Drummond McGavin Pike is an American businessman, philanthropist, and left-of-center political activist. He is notable for founding a number of organizations that promote and fund progressive causes, the most notable of which was the Tides Foundation in 1976. Tides pioneered the use of donor-advised funds to advocate progressive policy change through philanthropy and later spawned the Tides Center, which serves as an incubator for new or small left-wing advocacy groups.
Pike is a career progressive activist and fundraiser. He was also a close ally of Wade Rathke, the founder of the controversial Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) labor-union aligned community organizing network, whom Pike brought on to sit on the founding Tides Foundation board of directors.
Personal Life and Education
Drummond Pike is married to Elizabeth “Liza” Cohen Pike. They have two children, Rachel and Maxwell.
Pike earned his bachelor’s degree in 1970 from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was selected as campus representative to the Board of Regents his senior year there. Pike then earned a master’s degree in political science at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Drummond Pike has spent most of his professional life as a progressive activist, starting with the Youth Project in Washington, D.C., in 1970, at which he served as associate director.
The Youth Project was created by activists Dick Boone and Lenny Conway and a network of progressive organizations led by the Center for Community Change to give young people with inherited wealth a way to channel donations. This strategy is considered the precursor to Pike’s development of the donor-advised fund.
In 1976, Pike was hired as the executive director of the Shalan Foundation in San Francisco. Created by Youth Project funder Alan Stephen Davis in 1969, the now-defunct Shalan Foundation awarded grants to promote liberal environmental and economic policies.
Pike also co-founded the non-profit Tides Foundation in 1976, using money from co-founder Jane Bagley Lehman, the Reynolds tobacco heiress and Arca Foundation president.
The Tides Foundation cultivated donor-advised funding by which money can be anonymously channeled to progressive causes. In 1979, Pike extended Tides’ services to incubating new progressive projects. This was legally incorporated as the Tides Center in 1996, providing grants and administrative services to initiatives that have yet to incorporate as nonprofits. Pew Charitable Trusts is among groups incubated by Pike that later became a successful stand-alone organization.
Pike also co-founded Working Assets (now known as Credo), a telecommunications company dedicated to progressive philanthropy and political activism; Tides Canada; and Groundspring.org, a nonprofit technology service provider which merged with Network for Good in 2005.
Pike also created the Advocacy Fund in 1994, Tides Inc. in 2003, Tides Shared Spaces in 2004, and the Tides Network in 2006. The Tides Network includes more than 200 groups and hundreds of members. The longstanding liberal donor fund provides money to nonprofits working on the environment, labor issues, immigrant rights, gay rights, women’s rights and human rights. In 2016, the Tides Network issued 4,339 grants to nonprofits in the United States and abroad, amounting to $223.6 million. Recipients include Media Matters, Planned Parenthood, American Civil Liberties Union, and NARAL.
Following his resignation from Tides in November 2010, Pike served as a principal for Equilibrium Capital from 2011 to 2014, and is currently the managing director at Impact US Capital Markets. Pike is also a director at Ultra Capital, LLC.
Pike serves or has served on the boards of a number of organizations that have ties to Tides. These include the Enlyst Foundation, JK Irwin Foundation, Underdog Foundation, Island Press, Institute for New Economic Thinking, Environmental Working Group, Tides Canada Foundation, Endswell Foundation, Working Assets, Democracy Alliance, Network for Good, Sage Centre, Threshold Foundation, and Charity Projects Entertainment Fund, Network For Good, Tides Foundation, Inc, The Tides Center and Groundspring.org, Social Venture Network, Sierra Fund, and America’s Charities.
In 2008, it became public that Pike had agreed to repay most of the money embezzled from Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) by Dale Rathke, brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke. Wade Rathke founded ACORN in 1970 and was its chief executive until the news broke that his brother had embezzled $948,507.50 from ACORN and affiliated organizations in 2000.
Wade Rathke is a longtime friend of Pike, and was a founding board member of the Tides Foundation. He continues to serve as a senior advisor for Tides. The two men are listed as partners at Paladin Partners, a consulting firm that supports emerging progressive leaders and organizations.
In 2010, Pike wrote a letter urging Fox News advertisers to pull their sponsorships from the network after learning that he and the Tides organization were targets of a would-be assassin allegedly inspired to action by repeated criticisms of Tides by then-Fox News host Glenn Beck. Byron Williams, a 45-year-old man, was arrested after a traffic stop ended in a shootout with the California Highway Patrol. In jail, Williams said he wanted to start a revolution, but said Beck did not directly factor in his decision to use violence.
According to campaignmoney.com, Pike has contributed $220,512 to Democratic Party candidates and progressive organizations between 2000 and 2016.