Non-profit

Council on Foreign Relations

Logo of Council on Foreign Relations. (link)
Website:

www.cfr.org/

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

13-1628168

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2021):

Revenue: $105,317,000
Expenses: $71,871,100
Assets: $732,861,700

Formation:

1921

Type:

Foreign Policy Think Tank

Chair:

David Rubenstein

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an invitation-only think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. [1] [2] The organization was founded in 1921 by business and civic leaders on the belief that the U.S. should embrace a leadership role and reject isolationism and support internationalism. [3] Its founders sought to exert behind-the-scenes influence to encourage sustained U.S. involvement in global affairs. [4] [5]

As of June 2022, CFR has 5,135 individual members. All members must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. [6] [7]

History and Leadership

The Council on Foreign Relations was founded in 1921 by a small group of business and civic leaders after the U.S. Senate blocked President Woodrow Wilson’s effort to have the United States join the League of Nations. The organization seeks to encourage sustained U.S. involvement in global affairs [8] [9] and was founded on the belief that the U.S. should embrace a leadership role and reject isolationism and internationalism. [10] By the late 1930s, the left-of-center Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation became major financial contributors to CFR. [11] CFR has been referred to as a “bastion of the bipartisan U.S. foreign policy establishment” by the left-of-center Mother Jones magazine. [12]

Headquartered in New York City with offices in Washington, D.C., CFR has 5,135 individual members. [13] [14] CFR’s invitation-only members must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and nominated by a current member for consideration to join the organization to join either for a term of five years or as life members. [15]

David Rubenstein is the chairman of the CFR, and Richard Haas is the organization’s president. [16] [17]

Rubenstein is co-founder of the Carlyle Group, a regent at the Smithsonian Institution, co-chair of the board of the Brookings Institution, and president of the Economic Club of Washington. He is a trustee of the World Economic Forum and was a deputy assistant to the president during the Carter administration. [18]

Previously, Haas was the U.S. envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process and the director of policy planning at the U.S. Department of State during the George W. Bush administration. He also worked as a senior director at the National Security Council during the George H.W. Bush administration. [19] Haass has referred to President Donald Trump as “one of the worst if not the worst U.S. presidents ever.” [20]

CFR’s board of directors includes former Obama administration Secretary of Defense Ash Carter; former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault; BlackRock CEO Larry Fink; Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury under President Barack Obama; James Gorman of Morgan Stanley; Jeh Johnson and Janet Napolitano, both former Homeland Security secretaries in the Obama administration; James Manyika of Google; Ruth Porat of Alphabet and Google; L. Rafael Reif of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and others. [21]

Activities and Funding

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is a nonprofit think tank that specializes on U.S. foreign policy issues. [22] CFR states that it takes no institutional positions on policy issues and has no affiliation with the U.S. government. [23]

CFR produces books, articles, and reports and also publishes the magazine Foreign Affairs. [24] In 2019, the CFR was criticized for accepting a $12 million gift from Ukrainian-born oligarch and friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Leonard Blavatnik. [25]

CFR hosts a corporate program that allows private sector leaders from CFR’s corporate members to interact with leaders from government, media, nongovernmental organizations, and others. Executives at member companies have access to briefings from CFR fellows, discussions, and other meetings hosted in New York and Washington. [26]

As of June 17, 2022, CFR’s corporate members include Accenture, Apple, Bank of America, BlackRock, Chevron, Cisco, Citi, ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, Google, Hess, Meta, JP Morgan Chase, Moody’s, Morgan Stanley, and others.

CFR also has other corporate affiliations with Bayer, Blackstone, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Dell, Eni, KPMG, Mastercard, McKinsey and Company, PayPal, Sequoia Capital, Veritas Capital Fund Management, and others in its President’s Club program. CFR’s corporate affiliates include American International Group, Booz Allen Hamilton, FedEx, Johnson and Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Merck, Microsoft, Pfizer, TikTok, Twitter, United Airlines, Wells Fargo, and others. [27]

In addition to its corporate programming, CFR hosts the Council of Councils, a global grouping of 28 major policy institutes to facilitate dialogue and global foreign policy perspectives. [28]

In 2020, CFR reported $76,901,700 in expenses. This included expenses of $23,971,900 on the David Rockefeller Studies think tank; $10,569,200 on Foreign Affairs magazine; $2,997,500 on the CFR meetings program; $4,539,100 on education programs; $1,183,100 on national programs; $1,864,900 on outreach; and $6,198,900 on CFR digital services. [29]

Funding

The Council on Foreign Relations is funded by annual member dues, annual giving by members, corporate memberships, Foreign Affairs magazine, grants, and rental income. [30]

In 2021, CFR reported an annual revenue of $71,000,000. [31]

In 2020, the Council on Foreign Relations reported revenue of $82,005,700 and expenses of $76,901,700. In 2019, CFR reported revenue of $140,136,300 and expenses of $76,407,300. [32]

From 2020 to 2021, CFR received contributions of $25,000 or more from individuals including Ray Dalio, Eric Schmidt, Jamie Dimon, Larry Fink, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and others. [33]

During the same time period, CFR programs received support from various foundations including the left-of-center Bloomberg Philanthropies, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Ford Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Kern Family Foundation, Koret Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, Merow Foudnation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Paul E. Singer Foundation, Stanton Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Compton Foundation, Marc Haas Foundation, Hurford Foundation, New York Community Trust, Smith Richardson Foundation, and others. [34]

CFR has also received grants totaling $3,000,000 from Stanford University between 2017 and 2019; [35] [36] [37] $1,450,000 from the Bessmer Giving Fund in 2015; [38] $250,000 from the left-of-center New Venture Fund, a charitable pass-through entity managed by Arabella Advisors, in 2019; [39] $250,000 from the San Francisco Foundation in 2018; [40] $201,000 from the American Endowment Foundation in 2017; [41] $131,000 from the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund in 2017; [42] $70,000 from Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund in 2018; [43] $52,000 from the left-of-center Silicon Valley Community Foundation in 2013; [44] and $50,000 from Columbia University in 2018. [45]

References

  1. Gavrilis, George. “The Council on Foreign Relations – A Short History.” Council on Foreign Relations 2021. Pg. V. Accessed June 18, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/sites/default/files/pdf/centennial-book.pdf. ^
  2. “Annual Report.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed June 20, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/annual-report-2021. ^
  3. Gavrilis, George. “The Council on Foreign Relations – A Short History.” Council on Foreign Relations 2021. Pg. V. Accessed June 18, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/sites/default/files/pdf/centennial-book.pdf. ^
  4. “Annual Report.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed June 20, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/annual-report-2021. ^
  5. Gavrilis, George. “The Council on Foreign Relations – A Short History.” Council on Foreign Relations 2021. Pg. V. Accessed June 18, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/sites/default/files/pdf/centennial-book.pdf. ^
  6. Gavrilis, George. “The Council on Foreign Relations – A Short History.” Council on Foreign Relations 2021. Accessed June 18, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/sites/default/files/pdf/centennial-book.pdf. ^
  7. “Membership Roster.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed June 19, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/membership/roster. ^
  8. “Annual Report.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed June 20, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/annual-report-2021. ^
  9. Gavrilis, George. “The Council on Foreign Relations – A Short History.” Council on Foreign Relations 2021. Pg. V. Accessed June 18, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/sites/default/files/pdf/centennial-book.pdf. ^
  10. Gavrilis, George. “The Council on Foreign Relations – A Short History.” Council on Foreign Relations 2021. Pg. V. Accessed June 18, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/sites/default/files/pdf/centennial-book.pdf. ^
  11. O’Brien, Thomas. “The Century of U.S. Capitalism in Latin America.” University of New Mexico Press. Albuquerque. Pg. 104-105. https://books.google.com/books?id=EMVF8jtZy0oC&pg=PA105#v=onepage&q&f=false. ^
  12. Friedman, Dan. “A Soviet-Born Billionaire is Buying influence at US Institutions. Anti-Corruption Activists are Worried.” Mother Jones. October 8, 2019. Accessed June 20, 2022. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/10/council-on-foreign-relations-leonard-blavatnik-russia/. ^
  13. Gavrilis, George. “The Council on Foreign Relations – A Short History.” Council on Foreign Relations 2021. Accessed June 18, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/sites/default/files/pdf/centennial-book.pdf. ^
  14. “Membership Roster.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed June 19, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/membership/roster. ^
  15. “Individual Membership.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed June 20, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/membership/individual-membership. ^
  16. “Board of Directors.” Officers. Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed June 18, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/board-directors. ^
  17. “Board of Directors.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed June 18, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/board-directors. ^
  18. [1] “David Rubenstein.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed June 20, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/bio/david-m-rubenstein. ^
  19. “Richard Haass.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed June 20, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/expert/richard-haass. ^
  20. “Tweet.” Twitter. Posted January 19, 2021. Accessed June 20, 2022. ^
  21. “Board of Directors.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed June 18, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/board-directors. ^
  22. Gavrilis, George. “The Council on Foreign Relations – A Short History.” Council on Foreign Relations 2021. Accessed June 18, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/sites/default/files/pdf/centennial-book.pdf. ^
  23. Gavrilis, George. “The Council on Foreign Relations – A Short History.” Council on Foreign Relations 2021. Accessed June 18, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/sites/default/files/pdf/centennial-book.pdf ^
  24. Gavrilis, George. “The Council on Foreign Relations – A Short History.” Council on Foreign Relations 2021. Accessed June 18, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/sites/default/files/pdf/centennial-book.pdf. ^
  25. [1] Friedman, Dan. “A Soviet-Born Billionaire is Buying influence at US Institutions. Anti-Corruption Activists are Worried.” Mother Jones. October 8, 2019. Accessed June 20, 2022. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/10/council-on-foreign-relations-leonard-blavatnik-russia/. ^
  26. “Corporate Program.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed June 20, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/membership/corporate-membership. ^
  27.  “Corporate Members.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed June 20, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/membership/corporate-membership. ^
  28. “About Us.” Council of Councils. Accessed June 20, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/councilofcouncils/about-us. ^
  29. “Council on Foreign Relations Inc.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form-990). 2019. Part III. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/131628168/202013159349305586/full. ^
  30. “Funding.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed June 20, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/funding. ^
  31. [1] “Funding.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed June 20, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/funding. ^
  32. “Council on Foreign Relations Inc.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form-990). 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/131628168/202013159349305586/full. ^
  33. “Donor Listing 2020-2021.” Council on Foreign Relations. 2021. Accessed June 20, 2022. https://cdn.cfr.org/sites/default/files/pdf/2021-donor-listing.pdf. ^
  34. “Donor Listing 2020-2021.” Council on Foreign Relations. 2021. Accessed June 20, 2022. https://cdn.cfr.org/sites/default/files/pdf/2021-donor-listing.pdf. ^
  35. The Board of Trustees of The Leland Stanford Junior University. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2017. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/941156365/201901969349301905/full. ^
  36. The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2018. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/941156365/201901969349301905/full. ^
  37. The Board of Trustees of The Leland Stanford Junior University. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/941156365/202021959349303987/full. ^
  38. Bessmer Giving Fund. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2015. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/137111099/201633209349316483/full. ^
  39. New Venture Fund. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). Schedule I. 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/205806345/202033169349300208/full. ^
  40. San Francisco Foundation. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2018. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/10679337/202011549349301116/full ^
  41. American Endowment Foundation. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). Schedule I. 2017. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/341747398/201803179349301415/IRS990ScheduleI. ^
  42. Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2017. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/311774905/201832619349300328/full. ^
  43. Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). Schedule I> 2018. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/311774905/201922279349300402/IRS990ScheduleI. ^
  44. [1] Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2013. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/205205488/201423189349308877/full. ^
  45. Columbia University in the City of New York. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2018. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/135598093/202031969349301328/full. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Zoe Baird
    Board Member
  2. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall
    Former Senior Adjunct Fellow
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 1927

  • 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
    2021 Jun Form 990 $105,317,000 $71,871,100 $732,861,700 $76,478,900 Y $36,549,230 $18,477,870 $9,660,500 $5,306,149
    2020 Jun Form 990 $82,005,700 $76,901,700 $624,235,700 $81,637,100 Y $42,409,775 $17,465,425 $5,519,700 $5,094,934 PDF
    2019 Jun Form 990 $140,136,300 $76,407,300 $626,323,700 $80,296,000 Y $72,864,369 $17,598,232 $5,916,660 $4,919,920 PDF
    2018 Jun Form 990 $94,192,500 $73,694,100 $597,246,200 $77,688,600 Y $66,764,100 $9,489,800 $4,222,171 $4,385,400 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $83,795,500 $69,262,800 $562,790,600 $82,272,600 Y $63,941,200 $9,342,500 $2,614,400 $4,287,846 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $101,553,200 $69,931,200 $507,571,300 $86,519,500 Y $74,238,300 $8,690,700 $2,166,900 $4,236,557 PDF
    2015 Jun Form 990 $77,485,500 $64,757,000 $502,053,700 $85,381,300 Y $51,397,000 $8,839,000 $1,599,000 $4,207,500 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $61,050,100 $64,722,900 $491,869,900 $84,993,900 Y $35,395,400 $8,213,400 $2,459,700 $3,949,196 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $54,201,417 $61,627,218 $461,885,499 $85,000,900 Y $32,692,700 $7,992,700 $1,961,900 $3,886,096 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $75,354,179 $55,798,579 $439,200,900 $86,791,000 Y $46,650,900 $7,189,951 $1,377,200 $2,611,054 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $59,633,100 $52,754,100 $438,237,900 $81,066,900 Y $47,654,800 $7,005,111 $1,518,300 $2,730,144 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Council on Foreign Relations

    58 E 68TH ST
    NEW YORK, NY 10065-5953