Person

Aileen Adams

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

Political Donor, Foundation Chair

Aileen Adams is chair of the board of the Weingart Foundation, a left-of-center California grantmaking institution.

She was appointed to high-ranking positions in the administrations of former President Bill Clinton, former California Governor Gray Davis (D), and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D). She has given substantial amounts to Democratic and left-leaning candidates and causes and used her position with the Weingart Foundation to fund left-leaning advocacy groups.

Background

Aileen Adams is the chair of the board at Weingart Foundation, a left-of-center California grantmaking organization. [1] Adams became chair in 2019 after previously sitting on the board for six years. [2] During the administration of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Adams served as deputy mayor for the Office of Strategic Partnerships. [3] In 2005, she was named vice provost for strategic alliances at the University of Southern California. [4] From 1999 through 2003, Adams served in the administration of California Governor Gray Davis (D) as Secretary of the Consumer Services Agency. [5]

During the Clinton administration, Adams was chosen to head the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime. [6] Previously, Adams spent 12 years as legal counsel to Santa Monica Hospital Center, was a city prosecutor, reserve police officer, and president of the Los Angeles Fire Commission. [7] Adams has a law degree from Howard University and an undergraduate degree from Smith College. [8]

Adams is married to Geoffrey Cowan, an attorney, writer, and professor at the University of Southern California, where he holds the Annenberg Chair in Communication Leadership. [9] From 2010 through 2016, Cowan served as president of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands. [10] President Bill Clinton appointed Cowan head of Voice of America from 1994 through 1996. [11] Cowan, with Adams, runs the Adams Cowan Foundation from their residence in Los Angeles. [12]In 2020, the Adams Cowan Foundation had $81,310 in revenue with $74,405 in expenses and $10,681 in total assets. [13] Since 1999, Cowan has donated $99,625 to Democratic candidates and organizations. [14]

Weingart Foundation

During Adams’ tenure as chair, the Weingart Foundation has funded several controversial groups in Los Angeles. Weingart was an initial funder of the California Black Freedom Fund (CBFF), [15] which advocates for removing police from schools, defunding the police and moving the money to social programs, closing state prisons and youth detention facilities, mandating the re-labeling of foods that it deems racist, changing redistricting, removing Confederate statues, and ending the use of facial recognition technology. [16] The fund is managed by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which has been controversial because of management and administration issues. [17]

Weingart Foundation has deep connections to the Committee for Greater L.A. (Greater L.A.). Greater L.A.’s primary goal is to end homelessness, but much of its focus involves combating racism and perceived white supremacy. [18] Greater L.A. has stated that “white supremacy enforced by violence is an indelible part of American history” and that Los Angeles County has “perpetuated white supremacy” and the current system must be dismantled. [19]

Under Adams’ leadership, the Weingart Foundation has funded numerous left-wing and left-of-center groups including California Immigrant Policy Center, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education FundImmigrant Defenders Law Center, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, Californians For Justice Education Fund, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Children’s Defense Fund, Human Rights Watch, and Strategic Actions For A Just Economy. [20] In 2022, Weingart announced a plan to increase grants by $16 million focusing on systemic racism and racial injustice. [21]

Political Contributions

Since 1999, Adams has given almost $72,000 to Democratic candidates and left-leaning political organizations including current and former U.S. Senators Barack Obama (D-IL), Al Gore (D-TN), Joe Biden (D-DE), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), John Kerry (D-MA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) for Senate and other campaigns; failed candidates Erskine Bowles (D-NC), Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), and Stacey Abrams (D-GA); and committees including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and local affiliates of Planned Parenthood. [22]

References

  1. Weingart Foundation website. www.weingartfnd.org. Accessed March 9, 2022. https://weingartfnd.org/board-of-directors/. ^
  2. Weingart Foundation website. www.weingartfund.org. Accessed March 11, 2022. https://weingartfnd.org/october-2019-news/. ^
  3. Do Good LA website. “Aileen Adams.” www.dogoodla.org. Accessed March 13, 2022. https://www.dogoodla.org/aileen-adams. Aileen Adams LinkedIn profile. www.linkedin.com. Accessed March 9, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/aileen-adams-320b6466. ^
  4. Newell Young, Karen. “Setting Out to Solve Problems.” USC News. April 1, 2005. Accessed March 14, 2022. https://news.usc.edu/23469/Setting-Out-to-Solve-Problems/. ^
  5. Craft, Cynthia. “Aileen Adams.” Los Angeles Times. July 2, 2000. Accessed March 14, 2022. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2000-jul-02-op-47151-story.html; “Davis Announces Choice for Two Key Posts.” San Francisco Chronicle. December 24, 1998. Accessed March 9, 2022. https://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Davis-Announces-Choices-for-Two-Key-Posts-2971336.php; Newell Young, Karen. “Setting Out to Solve Problems.” USC News. April 1, 2005. Accessed March 14, 2022. https://news.usc.edu/23469/Setting-Out-to-Solve-Problems/. ^
  6. Do Good LA website. “Aileen Adams.” www.dogoodla.org. Accessed March 13, 2022. https://www.dogoodla.org/aileen-adams; Craft, Cynthia. “Aileen Adams.” Los Angeles Times. July 2, 2000. Accessed March 14, 2022. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2000-jul-02-op-47151-story.html. ^
  7. Craft, Cynthia. “Aileen Adams.” Los Angeles Times. July 2, 2000. Accessed March 14, 2022. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2000-jul-02-op-47151-story.html; Do Good LA website. “Aileen Adams.” www.dogoodla.org. Accessed March 13, 2022. https://www.dogoodla.org/aileen-adams; American Academy of Arts and Science website. www.amacad.org. Accessed March 9, 2022. https://www.amacad.org/person/aileen-c-adams. ^
  8. Newell Young, Karen. “Setting Out to Solve Problems.” USC News. April 1, 2005. Accessed March 14, 2022. https://news.usc.edu/23469/Setting-Out-to-Solve-Problems/. ^
  9.  American Academy of Arts and Sciences website. www.amacad.org. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.amacad.org/person/geoffrey-cowan. ^
  10. American Academy of Arts and Sciences website. www.amacad.org. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.amacad.org/person/geoffrey-cowan. ^
  11. [1] InsideVOA website. www.insidevoa.com. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.insidevoa.com/a/geoffrey-cowan/4499749.html; Geoffrey Cowan website. www.geoffreycowan.com. Accessed March 21, 2022. http://geoffreycowan.com/about/. ^
  12. Adams Cowan Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2020. ^
  13. Adams Cowan Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2020. ^
  14. Center for Responsive Politics website. www.opensecrets.org. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/donor-lookup/results?name=Geoffrey+cowan&order=asc&sort=D. ^
  15. “Funders Join Together to Launch $100 million California Black Freedom Fund.” California Black Freedom Fund. February 4, 2021. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://cablackfreedomfund.org/funders-join-together-to-launch-100-million-california-black-freedom-fund/. ^
  16. “Making Racial Justice Real in California.” California Black Freedom Fund. 2021. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://cablackfreedomfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/CBFF-making-racial-justice-real-in-california.pdf. ^
  17. Woolfolk, John. “Silicon Valley Community Foundation CEO Out After Top Fundraiser’s Sex Harassment Scandal.” San Jose Mercury-News. June 27, 2018. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/06/27/draft-community-foundation-ceo-out-after-top-fundraisers-sex-harassment-scandal/; Gunther, Marc. “A Test of Leadership.” Chronicle of Philanthropy. March 31, 2020. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.philanthropy.com/article/a-test-of-leadership/?cid2=gen_login_refresh ^
  18. “We’re Not Giving Up.” Committee For Greater L.A. Accessed August 8, 2021; Santana, Miguel. “2021 Priorities: Acknowledging Difficult Truths.” Committee For Greater L.A. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://nogoingback.la/about-us/priorities/. ^
  19. “We’re Not Giving Up.” Committee For Greater L.A. Accessed August 8, 2021; Santana, Miguel. “2021 Priorities: Acknowledging Difficult Truths.” Committee For Greater L.A. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://nogoingback.la/about-us/priorities/. ^
  20. Weingart Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2019. ^
  21. Weingart Foundation. Accessed March 14, 2022. https://weingartfnd.org/f-y-2022-program-plan/. ^
  22. Center for Responsive Politics website. www.opensecrets.org. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/donor-lookup/results?name=aileen+adams&order=desc&sort=D. ^
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