The Colcom Foundation is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based foundation with assets exceeding $493 million at the end of 2013. That year, it dispersed $21,119,788 in grants, including millions to nativist and anti-immigrant groups. According to the Los Angeles Times, the foundation is “the single-largest donor to the anti-immigration cause.”
Between 2001 and 2013, the foundation has contributed $18,214,236 to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, $17,261,336 to NumbersUSA and $7,035,000 to the affiliated NumbersUSA Education and Research Foundation, $10,649,200 to the Social Contract Press, $8,822,000 to the Center for Immigration Studies, $5,285,220 to Californians for Population Stabilization, and $4,100,000 to the Immigration Reform Law Institute. Since 2006, the foundation has also given $325,000 to VDARE, which runs a nativist website that, in the words of the Southern Poverty Law Center, “regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites.”
The foundation has been singled out by the SPLC and others as an important part in the “greenwashing” movement, a campaign to curb immigration by linking population growth to environmental stewardship. According to its website, the Colcom Foundation works to “provide a forum for the examination and discussion of the major causes and consequences of overpopulation and its impact on environmental sustainability.” To that end, it has also given large grants to environmental groups, including the Clean Air Council and the Conservation Fund, as well as various Pittsburgh-area environmental groups such as the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
The foundation has also backed Progressives for Immigration Reform, a group “seeking to educate the public on the unintended consequences of mass migration.” According to the Anti-Defamation League, the group’s “use of the term ‘progressives’ is an attempt to attract environmentalists and to coax them to view immigration as the cause of environmental problems.”
The strategy of co-opting environmentalism to advance a nativist agenda was popularized by John Tanton, a Michigan physician who has launched several anti-immigrant groups, most notably the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Tanton, referred to as the “architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement” and “the most influential unknown man in America,” was a close friend of the late Cordelia Scaife May, the Colcom Foundation’s founder and benefactor. The foundation funds many of Tanton’s anti-immigrant outfits, and John Rohe, the foundation’s vice president, previously worked at Tanton’s group, U.S., Inc.
The Colcom Foundation was founded in 1996 by May, an heiress to the Mellon family fortune and the “publicity-shy sister” of the late conservative philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife.
Read More About The Scaife Family HERE.
In 2004, a year before her death, May was on Forbes’ list of wealthiest Americans with a net worth of $825 million. She bequeathed much of her estate to Colcom, which “received all of her personal property and Pennsylvania real estate” as well as the contents of a trust created with her Mellon inheritance. A friend of May’s told the Los Angeles Times that “she loved animals almost more than people” and “would stay awake at night just worrying about what would happen” to the environment as a result of overpopulation. According to the Times, “May became a generous supporter of Planned Parenthood, which in its early days supported population control. May kept a portrait of [Margaret] Sanger in her living room, and a ‘Stop the stork’ bumper sticker on her Mercedes.”
In 1983, May helped fund an effort to distribute copies of Camp of the Saints, a futuristic novel by French author Jean Raspail about throngs of Third World immigrants invading Western Europe. “To let them in would destroy us; to reject them would destroy them,” Raspail wrote. The book soon became a hit among anti-immigrant thinkers and activists. In 1995, the novel was republished by Social Contract Press, one of Tanton’s many outfits. According to author James Crawford, May also funded anti-immigrant groups through another outfit, the Laurel Foundation, which she established in 1951. The Laurel Foundation now mostly funds cultural and conservation groups in Pennsylvania.