Dunn's Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking
The Dunn’s Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking is a Florida-based grantmaking foundation with more than $84 million in assets at the end of 2014. The foundation is run by futures trader William A. Dunn and primarily funds free-market think tanks and advocacy groups. Dunn maintains tight control: No grants may be made without his written permission, and upon his death, control will transfer to his wife, Rebecca. When they’ve both passed away, the foundation’s organizing documents mandate its dissolution.
Dunn’s Foundation’s purpose, according to documents filed with the IRS, is “to advance the understanding and practice of classical liberalism, market capitalism, free enterprise, individual political and economic liberty and to reduce the impact of the use or threat of force by coercive organizations (both public and private) against the people of America and the world, principally through education and persuasion.” It pursues its mission by giving out massive quantities of money to conservative and libertarian groups.
Between 2002 and 2013, the foundation gave out grants totaling over $61.5 million, including $8,268,000 to the Reason Foundation, $5,917,000 to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, $5,910,000 to the Institute for Justice, $5,055,000 to the Cato Institute and $3,806,500 to the Property and Environment Research Center. Dunn’s also funds the Marijuana Policy Project, a group working to decriminalize marijuana.
The foundation was created in 1994 by Dunn, a Ph.D. in theoretical physics who held several posts in academia before venturing into the world of investment. He founded Dunn Capital Management in 1974, a firm that was among the first to apply computer technology to investment and today boasts of managing portfolios worth over $1 billion.
As of 2007, Dunn was the single largest investor in the Free Enterprise Action Fund (FEAFund), a mutual fund set up, according to the New York Times, to “lobby the companies in the portfolio whenever they think shareholders’ money is being wasted on social causes.” According to the Chicago Tribune, “The fund’s advocacy stance boil[ed] down to opposing many of the things supported by traditional ‘social investment funds.’” The fund shut down in 2009.