Non-profit

John Merck Fund

Website:

www.jmfund.org/

Location:

BOSTON, MA

Tax ID:

23-7082558

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $6,882,315
Expenses: $13,162,740
Assets: $56,319,414

Executive Director:

Christine H. James

Formation:

1970

Founder:

Serena S. Merck

The John Merck Fund is a left-of-center grantmaking institution that supports left-leaning organizations and policies on subjects such as abortion, “climate justice,” human rights, and nuclear disarmament. [1]

It has provided substantial grants to organizations such as the New Venture Fund, the Bluegreen Alliance Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Feminist Majority Foundation, and the National Abortion Federation. [2][3]

Background

The John Merck Fund (JMF) is a Boston-based left-of-center grantmaking institution created to support research into developmental disabilities. The founder of the fund, Serena S. Merck, created the non-profit organization in 1970 to honor her son. The organization expanded its mission in 1986 to include general health care and environmentalist advocacy. [4]

The John Merck Fund announced that it would spend down its assets by 2022, noting that it was employing an “all in” spend down strategy which would see 100% of its assets, which it claims could approach $100 million, integrated into initiatives and programs it has supported in the past. [5] JMF stopped accepting letters of inquiry and unsolicited applications for grants in 2017, which it notes is the second half of its spend-out period, however current grantees of the fund could apply for additional grants. [6]

Funding

The John Merck Fund receives the majority of its total revenue from selling its assets, which coincides with its spend down by 2022.

The organization had total revenue of just under $11 million in 2012, just over $7.5 million in 2013, around $12.3 million in 2014, and just under $7 million in 2015. Of these totals, $9.6 million came from the organization selling its assets in 2012, $6.4 million from selling assets in 2013, $12.2 million in 2014, and just under $6 million in 2015. JMF had a total of approximately $29.3 million left in assets in 2018. [7][8]

JMF had a total expenditure of approximately $9.4 million in 2012, $10.7 million in 2013, $12.2 million in 2014, and $13 million in 2015. [9]

Grantees

The John Merck Fund has provided grants to several organizations that support and advocate for left-of-center policies on various issues including abortion, “climate justice,” human rights, and nuclear disarmament. [10]

The New Venture Fund, a funding and fiscal sponsorship nonprofit that makes grants to left-of-center advocacy and organizing projects and provides incubation serves for other left-of-center organizations, received $1,313,500 in grants from the John Merck Fund from 2012. [11]

JMF, in the same period, granted $285,000  to the Bluegreen Alliance Foundation, a left-wing non-profit think tank that researches the economy and environment and is an arm of the Bluegreen Alliance labor union-environmentalist coalition. JMF also granted $620,000 to the left-leaning health care advocacy organization Health Care Without Harm, and $275,000 to one of the nation’s largest environmentalist groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council. [12]

The John Merck Fund is also listed as a major donor to Greenpeace USA, one of the most internationally recognized environmentalist organizations that is well-known for its attention-seeking stunts and radical views and is noted for seeking to actively sabotage those industries it sees as harmful to the environment. JMF first provided Greenpeace USA with a $30,000 grant in 2000 but continued with a $50,000 grant in 2002 and another $50,000 in 2003. [13]

JMF has also provided money to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, an organization which provides health services and abortions both in the U.S. and abroad, founded by Socialist Party and American Eugenics Society member Margaret Sanger. JMF granted the organization $350,000 in 1998, $125,000 in 1999, and $200,000 in 2001. It continued granting money to Planned Parenthood Federation of America until 2009. The John Merck Fund also granted substantial amounts of money to the Feminist Majority Foundation, and the National Abortion Federation, a left-of-center advocacy group that lobbies on behalf of abortion providers to lift restrictions on abortion. [14]

The John Merck Fund granted $475,000 in 2004, $168,000 in 2005, and $235,000 in 2006, to the Proteus Fund, a center-left “pass-through” funder, and donor-advised fund provider. Since the Fund’s creation in 1995, Proteus has routed hundreds of millions of dollars from major grantmaking foundations and anonymous donors on the Left to activist groups targeting issues including legalizing same-sex marriage, reducing religious freedom to dissent policies on gay rights and abortion, abolishing capital punishment, reducing military spending, and promoting liberal campaign finance policies. [15]

JMF granted $500,000 to the Voter Registration Project, a voter mobilization group that targets African-American, Latino, Native American, low-income, and other voter groups likely to lean left-of-center. Despite claiming to be a non-partisan organization, it is run by individuals with long-standing connections to left-of-center non-profits, including the AFL-CIO labor union federation, George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, and the State Voices network of liberal state-level advocacy groups. JMF also granted $125,000 to Project Vote, which was a left-of-center voter rights and activation non-profit that also worked to expand the number of minority voters. [16][17]

The John Merck Fund also granted substantial amounts of money to nuclear disarmament. Some of those grants include a total of $670,000 to the Nuclear Control Institute between 1991 and 2000, and $825,000  to the Monterey Institute of International Studies between 1995 and 1998 to promote nuclear non-proliferation. [18][19]

References

  1. “Grants Archive,” John Merck Fund, accessed May 10, 2021, https://www.jmfund.org/program-grants/?fwp_grant_programs=climate-justice&fwp_sort=date_desc. ^
  2. “John Merck Fund,” Anti, May 11, 2020, https://anti-gmo-advocacy-funding-tracker.geneticliteracyproject.org/john-merck-fund/. ^
  3. “Grants Archive,” John Merck Fund, accessed May 10, 2021, https://www.jmfund.org/program-grants/?fwp_grant_search=planned+parenthood&fwp_grant_programs=reproductive-health&fwp_sort=amount_desc. ^
  4. “About Us,” John Merck Fund, April 21, 2020, https://www.jmfund.org/about-us/#:~:text=Merck%20founded%20The%20John%20Merck,chemicals%20use%2C%20and%20food%20production ^
  5. “Why We’re Closing,” John Merck Fund, April 21, 2020, https://www.jmfund.org/about-us/why-were-closing/. ^
  6. “For Grantseekers,” John Merck Fund, December 16, 2020, https://www.jmfund.org/for-grantseekers/. ^
  7. Sisi Wei Mike Tigas, “JOHN MERCK FUND – Form Form 990-PF for Period Ending Dec 2018 – Nonprofit Explorer,” ProPublica, May 9, 2013, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/237082558/11_2019_prefixes_22-23%2F237082558_201812_990PF_2019111216839355. ^
  8. Sisi Wei Mike Tigas, “John Merck Fund – Nonprofit Explorer,” ProPublica, May 9, 2013, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/237082558. ^
  9. Sisi Wei Mike Tigas, “John Merck Fund – Nonprofit Explorer,” ProPublica, May 9, 2013, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/237082558. ^
  10. “Grants Archive,” John Merck Fund, accessed May 10, 2021, https://www.jmfund.org/program-grants/?fwp_grant_programs=climate-justice&fwp_sort=date_desc. ^
  11. “John Merck Fund,” Anti, May 11, 2020, https://anti-gmo-advocacy-funding-tracker.geneticliteracyproject.org/john-merck-fund/. ^
  12. “John Merck Fund,” Anti, May 11, 2020, https://anti-gmo-advocacy-funding-tracker.geneticliteracyproject.org/john-merck-fund/. ^
  13. “Greenpeace USA – Major Funders ,” the-pipeline.org, accessed May 10, 2021, https://the-pipeline.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Greenpeace-USA-Major-Funders.pdf ^
  14. “Grants Archive,” John Merck Fund, accessed May 10, 2021, https://www.jmfund.org/program-grants/?fwp_grant_search=planned+parenthood&fwp_grant_programs=reproductive-health&fwp_sort=amount_desc. ^
  15. “Grants Archive,” John Merck Fund, accessed May 10, 2021, https://www.jmfund.org/program-grants/?fwp_grant_search=proteus&fwp_sort=amount_desc. ^
  16. “Grants Archive,” John Merck Fund, accessed May 10, 2021, https://www.jmfund.org/program-grants/?fwp_grant_search=Voter+Registration+Project&fwp_sort=amount_desc. ^
  17. “The Registration Project – About US,” registration, accessed May 10, 2021, https://www.theregistrationproject.org/organization. ^
  18. “Grants Archive,” John Merck Fund, accessed May 10, 2021, https://www.jmfund.org/program-grants/?fwp_grant_programs=disarmament&fwp_sort=amount_desc. ^
  19. “Grants Archive,” John Merck Fund, accessed May 10, 2021, https://www.jmfund.org/program-grants/?fwp_grant_search=nuclear+control+institute&fwp_grant_programs=disarmament&fwp_sort=title_asc. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Christine James
    Executive Director

Donation Recipients

  1. Center for Environmental Health (Non-profit)
  2. Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) (Non-profit)
  3. Center for Public Interest Research (Non-profit)
  4. Center for Rural Affairs (Non-profit)
  5. Ceres (Non-profit)
  6. Conservation Law Foundation (Non-profit)
  7. Earthjustice (Non-profit)
  8. EarthRights International (ERI) (Non-profit)
  9. Energy Foundation (Non-profit)
  10. Environment America Research and Policy Center (Non-profit)
  11. Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) (Non-profit)
  12. GreenBlue (Non-profit)
  13. Health Care Without Harm (Non-profit)
  14. Interreligious Eco-Justice Network (Non-profit)
  15. Kentucky Coalition (Non-profit)
  16. Meridian Institute (Non-profit)
  17. National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (Non-profit)
  18. National Wildlife Federation (Non-profit)
  19. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (Non-profit)
  20. Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts (Non-profit)
  21. New America (New America Foundation) (Non-profit)
  22. New Venture Fund (NVF) (Non-profit)
  23. Oregon Environmental Council (Non-profit)
  24. Plug In America (Non-profit)
  25. Provide (Non-profit)
  26. Sierra Club Foundation (Non-profit)
  27. Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (Non-profit)
  28. Sustainable Markets Foundation (Non-profit)
  29. TSNE MissionWorks (Non-profit)
  30. Tides Center (Non-profit)
  31. Toxics Action Center (Non-profit)
  32. U.S. Human Rights Fund (Non-profit)
  33. U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US-PIRG) Education Fund (Non-profit)
  34. Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) (Non-profit)
  35. Virginia Organizing (Non-profit)
  36. Vote Solar (Non-profit)
  37. Waterkeeper Alliance (Non-profit)
  38. Western Organization of Resource Councils Education Project (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 1970

  • 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 $6,882,315 $13,162,740 $56,319,414 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $12,386,544 $12,275,644 $68,354,337 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $7,579,266 $10,726,695 $78,359,185 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $10,925,556 $9,415,670 $73,942,428 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $4,573,187 $8,735,758 $75,045,483 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    John Merck Fund

    2 OLIVER STREET 8TH FL
    BOSTON, MA 02109-4901