Very interesting that one previously anonymous donor was so pivotal in keeping the ACLU afloat.
ACLU loses a quarter of its annual donations -- latimes.comNew York - The American Civil Liberties Union has lost a quarter of its yearly donations after a major donor cut off $19 million in annual giving because of economic difficulties.
David Gelbaum, a wealthy California conservationist, said he was indefinitely stopping the contributions that had made him the New York-based group's largest anonymous donor.
"For a number of years, your organization has received very substantial charitable contributions from me," Gelbaum said in a statement. "My investments in alternative, clean energy companies have placed me in a highly illiquid position as a result of the general credit crisis in the American and world financial systems."
Gelbaum also announced he was halting about $12 million in yearly gifts to the Sierra Club Foundation and about $50 million a year that he's been giving to an organization for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gelbaum has given $389 million to the groups from 2005 to 2009.
The New York Times identified Gelbaum in a story published Wednesday. Gelbaum had previously funded those organizations anonymously.
Here's more detail in the NY times article:
Mr. Gelbaum began contributing $50,000 or so annually to the A.C.L.U. in the early 1980s and kept increasing his gifts, to $22.5 million in 2008, board members said.
The only condition he placed on the gifts was that he remain anonymous, so only a handful of people at the A.C.L.U. knew he was the donor. He did not respond to e-mail messages or a letter sent to him in care of his investment vehicle, the Quercus Trust.
Calls to the phone numbers listed on filings the trust has made with the Securities and Exchange Commission resulted in busy signals.
Mr. Romero told the organization’s national board about the loss of Mr. Gelbaum’s money at its last board meeting in October, breaking the news in executive session. Mr. Romero did not reveal Mr. Gelbaum’s name, describing him only as “a donor,” board members said
Still, it is hard to keep secrets with a board of more than 80 members, most of whom report to state affiliates. “As soon as he started telling us, anyone who had a laptop with them was busy Googling” and figured out who the donor was, a national board member said.