Non-profit

Roddenberry Foundation

Website:

roddenberryfoundation.org

Location:

Encino, CA

Tax ID:

95-4755672

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $-665,762
Expenses: $3,758,285
Assets: $82,059,350

Formation:

2010

Type:

Philanthropic foundation

CEO:

Lior Ipp

The left-of-center Roddenberry Foundation was created by Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, son of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry, to honor his father’s politically progressive world view. [1] The organization sponsors the Roddenberry Prizes, awards that support environmentalist-friendly technology development and other left-of-center goals. [2] Awards include a prize of $1 million to individuals and/or businesses with ideas and innovations that primarily focus on climate change, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBT interests, and illegal immigrant rights. [3]

The Roddenberry Foundation has come under fire for awarding fellowships to Linda Sarsour and Charlene Carruthers, who have expressed support for the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. [4]  It also funds projects that seek to advance scientific breakthroughs in areas like water purification in developing countries,[5] the conversion of carbon dioxide emissions into fuel and garbage to electricity,[6] and adult-stem-cell research. [7]

Background

Gene Roddenberry was a television producer best known as the creator of “Star Trek.” The show portrayed Roddenberry’s vision of an idyllic liberal-progressive future; for instance, Roddenberry’s show depicts the United Federation of Planets in Paris acting as a global United Nations with complete control over all nations. [8] Roddenberry was also anti-religion; he said, “For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain” and “if people need religion, ignore them.” [9]

Roddenberry admitted he used the Star Trek franchise to eschew his political viewpoints on issues like religion, the Vietnam War, the cold war, and sex. [10]  Analysts have called him a “progressive icon.” [11]

Gene’s son, Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, created and runs the foundation with his wife Heidi. The Roddenberry Foundation explicitly calls upon the memory of Gene and his left-progressive vision: The Roddenberry Prizes are “designed to discover and award innovative solutions to achieve the future Gene Roddenberry imagined, full of optimism, driven by exploration and strengthened by diversity.” [12]

Funding

The Roddenberry Foundation provides funding to groups and individuals working on initiatives that make a direct impact in one of these areas: civil rights, environmental protection, immigration and refugee rights, and LGBT and women’s rights. The fellowship application website features the mantra, “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” [13]

Notable Roddenberry Foundation grant recipients include environmentalist corporate advocacy group As You Sow, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Pew Charitable Trusts. [14]

The foundation also supports pushing environmentalism through vegetarian “plant-based diets” and awarded $250,000 to the Vegan firm, Green Monday for converting 1.6 million Hong Kong residents to veganism. [15] The founder, David Yeung said, “And the easiest and most impactful way you can help yourself and the planet is by reducing your meat consumption and shifting to a more plant-based diet.” [16]

The left-of-center As You Sow organization also received funding. [17] As You Sow seeks to affect the strategic direction of corporations through lobbying shareholders. Its efforts aim to pressure the board of directors to adopt left-of-center positions like climate change policy. [18]

Roddenberry also funded AsylumConnect, which created an online resource for LGBT asylum seekers from Mexico and Canada trying to gain refuge in the United States. [19]

Roddenberry Fellowships

In 2017, the Roddenberry Foundation announced the creation of a $1 million annual project to provide $50,000 prizes to 20 progressive activists to support projects in civil rights advocacy, environmentalism and climate change, liberal expansionist immigration policy, and social-liberal LGBT and women’s interests. [20]

Judges

The foundation selects progressive or left-of-center activists judges for rating fellowship contenders. [21] They have included:[22]

Recipients

Fellowship recipients Linda Sarsour and Charlene Carruthers have faced accusations of anti-Semitism as they have expressed support for avowed anti-Semitic leader Louis Farrakhan. [27] Sarsour was given the $50,000 Fellowship for her work with the organization My Muslim Vote. [28] My Muslim Vote is promoted by the Council on American-Islamic relations (CAIR). [29] Another Roddenberry fellow, Alia Salem, was a leader of CAIR. [30]

Other Roddenberry fellows[31] include the far-left activist and Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza. [32] Garza has aligned with Marxist ideology[33] and has expressed the view that the United States is homophobic, sexist, and racist and believes black people are targeted for destruction. Garza has stated that “whiteness has no shame,”[34] and believes the elimination of police is a viable solution to urban violence. [35]

Cristina Tzintzun is a progressive activist running for a U.S. Senate seat from Texas who supports the Green New Deal, government-run health care (“Medicare for All,”) and a $15 minimum wage. [36]

Alicia Nieves is the creator of the Streetwide mobile app, which alerts illegal immigrants on ICE activity to avoid deportation. [37]

Leadership

Lior Ipp is the CEO of the Roddenberry Foundation and has expressed the view that the United States was founded on racism and the persecution of immigrants, minorities, and women. [38] After the election of President Donald Trump, Ipp participated in a Roddenberry Foundation board meeting where it was agreed to more actively focus on shifting funding towards left-of-center activists. [39] Ipp acknowledged that the foundation might earn a reputation of Democratic partisanship but decided the risk was worth it. [40]

Ipp is responsible for shifting the foundation’s focus towards unusual climate change solutions. He claims that the areas of food waste, plant-rich diets, and female education would also help solve the climate change problem. [41] Ipp sees the foundation as leading the world in education of these emerging climate change strategies beyond the traditional focus on alternative energy sources. Ipp believes the foundation should invest in the areas of female education and women’s rights regardless of climate change. [42]

References

  1. Williams, Tate. “What’s It Look Like to Put Prize Money Behind the Ideals of ‘Star Trek?”.” Inside Philanthropy. Inside Philanthropy, February 13, 2017. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2017/2/13/roddenberry-prize-awards. ^
  2. Williams, Tate. “More Boldly Going: A Family Foundation Turns to Activism in the Trump Era.” Inside Philanthropy. Inside Philanthropy, July 27, 2017. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2017/7/27/roddenberry-foundation-turns-to-activism-in-trump-era. ^
  3. “About Us.” Roddenberry Foundation. Accessed March 2, 2020. https://roddenberryfoundation.org/about-us/#philosophy. ^
  4. Greenfield, Daniel. “How Star Trek Funds Linda Sarsour.” Frontpage Mag, February 3, 2020. https://cms.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/01/how-star-trek-funds-linda-sarsour-daniel-greenfield. ^
  5. “Roddenberry Foundation Gives $5 Million to J. Craig Venter Institute for Sustainable Wastewater Treatment Technology Development.” MarketWatch, July 10, 2013. https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/roddenberry-foundation-gives-5-million-to-j-craig-venter-institute-for-sustainable-wastewater-treatment-technology-development-2013-07-10. ^
  6. Williams, Tate. “What’s It Look Like to Put Prize Money Behind the Ideals of ‘Star Trek?”.” Inside Philanthropy. Inside Philanthropy, February 13, 2017. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2017/2/13/roddenberry-prize-awards. ^
  7. “Gladstone Institutes Announces Roddenberry Center for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine.” Gladstone Press Relations 10/19/2011 Archived from the original March 3, 2016. Accessed March 2, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20130405043904/https://www.roddenberry.com/index.php/corporatestories/index/detail/id/57 ^
  8. Continetti, Matthew. “The Great Boor of the Galaxy.” National Review. National Review, September 12, 2016. https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/09/star-trek-gene-roddenberry-was-misogynistic-hack/. ^
  9. Greenfield, Daniel. “How Star Trek Funds Linda Sarsour.” Frontpage Mag, February 3, 2020. https://cms.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/01/how-star-trek-funds-linda-sarsour-daniel-greenfield. ^
  10. Howard, David. “Trouble With Tribbles (and Rewrites).” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, September 9, 2016. https://www.wsj.com/articles/trouble-with-tribbles-and-rewrites-1473451638. ^
  11. Continetti, Matthew. “The Great Boor of the Galaxy.” National Review. National Review, September 12, 2016. https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/09/star-trek-gene-roddenberry-was-misogynistic-hack/. ^
  12. Williams, Tate. “What’s It Look Like to Put Prize Money Behind the Ideals of ‘Star Trek?”.” Inside Philanthropy. Inside Philanthropy, February 13, 2017. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2017/2/13/roddenberry-prize-awards. ^
  13. “Welcome.” Roddenberry. Accessed March 2, 2020. https://apply.roddenberryfoundation.org/app/fellowship. ^
  14. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted March 3, 2020. ^
  15. Wills, Lauren. “Star Trek Foundation Grants Vegan Startup $250k for Converting 1.6 Million to Plant-Based Diet.” LIVEKINDLY. Publisher Name LIVEKINDLY Publisher Logo, December 11, 2018. https://www.livekindly.co/star-trek-foundation-grants-vegan-startup-250k-for-converting-1-6-million-to-plant-based-diet/. ^
  16. “Green Monday on Instagram: ‘The Roddenberry Foundation, Built on the Legacy and Philosophy of Star Trek Creator Mr. Gene Roddenberry, Was Launched in 2010 to Drive…”.” Instagram. Accessed March 2, 2020. https://www.instagram.com/p/BrAVzhdnWJK/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_medium=loading. ^
  17. Williams, Tate. “More Boldly Going: A Family Foundation Turns to Activism in the Trump Era.” Inside Philanthropy. Inside Philanthropy, July 27, 2017. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2017/7/27/roddenberry-foundation-turns-to-activism-in-trump-era. ^
  18. “As You Sow.” As You Sow. Accessed March 2, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/as-you-sow/. ^
  19. Blogger, AsylumConnect. “AsylumConnect’s Co-Founder & President Selected as 2019 Roddenberry Fellow, $50K Grant.” AsylumConnect, January 8, 2019. https://asylumconnect.org/asylumconnects-co-founder-president-selected-as-2019-roddenberry-fellow-50k-grant/. ^
  20. Roddenberry Foundation. “The Roddenberry Foundation Launches $1 Million Fellowship Fund for US-Based Activists.” PR Newswire, June 26, 2018. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-roddenberry-foundation-launches-1-million-fellowship-fund-for-us-based-activists-300493750.html. ^
  21. Williams, Tate. “More Boldly Going: A Family Foundation Turns to Activism in the Trump Era.” Inside philanthropy. Inside Philanthropy, July 27, 2017. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2017/7/27/roddenberry-foundation-turns-to-activism-in-trump-era. ^
  22. Roddenberry Foundation. “The Roddenberry Foundation Launches $1 Million Fellowship Fund for US-Based Activists.” PR Newswire, June 26, 2018. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-roddenberry-foundation-launches-1-million-fellowship-fund-for-us-based-activists-300493750.html. ^
  23. “Rhea Sun Suh.” Rhea Sun Suh. Accessed March 2, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/person/rhea-sun-suh/. ^
  24. Neera Tanden Linkedin Profile. Linkedin.com. Undated. Accessed December 22, 2017. https://www.linkedin.com/in/neera-tanden-614b9318/   ^
  25. “Discover The Networks.” Discover the Networks | Bill McKibben. Accessed March 2, 2020. http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2500. ^
  26. “Discover The Networks.” Discover the Networks | Melissa Harris-Perry. Accessed March 2, 2020. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individuals/melissa-harris-perry. ^
  27. Greenfield, Daniel. “How Star Trek Funds Linda Sarsour.” Frontpage Mag, February 3, 2020. https://cms.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/01/how-star-trek-funds-linda-sarsour-daniel-greenfield. ^
  28. Arenas, Jorge, and John F. Trent. “The Roddenberry Foundation, Created in Star Trek Founder Gene Roddenberry’s Honor, Is Funding Radical Activists Like Linda Sarsour.” Bounding Into Comics, February 5, 2020. https://boundingintocomics.com/2020/02/05/the-roddenberry-foundation-created-in-star-trek-founder-gene-roddenberrys-honor-is-funding-radical-activists-like-linda-sarsour/. ^
  29. Hamsa, AuthorPat. “It’s Only About ‘My Muslim Vote’ for Zulfat Suara, Dailyrollcall.com.” Dailyrollcall.com, July 3, 2019. http://dailyrollcall.com/its-only-about-my-muslim-vote-for-zulfat-suara/. ^
  30. Geller, Pamela. “Pamela Geller, WND Column: Ahmed the Clockmeister and an ‘Islamophobia’ Scam.” Geller Report News, May 31, 2018. https://gellerreport.com/2015/09/pamela-geller-wnd-column-ahmed-the-clockmeister-and-an-islamophobia-scam.html/. ^
  31. “Roddenberry Foundation: Most Innovative Company.” Fast Company, January 1, 2000. https://www.fastcompany.com/company/roddenberry-foundation. ^
  32. “Alicia Garza.” Alicia Garza. Accessed March 2, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/person/alicia-garza/. ^
  33. Lloyd, Vincent, and Villanova University. “Religion, Secularism, and Black Lives Matter.” SSRC The Immanent Frame, September 25, 2019. https://tif.ssrc.org/2016/09/22/religion-secularism-and-black-lives-matter/. ^
  34. Greenfield, Daniel. “How Star Trek Funds Linda Sarsour.” Frontpage Mag, February 3, 2020. https://cms.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/01/how-star-trek-funds-linda-sarsour-daniel-greenfield. ^
  35. “Discover The Networks.” Discover the Networks | Alicia Garza. Accessed March 2, 2020. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individuals/alicia-garza. ^
  36. Klein, Howie. “Organizing To Flip Texas– A Guest Post By Progressive Senate Candidate Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez.” Blue America, December 22, 2019. https://blueamerica.crooksandliars.com/2019/12/22/organizing-to-flip-texas-a-guest-post-by-progressive-senate-candidate-cristina-tzintzun-ramirez/. ^
  37. “Latinx Twilions Presents: Mi Gente.” Latinx Twilions Presents: Mi Gente. Accessed March 2, 2020. https://twilioafterhourslatinx.splashthat.com/. ^
  38. “#Charlottesville.” Roddenberry Foundation, May 8, 2019. https://roddenberryfoundation.org/blog/charlottesville/.

    ^

  39. Schiller, Ben. “Gene Roddenberry’s Foundation Is Now Funding Future-Focused Activists.” Fast Company. Fast Company, December 12, 2017. https://www.fastcompany.com/40504671/gene-roddenberrys-foundation-is-now-funding-future-focused-activists. ^
  40. Schiller, Ben. “Gene Roddenberry’s Foundation Is Now Funding Future-Focused Activists.” Fast Company. Fast Company, December 12, 2017. https://www.fastcompany.com/40504671/gene-roddenberrys-foundation-is-now-funding-future-focused-activists. ^
  41. Rowland, Michael Pellman. “$1 Million Climate Change Prize Awarded To Unlikely Candidates.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, December 5, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelpellmanrowland/2018/12/05/1-million-dollar-climate-change-prize-awarded-to-unlikely-candidates/#4ef7ca7b4720. ^
  42. Peters, Adele. “This $1 Million Climate Prize Went to Organizations You Wouldn’t Expect.” Fast Company. Fast Company, December 6, 2018. https://www.fastcompany.com/90275922/this-1-million-climate-prize-went-to-organizations-you-wouldnt-expect. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 2001

  • 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 $-665,762 $3,758,285 $82,059,350 $2,668,195 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $4,183,600 $3,301,468 $88,458,928 $4,643,726 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $8,417,680 $7,625,373 $89,287,240 $6,354,170 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $9,654,837 $2,408,458 $85,422,274 $3,281,511 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $-1,892,203 $8,742,772 $79,018,764 $4,124,380 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Roddenberry Foundation


    Encino, CA