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.

View Financial Record
Grants In
Grants Out
Total Expenses
12013$493,698,213$29,330,046$30,219$22,790,788$27,637,262View 990
22012$467,278,603$22,840,853$11,443$20,987,657$25,484,160View 990
32011$458,688,887$42,106,802$6,540,486$20,733,376$25,115,926View 990
42010$387,247,859$11,738,634$1,329,763$19,158,060$23,343,785View 990
52009$350,737,403$-23,822,310$0$9,268,500$11,013,154View 990
62008$331,313,485$-5,616,994$8,254,751$24,932,600$29,340,710View 990
72007$504,937,663$56,544,422$13,647,361$23,983,500$28,729,505View 990
82006$480,175,629$206,123,092$176,193,405$14,573,803$17,869,072View 990
92005$266,407,350$248,684,313$244,845,493$4,805,666$5,383,682View 990
102004$19,254,094$848,756$0$886,000$1,065,503View 990
112003$19,476,515$284,409$0$1,350,000$1,527,522View 990
122002$17,059,570$573,525$0$690,000$868,521View 990
132001$21,073,678$424,572$0$1,030,000$1,217,461View 990

876 transactions on record as a donor.

Ordered By: Year (Newer to Older)

1Colcom FoundationVirginia Organizing$5,0002013+
2Colcom FoundationPhilanthropy Roundtable$5,0002013+
3Colcom FoundationMount Washington Community Development Corporation$5,0002013+
4Colcom FoundationPennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources$5,0002013+
5Colcom FoundationEvergreen Conservancy$6,0002013+
6Colcom FoundationMount Washington Community Development Corporation$7,5002013+
7Colcom FoundationCitizens Coal Council$8,0002013+
8Colcom FoundationSports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County$9,3002013+
9Colcom FoundationSaint Vincent College$10,0002013+
10Colcom FoundationRobert Morris University$10,0002013+
11Colcom FoundationPennsylvania Institute for Conservation Education$10,0002013+
12Colcom FoundationFriends of the Riverfront$10,0002013+
13Colcom FoundationFriends of Blackwater$10,0002013+
14Colcom FoundationDuquesne University$10,0002013+
15Colcom FoundationCommunity Alliance of Spring Garden East Deutchtown$10,0002013+
16Colcom FoundationFiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh$15,0002013+
17Colcom FoundationRiverlife$19,5102013+
18Colcom FoundationGrantmakers of Western Pennsylvania$21,0002013+
19Colcom FoundationGreater Pittsburgh Arts Council$24,0002013+
20Colcom FoundationPittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority$25,0002013+
21Colcom FoundationPittsburgh UNITED$25,0002013+
22Colcom FoundationFoxcroft School (Middleburg VA)$25,0002013+
23Colcom FoundationCity of Pittsburgh$25,0002013+
24Colcom FoundationRobert Morris University$30,0002013+
25Colcom FoundationFamily Tyes$30,0002013+
26Colcom FoundationPittsburgh Cultural Trust$34,5002013+
27Colcom FoundationCouncil on Foundations$35,0002013+
28Colcom FoundationBlue Planet United$35,0002013+
29Colcom FoundationThe Foundation Endowment$40,0002013+
30Colcom FoundationAmerican Chestnut Foundation$40,0002013+
31Colcom FoundationConservancy of Southwest Florida$45,0002013+
32Colcom FoundationPennsylvania Land Trust Association$47,0002013+
33Colcom FoundationConemaugh Valley Conservancy$47,0002013+
34Colcom FoundationCarnegie Mellon University$48,1802013+
35Colcom FoundationSouthern Alleghenies Museum of Art$50,0002013+
36Colcom FoundationPittsburgh Cultural Trust$50,0002013+
37Colcom FoundationPittsburgh Cultural Trust$50,0002013+
38Colcom FoundationAllegheny CleanWays$50,0002013+
39Colcom FoundationNegative Population Growth$50,0002013+
40Colcom FoundationNational Aviary in Pittsburgh$50,0002013+
41Colcom FoundationHollow Oak Land Trust$50,0002013+
42Colcom FoundationCommunity Environmental Legal Defense Fund$50,0002013+
43Colcom FoundationCitizens Coal Council$50,0002013+
44Colcom FoundationCenter for Immigration Studies$50,0002013+
45Colcom FoundationGreene County Watershed Alliance$55,0002013+
46Colcom FoundationCenter for Coalfield Justice$60,0002013+
47Colcom FoundationSports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County$63,7982013+
48Colcom FoundationMigration Dialogue$65,0002013+
49Colcom FoundationStream Restoration Incorporated$69,7002013+
50Colcom FoundationWestern Pennsylvania Conservancy$75,0002013+
Contributions from private foundations and other nonprofit entities are based on a review of publicly available Forms 990 filed with the Internal Revenue Service. For more information about our methodology, visit our about page.