The Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) is a “research and educational institution” that describes its mission as working “to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty.” Among the issues that IWF focuses on are the “culture of alarmism” and “women at work,” although they oppose the Paycheck Fairness Act and the FAMILY Act, and have claimed that “the ‘gender wage gap’ – the idea that women are only paid 79 cents for every dollar a man is paid – is terribly overstated.” They also opposed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013.

In addition, IWF has taken extreme positions on many other issues, such as claiming that unemployment and other social security programs “discourage work and ultimately harm those they are intended to help.” IWF described diversity training at the University of Missouri, implemented after “accusations of widespread racism” on campus, as “indoctrination” and “mandatory bullying.” They have criticized Stanford University’s decision to prohibit hard alcohol from undergraduate events on campus in an attempt to curb sexual assault as “regulation run amok.” IWF published a blog post that criticized President Ronald Reagan for signing a law that “requires hospitals to treat everyone,” as well as an op-ed praising Trump’s “wisdom” on “race, law, and order.” IWF senior fellow Gayle Trotter testified before the U.S. Senate that “guns make women safer” and “nearly all mass shootings have occurred in ‘gun-free’ zones” because they are “soft targets.” IWF also wondered whether diversity would lead to “the brink of a new apartheid.”

The executive director of IWF is Sabrina Schaeffer, who started her political career with the American Enterprise Institute, an organization that has been called the “epicenter” of the American neoconservative movement. She accused Sheryl Sandberg of “grasping at straws to stay relevant” for Sandberg’s comment that gender stereotypes can be taught in childhood, writing that “most women don’t want to be leaders at a Fortune 100 company.” Following the 2014 shooting in Santa Barbara, California, Schaeffer wrote that “the modern feminist movement today was in ‘need’ of a horrible tragedy like the Elliott Rodger killings,” claiming that “contemporary ‘feminism’…regularly pits men and women against one another” and “need women to remain victims in order to justify their raison d’etre.” Schaeffer told Glamour Magazine in 2013 that abortion and gun safety are issues she wishes “would just go away.”

The IWF has a “sister organization,” the Independent Women’s Voice, that works to “impact key policy, legislative, and political battles.” IWV claims an 86% campaign success rate, and ran ads before the 2012 presidential election encouraging female voters to view President Obama as “a boyfriend that didn’t work out.” The IWV has made independent expenditures in support of a number of candidates, including $67,242 for Todd Akin in 2012, and $92,963 for Joni Ernst and $134,407 for Cory Gardner in 2014. The IWF is also affiliated with the Independent Women’s Network, a set of local chapters that host events and discussions and “participate in local, state, and national issues.”

The Independent Women’s Forum is closely affiliated with the Koch brothers; IWF received $3,704,104 from DonorsTrust between 2002 and 2014, as well as $835,000 between 1998 and 2010 from the  Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, a group that is closely affiliated with the Koch brothersCharles Koch took over the foundation after Claude Lambe’s death. According to The Nation, IWF also received $125,000 from Koch brothers’ subsidiary company Flint Hills Resources. The IWF’s sister organization, the Independent Women’s Voice, says that they have never received any Koch money, however they received $250,000 in 2009 from the Center to Protect Patient Rights, another closely Koch-affiliated group.

IWV is also associated with Koch organizations through staff and board members. IWV president Heather Higgins – who is also the IWF board chair – previously served on the board of the Center to Protect Patient Rights; Nancy Pfotenhauer, a former lobbyist for Koch Industries and Americans for Prosperity president, was previously the IWF president. Patrice Lee, the Director of Outreach at Koch-funded Generation Opportunity, is an IWF senior fellow.

View Financial Record
#
Year
Assets
Revenue
Grants In
Grants Out
Total Expenses
Link
12014$715,658$1,163,047$1,183,823$0$1,072,604View 990
22013$558,067$709,757$723,427$0$1,053,256View 990
32012$920,633$4,427,773$4,396,927$0$3,785,763View 990
42011$266,029$826,254$834,348$0$601,823View 990
52010$119,146$858,876$858,614$0$1,028,393View 990
62009$303,467$4,263,640$4,128,890$0$4,374,313View 990
72008$463,828$11,366,203$11,269,311$0$1,260,987View 990
82007$529,509$1,877,244$1,665,974$0$1,811,716View 990
92006$302,810$1,816,131$1,316,295$0$1,964,833View 990
102005$439,404$2,338,670$1,098,802$6,825$2,193,804View 990
112004$486,033$1,317,157$1,045,863$1,000$1,386,632View 990
122003$238,088$198,758$201,526$0$799,529View 990

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DonorRecipientAmountYearLink
Donors Capital FundIndependent Women's Forum$1,640,0002012+
The transactions in Conservative Transparency are based on information reported by the donors and exclude 'dark money' raised by the recipients from unknown donors that are not in the database. For more information about our methodology, visit our about page.