Non-profit

General Service Foundation

Website:

generalservice.org/

Location:

Berkely, CA

Tax ID:

36-6018535

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $3,828,343
Expenses: $5,173,071
Assets: $80,176,396

Type:

Grantmaking Foundation

Founded:

1946

Executive Director:

Dimple Abichandani

The General Service Foundation (GSF) is a grantmaking organization based in Berkeley, California, which funds a broad range of societal causes, particularly those that promote left-progressive race and gender ideology. The foundation describes its philanthropic strategy as being designed to minimize what it refers to as “power imbalances” which are allegedly “typical in funder-grantee relationships.” [1]

The GSF was founded in 1946 by Clifton and Margaret Musser, a philanthropist couple from a family of wealthy industrialists. Over the decades, the couple brought in numerous family members to work for the foundation. [2] Today, the board of the GSF is dominated by members of four families associated with the Mussers. [3]

The Musser Family

Clifton and Margaret Musser founded the General Service Foundation shortly after the end of the Second World War, using their inherited wealth from various industries, particularly timber. However, neither of them ever sat on the foundation’s board of directors. Instead, they put their children and their spouses, as well as a family friend, in charge. In the beginning, the GSF primarily funded labor organizations and civil rights causes, but starting in the early 1960s, the foundation expanded its philanthropy to include promoting abortion access and environmentalist initiatives. John Lloyd, the husband of Clifton and Margaret Musser’s daughter Elizabeth, also went on to found his own John M. Lloyd Foundation in 1991, which funds left-progressive causes related to immigration, race, and the criminal justice system. [4]

Philanthropic Principles

The General Service Foundation describes itself as maintaining “a spirit of partnership and humility” in order to avoid the “power imbalances” which allegedly exist between grantmaking organizations and grant recipients. The foundation’s rhetoric echoes that of further-left activist causes, such as the “Disrupt Philanthropy Now” initiative, which claims that the left-of-center grantmaking establishment is guilty of “structural racism and white supremacy” despite its stated commitment to left-of-center race ideology. [5] [6]

The GSF describes the events of 2020 and early 2021 as a transformational period for itself and the left-of-center philanthropic world. In particular, the foundation cites the anti-law enforcement demonstrations throughout the summer of 2020, which it refers to as a “racial reckoning,” and the January 2021 riot at the United States Capitol, which it labels an “insurrection,” as its new motivations. The GSF says it supports accelerating the pace of implementing left-progressive ideology in American society to facilitate this ideological agenda. [7]

Funding Recipients

The General Service Foundation touts its efforts to “invest early in emerging organizations and their leaders.” [8] At the same time, its largest grants in 2021 went to other philanthropic institutions. The foundation designated most of these funds for specific projects of these institutions, or for outside organizations. The GSF gave more than $1 million to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), one of the largest left-of-center grantmaking organizations in the United States. The foundation designated $600,000 of these funds for the Collective Future Fund, a project of RPA that primarily funds causes related to race and gender, including the promotion of transgender interests. The GSF also gave more than $600,000 to the New Venture Fund, a grantmaker and incubator for new and growing left-of-center initiatives associated with the Arabella Advisors network of liberal “dark money.” Another $400,000 went to the Neighborhood Funders Group, a philanthropic collective. [9]

Leadership

Dimple Abichandani has been the executive director of the General Service Foundation since 2015. She previously directed a left-progressive advocacy center at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Prior to that, she was a program officer with the Proteus Fund, a pass-through organization for funds intended to support left-progressive activism initiatives. [10] As of 2019, Abichandani was receiving an annual salary of more than $250,000. [11]

Robin Snidow has been the board chair of the GSF since 2007. [12] She was previously a board member and a program officer for the foundation’s program promoting expanded abortion access. [13]

Griff Foxley is the vice chair of the GSF board. [14] He also sits on the board of the John M. Lloyd Foundation, the grantmaking organization founded by John Lloyd, who married the daughter of GSF founders Clifton and Margaret Musser. [15] [16]

Financials

During the early 2010s, the net assets of the General Service Foundation fluctuated between $47 million and $50 million. In 2015, however, the foundation’s total assets grew to nearly $67 million, and by 2019, the GSF had access to more than $80 million. [17]

References

  1. “What We Fund.” General Service Foundation. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://generalservice.org/whatwefund/ ^
  2. “The GSF Story.” General Service Foundation. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://generalservice.org/story/ ^
  3. “Board.” General Service Foundation. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://generalservice.org/story/boardstaff/ ^
  4. “The GSF Story.” General Service Foundation. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://generalservice.org/story/ ^
  5. “What We Fund.” General Service Foundation. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://generalservice.org/whatwefund/ ^
  6. Disrupt Philanthropy Now. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://disruptphilanthropynow.org/ ^
  7. “Our Grant Partners Describe Their Boldest Visions and How to Get There.” General Service Foundation. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://generalservice.org/2021/09/29/our-grant-partners-describe-their-boldest-visions-and-how-to-get-there/ ^
  8. “What We Fund.” General Service Foundation. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://generalservice.org/whatwefund/ ^
  9. “Grants.” General Service Foundation. Accessed January 8, 2021. https://generalservice.org/grants/ ^
  10. “Dimple Abichandani.” General Service Foundation. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://generalservice.org/person/dimple-abichandani/ ^
  11. “General Service Foundation.” ProPublica. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/366018535 ^
  12. “Board.” General Service Foundation. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://generalservice.org/story/boardstaff/ ^
  13. “Robin Snidow.” National Center for Family Philanthropy. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://www.ncfp.org/people/robin-snidow/ ^
  14. “Board.” General Service Foundation. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://generalservice.org/story/boardstaff/ ^
  15. Griff Foxley, MBA. LinkedIn. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/grifffoxley ^
  16. “The GSF Story.” General Service Foundation. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://generalservice.org/story/ ^
  17. “General Service Foundation.” ProPublica. Accessed January 8, 2022. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/366018535 ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Sarita Gupta
    Board Member
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 1947

  • 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
    2019 Dec Form PF $3,828,343 $5,173,071 $80,176,396 $977,577 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form PF $3,947,863 $4,170,092 $66,978,716 $949,849 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $3,320,980 $3,745,251 $48,103,222 $654 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $1,733,958 $3,764,874 $48,527,623 $784 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $6,353,038 $3,639,462 $50,557,907 $152 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $2,358,863 $3,680,554 $47,844,676 $497 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    General Service Foundation

    2120 University Ave
    Berkely, CA