The Thomas D. Klingenstein Fund is a private foundation created and run by Thomas D. Klingenstein, an investment banker and a principal in the brokerage Cohen, Klingenstein and Marks. Klingenstein is chairman of the board of the Claremont Institute, a right-of-center think tank based in California, and a member of the board of the Center for Equal Opportunity and the National Civic Art Society.1 He also donates to cultural organizations in New York City and conservation efforts in Maine.
Public Policy Donations
Klingenstein has been chairman of the board of the Claremont Institute for at least five years. In 2018, the institute received $2.6 million from the Klingenstein Fund, over half of the fund’s distributions in that year.2
In a 2017 speech to the institute at a dinner presenting an award to Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Klingenstein said that many scholars affiliated with the Claremont Institute “have the ear of this administration and may help Trump take what he feels in his gut and migrate it to his head. This is Claremont’s moment.”3
Klingenstein also contributes articles to Claremont’s publications, including The Claremont Review of Books and the American Mind. In an article published in June 2020, Klingenstein wrote that “Republicans are somewhat lost” but their goal should be “to preserve the American way of life,” which he sees as protecting America against multiculturalism, which he views as “a collection of cultural identity groups, ranked in order of victimhood (although all oppressed by white males).” Klingenstein called for strengthening “the institutions that nurture the foundations” of the American way of life, including “family, religion, education, and community.”4
The Klingenstein Fund donated $100,000 to Public Media Lab for production of Created Equal: Clarence Thomas In His Own Words, a documentary on the life of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas released theatrically in January 2020 and broadcast on PBS in May 2020.5 Kingenstein told the Philanthropy Roundtable that he donated because he thought Justice Thomas “had a great story” and that the role his grandfather played in Thomas’s life “shows the importance of parenting.”6
In 2010, Klingenstein played golf with Bowdoin College president Barry Mills, whom he had never met. In an article in the Claremont Review of Books, Klingenstein states that Mills’s description of their conversation, in which he said Klingenstein called Bowdoin “a ridiculous liberal school” that he would never support “because of all your misplaced and misguided diversity efforts” led him to support a multi-year grant to the National Association of Scholars (NAS) for a study of Bowdoin College. Klingenstein disputed Mills’s version of the conversation, and said he never even mentioned Bowdoin to Mills.7
The report, “What Does Bowdoin Teach?” by Peter Wood and Michael Toscano ,was issued in April 2013.8 In a piece in the NAS’s journal Academic Questions, Klingenstein said he hoped the report “will ring in Bowdoin’s ears for years to come” and “is likely to restrain Bowdoin’s more extreme impulses.”9
Culture and Conservation
Klingenstein has had two plays produced and in 2018 the Klingenstein Fund donated $280,000 to The American Vicarious, a theater development group. In 2005, he commissioned a dance from Elisa Monte Dance as a birthday present for his wife, Nancy Perlman.10
The Klingenstein Fund also supports conservation efforts in the Belgrade Lakes region of Maine, with 2018 grants to 7 Lakes Alliance, Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance, and the Maine Lakes Society.11
- Claremont Review of Books website, https://claremontreviewofbooks.com/author/thomas-d-klingenstein (accessed August 19, 2020)
- Thomas D. Klingenstein Fund, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2018, Part XV Line 3 https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/201450695/201903179349102195/full
- Jennifer Schuessler, “Charge The Cockpit And You Die,” New York Times, February 21, 2017.
- Thomas D. Klingenstein, “Preserving The American Way of Life,” The American Mind, June 3, 2020, https://americanmind.org/features/preserving-the-american-way-of-life/ (accessed August 20, 2020)
- http://ww.pbs.org/created-equal-clarence-thomas-his-own-words (accessed June 20, 2020).
- Madeline Fry Schultz, “Clarence Thomas Speaks,” Philanthropy, Spring 2020, https://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/philanthropy-magazine/article/clarence-thomas-speaks (accessed June 18, 2020)
- Thomas D. Klingenstein, “A Golf Story,” Claremont Review of Books, Winter/Spring 2010/11, https://claremontreviewofbooks.com/a-golf-story (accessed August 18, 2020)
- Peter Wood and Michael Toscano, What Does Bowdoin Teach? How A Contemporary Liberal Arts College Shapes Students, https://www.nas.org/storage/app/media/images/what-does-bowdoin-teach.pdf (accessed August 20, 2020)
- Peter Wood and Thomas Klingenstein, “What Does Bowdoin Teach? A Dialogue Between Wood and Klingenstein,” Academic Questions, Summer 2013.
- Julie Bloom, “Nothing Says I Love You Like A Dance,” New York Sun, February 1, 2005, http://www.nysun.com/arts/nothing-says-i-love-you-like-a-dance/8509 (accessed August 18, 2020)
- Thomas D. Klingenstein Fund, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2018, Part XV Line 3