facto segregation in American schools. [55] Vice President Biden also presided over the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during his time as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has since been the subject of harsh criticism for his handling of Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against Justice Thomas. [56] Then-Sen. Biden also shepherded the 1994 Crime Bill, which imposed harsher penalties for drug crimes and banned so-called “assault weapons” for ten years, drawing criticism from both the right and left. [57]

Under the Obama administration, Vice President Biden oversaw a $787 billion economic stimulus package in the wake of the 2008 recession and negotiated American foreign policy in Russia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. [58]

In April of 2019, Vice President Biden announced that he would be running for President on the Democratic ticket in 2020, securing the Democratic Party’s nomination and selecting U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate. [59]

Former Second Lady Jill Biden is a professor and academic. [60] During her time as Second Lady, Jill Biden focused on military efforts, especially supporting military families, and advocated for expanded access to community colleges. [61]

Biden Foundation Leadership

Until its dissolution in 2019, the Biden Foundation was staffed by long-time Democratic operatives and public figures, many of whom went on to work for the Biden 2020 Presidential campaign.

Former U.S. Senator Edward “Ted” Kaufman (D-DE) sat as chair of the Biden Foundation board. [62] Former Sen. Kaufman worked on Vice President Biden’s staff for 22 years during his time in the Senate before being appointed by then-Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner (D) to fill Vice President Biden’s vacant seat in 2009. [63] Sen. Kaufman has been lauded by Democratic politicians for his left-wing political beliefs, including his support for heavy regulation on the banking industry. [64]

Valerie Biden Owens, Vice President Biden’s sister, sat as vice chair of the board of the Biden Foundation. [65] Owens ran all of Vice President Biden’s individual campaigns for public office except for his 2020 Presidential campaign. When not working with Vice President Biden directly, Owens previously worked as executive vice president for Joe Slade White & Co., a political consulting firm, and as an alternate representative to the United Nations in the Obama administration. [66]

Mark Gitenstein sat as president of the Biden Foundation board. [67] Gitenstein works as senior counsel at the law firm Mayer Brown in Washington, D.C., having previously served as United States Ambassador to Romania under the Obama administration. [68] Gitenstein has also worked in a number of other governmental capacities, working as chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, counsel to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, and counsel to the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights. [69] Gitenstein also worked on Vice President Biden’s transition team when he was elected in 2008. [70]

Mark Angelson and Jeff Peck both sat as additional vice chairs of the Biden Foundation. [71]  Angelson is a businessman who previously worked as the CEO of RR Donnelley, a leading printing company, and MidOcean Partners, a global investment firm. [72] Angelson also once served as Deputy Mayor of Chicago. [73] Peck is a powerful lobbyist in Washington, D.C. who has lobbied for a range of financial and other reforms over the past several decades. [74] Peck worked as staff director and general counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee during Vice President Biden’s time as its chair. [75]

Connections to the Biden 2020 Presidential Campaign

When Vice President Biden shuttered the Biden Foundation to focus on his 2020 Presidential campaign, he recruited many former Foundation officials to work as campaign staffers or supporters. Sen. Kaufman has been named to lead the transition team if Vice President Biden is elected President. [76] Gitenstein, former Biden Foundation president, will also advise the transition. [77] Angelson, former vice chair and treasurer of the Biden Foundation, was one of the Biden 2020 campaign’s top donation bundlers, gathering more than $100,000 in contributions to the campaign. [78]

Even lower-level former Foundation staffers have been recruited for the Biden 2020 campaign. Gina Lee, a former aide in the Obama White House, worked at the Biden Foundation for three years between the Obama administration and the Biden 2020 Presidential campaign. Lee worked directly on the campaign, working as an aide to Douglas Emhoff, Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris’s husband. [79] Tori Schafer, a law student at Missouri University, worked at the Biden Foundation before becoming a delegate for Vice President Biden at the Democratic National Convention. [80] Emily Hecht-McGowan, who directed LGBT initiatives at the Biden Foundation, also went to volunteer on the Biden campaign. [81] Katie Petrelius, who worked as a fundraiser for the Biden Foundation, worked as national finance director of the Biden 2020 Presidential campaign. [82]

References

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  2. “Biden Foundation to Suspend Operations.” Biden Foundation, September 25, 2020. https://archive.bidenfoundation.org/2019/04/25/biden-foundation-to-suspend-operations/. ^
  3. “About the Foundation.” The Biden Foundation, September 18, 2020. https://archive.bidenfoundation.org/about/. ^
  4. Tillett, Emily. “Joe Biden Launches ‘As You Are’ Initiative to Promote LGBTQ Acceptance.” CBS News. CBS Interactive, August 7, 2018. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/joe-biden-launches-as-you-are-initiative-to-promote-lgbtq-acceptance/. ^
  5. Biden, Joe, and Kevin Washington. “Biden and Washington: LGBTQ Youth at Risk.” CNN, May 21, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/21/opinions/lgbtq-youth-inclusion-program-biden-washington/index.html. ^
  6. “The Democracy Project.” Penn Global. University of Pennsylvania . Accessed November 5, 2020. https://global.upenn.edu/penn-biden-center/democracy-project. ^
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Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Joe Biden
    Founder
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 2016

  • 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 $3,223,083 $2,553,544 $4,008,798 $91,534 N $3,222,073 $0 $1,010 $230,000 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $3,401,429 $153,704 $3,278,429 $30,704 N $3,401,100 $0 $329 $8,846

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Biden Foundation

    C/O PERKINS COIE 700 13TH ST NW SU
    Washington, DC 20005-0000