Kellogg Foundation Made Huge Grants to John Podesta’s Center for American Progress

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The W.K. Kellogg Foundation gave nearly two million dollars to the John Podesta-founded Center for American Progress and a closely affiliated organization called Washington Center for Equitable Growth that also lists John Podesta as a founder.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is the namesake nonprofit arm of the Kellogg Company, which weeks ago pulled advertising from Breitbart News, declaring in an official statement that Breitbart is not “aligned with our values as a company.”

The Foundation describes itself as being “founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg” and “among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States.”

Although the Foundation states that its mission is to “create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life,” the donations to John Podesta’s Center for American Progress—which Politico described as “the leading progressive think tank in Washington”—is part of W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s pattern of giving to partisan, far left-wing political organizations such as Black Lives Matter, George Soros’ Open Societies Institute, and the Tides Foundation.

The Center for American Progress (aka CAP) was started in 2003 by its then-President and Chief Executive Officer John Podesta, the former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton who led Barack Obama’s presidential transition team after the 2008 election and went on to be the campaign manager of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Podesta’s relationship with Bill Clinton goes back to 1970.

According to their website, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation gave at least three grants directly to the Center for American Progress. The Foundation contributed one grant for half a million dollars scheduled to fund from May 1, 2015 – April 30, 2017 to develop “work-family policy solutions.” Another grant to CAP for $500,000 for the same period of May 1, 2015 – April 30, 2017 was given to:

Contribute economic data and research that will allow policymakers to make evidence-based policy decisions that simultaneously stimulate economic growth for the country and improve economic security for families

A third grant to CAP for the period of May 1, 2014 – Dec. 31, 2015 for $300,000 was for the stated purpose of:

Improve achievement in elementary school by increasing the development of aligned preschool-third grade programs with sustained funding

Aside from these three direct grants to Center for American Progress, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation also gave a grant to another CAP-connected group called the Washington Center for Equitable Growth for the period of May 1, 2016 – Oct. 31, 2017 for $395,625. The stated purpose was openly to impact public policy and said the money would be used to:

Facilitate evidence-based policy decisions that simultaneously stimulate economic growth for the country and improve economic security for families by contributing economic data and research to the family financial stability discourse

When Wikileaks began publishing the hacked emails of John Podesta during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, it revealed an interesting relationship between the Center for American Progress and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, in what appears a clear attempt to hide the relationship from the two groups as much as possible, even though both were founded and directly connected to John Podesta and one another.

One memo revealed  an email to Steve Daetz—whose LinkedIn profile lists him currently as “Executive VP at Sandler Foundation—from Heather Boushey, the Executive Director of Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

The August 1, 2014 email subject line reads “A marriage of equals: Equitable Growth’s hopes and dreams for our relationship with the Center for American Progress” and outlines how Boushey wants to have support from CAP with “no fingerprints.” The memo also shows Boushey suggesting, “Please burn this email after you read it!”

While we believe there is much to be gained from our affiliation with CAP, we also believe that for us to be successful—and to do the most to support the work of CAP and other progressive organizations—requires that CAP’s support “leaves no fingerprints.” (Please burn this email after you read it!)

Boushey goes on in the same email to make specific suggestions about how to leave “no fingerprints”:

…to maintain our “fierce independence,” we need:
• Phone lines that show up as “Equitable Growth,” not “Center for American Progress.”
• Job openings posted on our site, not CAP’s
• Our staff listed on our own website, not CAP’s
• The ability to sign contracts with academics and researchers saying only “Equitable Growth,” not “Center for American Progress.”

Another memo attached to an email written by Boushey and released by Wikileaks makes it clear that Podesta is directly involved with the group at a senior level by requesting a private office for him:

8 private offices with natural light, one of which needs to be suitable for Podesta and a second must be large enough for Heather to have a small table to meet with staff and guests.

The same memo also mentions the planned request for funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation:

Kellogg Foundation. We will ask for 500,000 for 2015 to conduct joint grantmaking to academics, and to support our communications work to elevate how equitable growth can inform policymaking.

The memo also says it planned to seek funding from such major institutional left funders as the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Wyss Foundation.

Another one of Wikileaks’ published emails shows the Washington Center for Equitable Growth’s excitement about getting a $500,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Under the subject “W.K. Kellogg Foundation Grant P3032271 Notification of Approval,” Heather Boushey writes to John Podesta:

More good news this week!
1. Kellogg giving us a 2-year, $500k grant – some of which will support our grant making.
2. Herb called me to say Larry Kramer will give us “$1 million/year for three years” but I don’t have paper on that yet.

Another note forwarded in the same email chain from Bridget Ansel—Equitable Growth’s Assistant Editor for Publications and Development—is effusive:

As some of you already know…we got kellogg!! woo-hoo!!!

Following the Kellogg Company’s decision to pull advertising from Breitbart News because Breitbart with its 45 million monthly readers doesn’t “aligned” with Kellogg’s “values as a company,” Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alexander Marlow issued a statement urging a continuing boycott of Kellogg’s products, saying, “For an American brand like Kellogg’s to blacklist Breitbart News in order to placate left-wing totalitarians is a disgraceful act of cowardice.”


Follow Breitbart News investigative reporter and Citizen Journalism School founder Lee Stranahan on Twitter at @Stranahan.


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