Non-profit

Oakland Institute

Website:

www.oaklandinstitute.org/

Location:

OAKLAND, CA

Tax ID:

42-1626352

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $1,610,075
Expenses: $504,875
Assets: $2,348,452

Formation:

2004

Founder:

Anuradha Mittal

The Oakland Institute is a left-of-center nonprofit organization that was created by Ben & Jerry’s Foundation trustee Anuradha Mittal in 2004. [1] [2] The institute focuses on left-of-center approaches to environmental and economic issues.

The institute receives grants and contributions from major left-of-center and left-progressive foundations including the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Tides Foundation, the Schmidt Family Foundation, the Swift Foundation, and the Rudolf Steiner Foundation (better known by its business name RSF Social Finance). [3] [4]

The Oakland Institute has been criticized for receiving funding from the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation due to Mittal’s relationship with the foundation, which raised questions about potential violations of foundation self-dealing laws. [5]

Background

The Oakland Institute is a left-of-center non-profit organization based in California. The institute focuses on left-of-center approaches to environmental and economic issues. It claims to have pressured institutions, such as Harvard University, Iowa State University, and Vanderbilt University, into pulling out of international land purchases from large companies including Emergent Asset Management and AgriSol. [6]

The Oakland Institute was founded in 2004 by Anuradha Mittal, who currently sits on the board of the Environmental Defender Law Center, a nonprofit organization that provides legal services to international environmentalist activists. Mittal has also been on the board of directors for Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Mittal also sits as a trustee of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, a left-progressive organization that provides grants to nonprofits with a presence in Vermont and to nonprofit organizations that support left-of-center causes, including environmentalist policy. [7] [8]

Funding

The Oakland Institute receives most of its income from contributions and grants from private foundations including the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the Tides Foundation. [9] [10] [11]

The organization reported total revenue of $510,092 in 2017, $508,045 of which came from contributions and grants. Its total expenses amounted to $411,055 with $143,416 being spent on salaries and wages and $73,000 being spent as compensation for executives. The organization had a total asset value of $925,322 at the end of the year. [12]

The Oakland Institute had a total revenue of $796,564 in 2018 and received $795,165 in contributions and grants. Its total expenses amounted to $474,426 with $151,666 being spent on salaries and wages and $83,000 on executive compensation that was presented solely to its executive director, Anuradha Mittal. The organization’s total asset value for the end of 2018 was just over $1.2 million. [13]

The institute saw a large increase in income in 2019, with a total revenue of just over $1.6 million, 99.7% of which came from contributions and grants. Its expenses only increased marginally to a total of $504,875 with $187,822 being spent on salaries and wages and another $83,000 being spent on executive compensation for Mittal. The Oakland Institute’s total assets also increased by a large amount, with a value of over $2.3 million by the end of the year. [14]

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a left-of-center grantmaking organization with over $11 billion in assets that conducts most of its grantmaking through donor-advised fund (DAF) accounts, has provided the Oakland Institute with multiple grants including $50,000 in 2013, $120,000 in 2014, and $85,000 in 2017. [15] [16] [17]

The Tides Foundation, a major center-left grantmaking organization and pass-through funder to for left-of-center nonprofit organizations, has also provided the Oakland Institute with multiple grants, including an $8,000 grant in 2006, and a $10,000 grant in 2010. [18] [19]

The Sigrid Rausing Trust, a grantmaking organization based in the United Kingdom that prioritizes funding for left-of-center organizations, provided the Oakland Institute with a three-year grant of £225,000 (approximately $307,000) in 2018. Excluding that amount, the Sigrid Rausing Trust had provided the Oakland Institute with a total of £440,000 (just over $600,000) since 2011. [20]

The Howard G. Buffet Foundation, a grantmaking organization founded by Howard G. Buffett, son of billionaire and left-of-center donor Warren Buffett, provided the Oakland Institute with a one-year grant of $237,294 in 2018. [21]

The Oakland Institute has received funding from other left-of-center organizations as well. In 2017, it received a grant of $85,000 from the Schmidt Family Foundation, $44,000 from the Swift Foundation, $25,000 from the Rudolf Steiner Foundation (better known today by its business name RSF Social Finance), and $15,000 from the Tikva Grassroots Empowerment Fund. [22]

Other organizations that have contributed to the Oakland Institute include the Horizons Foundation and the Community Foundation of Tomkins County. [23] [24]

Funding Criticism

According to the Oakland Institute’s 2017 tax returns, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, a left-progressive organization that provides grants to support left-of-center causes and corporate philanthropic arm of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, provided the organization with multiple grants, including $55,000 in 2017 and $20,000 in 2019. [25] [26]

In August 2021, the Washington Free Beacon reported that the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation had awarded $170,500 in grants to the Oakland Institute. According to the report, the fact that Oakland Institute executive director Anuradha Mittal was also a trustee of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, raised questions about potential violations of foundation self-dealing laws. Mittal also sits on the board of directors for Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. [27] [28] [29]

The Washington Free Beacon report notes that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines “transfer to, or use by or for the benefit of, a disqualified person of the income or assets of a private foundation is an act of self-dealing,” which violates federal tax law. The report also quotes that a disqualified person is “any person who was in a position to exercise substantial influence over the affairs of the applicable tax-exempt organization” five years before the transaction. [30] [31]

References

  1. “Our Team,” Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, April 24, 2021, https://benandjerrysfoundation.org/about/our-team/. ^
  2. “Anuradha Mittal – Profile,” LinkedIn, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.linkedin.com/in/anuradha-mittal-b4160b2a/. ^
  3. “Oakland Institute 990 Form – 2017,” oaklandinstitute.org, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/OaklandInstitute-2017-Form-990.pdf. ^
  4. “Tides Foundation – 2006 Grantee List,” blackfive.net, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.blackfive.net/main/files/td_2006.pdf. ^
  5. Alana Goodman and Former Ben and Jerry’s Employee Says Anti-Israel Activist Spoke to Board Ahead of Boycott Decision, “Ben and Jerry’s Gave $170,000 in Grants to BOARD Trustee’s Anti-Israel Foundation,” Washington Free Beacon, August 4, 2021, https://freebeacon.com/culture/ben-and-jerrys-gave-170000-in-grants-to-board-trustees-anti-israel-foundation/. ^
  6. “Achievements Map,” oaklandinstitute.org, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/achievements-map.pdf . ^
  7. “Our Team,” Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, April 24, 2021, https://benandjerrysfoundation.org/about/our-team/. ^
  8. “Anuradha Mittal – Profile,” LinkedIn, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.linkedin.com/in/anuradha-mittal-b4160b2a/. ^
  9. “SVCF Grantee List – 2013,” siliconballeycf.org, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.siliconvalleycf.org/sites/default/files/svcf-grantees-list-July-2014.pdf. ^
  10. “SVCF Grantee List – 2014,” siliconvalleycf.org, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.siliconvalleycf.org/sites/default/files/documents/grantees/2014-grantee-list.pdf. ^
  11. “Oakland Institute 990 Form – 2017,” oaklandinstitute.org, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/OaklandInstitute-2017-Form-990.pdf. ^
  12. Mike Tigas Ken Schwencke, “OAKLAND Institute – Form Form 990 for Period Ending Dec 2017 – Nonprofit Explorer,” ProPublica, May 9, 2013, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/421626352/08_2018_prefixes_39-43%2F421626352_201712_990_2018081715596779?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=pmd_N8FZQ.uUvDCpHx6zq3i..yQWl77xD3QD2qXU2dG1B7U-1629394415-0-gqNtZGzNApCjcnBszQsR. ^
  13. Mike Tigas Ken Schwencke, “OAKLAND Institute – Form Form 990 for Period Ending Dec 2018 – Nonprofit Explorer,” ProPublica, May 9, 2013, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/421626352/07_2019_prefixes_39-45%2F421626352_201812_990_2019072616524322. ^
  14. Mike Tigas Ken Schwencke, “OAKLAND Institute – Form Form 990 for Period Ending Dec 2019 – Nonprofit Explorer,” ProPublica, May 9, 2013, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/421626352/09_2020_prefixes_39-43%2F421626352_201912_990_2020092217318476?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=pmd_N7mV98eW544WXr.Ylc.dv1NJ4cj8_pLq1UWqTwLiDew-1629394419-0-gqNtZGzNApCjcnBszQvl. ^
  15. “SVCF Grantee List – 2013,” siliconballeycf.org, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.siliconvalleycf.org/sites/default/files/svcf-grantees-list-July-2014.pdf. ^
  16. “SVCF Grantee List – 2014,” siliconvalleycf.org, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.siliconvalleycf.org/sites/default/files/documents/grantees/2014-grantee-list.pdf. ^
  17. “Oakland Institute 990 Form – 2017,” oaklandinstitute.org, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/OaklandInstitute-2017-Form-990.pdf. ^
  18. “Tides Foundation – 2006 Grantee List,” blackfive.net, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.blackfive.net/main/files/td_2006.pdf. ^
  19. “Tides Foundation 2010 Grantee List,” klamathbasincrisis.org, accessed August 19, 2021, http://www.klamathbasincrisis.org/fundingthedemise/Soros/Tides-Foundation-List-of-Grantees-2010.pdf. ^
  20. “Oakland Institute,” sigrid-rausing-trust.org, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.sigrid-rausing-trust.org/Grantees/Oakland-Institute. ^
  21. “The Oakland Institute,” The Oakland Institute | Oakland, CA | Cause IQ, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.causeiq.com/organizations/the-oakland-institute,421626352/. ^
  22. “Oakland Institute 990 Form – 2017,” oaklandinstitute.org, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/OaklandInstitute-2017-Form-990.pdf. ^
  23. “Horizons Foundation – Annual Report 2014,” Horizons Foundation, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.horizonsfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2014-Horizons-Foundation-Annual-Report_Web.pdf. ^
  24. “Community Foundation of Tompkins County – 2016 Grantee List,” Community Foundation of Tompkins County, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.cftompkins.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/2016-Grantees-YTD.pdf. ^
  25. “Oakland Institute 990 Form – 2017,” oaklandinstitute.org, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/OaklandInstitute-2017-Form-990.pdf. ^
  26. “Ben & Jerry’s Foundation 990-PF – 2019,” Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, accessed August 19, 2021, https://benandjerrysfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/BJF_2019_990-PF.pdf. ^
  27. “Our Team,” Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, April 24, 2021, https://benandjerrysfoundation.org/about/our-team/. ^
  28. “Anuradha Mittal – Profile,” LinkedIn, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.linkedin.com/in/anuradha-mittal-b4160b2a/. ^
  29. Alana Goodman and Former Ben and Jerry’s Employee Says Anti-Israel Activist Spoke to Board Ahead of Boycott Decision, “Ben and Jerry’s Gave $170,000 in Grants to BOARD Trustee’s Anti-Israel Foundation,” Washington Free Beacon, August 4, 2021, https://freebeacon.com/culture/ben-and-jerrys-gave-170000-in-grants-to-board-trustees-anti-israel-foundation/. ^
  30. Alana Goodman and Former Ben and Jerry’s Employee Says Anti-Israel Activist Spoke to Board Ahead of Boycott Decision, “Ben and Jerry’s Gave $170,000 in Grants to BOARD Trustee’s Anti-Israel Foundation,” Washington Free Beacon, August 4, 2021, https://freebeacon.com/culture/ben-and-jerrys-gave-170000-in-grants-to-board-trustees-anti-israel-foundation/. ^
  31. “Self-Dealing by Private Foundations: Use of Foundation’s Income or Assets,” Internal Revenue Service, accessed August 19, 2021, https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/private-foundations/self-dealing-by-private-foundations-use-of-foundations-income-or-assets. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Anuradha Mittal
    Founder and Executive Director
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 2011

  • 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 990 $1,610,075 $504,875 $2,348,452 $5,388 N $1,605,155 $199 $4,721 $83,000 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $796,564 $474,426 $1,256,326 $18,462 N $795,165 $108 $1,291 $83,000 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $510,092 $411,055 $925,322 $9,596 N $508,045 $579 $1,468 $73,000 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $523,939 $375,585 $834,664 $17,975 N $521,894 $889 $1,156 $71,750
    2015 Dec Form 990 $521,395 $384,075 $681,135 $12,800 N $541,193 $1,795 $642 $70,000 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $383,898 $318,347 $535,592 $4,577 N $383,862 $0 $36 $67,917 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $370,965 $282,381 $471,523 $6,056 N $369,434 $1,500 $31 $65,000 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $391,474 $239,967 $380,489 $3,606 N $389,395 $2,000 $79 $65,000 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $397,784 $373,128 $225,376 $0 N $397,717 $0 $67 $61,350 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Oakland Institute

    PO BOX 18978
    OAKLAND, CA 94619-0978