The de Beaumont Foundation is a left-progressive private foundation supporting aggressive and intrusive public health activism. It has reported receiving contributions from prominent left-progressive health care and public health funders, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation. Pierre “Pete” de Beaumont, founder of the Brookstone specialty retail chain, created the foundation in 1998.
It attained some media notice in late 2020 for commissioning longtime Republican pollster Frank Luntz to publish a report on how to persuade Republican-leaning voters to support aggressive COVID-19 restrictions, notably encouraging renaming “lockdowns” as “stay-at-home orders.” The foundation had previously partnered with controversial left-progressive media figure Soledad O’Brien on a film promoting the notion that the response to COVID-19 showed that combating “stark inequalities” was necessary.
Pierre “Pete” de Beaumont, founder of specialty retail chain and lifestyle products brand Brookstone, founded the de Beaumont Foundation in 1998. The Foundation gradually expanded until it received its full endowment from de Beaumont after his death in 2010. The organization’s principal programs include PH WINS, a survey of trends in government public health workforces; CityHealth, which advocates for left-progressive programs ostensibly tied to health promotion; and Big Cities Health Coalition, a convening of public health regulators from major cities.
The organization is a staunch advocate of government control of activities even tangentially related to health outcomes. Its CityHealth initiative grades municipalities on policies that include paid sick leave mandates, pre-kindergarten provisions, “complete streets” policies limiting motor vehicle use, restrictions on alcohol sales, and “inclusionary zoning” housing legislation.
While the de Beaumont Foundation engages in its own programming, the group makes grants to a number of public health associations and left-progressive advocacy groups involved in health policy. In 2018, the Foundation provided NEO Philanthropy, a left-of-center pass-through funding entity, with over $1.4 million to support de Beaumont’s CityHealth program. Other notable grant recipients included the Aspen Institute, Children’s Law Center, and Environmental Health Watch.
Soledad O’Brien Film
In June 2020, de Beaumont Foundation announced it had partnered with controversial left-progressive journalist Soledad O’Brien, a supporter of aggressive lockdown policies to inhibit transmission of pandemic coronavirus, to produce Outbreak: The First Response, a film praising the pandemic response of the public health officials of hard-lockdown and left-wing Seattle.
According to a press release announcing the project, de Beaumont CEO Brian Castrucci said the film “shows how a community’s health is directly tied to conditions like housing, education, and employment — and how we’ll need to address stark inequities if we want to be prepared for the next crisis.”
Frank Luntz Survey
In November 2020, the de Beaumont Foundation released the results of a survey it had commissioned from longtime Republican pollster Frank Luntz on persuasion tactics to reduce opposition to lockdown measures and other COVID-related infringements on personal liberties among voters, especially political conservatives. It proposed renaming lockdowns to “stay-at-home orders” in public messages; recommended avoiding terminology such as “order,” “mandate,” or “controls” in describing COVID-related infringements on civil liberties; and suggested that governments hide the source of lockdown orders behind “public health agencies” to avoid the negative connotations of the term “government.”
While the principal source of de Beaumont Foundation funds is the endowment by the late Pete de Beaumont, it has reported taking contributions from left-leaning foundations interested in government regulation of personal activities, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Kresge Foundation.
Brian Castrucci is president and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation. Castrucci is a career public health official, having worked in state and local health departments for a decade.
De Beaumont staff have backgrounds in liberal and Democratic politics. Vice president of communications Mark Miller worked as a senior writer and editor in the Clinton White House, for which he further helped launch the AmeriCorps government service program. The national director of partnerships for de Beaumont’s CityHealth initiative, Katrina Forrest, was a deputy chief of staff for left-progressive nominally independent District of Columbia councillor David Grosso.
Board of Directors
The de Beaumont Foundation board consists of a number of public health officials and government health regulation advocates, perhaps the most prominent of whom is John Auerbach. Auerbach heads the Trust for America’s Health, an advocacy group that promotes policies and regulations affecting American lifestyle choices, especially foods and beverages, with funding from left-progressive foundations.