Non-profit

Park Foundation

Website:

parkfoundation.org

Location:

ITHACA, NY

Tax ID:

16-6071043

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2014):

Revenue: $20,824,502
Expenses: $28,045,546
Assets: $409,686,869

Formation:

1966

President:

Adelaide Park Gomer

Executive Director:

Jon M. Jensen

Executive Director's Compensation:

Salary: $230,764

Benefits: $49,686 [33]

The Park Foundation is a left-of-center funding group for several of America’s most prominent environmentalist organizations. Led by liberal megadonor and heiress of the Duncan Hines foods and Park Communications media fortunes Adelaide Park Gomer, the foundation leads the movement to prohibit exploration for America’s natural gas resources.[1] Gomer has said that her Park Foundation “helped to fuel an army” of environmentalists to secure bans on certain forms of gas drilling in coastal states, most prominently New York.[2] The foundation is a major funder of the environmentalist movement, vegan interest and animal liberation causes, and progressive media.

The Park Foundation is notable for funding academic research on natural gas extraction and propaganda opposing the practice, most notably the controversial film Gasland.[3] (The movie’s writer/director Josh Fox became flustered when confronted on National Public Radio with accusations of falsehoods in the film.[4] An industry group issued an 11-page statement documenting errors in the film.[5]) Park Foundation-backed groups are a major source of advocacy against natural gas development in the mainstream media, leading pro-exploration critics to allege that the foundation is funding an anti-drilling “echo chamber.”[6]

Formation

The foundation was created by Roy H. Park, Sr., an advertising and public relations magnate who worked rural outreach for Republican Thomas Dewey in the 1948 Presidential Election.[7] After creating and selling the Duncan Hines branded line of packaged foods, Park started Park Communications, which operated newspapers and radio stations.[8] After Park’s death in 1993, the company was sold in October 1994 for just more than $711 million.[9] After his death, he gave more than 70 percent of his wealth to the Park Foundation.[10]

Split over Political Differences

Dorothy Park, Park Sr.’s widow, split the foundation in two in 2001 amid acrimony in the family.[11] The Triad Foundation’s political giving is small compared to its community service giving and generally center-right, in contrast to the larger and more ideological Park Foundation.[12]

Political Activism

Anti-Natural Gas Initiatives

Adelaide Park Gomer took the remnant Park Foundation in a far-left direction, with a focus on opposition to natural gas exploration by hydraulic fracturing. From 2009 to 2014, the Park Foundation under Park Gomer contributed at least $6 million explicitly to natural gas exploration opposition.[13]

Park Foundation’s anti-fracking efforts focus on a handful of areas: funding progressive media, researchers opposed to gas exploration, and advocacy groups that push the anti-fracking message. Park funds numerous environmentalist-aligned progressive media outlets, including the Center for Public Integrity, the Foundation for National Progress (publisher of Mother Jones), and Grist Magazine.[14]

The Park Foundation supports the advocacy efforts of the broader environmentalist movement, with an emphasis on organizations constituting the green radical fringe. Greenpeace reportedly received $60,000 from Park for “opposition research.”[15] The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, characterized by a federal judge as “pirates” for their lawless activity on the high seas, received $50,000 from Park in 2014.[16] Earthworks, an environmentalist group which spread a claim that natural gas exploration was analogous to rape, also received Park funding.[17]

The Park Foundation was the linchpin in funding the effort to prohibit expanded gas exploration in the state of New York. Through the Sustainable Markets Foundation, recipient of at least $637,000 in Park Foundation contributions, the group provided support to anti-fracking activists and legislators in the state.[18]

The Park Foundation funds researchers at Cornell University who have attacked gas drilling in their research and writing.[19] The foundation also provided financial support to projects associated with Ithaca College professor Sandra Steingraber, who also cofounded the activist group New Yorkers Against Fracking.[20] Energy industry sources noted that Park-funded liberal partisan press and researchers served as principal sources for New York Times reporting on the natural gas industry.[21]

Other Initiatives

The Park Foundation funds progressive organizations and efforts outside of the natural gas debate as well. Common Cause, a liberal-aligned campaign finance group, has received funding from Park and gave Adelaide Park Gomer an award in 2011.[22] A nonprofit associated with progressive documentary production company Brave New Films received a grant from Park for an anti-Afghanistan War project.[23] Brave New Films also received Park funding for a gun control-related effort.[24]

In 2013, Park donated to Free Speech for People, a left-of-center political outfit determined to overturn the Supreme Court ruling in the 2010 Citizens United decision, which ruled certain restrictions on political speech unconstitutional.[25]

Park additionally gave $500,000 to support Moyers and Company, the media production outlet for progressive journalist Bill Moyers, formerly President Lyndon Johnson’s White House Press Secretary.[26]

The foundation funds scholarship programs at North Carolina State University and Ithaca College. Park spends about $6.5 million on scholarships annually.[27]

People

Jon M. Jensen serves as the executive director for the Park Foundation. Prior to leading Park, Jensen served at a few left-leaning groups, including the Pew Conservation Scholars Program, Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Wildlife Preservation Trust International.[28]

Adelaide Park Gomer, the daughter of Roy H. Park, Sr., also plays an instrumental role in the Park Foundation. She serves as the foundation’s president and is an ardent opponent of natural gas drilling through hydraulic fracturing. In 2013, the Albany-based Democrat & Chronicle reported that Gomer “boasted of funding an ‘army of courageous individuals and (non-governmental organizations)’ to fight fracking in New York.”[29] Park Gomer reportedly heated her home with natural gas at least as recently as 2012, after the Park Foundation began its anti-fracking campaigns.[30]

Gomer regularly donates to left-wing and liberal politicians. In recent years, she has given funds to former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Florida) and Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who sits as an Independent. In 2015, she donated $10,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In 2016 and 2015, Gomer gave $1,000 in each year to End Citizens United.[31] Park Gomer also backed far-left Democrat Zephyr Teachout in the 2014 New York gubernatorial primary.[32]

References

  1. Williams, Tate. “The Family Foundation That’s Become a Hero for Fracking Opponents.” Inside Philanthropy. April 24, 2014. Accessed April 14, 2017. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2014/4/24/the-family-foundation-thats-become-a-hero-for-fracking-oppon.html
  2. Markay, Lachlan. “Environmentalist Foundations Fund Anti-Fossil Fuel Echo Chamber.” Washington Free Beacon. April 3, 2014. Accessed April 14, 2017. http://freebeacon.com/issues/environmentalist-foundations-fund-anti-fossil-fuel-echo-chamber/
  3. Soraghan, Mike. “HYDRAULIC FRACTURING: Quiet foundation funds the ‘anti-fracking’ fight.” E&E News. March 12, 2012. A,ccessed April 17, 2017. https://www.eenews.net/stories/1059961204
  4. Markay, Lachlan. “‘Gasland’ Director Confronted on NPR Show.” Washington Free Beacon. August 14, 2013. Accessed March 20, 2018. http://freebeacon.com/national-security/gasland-director-confronted-on-npr-show/.
  5. “Debunking Gasland.” Energy In-Depth. January 2012. Accessed March 20, 2018. https://www.energyindepth.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Debunking-GasLand.pdf.
  6. Markay, Lachlan. “Environmentalist Foundations Fund Anti-Fossil Fuel Echo Chamber.” Washington Free Beacon. April 3, 2014. Accessed April 17, 2017. http://freebeacon.com/issues/environmentalist-foundations-fund-anti-fossil-fuel-echo-chamber/
  7. “Roy H. Park and the Triad Foundation.” Cornell University. Accessed April 14, 2017. http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Programs/Full-Time-MBA/Two-Year-MBA/Curriculum/Leadership/Leadership-Opportunities/Park-Leadership-Fellows-Program/Roy-H-Park-and-the-Triad-Foundation
  8. “Roy H. Park and the Triad Foundation.” Cornell University. Accessed April 14, 2017. http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Programs/Full-Time-MBA/Two-Year-MBA/Curriculum/Leadership/Leadership-Opportunities/Park-Leadership-Fellows-Program/Roy-H-Park-and-the-Triad-Foundation
  9. Callan, Kathleen. “Media General Buys Park Acquisitions for $710 Million,” Associated Press, July 22, 1996, accessed November 25, 2016, http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1996/Media-General-Buys-Park-Acquisitions-for-$710-Million/id-d98323fab12470f79c6ce7bb5acd893e
  10. “About Park Foundation Founder Roy H. Park,” Park Foundation, 2016, accessed November 29, 2016, http://parkfoundation.org/about-us/
  11. “Park Family Locked in Power Struggle.” The Ithacan. Accessed March 19, 2018. https://theithacan.org/news/park-family-locked-in-power-struggle/[note] Adelaide Park Gomer and Dorothy Park took control of the Park Foundation, while Roy Park, Jr. and Park Jr.’s children took control of the Triad Foundation seeded with some Park Foundation funds.[note] “Roy H. Park and the Triad Foundation.” Cornell University. Accessed April 14, 2017. http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Programs/Full-Time-MBA/Two-Year-MBA/Curriculum/Leadership/Leadership-Opportunities/Park-Leadership-Fellows-Program/Roy-H-Park-and-the-Triad-Foundation
  12. Chaisson, Bill. “Legacy Lives On: Park, Triad foundations continue the work of Roy Park Sr.” Ithaca Times. August 17, 2012. Accessed April 14, 2017. http://www.ithaca.com/news/legacy-lives-on-park-triad-foundations-continue-the-work-of/article_2aab243e-e662-11e1-84d1-0019bb2963f4.html
  13. Williams, Tate. “The Family Foundation That’s Become a Hero for Fracking Opponents.” Inside Philanthropy. April 24, 2014. Accessed April 17, 2017. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2014/4/24/the-family-foundation-thats-become-a-hero-for-fracking-oppon.html
  14. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted April 17, 2017.
  15. Markay, Lachlan. “Deep-Pocketed Donors Behind Campus Anti-Koch Movement.” Washington Free Beacon. November 2, 2015. Accessed April 18, 2017. http://freebeacon.com/issues/deep-pocketed-donors-behind-campus-anti-koch-movement/
  16. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted April 18, 2017. See also Yuhas, Alan. “Sea Shepherd conservation group declared ‘pirates’ in US court ruling.” The Guardian. February 27, 2013. Accessed April 18, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/feb/27/sea-shepherd-pirates-us-court
  17. Markay, Lachlan. “Prominent Green Group Likens Fracking to Rape.” Washington Free Beacon. April 1, 2015. Accessed April 18, 2017. http://freebeacon.com/issues/prominent-green-group-likens-fracking-to-rape/
  18. Campbell, Jon. “Foundation’s funds continue flow to fracking critics.” Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. July 21, 2013. Accessed April 18, 2017. http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/2013/07/21/foundations-funds-continue-flow-to-fracking-critics/2573681/
  19. Entine, Jon. “Gas Heat.” Philanthropy Roundtable. Summer 2014. Accessed April 17, 2017. http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/gas_heat
  20. Markay, Lahclan. “Report: Science Behind NY Fracking Ban Tainted by Money, Politics.” Washington Free Beacon. April 23, 2015. Accessed April 17, 2017. http://freebeacon.com/issues/report-science-behind-ny-fracking-ban-tainted-by-money-politics/
  21. Shepstone, Tom. “Connecting the Dots on NYT and Park Foundation.” Energy In Depth. February 14, 2012. Accessed April 18, 2017. https://energyindepth.org/marcellus/connecting-dots-park-foundation/
  22. Entine, Jon. “Gas Heat.” Philanthropy Roundtable. Summer 2014. Accessed April 17, 2017. http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/gas_heat
  23. Maghami, Neil. “Brave New Films: Using Online Videos for Agitation and Propaganda.” Capital Research Center. November 2, 2011. Accessed April 18, 2017. https://capitalresearch.org/article/brave-new-films-using-online-videos-for-agitation-and-propaganda/
  24. Park Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2014, “Payments Made-By Month”
  25. Park Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2013, “Payments Made-2013”
  26. Park Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2014, “Payments Made-By Month”
  27. “Park Foundation’s Program Interests.” Park Foundation. Accessed April 18, 2017. http://parkfoundation.org/program-interests/
  28. “Jon M. Jensen.” The Center for Business and the Environment at Yale. October 03, 2016. Accessed April 18, 2017. http://cbey.yale.edu/our-community/jon-m-jensen
  29. Campbell, Jon. “Foundation’s funds continue flow to fracking critics.” Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. July 21, 2013. Accessed April 18, 2017. http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/2013/07/21/foundations-funds-continue-flow-to-fracking-critics/2573681/
  30. Shepstone, Tom. “There Ought To Be A Natural Gas Law – Part II.” Energy In Depth. May 18, 2012. Accessed April 18, 2017. https://energyindepth.org/marcellus/there-ought-to-be-a-natural-gas-law-part-ii/
  31. Center for Responsive Politics. “Contribution Search – Adelaide Gomer,” Open Secrets, accessed November 29, 2016, http://www.opensecrets.org/usearch/index.php?q=Adelaide+Gomer&cx=010677907462955562473%3Anlldkv0jvam&cof=FORID%3A11&siteurl=http%3A%2F%2Fopensecrets.org%2F
  32. National Institute on Money in State Politics. “Show Me – Gomer, Adelaide.” FollowTheMoney.org. Accessed April 19, 2017. https://www.followthemoney.org/show-me?d-eid=1634138%2C28106672#[{1|gro=d-id,f-eid
  33. Park Foundation, Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2015, Attachment 14

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Jon M. Jensen
    Executive Director
  2. Adelaide Park Gomer
    Vice President

Donation Recipients

  1. 350.org (Non-profit)
  2. Alliance for Justice (AFJ) (Non-profit)
  3. American Independent Institute (Non-profit)
  4. American Rivers (Non-profit)
  5. As You Sow (Non-profit)
  6. BlueGreen Alliance (Non-profit)
  7. BlueGreen Alliance Foundation (Non-profit)
  8. Brave New Films (Non-profit)
  9. Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) (Non-profit)
  10. Center for Public Integrity (Non-profit)
  11. Center for Public Interest Research (Non-profit)
  12. Center for Responsive Politics (Non-profit)
  13. Ceres (Non-profit)
  14. Common Cause (Non-profit)
  15. Common Cause Education Fund (Non-profit)
  16. Corporate Accountability International (Non-profit)
  17. Defenders of Wildlife (Non-profit)
  18. Democracy Now Productions (Democracy Now!) (Non-profit)
  19. Earthjustice (formerly the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund) (Non-profit)
  20. Environment America Research and Policy Center (Non-profit)
  21. Environmental Working Group (EWG) (Non-profit)
  22. Fiscal Policy Institute (Non-profit)
  23. Food and Water Watch (FWW) (Non-profit)
  24. Food and Water Watch (FWW) Action Fund (Non-profit)
  25. Free Press (Non-profit)
  26. Free Speech for People (Non-profit)
  27. Friends of the Earth (Non-profit)
  28. Green America (Non-profit)
  29. Green Corps (Non-profit)
  30. Humane Society of the United States (Non-profit)
  31. AlterNet (Non-profit)
  32. MapLight (Non-profit)
  33. Media Democracy Fund (MDF) (Non-profit)
  34. Mother Jones (Non-profit)
  35. National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (Non-profit)
  36. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (Non-profit)
  37. North Carolina Justice Center (Non-profit)
  38. New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) Fund (Non-profit)
  39. Public Accountability Initiative (Non-profit)
  40. Public Citizen Foundation (Non-profit)
  41. Represent.Us (Non-profit)
  42. SourceWatch (Other Group)
  43. Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) (Non-profit)
  44. Southern Environmental Law Center (Non-profit)
  45. Sunlight Foundation (Non-profit)
  46. Sustainable Markets Foundation (Non-profit)
  47. The Nation Institute (Non-profit)
  48. Tides Center (Non-profit)
  49. Truthout (Non-profit)
  50. Waterkeeper Alliance (Non-profit)
  51. Women Make Movies (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 1967

  • 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
    2014 Dec Form PF $20,824,502 $28,045,546 $409,686,869 $103,987,457 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $37,153,566 $32,608,771 $417,289,515 $104,943,395 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $24,628,388 $22,284,380 $366,405,008 $86,314,615 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $61,921,493 $22,261,901 $335,424,300 $67,955,151 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Park Foundation

    140 SENECA WAY STE 100
    ITHACA, NY 14850-4396