Study looks at role of private foundations in supporting religion

Mar 24, 2010

While millions of Americans make individual contributions weekly at their places of worship, a new study by a Rice University sociologist finds private foundations have a disproportionate influence on the religious sector -- despite the fact that their contributions constitute only a fraction of all philanthropy to religion.

D. Michael Lindsay, an assistant professor of sociology at Rice, and co-author Robert Wuthnow, a Princeton University sociologist, wrote "Financing Faith: Religion and Strategic Philanthropy," the first major study of foundation giving to religion. It is published in this month's issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Private foundations are influential in "because of their institutional independence, financial resources and unique ability to redirect energies within an institutional field," Lindsay and Wuthnow wrote.

One example cited by the authors is the Lilly Endowment, which "has infused hundreds of thousands of dollars into the religious sector with a strong preference to developing the leadership capabilities of pastors and church staff members. Over the last decade, the endowment has allocated nearly $500 million to various programs across the country with the goal of recruiting, training and sustaining high-caliber ministry professionals." This kind of directed giving has real impact, according to the study.

The authors examined all grants between 1999 and 2003 reported by private foundations to the Foundation Center, which maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. grants and grant-makers. They chose that five-year window because it represented a time that included both significant economic expansion (1999-2000) and retraction (2001) in the U.S. economy.

During that period, the Lilly Endowment was by far the biggest donor to religious organizations, awarding 1,473 grants totaling more than $677 million. In second place was the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation, with more than $94 million in contributions.

Federal tax policy has played a significant role in affecting religious philanthropy, Lindsay and Wuthnow found. The Tax Reform Act of 1969 defined "private foundations" and regulated their activities. Since then, federal legislation has shaped philanthropic giving by defining a number of charitable giving vehicles, including donor-advised funds and supporting organizations.

The authors reached these major conclusions: Private foundations have significant, strategic resources that allow them to set agendas in the religious sector, even though grants to religious causes account for only a slim segment of all awards made by private foundations and foundation giving is only 5 percent of all religious giving. Also, social conditions such as rising secularism, religious pluralism and globalization pose significant challenges for the religious sector, and foundation giving may very well reshape the religious sector in the years ahead.

Explore further: Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

More information: www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/123306110/PDFSTART

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croghan27
not rated yet Mar 24, 2010
Would it be fair to say that, even if 'foundations' contributations are smaller than regular donation, the fact they are 'directed' and concentrated in a single area give them influence beyond what their size would indicate.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Mar 24, 2010
"After channeling $7.3 million of parishioners’
money to ACORN over the last decade, Catholic bishops were coming under intense pressure from conservative Catholics who were outraged by reports of gross legal and ethical improprieties involving ACORN."
"Both CCHD and ACORN were inspired by
Saul Alinsky, the father of community organizing.
Alinsky is the Marxist Machiavelli
who dedicated his 1971 manual on grassroots
activism, Rules for Radicals, to Lucifer,
whom he called “the fi rst radical known to
man who rebelled against the establishment
and did it so effectively that he at least won
his own kingdom.”"
"New York Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos criticized a federal government program that allows a $35 million
matching grant from George Soros and the Open Society Institute to clear the way for New York state to access an
additional $140 million in federal economic stimulus funding."
http://www.capita...l?id=701
croghan27
5 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2010
marjon ---you really should say "unsubstantiated reports of gross legal and ethical improprieties involving ACORN." Acorn has been found to have committed nothing illegal - indeed, signing voters up sounds like a good thing to me.

Indeed, Alinsky is a radical and a communist (even if I have heard him reject the term as being too constraining), But so what .... radicals need love too.

His dedication to Lucifer is rather clever ... Lucifer did rebel against the constraints of a situation s/he (does anything at that level have a gender) found limiting.

It takes cojonies to rebel against an all powerful Being.
Skeptic_Heretic
2 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2010
Acorn has been found to have committed nothing illegal - indeed, signing voters up sounds like a good thing to me.

It's illegal if they're dead and you register them to false addresses.

http://seattletim...27m.html

30 arrests, 5 convictions, broad reduction of funding due to multiple counts of subsidiaries fraud, and misappropriation of federal funds, that last charge of which is considered a potential High Crime.

It takes cojonies to rebel against an all powerful Being.

Ah yes, Biblical foolishness. If Lucifer was created and did not have free will then it was god's will that he rebelled.

Again the bible speaks of its own heresy.
croghan27
5 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2010

30 arrests, 5 convictions, broad reduction of funding due to multiple counts of subsidiaries fraud, and misappropriation of federal funds, that last charge of which is considered a potential High Crime.

Ah yes, Biblical foolishness. If Lucifer was created and did not have free will then it was god's will that he rebelled.

Again the bible speaks of its own heresy.


I take it they have been convicted .. the article says: "The defendants have not entered pleas. They are scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 2"

I believe that the stricture de-funding ACRON has been found to be contrary to your constitution.

Methinks that John Milton, when 'explaining the ways of God to man' has a lot to do with Lucifer's fame.
Skeptic_Heretic
1.5 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2010
I take it they have been convicted .. the article says: "The defendants have not entered pleas. They are scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 2"
Those were random articles concerning the frauds of ACORN. The final tally (on a national scale of all ACORN fraud cases) was as I said 30 arrests, 5 convictions over all.
I believe that the stricture de-funding ACRON has been found to be contrary to your constitution.
Only if funding ACORN isn't contrary to the Constitution. The case is not completed at this time.

Methinks that John Milton, when 'explaining the ways of God to man' has a lot to do with Lucifer's fame.
He's more of a Calvinist Predestination thinker. I'd look more to Thomas Hooker, Solomon Stoddard and the rest of the New England Hellfire sermonists.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Mar 25, 2010
@JayK, can you tell me where in the Constitution, or subsequent laws that the US government is allowed to fund non-profit organizations?
JayK
3 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2010
The defunding of Acorn went against the Constitution. There was only the implication that ACORN might be involved in voting fraud, which was never proven. Names were submitted TO the ACORN group, but those names were never submitted to the government. ACORN verified them, then turned in the people that filled in fraudulent voting registration cards.
JayK
3 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2010
The Constitution limits the rights of the government, it doesn't say one way or the other whether or not they can fund anyone. Show me in the Constitution where the National Academy of Science should be funded, or where NASA should be funded. Your question is a strawman and your implications that ACORN did something wrong is patently wrong and based more on Fox News memes than fact.

The defunding amounted to a Bill of Attainder, which is clearly unconstitutional and was ruled as such.
http://www.ccrjus...ng-acorn
marjon
1 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2010
The Constitution limits the rights of the government, it doesn't say one way or the other whether or not they can fund anyone. Show me in the Constitution where the National Academy of Science should be funded, or where NASA should be funded. Your question is a strawman and your implications that ACORN did something wrong is patently wrong and based more on Fox News memes than fact.

The defunding amounted to a Bill of Attainder, which is clearly unconstitutional and was ruled as such.
http://www.ccrjus...ng-acorn

The government has NO rights. The people of the USA, via the Constitution, grant limited power to the state for specified, enumerated functions. There is no Constitutional authority to fund Acorn or NASA or NAS or many other departments.
JayK
3 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2010
Did you have a point, marjon, or is this just the usual trolling? Stop playing semantic games.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2010
There is no Constitutional authority to fund Acorn or NASA or NAS or many other departments.


Actually, after I posted my challenge to JayK I thought about this and the Constitution does allow for the funding of ACORN.
1) The commerce clause - Community organizing across state lines has a direct and tangible impact on commerce and cash flow from state to state, especially as ACORN facilitated the Census.

I don't like it, but you're absolutely correct JayK. I recant my former statement.

@ Marjon, you really need to read the documents in question if you're going to debate them. Government powers and rights are lain out plainly in the Constitution.
JayK
3 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2010
I believe that government has assumed the responsibility, under the general welfare clause, to encourage voting. For that, many different groups and establishments (all non-profit) are welcome to bid on voting registration contracts, and those bids are open to public scrutiny. ACORN has been just one of the nonprofit groups that won a large number of bids. Their original function, however, was not community organizing, but was around securing monetary loans for minorities and the underprivileged. They have worthwhile goals in mind, so I am of the mind that criticism of them must be held to an even higher standard.

Now the reading of the general welfare clause is readily debatable, I'll admit. I don't see a ready end to that debate anytime soon, unfortunately. My opinion is that the government should seek to do things that promote increases in the general welfare of all Americans. For that, I'm called a socialist. So be it.
croghan27
5 / 5 (1) Mar 26, 2010

Now the reading of the general welfare clause is readily debatable, I'll admit. I don't see a ready end to that debate anytime soon, unfortunately. My opinion is that the government should seek to do things that promote increases in the general welfare of all Americans. For that, I'm called a socialist. So be it.


Is that not what all governments are supposed to do - look after the citizens .... now you have a bit of a problem in the US as I see that corporations are now people ....

As for being a socialist .. good for you if it goes beyond just being called one. Obama is called a socialist and that shows that someone knows little about Obama and less about socialism.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (1) Mar 26, 2010
I disagree. The government's job is not to "look after" people.

The role of government is best put by Lincoln.

"Government is a body politic that accomplishes for the people only that which they cannot accomplish themselves."
JayK
3 / 5 (2) Mar 26, 2010
Class disparity, thanks to too much capitalism, is at the point where many believe there will be a revolution of sorts. The system was out of balance, with a rapidly shrinking middle class and an upper class that holds too high of a percentage of wealth. Societies that have such divergence tend not to produce high enough revenues and the class disparity engenders distrust and fear.

So you can either have a revolution, where the vast majority of the masses rebel against the upper class(es), or you can have a government slip in and ease the gap shut through social welfare and other ideas.

As an anarchist, I was kinda looking forward to the revolution. We may still see one, but it won't be very big, unfortunately, and it won't be class warfare, it will just be a bunch of T. Baggins with their deer rifles and pipe bombs getting taken down by the FBI and DHS.

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