Wallace Genetic Foundation: Funding Anti-Science Deniers For Hire

Since you aren't here unless you are a pro-science reader, if I ask you what Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, Center for Food Safety, Environmental Working Group and Center for Science in the Public Interest have in common, you might answer they hate science and actively undermine it. Yes, that is true. And you might also answer they are primarily lawyers who make their money suing companies after they manufacture doubt about them. Also true, but there is one really interesting thing they all have in common, not only with each other, but with Union of Concerned Scientists, Mother Jones, Maryland Pesticide Action Network, Natural Resources Defense Council and many more.

They are all funded by the Wallace Genetic Foundation. 

You may never have heard of it, but the foundation was started by Henry A. Wallace after he got rich creating Pioneer Hi-Bred Corn Company, which made a fantastic product using the scientific precursor to mutagenesis, GMOs, RNAi, and CRISPR - the first successful hybrid seed company in America. After a series of consolidations it is now part of DowDuPont.(1)

Given that legacy it's hard to imagine Henry Wallace not turning over in his grave knowing that his descendants are using money to smear science, but that is actually what has happened. 

Foundations often drift when the last people who knew the founder retire

Some foundations have a stipulation, a sunset clause, that says when the last person who knew the founder is no longer running the organization, it will cease to exist. It's a good idea. It prevents the "drift" due to guilt that occurs among people who love being fabulously rich but don't like apologizing for how their grandparents made money. So an heiress of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco fortune created Tides, which steadfastly supports left-wing anti-science causes. Rockefeller, Ford, Sloan, you name it and they have all drifted ideologically away from the science and technology mindset that got them the money. They fund things that give the money a halo.

A sunset clause prevents that. (2)

Henry Wallace may wish he had instituted one of those because Wallace Genetic Foundation is using Pioneer money to steadfastly undermine everything in science he stood for. It is a Who's Who of Woo, and that is just in the last five years.(3) In many cases, these are not one-offs, where a misguided young program manager is duped by the name of a group and a snazzy Powerpoint presentation and a more senior person later tells them, "you are funding merchants of doubt. read up on them" and it is a lesson learned, these are often grants given out multiple times.

There are obviously some very fine groups getting funded too. If you put boots in the mud and are not reflexively anti-science/anti-corporation, I probably donate to you as well. I am an outdoor sportsman, born and raised, and I want to do exactly that with my grandchildren as well. But the legacy of Henry Wallace is absolutely tarnished by funding trial lawyer groups and activists who want to harm poor people in the developing world - when the legacy of Pioneer was helping poor people grow their own food.

You might ask why I don't apply for a grant and balance things out. It's not possible. They don't accept unsolicited proposals. They are only going to fund you if they know you already match their ideological litmus test against science. And knowing what a great man for agriculture Henry Wallace was, that is the saddest part of it all. 


(1) Not his only legacy. Wallace was the US Secretary of Agriculture from 1933-40, then Vice President of the United States from 1941–1945, Secretary of Commerce after that, and ran for President in 1948. Today he would have a hard time being confirmed for a cabinet job because the groups his foundation funds would beat the drums about his "industry ties."

(2) There is one foundation I will never get money from even though I know the founder would have loved me - but he was a smoker and we have always been anti-smoking and he didn't like our work exposing the perils of smoking. I know he would give me money if he met me today, even though I am anti-smoking, because we do a lot of other great work he would appreciate. But his foundation will not fund us, because at that time he was not funding us, and the person running it knew him. When she retires, the foundation will sunset, per his wishes, so no future person can do things with his money he did not believe in.

I respect that.


Who's Who of Woo 

Beyond Pesticides (multi-year)

Center for Biological Diversity (multi-year)

Center for Food Safety

Center for Public Integrity (multi-year)

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Earthjustice (multi-year)

Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX)

Environmental Film Festival (multi-year)

Environmental Law & Policy Center of the Midwest (multi-year)

Environmental Working Group (multi-year)

Georgia Organics (multi-year)

Global Greengrants (multi-year)

Green Science Policy Institute (multi-year)

Healing Waters

InterAction  (multi-year)

Iowa Environmental Council  (multi-year)

Just Food (multi-year)

Maryland Pesticide Action Network  (multi-year)

Midwest Pesticide Action Group (multi-year)

Mother Jones (using their corporate money laundering group, Foundation for National Progress)

Natural Resources Defense Council (multi-year)

Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (multi-year)

Organic Farming Research Foundation (multi-year)

Physicians, Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Population Connection

Southern Environmental Law Center (multi-year)

Union of Concerned Scientists (multi-year)

Virginia Organizing  (multi-year)

WildEarth Guardian (multi-year)

and many, many, many more.