Non-profit

Windward Fund

Website:

www.windwardfund.org

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

47-3522162

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $15,812,062
Expenses: $7,452,824
Assets: $11,943,689

Formation:

February 2015 [23]

Type:

Left-Wing Donor Collaboration Nonprofit

Managed By:

Arabella Advisors

President:

Lee Bodner

Eric Kessler (2015-2016)

The Windward Fund is an environmentalist fiscal sponsor organization in the network of “dark money” organizations controlled by philanthropic consultancy Arabella Advisors. The Fund was created in February 2015 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with startup funding of $5.25 million provided by an unknown source. According to its bylaws, Windward will promote “conservation and environmental protection issues” through grants and fiscal sponsorship. The Windward Fund is smaller than the other Arabella-controlled Funds, and revenues fell from $15.8 million in 2016 to $12.7 million in 2017. [1]

The Windward Fund often operates alongside its “sister” nonprofits, primarily the 501(c)(4) Sixteen Thirty Fund and 501(c)(3) New Venture Fund, which both provides similar funding and fiscal sponsorship services to center-left advocacy organizations. All three funds are administered by Arabella Advisors, a Washington, D.C.-based philanthropy consulting firm that caters to left-leaning clients. The Hopewell Fund, another 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is also managed by Arabella Advisors and performs similar functions, particularly concerning fiscal sponsorship of other left-of-center groups. [2]

Windward Fund describes itself as a fiscal sponsor of “various ‘projects,’ which focus on a range of environmental issues. Windward provides legal compliance, finance, and HR services to its projects, and additionally seeks to help its projects create greater impact through facilitating connections, providing access to information, and capacity building.” [3]

Campaigns and Projects

While the Windward Fund sponsors at least 9 projects, most are not known. The following are examples of groups identified as Windward Fund projects.

Water Funder Initiative

The Water Funder Initiative is a Windward Fund project promoting “water sustainability” in conjunction with the center-left Energy, Hewlett, Packard, Walton, S.D. Bechtel, Mitchell, and Rockefeller Foundations. Among other things, the Initiative seeks to create a “water fee” in key states such as Texas, California, and Colorado to pay for “affordable basic [water] supplies for disadvantaged communities”; “reform municipal and green bond rules” to encourage more public financing of environmentalist projects; and support politicians who want to alter water rate structures in order to “incentivize conservation.” [4][5]

Institute for the New Food Economy

The Institute for the New Food Economy is an investigative journalism project of Windward Fund that reports on genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), cell-cultured meat, pesticides, and the food industry in general.

Board of Directors

Lee Bodner is the board chair of Windward Fund. He previously served as President of New Venture Fund, board chair of Hopewell Fund, and as managing director of Arabella Advisors. During his time at Arabella, Bodner played a leadership role in incubation projects housed within NVF and its lobbying affiliate, the Sixteen Thirty Fund, particularly concerning environmentalist groups. [6]

Eric Kessler previously served as board chair for Windward Fund before being replaced by Lee Bodner in 2016. Kessler is the founder and senior managing director at Arabella Advisors. [7]

Adam Eichberg was a member of the founding board of directors for Windward Fund. He previously worked as a deputy legislative director to Democratic Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. He also works as an environmentalist consultant running the Denver based Headwater Strategies, a legislative advocacy organization hat focuses mainly on environmental issues. [8]

Harry Drucker was a member of the founding board of directors for Windward Fund. He previously served as a board member for New Venture Fund, environmental activist, and realtor. He also served on the board of the National Environmental Policy and Law Center and the Illinois chapter of the Nature Conservancy. [9]

Andrew Schulz serves as general counsel for Windward Fund. He also serves as general counsel for Arabella Advisors as well as Hopewell Fund. [10]

Kristen Grimm is a member of the board of directors for Windward Fund. She is also a fellow at the Aspen Institute and founder of Spitfire Strategies, a consultancy firm which caters to left-leaning clients. [11]

Wilbur Priester is a member of the board of directors for Windward Fund. He also works as the CFO of Arabella Advisors. [12]

Bruce Boyd is a member of the board of directors for Windward Fund. He also works as the senior managing director for Arabella Advisors. [13]

Aileen Lee is a member of the board of directors for Windward Fund. Lee is a venture capitalist operating mainly out of California. [14]

Charles “Chuck” Savitt is the treasurer of the board of directors for Windward Fund. He is the founder of environmentalist publishing company Island Press, which has published books by population control advocate Paul Ehrlich. [15]

John Nordgren is a project director for Windward Fund and the only member of the board who received compensation from the organization. Nordgren is the managing director of the Climate Resilience Fund, an environmental advocacy project of Windward Fund based in Washington state. [16]

Financials

While Windward Fund took in more than $3 million less contributions in 2017 than the prior year, the organization’s assets grew by almost $1 million in the same period. The organization reported $11,230,157 in net assets and $12,656,323 in total revenue for 2017 according to IRS 990 returns. [17]

John Nordgren, a project director for Windward Fund was the only employee of the organization who reported compensation. He was paid $154,000 in base compensation and $28,136 in “other compensation.” [18]

Funding

Windward Fund has received a number of major grants from left-of-center advocacy philanthropies.

  • The Rockefeller Foundation has made multiple grants to Windward Fund totaling $1.5 million since 2016. [19]
  • Agua Fund, a left-leaning philanthropic foundation, made a $45,000 grant to Windward Fund in 2017. [20]
  • Walton Family Foundation, philanthropic organization associated with Walmart founder Sam Walton’s family, made grants totaling more than $2.5 million between 2016 and 2018. [21]
  • D. Bechtel Foundation, a left-leaning philanthropic organization, made donations to Windward Fund totaling $15.3 million between 2016 and 2018.
  • Wallace Global Fund II, a left-leaning philanthropic organization, made a $100,000 donation to the Windward Fund in 2018.

Gates Family Foundation has made grants totaling $325,000 since 2016. [22]“Windward Fund Grants.” Gates Family Foundation. Accessed April 18, 2019.

Documents

IRS Annual Filings (Form 990)

The Windward Fund’s Form 990 IRS filings obtained by the Capital Research Center are available here:

Application for Recognition of Tax Exemption

The Windward Fund filed its Application for Recognition of Exemption from income tax with the IRS (Form 1023) in 2015. The document is available here.

References

  1. IRS Form 1023: Application for Recognition of Exemption, “Windward Fund.” https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/03/Windward-Fund-1023-IRS-Exemption.pdf
  2. Ludwig, Hayden. “CRC Special Report Unveils Vast “Dark Money” Network on the Left.” Capital Research Center. April 17, 2019. Accessed April 18, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/crc-exposes-left-wing-dark-money/.
  3. “Philanthropy Fellows Program: Building the Next Generation of Philanthropy Professionals” University of Maryland School of Public Policy Do Good Institute. Original URL: https://publicpolicy.umd.edu/sites/default/files/Windward%20Fund%20at%20Arabella%20Advisors.pdf
  4. Water Funder Initiative. “Toward Water Sustainability: A Blueprint for Philanthropy.” http://waterfunder.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Water-Funder-Initiative-Blueprint-March-15-2016.pdf
  5. “Toward Water Sustainability: A Blueprint for Philanthropy.” Water Funder Initiative. Accessed April 18, 2019. http://waterfunder.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Water-Funder-Initiative-Blueprint-March-15-2016.pdf
  6. “Staff Biographies.” New Venture Fund. Accessed April 17, 2019. http://www.newventurefund.org/about-nvf/staff-biographies/.
  7. “Eric Kessler Profile.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 17, 2019. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/directory/eric-kessler/
  8. “Adam Eichberg Profile.” Headwater Strategies. Accessed April 17, 2019. https://www.headwatersstrategies.com/our-team/
  9. “Harry Drucker Profile.” Windward Fund. Accessed April 17, 2019. https://www.windwardfund.org/harry-drucker-full/
  10. “Staff Biographies.” New Venture Fund. Accessed April 17, 2019. http://www.newventurefund.org/about-nvf/staff-biographies/.
  11. “Kristen Grimm Profile.” Windward Fund. Accessed April 17, 2019. https://www.windwardfund.org/kristen-grimm-full/
  12. “User Profile: Wilbur Priester.” LinkedIn. Accessed April 17, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/wilbur-priester-84612b/
  13. “Bruce Boyd Profile.” Windward Fund. Accessed April 17, 2019. https://www.windwardfund.org/bruce-boyd-main/
  14. “Aileen Lee Profile.” Windward Fund. Accessed April 17, 2019. https://www.windwardfund.org/aileen-lee-full/
  15. “Chuck Savitt Profile.” Sher Edling LLP. Accessed April 17, 2019. https://www.sheredling.com/team/chuck-savitt/
  16. “User Profile: John Nordgren.” LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnnordgren/
  17. “Windward Fund.” IRS Form 990 Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. Part I, Lines 1-22.
  18. “Windward Fund.” IRS Form 990 Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. Part VII, Section A.
  19. “Windward Fund Grants.” Rockefeller Foundation. Accessed April 18, 2019. https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/our-work/grants/
  20. “Windward Fund Grants.” Agua Fund. Accessed April 18, 2019. http://www.aguafund.org/?page_id=2157
  21. Windward Fund Grants.” Walton Family Foundation. Accessed April 18, 2019. https://www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/grants-database?grantee=00000169-91e5-d2a9-a7eb-bffda5140000
  22. Exemption Application for Windward Fund (Form 1023). Windward Fund. Attachment: “Board of Directors and Officers.” Accessed March 21, 2019. Available here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/03/Windward-Fund-1023-IRS-Exemption.pdf

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Harry Drucker
    Board Member
  2. Kristen Grimm
    Board Member
  3. Wilbur Priester
    Chief Financial Officer and Board Member
  4. Andrew Schulz
    General Counsel and Board Member
  5. Bruce Boyd
    Board Member
  6. Lee Bodner
    Board Chair and President
  7. Eric Kessler
    Former President (2015-2016)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: June 1, 2015

  • 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
    2016 Dec Form 990 $15,812,062 $7,452,824 $11,943,689 $2,345,744 N $15,819,553 $0 $0 $0
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,297,000 $58,293 $1,297,000 $58,293 N $1,297,000 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Windward Fund

    1201 CONNECTICUT AVE NW STE 300
    WASHINGTON, DC 20036-2656