Non-profit

Johnson Family Foundation

Website:

www.jffnd.org

Location:

ALBANY, NY

Tax ID:

25-6357015

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $1,905,742
Expenses: $4,702,351
Assets: $64,724,203

Formation:

1991

The Johnson Family Foundation is a New York City-based left-of-center private grantmaking organization. It is also known as the Thomas Phillips and Jane Moore Johnson foundation.

Until 2000, the foundation’s giving was oriented more towards education and religious philanthropic causes. But since then, the foundation has become a major contributor towards LGBT and environmental causes. Despite the lifelong Republican affiliation of its namesake, [1] it contributes to the left-of-center Tides Foundation and other left-progressive groups. The foundation also has an emphasis on Colorado and Vermont programs.

Areas of Work

Johnson Family Foundation has four areas of work. Those areas of work are LGBTQ issues, Vermont, Colorado, and Justice. [2]

The foundation funds LGBT-interest organizations and focuses on supporting LGBT youth. [3]

It has a Vermont place-based Stewardship and Sustainability program. The program focuses on environmental conservation and lifting people out of poverty. [4]

The Colorado-based work focuses on the Telluride region. It funds educational, arts programs, and environmental programs in the region. It also funds entrepreneurship programs, healthcare programs, and youth development programs. [5]

It also has a justice area of work. It focuses on combating what it sees as the unequal distribution of resources. It funds programs to help young people go to college, access government programs and processes, and obtain nutritious, affordable food. [6]

Namesake

The foundation’s namesake is Thomas Phillips Johnson and his wife, Jane Moore Johnson. Thomas Johnson was an attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, co-founding the firm Kirkpatrick and Lockhart, which was the largest firm in the city as of 2000. Johnson was also a co-owner and vice president of the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball team. [7]

He was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania in 1915 as the youngest of five children. His father died when he was four. In 1937, he would graduate magna cum laude from Harvard Law School where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He returned to Pittsburgh where he joined the law firm of Reed, Smith, Shaw, and McClay. [8]

In the 1940 presidential election, Johnson would drive Republican presidential candidate Wendell Wilkie around town in his open convertible. It was the beginning of lifelong support for the Republican Party. [9]

In World War II, Johnson took a leave of absence from the law firm and became counsel to the war production group led by Col. Willard F. Rockwell. In 1944, he would be commissioned an officer in the U.S. Navy. He would rise to the rank of Lieutenant Commander and serve as an assistant to the Secretary of the Navy. [10]

In 1944, Johnson would marry Jane Moore and they would be married for 54 years. She would die in 1998. [11]

After World War II, Johnson returned to the law firm. In the fall of 1946, He joined six other attorneys to form a new firm, Kirkpatrick, Pomeroy, Lockhart, and Johnson. Among the first clients were the Rockwell companies. [12]

Also in 1946, he along with a friend would buy the controlling stock interest in the Pittsburgh Pirates. The ownership group was joined by John Galbreath and Bing Crosby. Johnson would own the Pirates until 1984 when he sold his shares to the Galbreaths as they sold the team to an ownership group that would keep the team in Pittsburgh. In 1996, he rejoined the ownership as one of the key investors pulled out, once again helping to keep the team in Pittsburgh. [13]

In addition to law and the Pittsburgh Pirates, Johnson was active in business. He became president of Lawrence Savings & Trust Co. which later became Pennbancorp. Johnson would retire as bank president in 1985. He also joined with Arnold Palmer and horse breeder Del Miller to build and operate Holiday Inn franchises. All told, Johnson would serve on the boards of at least 50 corporations. [14]

Johnson was an active Republican. In the 1960s, he was treasurer and chief fundraiser for the Republican Party in Allegheny County. He was also active in numerous local and state campaigns on behalf of Republicans. [15]

Johnson died on May 23, 2000 of respiratory failure. He was battling cancer at the time. [16]

Grant History

The Johnson Family Foundation was established during Thomas Johnson’s life, in December 1990. It made its first grants in 1991. The foundation keeps a history of grants it has made from 1991 to 2017.

Early Activities

The Foundation’s early grantmaking tended to support non-political efforts such as higher education. In 1991, $75,000 in grants were made. The three institutions that received $25,000 apiece were the American Studies Film Center, Bethany College, and Rollins College. [17]

In 1992, $22,967 was awarded to East Liberty Presbyterian Church. [18]

In 1993, $200,000 in grants were awarded. $100,000 was awarded to Bethany College; another $50,000 was awarded to Presbyterian University Hospital. The Foundation provided $25,000 to QED West, $20,000 to the First Christian Church and $5,000 to Carnegie Mellon University. [19]

In 1994, only $38,500 in grants were awarded. The Foundation gave $11,000 to Santa Fe Community College, $10,000 to the Telluride Historical Museum, $5,000 was awarded to Carnegie Mellon University and the Salisbury School, $2,500 to Habitat for Humanity, $2,000 to the East Liberty Presbyterian Church, $1,500 to Rollins College, $1,000 to the Western Colorado Congress, and $500 to Eaglebrook School. [20]

In 1995, $44,250 in grants were awarded. The foundation gave $25,000 to Bethany College, $10,000 to the Carnegie, $6,000 to Salisbury School, $1,000 each to Rollins College and the Boston-New York AIDS Ride, $500 each to Eaglebrook School and the Telluride Choral Society, and $250 to the Western Colorado Congress. [21]

In 1996, only $16,200 in grants were awarded, largely to groups that had received Johnson Family Foundation grants in previous years. [22]

In 1997, $116,006 in grants were awarded. The largest grant was $20,000 for the Civic Light Opera.  The second-largest grant was $17,000 to Carnegie Mellon University. There were grants for $15,000 each to Bethany College and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. [23]

In 1998, $119,500 in grants were awarded: $50,000 went to Presbyterian University Hospital, $16,500 went to Carnegie Mellon University, $14,000 went to the College of Santa Fe at Albuquerque, $12,500 went to the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, and $10,000 went to the Telluride Society for the Performing Arts. [24]

In 1999, $99,000 in grants were awarded. The Foundation provided $30,000 to the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, $20,000 to the National Gallery of Art, $16,500 to Carnegie Mellon University, and $10,000 to the Telluride Society for the Performing Arts. [25]

Post-2000 Shift

Thomas Phillips Johnson died in 2000; beginning that year, his foundation began to support more explicit advocacy projects. In 2000, the foundation made $223,160 in grants: $10,000 was donated to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), $5,000 went to the Natural Resources Defense Council, $3,000 went to Equality Colorado, and $2,500 went to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. [26]

Between 2001 and 2005, Johnson Family Foundation grant amounts increased substantially, averaging over $1 million a year. Among the organizations that received funding in the period were Greenpeace, the Center for Environmental Health, Center for International Environmental Law,  Collaborative on Health & the Environment, Downtown for Democracy, Environmental Health Sciences, Environmental Working Group, Family Equality Council, GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute, GLSEN, Health & Environmental Funders Network, Metropolitan Community Church, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Natural Resources Defense Council, PFLAG, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Washington Toxics Coalition. [27]

Between 2006 and 2010, more left-wing activist groups were added to the Johnson Family Foundation grant recipient list. In addition to some of the aforementioned organizations, 1% for the Planet, Advancing Green Chemistry, Astraea Foundation, Campaign For Safe Cosmetics, Carnegie Mellon Institute for Green Science, the Center for American Progress, Center for Progressive Reform, Children of Lesbians & Gays Everywhere, Children’s Environmental Health Network, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Justice Strategy for a Toxic Free Future, Equality Maine Foundation, Green Blue Institute, Green Corps, Health Care Without Harm, Lambda Legal, Media Matters for America, Outright Vermont, Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network, and Western Equality. [28]

Between 2012 and 2016, the foundation donated to more left-wing groups for the first time, including the American Civil Liberties Union, BlueGreen Alliance Foundation, Common Cause Education Fund, Democracy Initiative, Earthjustice, Freedom to Marry, League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Public Citizen, and Queer Youth Fund. [29]

In 2017, the foundation made numerous grants to left-of-center organizations, including a $10,000 grant to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, $25,000 to the Common Cause Education Fund, $15,000 to Demos, $24,000 for Planned Parenthood, $10,000 to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, $5,000 to the Roosevelt Institute, $10,000 to the Southern Poverty Law Center, $415,000 to the Vermont Community Foundation, and $25,000 to the Vermont Journalism Trust. In addition, the foundation continued to support many of left-wing organizations it had supported in previous years. The Natural Resources Defense Council received $20,000; the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network received $53,000; Funders for LGBTQ Issues received $40,000; Equality Pennsylvania received $10,000; Center for American Progress received $50,000; 1% for the Planet received $30,100. [30]

Leadership

Frank Baiocchi currently serves as the executive director for the Johnson Family Foundation. He has been executive director since June 2018. Baiocchi is on the board of directors for the Movement Advancement Project and Hoenig Artist Fund. He also serves on the advisory board for the Rights, Faith, and Democracy Collaborative; the Fund for a Safer Future; and the Piper Fund. Previously, he spent 13 years at the Polk Brothers Foundation in Chicago, leading grant-making programs in youth and family services, healthcare, the arts, and organizational development. In addition, he has previously served on the boards of Ingenuity, the ACLU of Illinois, and Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education. He also led the Illinois chapters of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and Funders for LGBTQ Issues. [31]

Dylan Hoos is a program officer. He has been working with the foundation since 2015. He leads the Colorado program and also helps guide grants in the LGBTQ issues and justice programs. Previously, he was at the Telluride Foundation where he was involved in helping develop new economic development programs. Before that, he was involved with the Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation.

Jamison Lerner is a program associate who helps run the Vermont program. He joined in the spring of 2017. [32]

Members of the Johnson family serve as the board of directors with Johnson’s sons serving as president and chairman. Thomas P. Johnson Jr. serves as the president and James M. Johnson serves as the chairman. Other Johnson family members, Jesse D. Johnson and Asa J. Johnson serve as treasurer and secretary respectively. [33]

Andrew Lane is a former executive director, serving until 2017. Lane also served as the chair for Funders for LGBTQ Issues. [34]

Financials

As of 2017 Form 990, the foundation had $87.7 million in assets. It had $27.7 million in corporate stock, $2 million in corporate bonds, and $55.3 million in various hedge funds. [35]

Also that year, it gave $100,000 to the Proteus Fund. It gave $25,000 to the Tides Center. It also gave $25,000 to the True Colors Fund. It awarded $25,000 to the Center for Popular Democracy. In total, it awarded over $3.2 million in grants. [36]

References

  1. Rawson, Christopher. “Obituary: Thomas Phillips Johnson / Co-Founder of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Law Firm.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 24, 2000. http://old.post-gazette.com/obituaries/20000524johnson2.asp. ^
  2. “About”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://www.jffnd.org/home/#about1. ^
  3. “About”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://www.jffnd.org/home/#about1. ^
  4. “About”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://www.jffnd.org/home/#about1. ^
  5. “About”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://www.jffnd.org/home/#about1. ^
  6. “About”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://www.jffnd.org/home/#about1. ^
  7. Rawson, Christopher. 2000. “Obituary: Thomas Phillips Johnson / Co-Founder Of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Law Firm”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://old.post-gazette.com/obituaries/20000524johnson2.asp. ^
  8. Rawson, Christopher. 2000. “Obituary: Thomas Phillips Johnson / Co-Founder Of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Law Firm”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://old.post-gazette.com/obituaries/20000524johnson2.asp. ^
  9. Rawson, Christopher. 2000. “Obituary: Thomas Phillips Johnson / Co-Founder Of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Law Firm”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://old.post-gazette.com/obituaries/20000524johnson2.asp. ^
  10. Rawson, Christopher. 2000. “Obituary: Thomas Phillips Johnson / Co-Founder Of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Law Firm”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://old.post-gazette.com/obituaries/20000524johnson2.asp. ^
  11. Rawson, Christopher. 2000. “Obituary: Thomas Phillips Johnson / Co-Founder Of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Law Firm”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://old.post-gazette.com/obituaries/20000524johnson2.asp. ^
  12. Rawson, Christopher. 2000. “Obituary: Thomas Phillips Johnson / Co-Founder Of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Law Firm”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://old.post-gazette.com/obituaries/20000524johnson2.asp. ^
  13. Rawson, Christopher. 2000. “Obituary: Thomas Phillips Johnson / Co-Founder Of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Law Firm”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://old.post-gazette.com/obituaries/20000524johnson2.asp. ^
  14. Rawson, Christopher. 2000. “Obituary: Thomas Phillips Johnson / Co-Founder Of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Law Firm”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://old.post-gazette.com/obituaries/20000524johnson2.asp. ^
  15. Rawson, Christopher. 2000. “Obituary: Thomas Phillips Johnson / Co-Founder Of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Law Firm”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://old.post-gazette.com/obituaries/20000524johnson2.asp. ^
  16. Rawson, Christopher. 2000. “Obituary: Thomas Phillips Johnson / Co-Founder Of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Law Firm”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://old.post-gazette.com/obituaries/20000524johnson2.asp. ^
  17. “Grants 1991-1995”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d165499f33519000182c217/t/5d39d5e0801e810001f9c7ec/1564071392749/grants_91_to_95.pdf. ^
  18. “Grants 1991-1995”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d165499f33519000182c217/t/5d39d5e0801e810001f9c7ec/1564071392749/grants_91_to_95.pdf. ^
  19. “Grants 1991-1995”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d165499f33519000182c217/t/5d39d5e0801e810001f9c7ec/1564071392749/grants_91_to_95.pdf. ^
  20. “Grants 1991-1995”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d165499f33519000182c217/t/5d39d5e0801e810001f9c7ec/1564071392749/grants_91_to_95.pdf. ^
  21. “Grants 1991-1995”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d165499f33519000182c217/t/5d39d5e0801e810001f9c7ec/1564071392749/grants_91_to_95.pdf. ^
  22. “Grants 1996-2000”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d165499f33519000182c217/t/5d39d5ab50891e0001457bfc/1564071339112/grants_96_to_00.pdf. ^
  23. “Grants 1996-2000”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d165499f33519000182c217/t/5d39d5ab50891e0001457bfc/1564071339112/grants_96_to_00.pdf. ^
  24. “Grants 1996-2000”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d165499f33519000182c217/t/5d39d5ab50891e0001457bfc/1564071339112/grants_96_to_00.pdf. ^
  25. “Grants 1996-2000”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d165499f33519000182c217/t/5d39d5ab50891e0001457bfc/1564071339112/grants_96_to_00.pdf. ^
  26. “Grants 1996-2000”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d165499f33519000182c217/t/5d39d5ab50891e0001457bfc/1564071339112/grants_96_to_00.pdf. ^
  27. “Grants 2001-05”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d165499f33519000182c217/t/5d39d5878c32b70001b2cd5c/1564071303116/grants_01_to_05.pdf. ^
  28. “Grants 2006-10”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d165499f33519000182c217/t/5d39d568692ace000116d397/1564071272601/grants_06_to_10.pdf. ^
  29. “Grants 2012-16”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d165499f33519000182c217/t/5d31f9f884e79200013ee139/1563556344963/JFF%2B5-Year%2BPayment%2BHistory%2B-%2BWebsite%2BDisclosure%2B-%2B01092018.pdf. ^
  30. “Grants 2017”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d165499f33519000182c217/t/5d39d4fa39aa8d0001427325/1564071163237/JFF%2BWebsite%2BPublic%2BDisclosure%2B-%2B2017%2BGrants.pdf. ^
  31. “About”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://www.jffnd.org/home/#about1. ^
  32. “About”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://www.jffnd.org/home/#about1. ^
  33. “About”. 2019. Johnson Family Foundation. Accessed August 12. https://www.jffnd.org/home/#about1. ^
  34. “Our Board Gets A Little Bigger”. 2019. Funders For LGBT Issues. Accessed August 12. https://lgbtfunders.org/newsposts/our-board-gets-a-little-bigger/. ^
  35. “Form 990, 990 Tax Forms”. 2019. Foundation Center. Accessed August 12. http://990finder.foundationcenter.org/990results.aspx?990_type=&ei=256357015. ^
  36. “Form 990, 990 Tax Forms”. 2019. Foundation Center. Accessed August 12. http://990finder.foundationcenter.org/990results.aspx?990_type=&ei=256357015. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 1991

  • 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 $1,905,742 $4,702,351 $64,724,203 $79,796 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $2,021,798 $4,457,365 $67,083,311 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $5,887,189 $4,088,223 $69,523,296 $4,418 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $1,452,629 $4,293,635 $67,725,020 $5,108 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $1,814,428 $4,474,083 $70,562,842 $1,924 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Johnson Family Foundation

    4 TOWER PL STE 1001
    ALBANY, NY 12203-3719