June 14, 2009

Foundations : Their Power and Influence by René A. Wormser

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I read Foundations : Their Power and Influence by René A. Wormser. This book is a third printing from 1993 by Covenant House Books.

About the book:

This book grew out of my conviction that some of the materials examined by the Reece Committee, for which I [, René A. Wormser,] acted as general counsel, deserve broader circulation. [1]

Why it’s called the “Reece Committee”:

It is not easy to investigate foundations, not even for Congress to attempt it: the giant foundations are powerful and have powerful friends. A special committee was created by the House of Representatives of the 83rd Congress to investigate tax-exempt organizations. It is generally referred to as the “Reece Committee” after its chairman, Congressman B. Carroll Reece of Tennessee. [2]

Why foundations are started:

The chief motivation in the creation of foundations has long ceased to be pure philanthropy—it is now predominantly tax avoidance or minimization. . . . The increasing tax burden on income and estates has greatly accelerated a trend toward creation of foundations as instruments for the retention of control over capital assets that would otherwise be lost.
. . .
The creation of a new foundation very often serves the purpose of contributing to a favorable public opinion for the person or corporation that endows it. Among public-relations consultants the practice of publicly establishing the virtue of a previously despised person or institution by forming a tax-exempt foundation and beating the drum for it is quite common. [3]

Rene Wormser gives a quick summary of the Reece Committee on page vii:

The Reece Committee had perhaps the most hazardous career of any committee in the history of Congress. It survived its many perils, however, to bring to the attention of Congress and the people grave dangers to our society.
These dangers relate chiefly to the use of foundation funds for political ends . . . [4]

Wormser also said this on page viii:

An “élite” has thus emerged, in control of gigantic financial resources operating outside of our democratic processes, which is willing and able to shape the future of this nation and of mankind in the image of its own value concepts. [5]

I guess the power of these foundations does go to high places.

Yet Mr. [Wayne] Hays told us one day that “the White House” had been in touch with him and asked him if he would cooperate to kill the Committee.
. . .
It was additional indication that the long arms of the foundations extended even into high places. [6]

Let’s find out what came out of the investigation.

Foundations are into globalism:

The 1946 report of The Rockefeller Foundation also minced no words in advocating globalism. It read:

The challenge of the future is to make this world one world . . .


The Council on Foreign Relations, another member of the international complex, financed both by the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations, overwhelmingly propagandizes the globalist concept. [8]

The Reece Committee came to this conclusion:

The weight of evidence before this Committee, which the foundations have made no serious effort to rebut, indicates that the form of globalism which the foundations have so actively promoted and from which our foreign policy has suffered seriously, relates definitely to a collectivist point of view. Despite vehement disclaimers of bias, despite platitudinous affirmations of loyalty to American traditions, the statements filed by those foundations whose operations touch on foreign policy have produced no rebuttal to the evidence of support of collectivism.


. . . Mr. Spruille Braden, former Assistant Secretary of State . . . wrote . . . :

I have the very definite feeling that these various foundations you mention very definitely do exercise both overt and covert influences on our foreign relations and that their influences are counter to the fundamental principles on which this nation was founded and which have made it great.


The book also talked about the Rhodes Scholarship Fund:

The influence of the foundation complex in internationalism has reached far into government, into the policymaking circles of Congress and into the State Department. This has been effected through the pressure of public opinion, mobilized by the instruments of the foundations; through the promotion of foundation-favorites as teachers and experts in foreign affairs; through a domination of the learned journals in international affairs; through the frequent appointment of State Department officials to foundation jobs; and through the frequent appointment of foundation officials to State Department jobs.
At least one foreign foundation has had a strong influence on our foreign policy. The Rhodes Scholarship Fund of Great Britain, created to improve England’s international public relations but not registered here as a foreign agent, has gained great influence in the United States for British ideas. It has accomplished this by annually selecting a choice group of promising young men for study in England. The usually Anglophile alumni of this system are to be found in eminent positions in legislation, administration, and education and in the ranks of American foundation officials. They form a patronage network of considerable importance. Dr. Frank Aydelotte in a book, The Rhodes Trust 1903-1953 published in 1956, reported: “The influence of this group on American educational practice and particularly on the rapidly increasing maturity and breadth of methods of instruction in American institutions of higher learning, has been immense.” He continued: “The number of those going into government is constantly increasing.” [11]

The book talked about the United Nations:

The “international-mind” obsession of The Carnegie Endowment and its associated organizations has avidly taken up the United Nations. [12]

Who knows what economic worldwide planning is being concocted by UN agencies, much of which will later be promoted domestically by these foundations, following their thesis that UN is the only road to peace? Nor should we forget the attempts to impose on us changes in our own basic declarations of human rights. That proposed by UN ignored the right to hold private property. [13]

Let’s talk about social sciences:

. . . Dr. [Pendleton] Herring, the president of The Social Science Research Council, in its first issue of Items:

Here we wish simply to emphasize that in our generation efforts are being made to arrange and control human relationships more consciously, more deliberately, and, it is to be hoped, more responsibly than during the last century. An interdependent world is being forced to an awareness of the limitations of individual freedom and personal choice.


. . . [The Social Science Research Council] is, more or less, the guiding spirit of social-science research. Its 1928-1929 report discloses one of its purposes:

* * * a sounder empirical method of research had to be achieved in political science, if it were to assist in the development of a scientific political control.

Political control is thus to be left in the hands of the “élite,” the “social engineers.” What the people want is not necessarily good for them; they are not competent to decide. The Führers must decide it for them, so that we can have a scientifically based and intelligent society. [15]

Social scientists may be said to have come to constitute a fourth major branch of government. They are the consultants of government, the planners, and the designers of governmental theory and practice. They are free from the checks and balances to which the other three branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial) are subject. They have attained their influence and their position in government mainly through foundation support; and this support, in the past, has been chiefly given to persons, institutions, and ideas of a progressive-liberal, if not Socialist, coloring. [16]

Research in the social sciences plays a key part in the evolution of our society. Such research is now almost wholly in the control of the professional employees of the large foundations and their obedient satellites. Even the great sums allotted by the Federal government for social science research have come into the virtual control of this professional group. [17]

The foundation-supported concept of “social engineering,” with its political implications, was castigated by Professor [Carl O.] Sauer in these words:

Research programs are set up in terms of social goals, and it is assumed that professional training provides the deep insight needed. Having set up schools for the training of prophets, it gratifies us to hear that the great task of social science is to remake the world.


Now let’s look at education:

There is much evidence that, to a substantial degree, foundations have become the directors of education in the United States. [19]

. . . everything from the budget to the choice of ad hoc appointed professors or researchers is controlled and decided by foundation officials. [20]

The foundation’s direct power is the power of money. Privately financed educational institutions have had a bad time during the period of rapidly increasing costs. Foundation grants have become so important a source of support that college and university presidents cannot often afford to ignore the opinions and wishes of the executives who distribute foundation largess. Such administrators will freely admit that they do not like to receive restricted or earmarked grants and would far prefer to be unfettered in their disposition of money given to their institutions. But they will also admit that they usually dare not turn down a grant, however inconsistent with their policy, priority of goals, or urgent needs it may be, for fear they might earn the displeasure of the granting foundation. [21]

Professor [David N.] Rowe, testifying regarding the influence of foundations in educational institutions, said:

* * * you have to realize * * * that advancement and promotion and survival in the academic field depend upon research and the results and the publication thereof. Here you have, you see, outside organizations influencing the course of the careers of personnel in universities through their control of funds which can liberate these people from teaching duties, for example, and making it possible for them to publish more than their competitors.


Money is more easily obtainable today for “projects” chosen by foundation boards than for general purposes with no strings attached. The school administrator approaching a foundation, hat in hand, and eager to propose a project which conforms to the known leanings of the foundation executives, is a sad product of our age. No longer does the scholar carry the initiative. He is degraded to a recipient of alms handed out by an almoner who is no longer responsible to the prince. [23]

A very powerful complex of foundations and allied organizations has developed over the years to exercise a high degree of control over education.

. . .

Dr. Ernest Victor Hollis, now Chief of College Administration in the United States Office of Education, once explained the background of this coercive approach as follows:

* * * Unfavorable public estimate of the elder Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, made it inexpedient in 1905 for their newly created philanthropic foundations to attempt any direct reforms in higher education.

The method used, therefore, he said, was one of indirection—“indirectly through general and non-controversial purposes.” “For instance,” said Dr. Hollis, “there is little connection between giving a pension to a college professor or giving a sum to the general endowment of his college, and reforming entrance requirements, the financial practices, and the scholastic standards of his institution.” Yet one was tied to the other. It was a case of conform, or no grant! When to conform meant bathing in a stream of millions, college and university administrators and their faculties were inclined to conform. [24]

Let’s stay on the topic of education and focus on the “youngsters”:

Mr. [Aaron] Sargent gave convincing evidence that efforts to use the schools to bring us to a new order, collectivist in nature, followed a plan and that this plan was supported by foundation money. [25]

Mr. [Stuart] Chase, in expounding the concepts of foundation-supported and –directed social-science research, lays it on the line. We are to be managed by these experts, these social divines, with the new “scientific method” which he says can be “applied to the behavior of men as well as to the behavior of electrons.” “Prepare now for a surprising universal,” says Mr. Chase:

Individual talent is too sporadic and unpredictable to be allowed any important part in the organization of society. Social systems which endure are built on the average person who can be trained to occupy any position adequately if not brilliantly.

And how is this “scientific” management to take place? One gathers from Mr. Chase’s book, which seems to represent the official line of the foundation complex, that it is to be through “cultural determinism,” via a molding of our minds by propaganda. Mr. Chase wrote:

Theoretically, a society could be completely made over in something like 15 years, the time it takes to inculcate a new culture into a rising group of youngsters.


The undeniable fact is that the changes which have taken place in the United States were not the result of the “despotic inroads on the right of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production.” They were the result of continuous propaganda in the form of biased education. This propaganda has nearly convinced the American people that the Marxian formula is good for it. [27]

[Congressman E. E. Cox of Georgia] cited foundation support of such men as Langston Hughes, Hans Eisler, Louis Adamic, and Owen Lattimore. He named The Rockefeller Foundation,

whose funds have been used to finance individuals and organizations whose business it has been to get communism into the private and public schools of the country, to talk down America and to play up Russia * * *.


The impact of foundation money upon education has been very heavy, largely tending to promote uniformity in approach and method, tending to induce the educator to become an agent for social change and a propagandist for the development of our society in the direction of some form of collectivism. [29]

The use of the term “social studies” or “core studies” should always give pause. It is likely to indicate that children are to be fed “educational” material in accordance with the recommendations of the Commission on Social Studies of the American Historical Association to which I [, René A. Wormser,] have earlier referred—propaganda toward a collectivism which now has broadened to international collectivism—globalism.
The same volume asserts that we must conform our national economic policies to an international world economy; that the “nation-state system” is obsolete; that part of our political independence must be surrendered; that we must engage on a “planned economic cooperation on a worldwide scale”; and that our children must be taught to become propagandists for these ideas. The school is to be a militant agent in the campaign for the globalist idea. [30]

Something I thought was cool is on page 145:

The growing radicalism which was beginning rapidly to permeate academic circles was no grass-roots movement. Mr. [Aaron] Sargent cited a statement by Professor Ludwig Von Mises that socialism does not spring from the masses but is instigated by intellectuals “that form themselves into a clique and bore from within and operate that way. * * * It is not a people’s movement at all. It is a capitalization on the people’s emotions and sympathies toward a point these people wish to reach.” [31]

The book talked about The Rand Corporation, which I guess is supersecret:

In the most important field of the behavioral sciences, for instance, an Advisory Committee assists the Foundation in the selection of recipient universities. Among the members of this Committee, in addition to the directors of the Foundation-financed Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, are Charles Dollard of the Carnegie Endowment; Hans Speier of The rand Corporation; Donald Young of The Russell Sage Foundation; and Fillmore Sandford of the American Psychological Association. Messrs. Dollard and Young are very familiar names. They selected Stuart Chase to do The Proper Study of Mankind, the exposition of the current social-science orthodoxy. Their names appear, again and again, in foundation operations. Hans Speier, before coming to this country and serving as a professor at the New School for Social Research and later as director of the social-studies section of the supersecret Rand Corporation, had contributed extensively to radical Socialist publications, especially to Rudolf Hilferding’s Die Gesellschaft, in Germany. [32]

As an example of interlocking directorates, the report cited the case of The Rand Corporation. This is a corporation in the nature of a foundation, which plays a very important part in government research. It would warrant special attention in connection with any study of the extent to which foundation interlocks have influenced government. Among the trustees and officers of The Rand Corporation were found the following who had material connections with other foundations:

Charles Dollard (trustee)
– Carnegie Corporation

L. A. Dudbridge (trustee)
– Carnegie Endowment
– National Science Foundation

H. Rowan Gaither, Jr. (trustee)
– Ford Foundation

Philip E. Mosely (trustee)
– Ford Foundation
– Rockefeller Foundation

Harvey S. Mudd (trustee)
– Mudd Foundation
– Santa Anita Foundation
– American Heritage Foundation

Frederick F. Stephan (trustee)
– Rockefeller Foundation

Clyde Williams (trustee)
– Batelle Memorial Institute

Hans Speier (officer)
– (Ford) Behavioral Science Division


How the foundations avoid criticism:

The far-reaching power of the large foundations and of the interlock, has so influenced the press, the radio, and even the government that it has become extremely difficult for objective criticism of foundation practices to get into news channels without having first been distorted, slanted, discredited, and at times ridiculed. Nothing short of an unhampered Congressional investigation could hope to bring out the vital facts; and the pressure against Congressional investigation has been almost incredible. As indicated by their arrogance in dealing with this Committee, the major foundations and their associated intermediary organizations have intrenched themselves behind a totality of power which presumes to place them beyond serious criticism and attack. [34]

It took courage for academicians to testify before the Reece Committee. To offer any criticism of the major foundations and those organizations with which they interlock is equivalent to writing yourself off their books. They know how to deal with those who dare to disagree. As Professor Charles W. Briggs, professor emeritus of Columbia University, testified, they have terrified many who would be critical. He said:

It is tragic in a high degree that men who have won confidence and position in the education world should be intimidated from expressing criticism of a foundation whose administrators and policies they do not respect.

He added these remarks concerning the power of the foundations to punish criticism or to suppress it by the inducements of their patronage:

It has been stated that, unlike colleges and universities, foundations have no alumni to defend them. But they do have influential people as members of their boards, and these members have powerful friends, some of whom are more inclined to be partisanly defensive than objectively critical. Moreover, there are also thousands who, hopeful of becoming beneficiaries of future grants, either conceal their criticisms or else give expression to a defense that may not be wholly sincere.


The giant foundation can exercise enormous power through the direct use of its funds. Moreover, it materially increases this power and its influence by building collateral alliances which serve greatly to insulate it against criticism. It is likely to find friends among the banks which hold its great deposits; the investment and brokerage houses which serve its investment problem; the major law firms which act as its counsel; and the many firms, institutions, and individuals with which it deals and which it benefits. By careful selection of a trustee, here and there, from among proprietors and executives of newspapers, periodicals, and other media of communication, it can assure itself of adulation and support. By engaging “public relations counselors” (ethically, and even legally, a questionable practice), it can further create for itself a favorable press and enthusiastic publicity. [36]

One last quote:

“Foundations,” said the Reece Committee report, “becoming more numerous every day, may some day control our whole intellectual and cultural life—and with it the future . . . [37]

That’s it.

Daniel Kemp


1. René A. Wormser, Foundations : Their Power and Influence. (Tennessee : Covenant House Books, c1993), viii

2. Ibid., vii

3. Ibid., x

4. Ibid., vii

5. Ibid., viii

6. Ibid., 349

7. Ibid., 206

8. Ibid., 209

9. Ibid., 207

10. Ibid., 212

11. Ibid., 201

12. Ibid., 214

13. Ibid., 215

14. Ibid., 94-95

15. Ibid., 95

16. Ibid., 84-85

17. Ibid., 303

18. Ibid., 96

19. Ibid., 142

20. Ibid., 60

21. Ibid., 42

22. Ibid., 73

23. Ibid., 75

24. Ibid., 139-140

25. Ibid., 146

26. Ibid., 113

27. Ibid., 198

28. Ibid., 328

29. Ibid., 304

30. Ibid., 216-217

31. Ibid., 145

32. Ibid., 232-233

33. Ibid., 65-66

34. Ibid., 303

35. Ibid., 253-254

36. Ibid., 41

37. Ibid., 67-68

Put in Books
  • Alex

    Good luck bro.