Non-profit

Thousand Currents

Website:

thousandcurrents.org/

Location:

BERKELEY, CA

Tax ID:

77-0071852

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $4,193,988
Expenses: $4,669,023
Assets: $4,613,245

Type:

Grantmaking organization

Formation:

Founded in 1985 as “the International Development Exchange”

Renamed “Thousand Currents” in 2016

Thousand Currents is a left-of-center grantmaking organization that provides financial assistance to left-leaning projects and organizations and activists in developing nations (i.e.: the so-called “global south”). [1] It is funded by many left-leaning institutional donors, which include the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Wallace Global Fund, the NoVo Foundation, and the Libra Foundation. [2] [3] [4] Thousand Currents reported $6.8 million annual revenue for the reporting period ending June 30, 2018. [5]

Thousand Currents opposes the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). [6] Working with partners and through its own programs in Mexico, Thousand Currents has fought efforts by the Mexican government to allow expanded use of GMOs. [7] The Thousand Currents website favorably quotes an activist leader from one of these partnerships who alleged that expanded use of GMOs would be “life threatening” for the people of Mexico. [8]

In 2016, representatives of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement approached Thousand Currents for fiscal management and administrative assistance. [9] This partnership led to a fiscal sponsorship agreement that launched the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. [10] The W.K. Kellogg Foundation provided a three-year grant of $900,000 thorough Thousand Currents to help organize local BLM chapters. [11] Beginning in 2016 Thousand Currents supported BLM’s assistance to protestors at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota who were opposing the use of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. [12] A BLM news release declared the 1,100 mile pipeline through the central United States to be an example of “environmental racism” because a portion of it ran within close proximity to Native American land. [13]

Background

Thousand Currents is a left-of-center grantmaking organization that was founded in 1985 as the International Development Exchange and changed its name to Thousand Currents in 2016. [14] Thousand Currents provides funding to activists in developing nations (i.e.: the so-called “global south”). [15]

As an example, Thousand Currents, in partnership with Global Greengrants Fund, Grassroots International, and Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, founded the Climate Leaders In Movement Action Fund (CLIMA). CLIMA is a human rights and environmental mitigation project focused on developing countries. [16] The organization has the goal of raising $10 million between 2018 and 2022. [17]

Left-leaning Support

Thousand Currents reported $4.2 million annual revenue for the reporting period ending June 30, 2017; and $6.8 million annual revenue for the reporting period ending June 30, 2018. [18]

Thousand Currents is funded by many left-leaning institutional donors, which include the Andrus Family Fund (a subsidiary of the Surdna Foundation), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, International Planned Parenthood Federation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Wallace Global Fund, and Foundation for a Just Society, the NoVo Foundation, the Libra Foundation. [19] [20] [21]

The NoVo Foundation appears to have been one of the largest donors, pledging in 2015 to give $2.65 million to Thousand Currents over seven years. [22] Peter Buffett, son of left-of-center philanthropist Warren Buffett, and his wife Jennifer run the NoVo Foundation. [23] NoVo has also given grants to numerous left-of-center economic and culture organizations, such as the Institute for Policy Studies, Demos, the Center for Popular Democracy, and the MomsRising Education Fund. [24]

Another large contributor to Thousand Currents was the Libra Foundation: from 2010 to 2019 Libra contributed more than $1.1 million to Thousand Currents for environmental projects. Examples of other left-of-center groups that have received more than $1 million from Libra include the Center for Community Change, and EarthRights International. [25]

Left-leaning Grantmaking

Thousand Currents provides financial assistance to the following left-leaning projects or organizations:

Black Lives Matter

In 2016, representatives of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement approached Thousand Currents for fiscal management and administrative assistance. [26] This partnership led to a fiscal sponsorship agreement that launched the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. [27] The W.K. Kellogg Foundation provided a three-year grant of $900,000 thorough Thousand Currents to help organize local BLM chapters. [28] [29]

Beginning in 2016 Thousand Currents supported BLM’s assistance to protestors at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota who were opposing use of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. A BLM news release declared the 1,100 mile pipeline through the central United States to be an example of “environmental racism” because a portion of it ran within close proximity to Native American land. [30]

Thousand Currents reported $3,354,654 and $2,622,017 in donor-restricted assets for the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation in audits covering fiscal year 2019[31] and 2018,[32] respectively. These audits also showed that 83.3 percent of Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation total expenditures were for personnel, consultant, and travel costs during the three year period from 2017-2019.[33] About 6 percent of expenditures were in the form of grants to outside organizations, including to local Black Lives Matter chapters.[34]

Thousand Currents IRS filings for 2017[35] and 2018[36] show more than $90,000 in grants to the Black Lives Matter Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Santa Clarita, California. According to BuzzFeed News, the Black Lives Matter Foundation is unaffiliated with the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation sponsored by Thousand Currents.[37] Thousand Currents later explained that these tax filings were erroneous, that no money was actually provided to the Black Lives Matter Foundation, and that the money was sent to local Black Lives Matter chapters.[38]

Opposition to Modern Agriculture

Thousand Currents opposes the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). [39] GMOs were the cause of the “green revolution,” the modern agricultural technology that eliminated hunger for most of the world by allowing farmers to produce dramatically increased crop yields that are both resistant to disease and pests, and less stressful on the environment. [40] [41]

Working with partners and through its own programs in Mexico, Thousand Currents has fought efforts by the Mexican government to allow expanded use of GMOs. [42] One such program, Collective Action for Maize, engaged in five years of litigation in nineteen different Mexican courts to prevent the use of GMOs. [43] The Thousand Currents website favorably quotes an activist leader from one of these partnerships who alleged that expanded use of GMOs would be “life threatening” for the people of Mexico. [44]

Support for Undocumented Immigration

Thousand Currents gave has given at least $47,000 to Grassroots International since 2017. [45] [46] Grassroots International has called the arrest of undocumented immigrants an example of “domestic white supremacist terrorism” and supports abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). [47] After President Trump visited victims of a mass shooting and mass killing in El Paso, Texas, in August 2019, Grassroots International said it was an act of violence against the survivors because Trump is “racist.” [48]

Other Examples

Other examples of left-leaning advocacy organizations receiving grants from Thousand Currents include: The Working World,[49] the Global Greengrants Fund,[50] [51] the Tides Foundation,[52] [53] Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights,[54] and the New Venture Fund. [55]

People

As of June 2020, the vice chair of Thousand Currents board of directors was Susan Rosenberg, a former member of the Weather Underground and May 19th Communist Organization who spent 16 years in federal prison before having the remainder of her sentence commuted by President Bill Clinton in 2001.[56]

References

  1. “FAQs.” Thousand Currents. Accesssed May 25, 2020. https://thousandcurrents.org/faqs/ ^
  2. Thousand Currents. 2017 IRS Form 990. Accessed June 5, 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/770071852/08_2019_prefixes_74-77%2F770071852_201806_990_2019080516544340 ^
  3. “About.” Andrus Family Fund. Accessed June 5, 2020. https://affund.org/about/ ^
  4. “Black Lives Matter.” W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Accessed April 25, 2020. https://www.wkkf.org/grants/grant/2016/06/black-lives-matter-p3034683. ^
  5. “Annual Report 2018.” Thousand Currents. Accessed April 25, 2020. https://thousandcurrents.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Thousand-Currents-AR-2018-FULL_final.pdf ^
  6. “Defending maize, defending food.” Thousand Currents. November 29, 2016. https://thousandcurrents.org/impact/defending-maize-defending-food/ ^
  7. “Maize Fund.” Thousand Currents. Accessed May 10, 2020. https://thousandcurrents.org/maize-fund/ ^
  8. “Defending maize, defending food.” Thousand Currents. November 29, 2016. https://thousandcurrents.org/impact/defending-maize-defending-food/ ^
  9. “Black Lives Matter.” Thousand Currents. Accessed April 25, 2020.  https://thousandcurrents.org/black-lives-matter/ ^
  10. “Black Lives Matter.” Thousand Currents. Accessed April 25, 2020.  https://thousandcurrents.org/black-lives-matter/ ^
  11. “Black Lives Matter.” W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Accessed April 25, 2020. https://www.wkkf.org/grants/grant/2016/06/black-lives-matter-p3034683. ^
  12. “Water is life.” Thousand Currents. December 14, 2016. https://thousandcurrents.org/impact/water-is-life/ ^
  13. “Water is life.” Thousand Currents. December 14, 2016. https://thousandcurrents.org/impact/water-is-life/ ^
  14. “Formerly IDEX.” Thousand Currents. Accessed May 25, 2020. https://thousandcurrents.org/formerly-idex/ ^
  15. “FAQs.” Thousand Currents. Accesssed May 25, 2020. https://thousandcurrents.org/faqs/ ^
  16. “CLIMA Fund.” Thousand Currents. Accessed May 10, 2020. https://thousandcurrents.org/clima-grassroots-climate-solutions-fund/ ^
  17. “CLIMA Fund: Resourcing Grassroots Climate Solutions.” Thousand Currents. Accessed May 10, 2020. https://thousandcurrents.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/CLIMA-2pg.pdf ^
  18. “Annual Report 2018.” Thousand Currents. Accessed April 25, 2020. https://thousandcurrents.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Thousand-Currents-AR-2018-FULL_final.pdf ^
  19. Thousand Currents. 2017 IRS Form 990. Accessed June 5, 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/770071852/08_2019_prefixes_74-77%2F770071852_201806_990_2019080516544340 ^
  20. “About.” Andrus Family Fund. Accessed June 5, 2020. https://affund.org/about/ ^
  21. “Black Lives Matter.” W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Accessed April 25, 2020. https://www.wkkf.org/grants/grant/2016/06/black-lives-matter-p3034683. ^
  22. “Press Release: IDEX and NoVo Foundation forge new approach to philanthropic partnership,” Thousand Currents. June 30, 2015. https://thousandcurrents.org/press-release-idex-and-novo-foundation-forge-new-approach-to-philanthropic-partnership/ ^
  23. “FAQs.” NoVo Foundation. Accessed May 16, 2020. https://novofoundation.org/about-us/faqs/. ^
  24. “NoVo Foundation.” InfluenceWatch. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/novo-foundation/ ^
  25. “Meet Our Grantees.” The Libra Foundation. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.thelibrafoundation.org/grantees/ ^
  26. “Black Lives Matter.” Thousand Currents. Accessed April 25, 2020.  https://thousandcurrents.org/black-lives-matter/ ^
  27. “Black Lives Matter.” Thousand Currents. Accessed April 25, 2020.  https://thousandcurrents.org/black-lives-matter/ ^
  28. “Black Lives Matter.” W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Accessed April 25, 2020. https://www.wkkf.org/grants/grant/2016/06/black-lives-matter-p3034683. ^
  29. “IDEX and Black Lives Matter announce global partnership.” Thousand Currents. April 22, 2020. https://thousandcurrents.org/idex-and-black-lives-matter-announce-global-partnership/ ^
  30. “Water is life.” Thousand Currents. December 14, 2016. https://thousandcurrents.org/impact/water-is-life/ ^
  31. “Thousand Currents and Subsidiary Consolidated Financial Statements.” June 30, 2019. Available at: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2020/07/Thousand-Currents-Audit-2019.pdf ^
  32. “Thousand Currents (Formerly International Development Exchange) Financial Statements.” June 30, 2018. Available at: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2020/07/Thousand-Currents-Audit-2018.pdf ^
  33. Kerr, Andrew. “National Arm Of Black Lives Matter Spent Millions On Travel And Consultants, Financial Statements Show.” The Daily Caller. June 18, 2020. Accessed June 19, 2020. Available at: https://dailycaller.com/2020/06/18/black-lives-matter-spending-millions-travel-consultants/ ^
  34. Kerr, Andrew. “National Arm Of Black Lives Matter Spent Millions On Travel And Consultants, Financial Statements Show.” The Daily Caller. June 18, 2020. Accessed June 19, 2020. Available at: https://dailycaller.com/2020/06/18/black-lives-matter-spending-millions-travel-consultants/ ^
  35. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Thousand Currents. 2017. Available at: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2020/07/Thousand-Currents-990-2017.pdf ^
  36. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Thousand Currents. 2018. Available at: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2020/07/Thousand-Currents-990-2018.pdf ^
  37. Mac, Ryan and Sacks, Brianna. “‘The Black Lives Matter Foundation’ Raised Millions. It’s Not Affiliated With The Black Lives Matter Movement.” BuzzFeed News. June 15, 2020. Accessed June 19, 2020. Available at: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ryanmac/black-lives-matter-foundation-unrelated-blm-donations ^
  38. Sacks, Brianna and Mac, Ryan. “New York’s Attorney General Ordered The Black Lives Matter Foundation To Stop Collecting Money.” BuzzFeed News. July 6, 2020. Available at: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/briannasacks/new-york-black-lives-matter-foundation-cease-desist ^
  39. “Defending maize, defending food.” Thousand Currents. November 29, 2016. https://thousandcurrents.org/impact/defending-maize-defending-food/ ^
  40. “Genetically Modified Organisms.” National Geographic. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/genetically-modified-organisms/ ^
  41. “Norman Ernest Borlaug.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Norman-Borlaug ^
  42. “Maize Fund.” Thousand Currents. Accessed May 10, 2020. https://thousandcurrents.org/maize-fund/ ^
  43. Zavala, Katherine. “5 years, 19 federal courts, and David keeps fighting Goliath.” Thousand Currents. September 5, 2018. https://thousandcurrents.org/5-years-19-federal-courts-and-david-keeps-fighting-goliath/ ^
  44. “Defending maize, defending food.” Thousand Currents. November 29, 2016. https://thousandcurrents.org/impact/defending-maize-defending-food/ ^
  45. “Thousand Currents 990-PF 2017.” Accessed April 25, 2020.  https://thousandcurrents.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/THOUSAND-CURRENTS-2017-990-PDC.pdf ^
  46. “Thousand Currents 990-PF 2018.” Accessed April 25, 2020. https://thousandcurrents.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/FY17-990-Thousand-Currents.pdf ^
  47. “Solidarity with Border Agricultural Workers Project.” Grassroots International. August 13, 2019. https://grassrootsonline.org/press-releases/solidarity-with-border-agricultural-workers-project/ ^
  48. “Solidarity with Border Agricultural Workers Project.” Grassroots International. August 13, 2019. https://grassrootsonline.org/press-releases/solidarity-with-border-agricultural-workers-project/ ^
  49. “IDEX 990-PF 2014.” Accessed May 10, 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/770071852/2016_07_EO%2F77-0071852_990_201506 ^
  50. “Thousand Currents 990-PF 2017.” Accessed April 25, 2020.  https://thousandcurrents.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/THOUSAND-CURRENTS-2017-990-PDC.pdf ^
  51. “Thousand Currents 990-PF 2018.” Accessed April 25, 2020. https://thousandcurrents.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/FY17-990-Thousand-Currents.pdf ^
  52. “Financials.” Thousand Currents. Accessed April 25, 2020.  https://thousandcurrents.org/financials/ ^
  53. “Tides Foundation 990-PF.” Accessed May 10, 2020. https://www.tides.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2017-Tides-Foundation-Fed-Form-990-amended.pdf ^
  54. “Mission & History.” Urgent Action Fund. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://urgentactionfund.org/who-we-are/mission-history/ ^
  55. “IDEX 990 -PF 2013.” Accessed May 10, 2020. https://thousandcurrents.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Form-990_-2013.pdf ^
  56. Walter, Scott. “A Terrorist’s Ties to a Leading Black Lives Matter Group.” Capital Research Center. June 24, 2020. Available at: https://capitalresearch.org/article/a-terrorists-ties-to-a-leading-black-lives-matter-group/ ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Susan Rosenberg
    Board Vice Chair

Child Organizations

  1. CLIMA Fund (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 1985

  • 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
    2017 Jun Form 990 $4,193,988 $4,669,023 $4,613,245 $276,463 N $4,056,635 $69,094 $62,250 $125,248 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $6,581,293 $2,359,696 $4,844,235 $105,437 N $6,487,521 $87,285 $6,436 $103,461
    2015 Jun Form 990 $2,032,114 $1,617,692 $539,674 $84,232 N $1,965,968 $61,455 $5 $88,345 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $1,017,740 $922,983 $87,277 $46,257 N $1,007,857 $8,225 $3,035 $64,642 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $636,470 $731,887 $38,719 $92,456 N $609,719 $9,361 $0 $67,869 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $845,906 $785,026 $135,313 $93,633 N $824,641 $18,767 $1,128 $62,246 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $563,084 $775,933 $54,831 $24,031 N $561,908 $0 $0 $68,000 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Thousand Currents

    2120 UNIVERSITY AVE
    BERKELEY, CA 94704-1026