The Colcom Foundation, which bills itself as a charitable and environmental organization, spent tens of millions of dollars funding anti-immigrant and nativist groups, Sludge reports. The foundation is located just five miles from the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where an avowed white supremacist shooter killed eleven congregants. Cordelia Scaife May—heir to the Scaife family fortune—established the Colcom Foundation in order to fund various philanthropic projects. Chief among these projects was the work of Dr. John Tanton, a eugenicist and Nazi sympathizer who used Colcom’s money to establish many of the nonprofits and think tanks now supporting President Trump’s immigration policies. Colcom combines its support for nativism with extensive contributions to regional environmental groups, paying for public-private green spaces, and providing support for non-partisan institutions like museums and libraries.
When asked whether they would reconsider taking Colcom’s money in the future, after knowing about the foundation’s support for nativist groups, most of these non-partisan institutions had no comment, Sludge reports. “We can’t speculate about future funding decisions,” Betsy Momich, a spokesperson for the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, wrote to Sludge. According to tax filings, the Colcom Foundation gave more than $3.1 million to the Carnegie Institute, which administers the city’s museums.