Triad Foundation, Inc. is a private foundation headquartered in Ithaca, New York that supports center-right public policy organizations, fellowships in colleges, and locally based projects in Ithaca, New York; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Tampa, Florida.
The Foundation was created in 2003 as a result of divisions in the family of Roy H. Park, Sr., a reporter turned advertising and food industry executive. Park’s widow, Dorothy Park, split the Park Foundation between Adelaide Park Gomer, Park Sr.’s staunchly environmentalist and left-leaning daughter, and Roy H. Park, Jr., the couple’s center-right-aligned son, in the early 2000s; Park Gomer retained control of the remaining Park Foundation while Park, Jr. took the portion allotted to him to form the Triad Foundation. 1 2
The endowment of Triad Foundation comes from Roy H. Park (1910-93), a reporter turned advertising executive who worked on advertising to farmers for Thomas H. Dewey’s presidential campaign in 1948. Shortly thereafter, he worked with author Duncan Hines to create a company marketing food products using Hines’s name. The Duncan Hines Company was sold to Procter and Gamble in 1956, and Park used the proceeds to start Park Communications, a media company based in Ithaca, New York that owned 22 radio stations, 11 television stations, and 41 daily newspapers. 3
After Park’s death, control of his estate went to his widow, Dorothy Park (1912-2016). 4 Dorothy Park sold Park Communications and used the proceeds to create the Park Foundation. She also endowed various projects in Ithaca, including a park known as the Park Park. 5
Division of the Park Foundation
In 2003 the Triad Foundation split away from the Park Foundation with 38 percent of the Park Foundation’s assets. Its name came from the “triad” of three Park family members running the foundation: Roy H. Park’s son, Roy H. Park Jr., and Park, Jr’s children Roy H. Park III and Elizabeth Park Fowler. The foundation took over Park Foundation fellowships at the Cornell business school and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill journalism school and support for the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research. Roy H. Park Jr. declared his intentions included moving “forward my father’s commitment to democracy and free enterprise, to religious liberty and freedom of thought, and to broad access to education and employment. 6
In his 2008 autobiography Sons of the Shadows, Roy H. Park Jr. wrote that one reason for the creation of the Triad Foundation was the Park Foundation’s funding of environmentalist groups under his sister, Adelaide Park Gomer. The Park Foundation grants, Roy H. Park Jr. wrote, “were beginning to be based on barely concealed political activism, pessimism, criticism, radical environmentalism, and other-isms. My father held conservative principles.” 7
In a 2014 interview in Philanthropy, Roy H. Park Jr. lamented “the absence of his (father’s) intentions for the foundation’s mission in his will” that led to the Park Foundation’s leftward drift.” 8
Additional funds have come to the Triad Foundation from Dorothy Park’s estate. Dorothy Park’s will was revised at least three times, and from 2007 through 2010 Adelaide Park Gomer and Roy H. Park, Jr. fought bitterly in court over who had their mother’s power of attorney. Dorothy Park’s $200 million estate was divided between the Park and Triad Foundations. 9
The Triade Foundation’s 2018 tax returns listed its two largest grants from that year from going to two organizations supported by Roy H. Park: the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill ($1.9 million) and Cornell University business school ($515,000). The largest public policy grant was $150,000 to the center-right American Enterprise Institute. 10
- Chaisson, Bill. “Legacy Lives On: Park, Triad Foundations Continue the Work of Roy Park Sr.,” August 17, 2012. https://www.ithaca.com/news/legacy-lives-on-park-triad-foundations-continue-the-work-of/article_2aab243e-e662-11e1-84d1-0019bb2963f4.html.
- Cornell Johnson. “Roy H. Park and the Triad Foundation.” Cornell Johnson School of Business. Cornell University. Accessed September 28, 2020. https://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/.
- “Roy H. Park and the Triad Foundation,” paper from the SC Johnson School of Business, Cornell University, https://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/ (accessed September 23, 2020)
- For an obituary, see Richard Stradling, “Dorothy Park, Who Supported NCSU and UNC, Dies at 103,” Raleigh News and Observer, June 21, 2016, https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article85090917.html (accessed September 23, 2020). See also Kelsey O’Connor, “Park Left Legacy of Generosity,” Ithaca Journal, June 23, 2016.
- Martha Gold, “Park’s Place,” Ithaca Journal, October 9, 1999. The Park Park is now part of Cornell Botanic Gardens.
- “Roy Park and the Triad Foundation,” paper from the SC Johnson School of Business, Cornell University, https://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/ (accessed September 24, 2020). See also Dan Higgins, “Triad Focuses Park Mission,” Ithaca Journal, February 7, 2003.
- Mike Soraghan, “Quiet Foundation Funds The ‘Anti-Fracking” Fight,” E&E News, March 12, 2012, https://www.eenews.net/stories/1059961204 (accessed September 24, 2020)
- Jon Entine, “Gas Heat,” Philanthropy, Summer 2014, https://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/philanthropy-magazine/article/summer-2014-gas-heat (accessed September 24, 2020)
- Krisy Gashler, “Park Siblings Battle For Millions,” Ithaca Journal, November 6, 2010.
- Triad Foundation Inc. Return of an Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990). 2018.