Non-profit

George Kaiser Family Foundation

Location:

TULSA, OK

Tax ID:

73-1574370

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $-79,068,113
Expenses: $186,893,837
Assets: $3,849,914,035

Executive Director:

Ken Levit

The George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) is a grantmaking organization associated with billionaire oilman George Kaiser the owner of BOK Financial Corporation. [1] The organization gives to left-of-center groups such as Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood, and Center for American Progress. [2]

George Kaiser Family Foundation essentially replaced the Betty and George Kaiser Foundation by serving as a “supporting organization” to the Tulsa Community Foundation; the New York Times reported that this arrangement gave Kaiser to a tax advantage. [3] In the mid-2000s, the Foundation was scrutinized by Congress for its low rate of charitable giving;[4] in the late 2000s, it made an investment in the now-bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra, which received a $535 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. [5][6]

Funding Left-of-Center Groups

George Kaiser Family Foundation has provided funding to left-of-center organizations. Between 2013 and 2015, GKFF gave over $1,000,000 to the pro-abortion group Planned Parenthood. [7] The New Venture Fund, a funding and fiscal sponsorship non-profit that caters to left-leaning clients, also received a donation from GKFF. [8]

GKFF supported the “Too Small to Fail” initiative focusing on early childhood education with over $3 million during 2014 [9] and 2015;[10] “Too Small to Fail” was a joint project of the Clinton Foundation and Next Generation. [11] GKFF gave to other Clinton family-associated groups, including the left-of-center D.C. think tank Center for American Progress which was founded by John Podesta, White House Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, Counselor to the President in the Obama White House, and chair of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign. [12]

Other left-wing groups to receive funds from GKFF include the Southern Poverty Law Center, Aspen Institute, ProPublica, Common Sense Media, National Head Start Association, Oklahomans for Equality, and Oklahoma Policy Institute. [13] [14]

Solyndra Controversy

George Kaiser Family Foundation was at the center of the controversy surrounding the solar energy company Solyndra, which went bankrupt despite substantial financial support from the Obama administration. GKFF was Solyndra’s largest shareholder with a 35 percent stake in the company. [15]

In March 2009, the Obama administration announced that Solyndra was awarded a $535 million loan from the Department of Energy (DOE). [16] According to some officials in the Office of Management and Budget, the administration put pressure on them to fast-track the loan so Vice President Joe Biden could make the announcement when he was traveling to California. [17] By 2010, it was clear that Solyndra was facing financial difficulties as “an independent audit by PriceWaterhouseCoopers questioned whether Solyndra could survive as a business,” and administration insiders warned the administration of their concerns about the company. [18]

In December 2010, the Energy Department learned that Solyndra would not be able to make its loan repayment and company executives had told administration officials the company was at risk of bankruptcy. Even so, in February 2011, the DOE restructured the loan with private investors providing $75 million to Solyndra. GKFF provided part of the $75 million. The deal specified that in the event of Solyndra collapsing GKFF and other investors would be paid back before the government and taxpayers. [19]

During an investigation into the loan, Congressional Republicans suggested that the Obama administration pushed the Solyndra loan due to Kaiser’s fundraising help during the 2008 campaign. [20] The Washington Post reported that “political considerations infused almost every level of the decision-making on granting the Solyndra loan and later administration efforts to keep the company afloat.” [21] George Kaiser had an unusual amount of access to administration officials visiting the White House 16 times between March 2009 and April 2011. [22] Officials he met with included Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Obama, and Rahm Emanuel, then-White House Chief of Staff. [23]

Low Rate of Giving

George Kaiser Family Foundation has been criticized for giving a proportionally small amount of the organization’s assets to charity each year. In 2002, GKFF distributed only 0.2 percent of its assets to charities and barely more than 1 percent in 2009. [24] GKFF was able to give such amounts because it is not a private foundation, which are required to give at least 5 percent of their assets to charity each year, but rather a “supporting organization.” [25] Unlike a private foundation, GKFF’s supporting organization status allows it to hold a large stake in a company, as it did with Solyndra. [26] In 2005, GKFF’s low rate of charitable distributions got it singled out by the Senate Finance Committee as it looked into how these organizations turned into alleged tax havens. [27]

References

  1. Strom, Stephanie. “Big Tax Break Often Bypasses Idea of Charity.” The New York Times. April 25, 2005. Accessed July 5, 2019. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B06E6DE1231F936A15757C0A9639C8B63&pagewanted=all. ^
  2. “George Kaiser Family Foundation – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. Accessed July 3, 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/731574370. ^
  3. Strom, Stephanie. “Big Tax Break Often Bypasses Idea of Charity.” The New York Times. April 25, 2005. Accessed July 5, 2019. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B06E6DE1231F936A15757C0A9639C8B63&pagewanted=all. ^
  4. Strom, Stephanie. “Big Tax Break Often Bypasses Idea of Charity.” The New York Times. April 25, 2005. Accessed July 5, 2019. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B06E6DE1231F936A15757C0A9639C8B63&pagewanted=all. ^
  5. Lucas, Fred. “The Solyndra Scandal Charity, Tax Loopholes, and Billionaire George Kaiser.” Capital Research Center. February 3, 2012. Accessed July 08, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/the-solyndra-scandal-charity-tax-loopholes-and-billionaire-george-kaiser/. ^
  6. Weiner, Rachel. “Solyndra, explained.” The Washington Post. June 1, 2012. Accessed July 5, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/solyndra–explained/2012/06/01/gJQAig2g6U_blog.html?utm_term=.d5bf498e571e ^
  7. “George Kaiser Family Foundation – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. Accessed July 3, 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/731574370.[/note] The National Philanthropic Trust, a donor-advised fund, received over $74 million from GKFF for the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation’s “New Partnership for Youth” project. [note]“George Kaiser Family Foundation – Form 990 for Period Ending Dec 2015 – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. Accessed July 3, 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/731574370/2016_11_EO/73-1574370_990_201512. ^
  8. “George Kaiser Family Foundation – Form 990 for Period Ending Dec 2015 – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. Accessed July 3, 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/731574370/2016_11_EO/73-1574370_990_201512. ^
  9. “George Kaiser Family Foundation – Form 990 for Period Ending Dec 2014 – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. Accessed July 3, 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/731574370/2015_12_EO/73-1574370_990_201412. ^
  10. “George Kaiser Family Foundation – Form 990 for Period Ending Dec 2015 – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. Accessed July 3, 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/731574370/2016_11_EO/73-1574370_990_201512. ^
  11. “Clinton Foundation and Next Generation Launch “Too Small to Fail” Children’s Initiative.” Too Small To Fail. Accessed July 3, 2019. http://toosmall.org/news/press-releases/clinton-foundation-and-next-generation-launch-too-small-to-fail-childrens-initiative. ^
  12. “George Kaiser Family Foundation – Form 990 for Period Ending Dec 2015 – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. Accessed July 3, 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/731574370/2016_11_EO/73-1574370_990_201512. ^
  13. “George Kaiser Family Foundation – Form 990 for Period Ending Dec 2014 – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. Accessed July 3, 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/731574370/2015_12_EO/73-1574370_990_201412. ^
  14. “George Kaiser Family Foundation – Form 990 for Period Ending Dec 2015 – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. Accessed July 3, 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/731574370/2016_11_EO/73-1574370_990_201512. ^
  15. Brandsetter, Ziva. “Kaiser’s fundraising for Obama in spotlight.” Tulsa World. October 21, 2011. Accessed July 5, 2019. http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/kaiser-s-fundraising-for-obama-in-spotlight/article_e320c567-7327-519e-9506-4738ecf7d77a.html. ^
  16. Weiner, Rachel. “Solyndra, explained.” The Washington Post. June 1, 2012. Accessed July 5, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/solyndra–explained/2012/06/01/gJQAig2g6U_blog.html?utm_term=.d5bf498e571e. ^
  17. Stephens, Joe, and Carol D. Leonnig. “White House Pushed $500 Million Loan to Solar Company Now under Investigation.” The Washington Post. September 13, 2011. Accessed July 05, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/white-house-pushed-500-million-loan-to-solar-company-now-under-investigation/2011/09/13/gIQAr3WbQK_story.html?utm_term=.8d26d98199a2. ^
  18. Weiner, Rachel. “Solyndra, explained.” The Washington Post. June 1, 2012. Accessed July 5, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/solyndra–explained/2012/06/01/gJQAig2g6U_blog.html?utm_term=.d5bf498e571e. ^
  19. Weiner, Rachel. “Solyndra, explained.” The Washington Post. June 1, 2012. Accessed July 5, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/solyndra–explained/2012/06/01/gJQAig2g6U_blog.html?utm_term=.d5bf498e571e. ^
  20. Weiner, Rachel. “Solyndra, explained.” The Washington Post. June 1, 2012. Accessed July 5, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/solyndra–explained/2012/06/01/gJQAig2g6U_blog.html?utm_term=.d5bf498e571e ^
  21. Weiner, Rachel. “Solyndra, explained.” The Washington Post. June 1, 2012. Accessed July 5, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/solyndra–explained/2012/06/01/gJQAig2g6U_blog.html?utm_term=.d5bf498e571e ^
  22. Brandsetter, Ziva. “Kaiser’s fundraising for Obama in spotlight.” Tulsa World. October 21, 2011. Accessed July 5, 2019. http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/kaiser-s-fundraising-for-obama-in-spotlight/article_e320c567-7327-519e-9506-4738ecf7d77a.html. ^
  23. Brandsetter, Ziva. “Kaiser’s fundraising for Obama in spotlight.” Tulsa World. October 21, 2011. Accessed July 5, 2019. http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/kaiser-s-fundraising-for-obama-in-spotlight/article_e320c567-7327-519e-9506-4738ecf7d77a.html. ^
  24. Stephens, Joe. “Investment in failed solar firm Solyndra raises questions about nonprofit’s purpose.” The Washington Post. September 27, 2011. Accessed July 5, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/investment-in-failed-solar-firm-solyndra-raises-questions-about-nonprofits-purpose/2011/09/27/gIQAVByZ2K_story.html?utm_term=.39484f974856. ^
  25. Stephens, Joe. “Investment in failed solar firm Solyndra raises questions about nonprofit’s purpose.” The Washington Post. September 27, 2011. Accessed July 5, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/investment-in-failed-solar-firm-solyndra-raises-questions-about-nonprofits-purpose/2011/09/27/gIQAVByZ2K_story.html?utm_term=.39484f974856. ^
  26. Stephens, Joe. “Investment in failed solar firm Solyndra raises questions about nonprofit’s purpose.” The Washington Post. September 27, 2011. Accessed July 5, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/investment-in-failed-solar-firm-solyndra-raises-questions-about-nonprofits-purpose/2011/09/27/gIQAVByZ2K_story.html?utm_term=.39484f974856. ^
  27. Strom, Stephanie. “Big Tax Break Often Bypasses Idea of Charity.” The New York Times. April 25, 2005. Accessed July 5, 2019. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B06E6DE1231F936A15757C0A9639C8B63&pagewanted=all. ^

Coalition Memberships

  1. Blue Meridian Partners
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 2000

  • 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 990 $-79,068,113 $186,893,837 $3,849,914,035 $763,654,208 Y $94,313,201 $0 $52,217,093 $2,233,746 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $361,440,542 $231,783,816 $3,776,874,671 $394,864,886 Y $301,472,220 $0 $47,934,243 $1,818,150 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $154,309,309 $78,418,822 $3,475,530,571 $214,805,748 Y $118,746,338 $0 $45,594,419 $2,190,302 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $-31,998,368 $102,288,362 $3,324,829,281 $226,268,699 Y $74,252,937 $0 $46,357,437 $1,974,722 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $129,891,817 $93,320,735 $3,496,641,411 $280,650,587 Y $42,384,151 $0 $57,203,268 $834,239 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990 $306,523,954 $64,064,300 $3,538,730,755 $101,372,569 Y $36,560,738 $0 $31,624,577 $1,163,000 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    George Kaiser Family Foundation

    7030 S YALE AVE STE 600
    TULSA, OK 74136-5749