Non-profit

Butler Family Fund

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

52-1786778

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $1,429,673
Expenses: $1,268,323
Assets: $10,892,678

The Butler Family Fund is a left-of-center grantmaking foundation that characterizes itself as a primary funder of nonprofits in the areas of homelessness and criminal justice reform. The foundation positions itself as a grantmaking crossroads between networks of far-left coalitions, partnerships, and collaborations, many of which support left-of-center immigration policy,[1] gun control measures,[2] and left-of-center social policy[3] initiatives. [4][5]

The Oak Foundation (a left-of-center environmentalist foundation) is a primary partner and funder of the Butler Family Fund. The Oak Foundation uses the Fund as an “intermediary” to funnel financial support into mostly advocacy work to prevent homelessness and outlaw the death penalty. [6] In 2017, the Oak Foundation accounted for a third of the Butler Family Fund’s annual revenues. [7] The Butler Family Fund states it has access to a “complex” and “sophisticated” network of colleagues and organizations that directly influence public policy changes. [8] [9] [10] [11]

Founding and History

The Butler Family Fund was established in 1992 by the seven nieces and nephews of New York philanthropists Zella and Jack Butler. Both Zella and Jack Butler began their philanthropic work in 1954 when they founded the J.E. & Z.B. Butler Foundation to address issues facing impoverished communities, people living with disabilities, and victims of abuse. Zella and Jack Butler additionally are connected to The J.E. and Z.B. Butler Center for Children and The Butler Center, both of which aim to help children and families recover from various kinds of abuse.

The Butler Family Fund is a family-run foundation and is governed by a board of extended Butler family members. Historically, family leadership of the foundation has served on rotating-terms to ensure that each new generation gets a chance to serve on the board and become familiar with the Fund’s work and priorities. [12] [13]

Issue Areas

The Butler Family Fund’s original two program areas were homelessness and at-risk youth. Over time, the Fund expanded grantmaking to cover criminal justice reform, including drug policy reform. The Butler Family Fund has also given support to groups focused on global warming and environmentalist activism. [14]

Homelessness

In its grantmaking for homelessness, the Butler Family fund supports initiatives that advocate for providing government subsidized low-income housing, increased employment opportunities, and ending the cycle of youth homelessness. Additionally, the Butler Family Fund also seeks to phase out the foster care system. [15]

Criminal Justice System Reform

In its grantmaking for criminal justice reform, the Butler Family Fund supports ending both juvenile life-sentencing and death penalty practices. Additionally, the Fund aims to end youth incarceration, expand criminal justice system housing, and develop programs that focus on helping ex-convicts, especially women, reacclimate to society after prolonged incarceration. [16]

Funding and Finances

Assets

The Butler Family Fund’s 2017 tax return records reported the foundation’s net assets at $13 million. In 2017, the Fund’s total expenditures were just under $100,000 and it reported over $1.5 million in revenues. [17]

In 2016, the Butler Family Fund’s tax return records reported the foundation’s net assets at just under $11.5 million. Additionally, in 2016 the Butler Family Fund’s revenues were reported at $898,724 and expenditures reported at $803, 590. [18]

The Butler Family Fund’s 2015 tax return records reported the foundation’s net assets at just under $11 million. In that same year, the Butler Family Fund took in revenues close to $1.5 million and reported expenditures of over $1 million. [19]

Funding Sources

The Oak Foundation accounts for the majority of Butler Family Fund’s recent contributions received. Tax return records report that between 2001 and 2019, the Oak Foundation makes up 84% of the Butler Family Fund’s charitable contributions. The Oak Foundation has given the Butler Family Fund a total of just under $3.5 million in contributions. Since the Butler Family Fund’s start in 2001, the foundation has received about $4 million in total contributions. [20]

Prior to the Oak Foundation’s partnership with the Butler Family Fund, in 2001 and 2002, the sole contributor to the foundation was Harris Associates Securities L.P. – a Chicago-based investment firm. [21]

Grants Paid

The Butler Family Fund’s grantmaking since 2001 totals just below $16 million. A sizeable portion of the Fund’s grantmaking goes to organizations in support of left-of-center initiatives outside of homelessness and criminal justice reform. [22]

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a socially liberal activist group, and its various affiliates account for over $1 million of the Butler Family Fund’s grantmaking with specific grants allotted for the purposes of addressing drug policy, ending the death penalty, and “general support” [23] of the organization. The ACLU’s priorities include increasing government spending as repayment for slavery and segregation, [24] eliminating the death penalty, [25] and expanding rights for illegal immigrants. [26][27]

Between 2006 and 2008, the Butler Family Fund contributed $60,000 to the internationally recognized left-of-center environmentalist group Greenpeace for “education on global warming” among other initiatives. [28]  The foundation also contributed to well-known left-of-center environmentalist groups including a $20,000 grant to Friends of the Earth and a combined $60,000 in grants to both the Sierra Club ($20,000) and Sierra Club Foundation ($40,000). In its environmental grantmaking, the Butler Family Fund has supported clean energy development and reductions in the use of fossil fuels. [29] [30] [31]

The Butler Family Fund has additionally granted $300,000 to the liberal Center for Community Change for the recorded purpose of expanding government subsidized “affordable housing programs.” [32] The Center and its affiliates seek a large expansion of entitlement programs, including those related to welfare, healthcare, childcare, public housing, food stamps, and public transportation. [33] Additionally, within the area of entitlement program expansion, the foundation has granted $250,000 to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in support of federal funding of rentals assistance and research into social welfare policy. [34]

Leadership

The Butler Family Fund has a two-person professional staff. [35]

Martha Toll is the founding executive director of the Butler Family Fund. She has been involved in both homelessness and criminal justice philanthropic efforts for over a decade. Martha serves on the board of Funders Together to End Homelessness and is active in the Eighth Amendment Project to abolish the death penalty as well as the Youth First collaborative to close youth prisons in the United States. She additionally writes for philanthropic publications. Martha is a graduate of Yale University and Boston University School of Law. [36]Anne Morin joined the Butler Family Fund in 2009. Aside from the Butler Family Fund, Anne serves on the Executive Committee of A Way Home America, a national movement dedicated to ending youth homelessness. Anne oversees the Butler Family Fund’s investment strategy and staffs the Butler Family Fund’s Finance Committee. Anne is a graduate of Dartmouth College and received her MBA from Columbia Business School. [37]

Board of Directors

Eve Wildrick, President

Jennifer Gravin

Colette Hirsch

Phineas Hirsch

Rebecca Morrison

Lisa Siegel [38]

References

  1. National Immigration Law Center “Immigration Enforcement” website page. National Immigration Law Center official website. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.nilc.org/issues/immigration-enforcement. ^
  2. Guns Down America “Home” website page. Guns Down America official website. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://gunsdownamerica.org. ^
  3. The Butler Family Fund “Funding Principles, Priorities, and Practices” website page. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/about-us. ^
  4. The Butler Family Fund “About Us” website page. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/about-us. ^
  5. The Butler Family Fund “2019 Grantees” website page. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/grantees. ^
  6. The Butler Family Fund “Funding Principles, Priorities, and Practices” website page. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/about-us. ^
  7. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). The Butler Family Fund. 2017. Schedule A, Part I, Line 12, Schedule B, Part 1, Line 1. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.guidestar.org/profile/52-1786778. ^
  8. The Butler Family Fund “About Us” website page. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/about-us. ^
  9. The Butler Family Fund “Funding Principles, Priorities, and Practices” website page. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/about-us. ^
  10. The Butler Family Fund “Strategies” website page. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/strategies. ^
  11. The Butler Family Fund “Guidelines” website page. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/guidelines. ^
  12. The Butler Family Fund “History” website page. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/about-us/history. ^
  13. Green, Elizabeth. “The Butler Family Fund.” The Chronicle of Social Change. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/funders/butler-family-fund. ^
  14. The Butler Family Fund “Guidelines” website page. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/guidelines. ^
  15. The Butler Family Fund “Issue Areas” website section. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/guidelines. ^
  16. The Butler Family Fund “Issue Areas” website section. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/guidelines. ^
  17. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). The Butler Family Fund. 2017. Schedule A, Part I, Lines 12, 26, Part 2, Lines 16, 30. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/guidelines. ^
  18. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). The Butler Family Fund. 2016. Schedule A, Part I, Lines 12, 26, Part 2, Lines 16, 30. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/guidelines. ^
  19. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). The Butler Family Fund. 2015. Schedule A, Part I, Lines 12, 26, Part 2, Lines 16, 30. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/guidelines. ^
  20. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). The Butler Family Fund. 2001 – 2017. Schedule A, Part 1, Line 1, Schedule B, Part 1 Contributors. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/guidelines. ^
  21. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). The Butler Family Fund. 2001 – 2002. Schedule A, Part 1, Line 1, Schedule B, Part 1 Contributors. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/guidelines. ^
  22. Foundation Search “The Butler Family Fund Grants Visualizer.” Total Grants. Foundation Search website. Accessed August 21, 2019. http://www.foundationsearch.com/FindFunders/GrantVisualizer.aspx?searchid=4433535. ^
  23. Foundation Search “The Butler Family Fund Grants Visualizer.” Total Grants. Foundation Search website. Accessed August 21, 2019. http://www.foundationsearch.com/FindFunders/GrantVisualizer.aspx?searchid=4433535. ^
  24. “Racial Justice” ACLU website page. Undated. Accessed August 20, 2019. https://www.aclu.org/issues/racial-justice. ^
  25. “The Death Penalty: Questions And Answers” ACLU website page. The ACLU official Website. Accessed August 20, 2019. https://www.aclu.org/other/death-penalty-questions-and-answers. ^
  26. “Immigrant’s Rights.” ACLU website page. Accessed August 21, 2019. https://www.aclu.org/issues/immigrants-rights. ^
  27. Information accessed in Foundation Search. “The Butler Family Fund Grants Visualizer.” Grants to American Civil Liberties Union. The Foundation Search website. Accessed August 21, 2019. http://www.foundationsearch.com/FindFunders/GrantVisualizer.aspx?searchid=4433535. ^
  28. Information accessed in Foundation Search. “The Butler Family Fund Grants Visualizer.” Grants to Greenpeace. The Foundation Search website. Accessed August 21, 2019. http://www.foundationsearch.com/FindFunders/GrantVisualizer.aspx?searchid=4433535. ^
  29. Information accessed in Foundation Search. “The Butler Family Fund Grants Visualizer.” Grants to Friends of The Earth. The Foundation Search website. Accessed August 21, 2019. http://www.foundationsearch.com/FindFunders/GrantVisualizer.aspx?searchid=4433535. ^
  30. Information accessed in Foundation Search. “The Butler Family Fund Grants Visualizer.” Grants to the Sierra Club. The Foundation Search website. Accessed August 21, 2019. http://www.foundationsearch.com/FindFunders/GrantVisualizer.aspx?searchid=4433535. ^
  31. Information accessed in Foundation Search. “The Butler Family Fund Grants Visualizer.” Grants to the Sierra Club Foundation. The Foundation Search website. Accessed August 21, 2019. http://www.foundationsearch.com/FindFunders/GrantVisualizer.aspx?searchid=4433535 ^
  32. Information accessed in Foundation Search. “The Butler Family Fund Grants Visualizer.” Grants to the Center for Community Change. The Foundation Search website. Accessed August 21, 2019. http://www.foundationsearch.com/FindFunders/GrantVisualizer.aspx?searchid=4433535. ^
  33. The Center for Community Change “campaigns” website page. The Center for Community Change official website. Accessed August 21, 2019. https://communitychange.org/campaigns. ^
  34. Information accessed in Foundation Search. “The Butler Family Fund Grants Visualizer.” Grants to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The Foundation Search website. Accessed August 21, 2019. http://www.foundationsearch.com/FindFunders/GrantVisualizer.aspx?searchid=4433535. ^
  35. The Butler Family Fund “Board and Staff” website page. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 20, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/about-us/board-staff. ^
  36. The Butler Family Fund “Board and Staff” website page. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 20, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/about-us/board-staff. ^
  37. The Butler Family Fund “Board and Staff” website page. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 20, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/about-us/board-staff. ^
  38. The Butler Family Fund “Board and Staff” website page. The Butler Family Fund official website. Accessed August 20, 2019. https://www.butlerfamilyfund.org/about-us/board-staff. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 1992

  • 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 $1,429,673 $1,268,323 $10,892,678 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $1,184,223 $1,095,906 $12,030,717 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $996,341 $750,173 $11,543,504 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $770,738 $909,263 $9,673,976 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $1,183,666 $1,337,334 $9,279,982 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Butler Family Fund

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