Pew Charitable Trusts

"Pew has three overarching areas of interest: Improving public policy - We study and promote nonpartisan policy solutions for pressing and emerging problems affecting the American public and the global community. Informing the public - The Pew Research Center, a Washington-based subsidiary, is home to most of our information initiatives. It uses impartial, fact-based public-opinion polling and other research tools to track important issues and trends. Stimulating civic life - We support national initiatives that encourage civic participation. In our hometown of Philadelphia, we support organizations that create a thriving arts and culture community and institutions that enhance the well-being of the region’s neediest citizens."

The Pew Charitable Trusts (link) was founded by Joseph Pew, founder of Sun Oil and have assets of ca $5 billion (link). The 14 member board includes 7 members of the Pew family link.

Breaking with a long tradition of foundations funding existing organizations, the people at Pew appear to be the first to create and fund their own organizations. The National Environmental Trust (NET) is an example of this in the environmental field. From a profile of Josh Reichart, now the managing director of the Pew Environment Group, in a profile by the Environmental Law Institute (link) "NET was one of Reichert’s first projects at Pew, when, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, he realized that “no environmental group had the ability to do the polling, advertising, grassroots organizing, and media work,”needed to conduct successful national campaigns on multiple environmental issues. He designed the organizational structure and mission for NET, and Pew took the lead in organizing funding from a consortium of foundations to get it established."

The heavily funded Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation program has established a cohesive and powerful network of marine researchers who almost universally share the same "blame it on fishing" attitude when dealing with - or manufacturing - ocean issues (link)

Major fisheries and related grantees:

  • $  1.3 million to Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association
  • $40.0 million to Oceana
  • $  4.4 million to Seaweb
  • $26.5 million to Earthjustice
  • $  3.8 million to Environmental Defense
  • $  0.5 million to Ecotrust
  • $  6.3 million to National Audubon Society
  • $  1.1 million to Conservation Law Foundation
  • $  3.6 million to Marine Fish Conservation Network
  • $10.8 million to Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

A listing of Pew grants in fisheries and related issues is here.

For what could be considered a "typical" Pew anti-fishing initiative, see All Hands on the Stacked Deck here.

Pew's influence with the media, and therefore with the public and with politicians, seems to be due to three factors: heavy funding directed to the print and broadcast media (see how heavy, go to the Pew grants database here and search on "media"), an organization taylor-made - by Pew - to train grantees, and other researchers who share Pew's institutionalized attitude towards fishing, to effectively spread their message (link), and being a long-time client of Fenton Communications (here).

See Pew and the Media, which was published in a somewhat abbreviated form in Fishing News International in November of 2006 (link).

"For more than a decade, Pew has tried to bring America's environmentalists into a centralized hierarchy under the command of longtime Pew environmental czar Joshua Richert. Not that environmentalists have always cheered. "I don't think you make social change happen on the basis of paid staff in Washington and paid ads anywhere," Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope told the New York Times in 2001. Beth Daley, of the liberal National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, had earlier told National Journal: "Some of us were joking that we should have a Pew liberation front committed to getting environmental organizations off the Pew dole" (from Too good to be true, M.M. Wooster, Wall Street Journal, 04/01/05).

On the splash page of its website Fenton Communications claims "we are the firm that helped Save the North Atlantic swordfish from the brink of extinction." Similar claims were made by Pew and various ENGO grantees, all as a result of the multi-million dollar Pew/Seaweb Give Swordfish a Break campaign. But Philadelphia celebrity chef Jack McDavid had a somewhat different take on the Seaweb campaign. In an 07/14/98 op-ed article in the Philadelphi Inquirer, David Boldt wrote "an accountant by training, McDavid calculates that reducing demand for swordfish caught by Americans will simply mean that more swordfish will be caught by countries that don't adhere to the agreement. And those fishermen often ship their catches to the United States. 'That means you'll be punishing the people who are playing by the rules and rewarding those who don't,' he says in his soft drawl. 'And that's un-American'" (link). McDavid was right on the mark about Pew eleven years ago, and in the imtervening years, and in spite of - or perhaps because of - the hundreds of millions of dollars that Pew and the other foundations have spent on punishing fishermen, his observation is still on that same mark.