Non-profit

Ed Uihlein Family Foundation

Location:

LAKE FOREST, IL

Tax ID:

20-5723621

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $12,033,064
Expenses: $11,046,967
Assets: $14,662,341

Formation:

2006

Type:

Private foundation

President:

Richard Uihlein

The Ed Uihlein Family Foundation is the primary philanthropic vehicle of Richard Uihlein, founder of the Uline packaging and office supply firm and great-grandson of the co-founder of Schlitz Brewing. As a philanthropist, Uihlein has contributed to a variety of center-right nonprofit organizations, with an emphasis on organizations supporting the right to work.

The Washington Post reported in 2018 that Uihlein, a major Republican supporter, was the sixth-largest donor to U.S. political campaigns between 2010-18. The New York Times reported in 2020 that Uihlein donated $50 million to political campaigns between 2019-20.

Richard Uihlein

Background

Richard Uihlein (born 1945) is the great-grandson of August Uihlein, the co-founder of Schlitz Brewing. In 1980, Richard founded Uline, which manufactures and distributes office supplies. In December 2020, the company gave $45.5 million in bonuses, including $3,500 in “COVID Hero’ bonuses to each of the firm’s 7,000 employees, with an additional $6,500 in profit-sharing bonuses to employees on the payroll as of September 2020. The firm said the bonuses were given because of the “commitment to speed, passion, and operation” of its employees. [1]

In a 2018 interview with National Review, Uihlein said, “I’m a conservative. I’m for free speech, free markets, not just limited government but smaller government, the Second Amendment, and the sanctity of life.” [2]

Political Contributions

Since 2010, Uihlein has been a major donor to Republican candidates. Maggie Severns, in a 2018 Politico profile, called him “one of the most influential, but little-known, political donors in the country.” [3] The Washington Post reported in 2018 that Uihlein was the sixth-largest donor to super political action committees, with donations between 2010 and 2018 of $59.9 million, comparable to Democratic hedge-fund executive Donald Sussman ($62.9 million) and Democratic hedge-fund founder and Simons Foundation creator James Simons and his wife Marilyn ($57.9 million). [4]  The New York Times reported in 2020 that Richard Uihlein and his wife Elizabeth gave an additional $50 million to Republican politicians and political action committees in 2019-2020, including $10 million in August 2020. [5]

Ed Uihlein

The Ed Uihlein foundation is named for Uihlein’s father Ed, who died in 2005. Author John J. Miller noted that “some 15 years ago” (i.e. around 2003), “Uihlein engaged his father in a long conversation about philanthropy,” including why Ed Uihlein supported such organizations as the Leadership Institute, the Media Research Center, and the National Right To Work Committee. Richard said his father “talked about ‘moving the needle.’  He knew the value of think tanks but wanted to see things done.” [6]

Advocacy Grantmaking

Illinois Grantmaking

Uihlein provided the first grant for the Illinois Policy Institute, a state free-market think tank founded by John Tillman. Tillman told John J. Miller that Uihlein was his “anchor donor.” [7] In 2016, the Illinois Policy Institute was the largest recipient of Uihlein philanthropy, with four grants totaling $2 million.

Labor Policy

John Tillman also founded the Liberty Justice Center, a public-interest law firm that received $300,000 from the Ed Uihlein Family Foundation in 2016, In 2018, the center, along with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, supported Mark Janus in Janus v. AFSCME, a 2018 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that government employees were not required to pay union dues. Celine McNicholas and Zane Mokhiber, researchers for the labor-union-funded and governed think tank Economic Policy Institute, declared the Ed Uihlein Family Foundation, along with Donors Trust and the Sarah Scaife and Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundations, were part of “a dedicated group of foundations” supporting Mark Janus and his lawyers. [8]

Other Policy Grantmaking

Two other organizations, the Jack Miller Center ($1.2 million) and the Foundation for Government Accountability ($1 million), received seven-figure donations from the Ed Uihlein Family Foundation in 2016. [9] Jack Miller told Politico in 2018 that Uihlein was “a more thoughtful donor than a lot of people—he pays a lot of attention and he checks up on things” and that Uihlein’s grants let him hire someone to advise donors giving money to universities. [10]

References

  1. James Lawson, “Uline Gifts Employees Bonuses Totaling $45.5 Million,” Kenosha News, December 16, 2020. https://www.kenoshanews.com/news/local/uline-gifts-employees-bonuses-totaling-45-5-million/article_ca883819-ba29-593b-9db7-db36b0a4cc29.html (accessed July 6, 2021) ^
  2. John J. Miller, “Outside The Box,” National Review, June 11, 2018. ^
  3.   Maggie Severns, “The Biggest Republican Megadonor You’ve Never Heard Of,” Politico, March 19, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/19/republican-megadonor-uihlein-470268  (accessed March 9, 2018) ^
  4. Michelle Ye Hee Lee, “One-fifth of Super PAC Money, From Just 11 Donors,” Washington Post, October 27, 2018. ^
  5. Rachel Shorey, Shane Goldmacher, and Rebecca R. Ruiz, “Richard Uihlein, A Top G.O.P. Megadonor, Gave Another $10 Million in August,” New York Times, September 17, 2020. ^
  6. John J. Miller, “Outside The Box.” National Review, June 11, 2018. ^
  7. John J. Miller, “Outside The Box,” National Review, June 11, 2018. ^
  8. Celine McNicholas and Zane Mokhiber, “Who’s Behind The Janus Lawsuit,’ The American Prospect, February 26, 2018, https://prospect.org/justice/behind-janus-lawsuit/  (accessed July 8, 2021) ^
  9. 2016 Ed Uihlein Family Foundation Form 990. ^
  10. Maggie Severns, “The Biggest Republican Megadonor You’ve Never Heard Of,” Politico, March 19, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/19/republican-megadonor-uihlein-470268 (accessed July 9, 2021) ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 2006

  • 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 $12,033,064 $11,046,967 $14,662,341 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $13,563,265 $10,355,821 $13,676,244 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $9,882,792 $8,443,386 $10,468,800 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $5,616,090 $3,902,501 $9,029,394 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $4,500,651 $4,280,537 $7,315,805 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Ed Uihlein Family Foundation

    736 N WESTERN AVE
    LAKE FOREST, IL 60045-1820