D.N. Batten Foundation




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2015):

Revenue: $6,751,038
Expenses: $4,735,292
Assets: $22,591,366

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The D.N. Batten Foundation contributes millions to a broad array of organizations including left-of-center environmentalist groups focusing on climate change, and other environmentalist priorities. 1 The foundation is founded by, named after and led by Dorothy Batten, the daughter and heiress of Frank Batten, billionaire founder of the Weather and Travel Channels and head of Landmark Communications. 2

According to tax records, the Batten Foundation hired Arabella Advisors, the management firm behind a major network of left-of-center “dark money,” for “consulting.” 3


Dorothy Batten is the sole contributor of the D.N. Batten Foundation’s revenues and guides the investments to left of center environmentalist institutions including those that oppose corporations. 4 This strategy is a significant shift from her father supporting the education of future corporate leaders. 5 Frank Batten was the largest donor in the history of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business through a $100 million dollar contribution to establish a new school of leadership. 6 Dorothy has donated only a few thousand dollars a year to the school while contributing millions to institutions like the African Wildlife Foundation and Wildlife Conservation Society. 7

Association with Arabella Advisors

The foundation hired a left-of-center consultancy called Arabella Advisors8 to guide its investment philosophy. Arabella was founded by Eric Kessler, a former conservation expert from the administration of President Bill Clinton. 9 Arabella is labeled by numerous sources as a dark money organization that funds controversial policies and left-wing groups. 10

Notable Funding Recipients

EarthRights International

Batten has provided large grants to EarthRights International, a law firm aggressively launching lawsuits against corporations for alleged environmental abuses. The firm is suing energy company Exxon for its alleged contributions to climate change which triggered fires in Boulder County, Colorado costing municipalities and families their homes and causing injury. Exxon is also accused of kidnapping, torturing and detaining people in Indonesia.

EarthRights has targeted a number of other businesses, including Chiquita Banana, Apple, Tesla, Sony, Samsung, and Cargill. 11

Environmental Focus and Support

D.N. Batten largely directs its environmental investments into South America and African concerns that often share initiatives to fend off deforestation and incenting new behaviors to preserve resources. 12


RARE focuses on combating climate change, deforestation, and poor agriculture practices through behavioral shifts by training locals in over 55 countries. It has implemented over 100 training projects in Colombia, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Mozambique, and the Philippines. RARE seeks to drive grassroots support to place pressure on governments and private industry to protect the environment. 13

Amazon Conservation Association

The Amazon Conservation Association primarily aims its efforts towards fighting deforestation and seeking alternative agriculture methods that avoid water and environmental degradation in Peru and Bolivia. 14

Seeks to fight climate change and lowering greenhouse gases by preventing deforestation in cooperation with United Nations’ efforts. Forest Trends recommends gaining the private sector’s participation to protect forests through incentives, regulations and legal action. 15

Mental Health Focus

The foundation and another Batten-run organization called iThrive Games invest heavily in organizations and resources to bolster mental health. These programs include support for teens to explore and understand lifestyles including minority sexualities16 and creating games to experiment with alternative lifestyles they have lacked courage or opportunity to attempt. 17


  1. Accessed November 27, 2019.
  2. Mangalindan, Mylene. “FRANK BATTEN PLEDGES $10 MILLION TO DARDEN.” Scholarly Communication Department, Research & Informatics, Virginia Tech Libraries. Digital Library and Archives at Virginia Tech, December 20, 1995.
  3. D.N. Batten Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2015, Part VIII
  4. Earthrightsintl. “Home.” EarthRights International. Accessed November 27, 2019.
  5. Mangalindan, Mylene. “FRANK BATTEN PLEDGES $10 MILLION TO DARDEN.” Scholarly Communication Department, Research & Informatics, Virginia Tech Libraries. Digital Library and Archives at Virginia Tech, December 20, 1995.

  6. Frank Batten Sr. Gives $100 Million to Create New School of Leadership and Public Policy at U.Va. Accessed November 27, 2019.
  7. D.N. Batten Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2015, Part VIII
  8. Accessed November 27, 2019.
  9. “Philanthropy and Impact Investing / Arabella Advisors.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed November 27, 2019.
  10. Crc. “CRC Special Report Unveils Vast ‘Dark Money’ Network on the Left.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, April 17, 2019.
  11. Earthrightsintl. “Home.” EarthRights International. Accessed November 27, 2019.
  12. “Philanthropy – The DN Batten Foundation: Dorothy N. Batten.” The DN Batten Foundation | Dorothy N. Batten. Accessed November 27, 2019.
  13. “Homepage.” Rare. Accessed November 27, 2019.
  14. “Overview.” Amazon Conservation Association, About, Overview. Accessed November 27, 2019.
  15. “The Missing Link in Protecting Forests? The Private Sector.” Forest Trends. Accessed November 27, 2019.
  16. “LGBTQ.” Centerstone. Accessed November 27, 2019.
  17. Stevens, Nathan. “IThrive and the University of Utah Announce Empathy Games Competition.” Gaming Cypher, January 12, 2016.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 1998

  • 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 $6,751,038 $4,735,292 $22,591,366 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $4,914,985 $3,380,993 $21,266,479 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $4,319,478 $1,820,779 $19,782,361 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $3,116,927 $1,794,322 $17,274,198 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $595,783 $1,573,059 $16,036,302 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    D.N. Batten Foundation

    101 W MAIN ST STE 700
    NORFOLK, VA 23510-1624