Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ford Foundation Probe

Sunday's (April 2nd) Detroit News has a front page report by Daniel Howes titled "Ford Foundation probed; AG claims Mich. left out." The first paragraph says:

"Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox is investigating the New York-based Ford Foundation, focusing on its governance, potential conflicts of interest and a comparatively thin record of giving to charitable causes in Detroit and the state."

And:

"Cox's probe is now 9 months old. He is using administrative subpoenas and Michigan's chartiable trust laws to determine whether one of the nation's most generous foundations, with assets of $11.5 billion and a reputation for backing causes tied to terrorism and anti-semitism, is 'running a tight ship' and renewing its historical obligation to its Michigan roots."

That the Ford Foundation heavily favors Marxist, socialist and anti-free market organizations comes as no surprise to anyone following politics. About the only ones who don't know it would be the general public.

Evidently the Ford family no longer has any ties to the Ford foundation. According to the article, Henry Ford II resigned from the foundation in 1976 "in disgust" over the leftward direction of the foundation and that marked the last time a family member was connected to the foundation.

But this is an election year and Michigan's economy is in the tank and the Ford Foundation does seem to have abandoned Michigan.

"Between 1950 and 1973, the foundation's grants to Michigan and Ford-related organizations averaged $54.2 million per year, adjusted for inflation. Between 1998 and 2002, grants to Michigan charities averaged just $2.5 million...."

But whose fault is that? It looks like the Ford family and their lawyers because:

"Organizational papers say the Ford Foundation's purpose was to *recieve and administer funds for scientific, education and charitable purposes, all for the public welfare.* There is no mention of special consideration for Detroit or Michigan charities or institutions founded by Henry Ford."

So in a moment of altruistic, intellectual (not to mention legal) sloppyness, the Fords gave away the Foundation to any willy nilly interpretation of "public welfare."

That's the Ford family's problem. In reality though, the Ford Foundation is a private organization and has the right to give money to any cause it desires. Michigan's AG has no right to use the power of government (force) to cajole the organization to send some money Michigan's way.

With that thought in mind, I smiled when I red this:

"But his (Cox's) grab for Ford Foundation records promises to pit a slick global foundation with posh Manhattan headquarters, high-priced lawyers and a carefully tailored defense against a Midwestern attorney general asking legititmate questions for down-at-the-heels Detroit and a beleagured Michigan economy badly in need of a jolt of philanthropy."

These are the kind of adjectives usually used by liberal reporters against big business. To see them used against a liberal foundation is amusing. Of course, "jolt of philanthropy" reminds me of the guy who took his 357 Magnum to go begging.

So how is Mr. Cox justifying his jolting? "And we have an obligation to make sure they aren't plundering, that they aren't engaged in limitless self-dealing without parameters, and that's what were looking at." What kind of parameters? Does Cox think he's not plundering?

I predict that the Ford Foundation will jolt some of its money (plunder) to Michigan and all will be right with the world. I just have one question, if the Ford family is so frustrated with the Ford Foundation, why don't they at least demand the foundation divest itself of the Ford name?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

they say the first thing you do when you win the Lottery is change your phone number- now I know why- I guess if I won the Lottery Mr. Cox might like to see how I donate and to whom- especially if it is the Michigan lottery- Forced or coerced charity kinda sounds like community service - I wonder if mr.cox would like to have the FF people where orange jumpsuits when they present any checks within MI