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When You Lie Down with Dogs, Keep the Anti-Itch Powder Handy

Publication Date: 2010-04-16

In her new book The Death and Life of the Great American School System, Diane Ravitch gives thanks to the William E. Simon Foundation. This is an interesting group, with an interesting history, and they channeled $50,000 through New York University to support Ravitch's research. Foundations don't give money to private individuals; they find an institution that will pay out the money after keeping a handling fee.

The question for readers of The Death and Life of the Great American School System, is which bridges did Ravitch burn.

Truth in Disclosure: The research and operation of this website is funded by $438 in contributions from friends and from my Social Security check.


William E. Simon: Secretary of the Treasury in Nixon and Ford administration; head of John Olin Foundation, whose purpose was, he said, “to support those individuals and institutions who are working to strengthen the free enterprise system” He urged the business community to support those intellectuals who work for the supremacy of the free market; founded, with Irving Kristol, the New York based Institute for Educational Affairs (IEA), a neoconservative organization. IEA received start-up grants of $100,000 from the Olin, Scaife, J.M and Smith Richardson foundations, as well as substantial contributions from the Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, Ford Motor Co., General Electric, K-Mart, Mobil and Nestle corporations. Media Transparency reports that while Simon was the Olin Foundation President in 1992 funding David Brock's attacks on Anita Hill, he was also the finance chairman of the Citizen's Committee to Confirm Clarence Thomas; trustee of The John Templeton Foundation. on the boards of Heritage Foundation and Hoover Institution; president of the Richard Nixon Presidential Archives Foundation; chairman of the U.S. Olympic Foundation Board of Trustees; president of the United States Olympic Committee.

The William E. Simon Foundation continues to fund conservative think tanks and organizations promoting charter schools.

Notable Remark: "There is only one social system that reflects the sovereignty of the individual: the free-market, or capitalist, system."-- A Time for Truth (1978), 221.

Noteable Remark: Funds generated by business...must rush by the multimillions to the aid of liberty...to funnel desperately needed funds to scholars, social scientists, writers and journalists who understand the relationship between political and economic liberty. [Business must] cease the mindless subsidizing of colleges and universities who departments of economy, government, politics and history are hostile to capitalism.--William E. Simon, Time for Truth (1979)

Of the $40,719,841 disbursed by the William E. Simon Foundation between 1998 and 2005, the bulk of the funds went to Catholic schools and charter schools, and organizations supporting conservative precepts.

Here is a sampling of the grants 1998--2005

  • Heritage Foundation: $402,500

  • Hillsdale College: $395,600
    cited by National Review as "citadel of conservatism"

  • Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy: $284,250

  • Teach for America: $251,000

  • Elayne G. Bennett: $250,000 [guess whose wife]

  • Manhattan Institute: $220,000

  • Alliance for School Choice: $200,000

  • Hoover Institution: $180,000

  • American Enterprise Institute: $112,500

  • Philanthropy Roundtable: $100,000

  • Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace Foundation: $88,000

  • Thomas B. Fordham Institute: $75,000

  • Visiting Nurse Association of Northern New Jersey, Inc.: $72,180

  • Reason Foundation: $50,000

  • Family Research Council: $50,000

  • Association of American Educators (Laguna Hills, CA): $25,000

  • National Pancreas Foundation: $21,600

  • American Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta: $17,350

  • Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation: $15,000

  • New York University: $12,500

  • New York Public Library: $10,000

  • The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation: $10,000

  • New York Historical Society: $10,000

  • Skid Row Charity Fund: $9,290

  • Los Angeles Orphans Home Society: $8,150

  • Metropolitan Golf Association Foundation: $7,500

  • Greenwich Library: $5,000

  • Fresh Air Fund: $2,500

  • Accuracy [sic]in Media, Inc: $2,000

  • National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund: $2,000

  • Whale Conservation Institute: $1,000

  • International Tennis Hall of Fame: $1,000

  • New York Yankees Foundation: $1,000

  • Save Pound Animals Thru Rescue and Education: $820

  • AIDS Project Los Angeles, Inc.: $750

  • Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic: $500

  • Harvard Medical School: $500

  • Hoboken Historical Museum: $500

  • Catholic Relief Services: $360

  • Los Angeles Tenth District Parents, Teachers, and Students Association, Inc.: $250

  • American Red Cross (Washington, DC): $200

  • Amnesty International: $200

  • Habitat for Humanity: $125

  • California Highway Patrol: $100

  • WYNC Radio: $50



  • Grants in 2007 totaled $7,802,039. Here's one:


    New York University
    New York, NY
    Grant Year: 2007
    Grant Type: Education
    Research and Ideas
    Amount: $50,000
    Grant Purpose: Support for scholar Diane Ravitch's education research.



    Other William E. Simon Foundation grants in 2007 included [this is a sampling]:

  • Abraham House: $225,000

  • Alliance for School Choice: $15,000 [In 2008, they received $200,000]

  • American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research: $75,000--Support for Michael Novak's research and scholarship.

  • American Spectator Foundation: $5,000

  • Archdiocese of New York: $86,375-- Support for an initiative creating an extended school day at St. Angela Merici School in the South Bronx.

  • Association of American Educators: $40,000--Support for their work promoting and helping teachers join professional associations that are alternatives to the teachers' union [2008: $50,000]

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City: $60,000--Support for a mentoring program for teenage mothers in the South Bronx

  • Black Alliance for Educational Options: $25,000--: Support for their work to promote parental choice, empower families, and increase quality educational options for Black children

  • Civic Builders: $100,000--Support for the development of charter school sites in the South Bronx

  • Harvard University: [2008: $75,000-- Support for a research project on the impact of school vouchers on college enrollment, incarceration, and political participation.]

  • Heritage Foundation: $75,000

  • Hoover Institution: [2008: $250,000--Support for the Carol G. Simon Fellow, who will serve on the Task Force on Virtues of a Free Society.]

  • KIPP NY: $112,500 [2008: $112,500]

  • Manhattan Institute for Policy Research: $300,000 [2008: $300,000]
    Plus $52,500--Kay Hymowitz, the William E. Simon Fellow, on the topic of "Manhood in a Post-Feminist Age." [2008: $52,500]

  • Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation: $5,000

  • National Right to Work Foundation: $20,000--Support for the Teacher Freedom Initiative

  • Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy: $75,000--Support for their education policy research and scholarship [2008" $75,000]

  • Pepperdine University: $75,000--Support of a William E. Simon Distinguished Visiting Professor in the School of Public Policy, with a focus on free markets and religion as important aspects of public life

  • Philanthropy Roundtable: $30,000--Support for a meeting of the top funders of Catholic education, and the publication of a guidebook based on the conference, "Who Will Save Catholic Schools?"

  • Philadnthropy Roundtable: $350,000-- Support for the administration of the William E. Simon Prize in Philanthropic Leadership in 2008 [2008: $300,000 for 2009 lecture]

  • Philanthropy Roundtable: $10,000--Support for their work as a national association of philanthropists and foundations.

  • Rutgers University: $5,000--Support for the Milton Friedman Distinguished Lecture Series

  • Thomas B. Fordham Institute: [2008: $25,000--Support for Common Core’s work to help make comprehensive liberal arts and sciences education the standard for all K-12 students

  • University of Rochester: $400,000--Support for merit-based scholarships at the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business. {2008: $400,000]


  • The pattern continued in 2009.

    2006 & 2007 GRANTS: The Achelis and Bodman Foundations Combined [pdf file]

    Steinhardt School of Education, New York University
    New York, New York
    For a book on Mayor Bloomberg’s education reforms in New York City, by Professor Diane Ravitch
    BODMAN, 2006, $75,000


    The Achelis and Bodman Foundations guidelines state that they do not give grants to individual K-12 schools--except charter schools. Here are their Education Grants, 2006-2007

  • Achievement First
    Brooklyn, New York
    For the start-up and first-year expenses of new charter schools in Brooklyn:
    AF-Bushwick Charter School
    ACHELIS, 2006, $50,000


  • AF-Endeavor Charter School
    BODMAN, 2006, $100,000

  • AF Bushwick Charter School Middle Academy
    ACHELIS, 2007, $50,000

  • AF Brownsville Charter School Middle Academy
    BODMAN, 2007, $100,000
    For capacity building activities
    ACHELIS, 2006, $75,000
    BODMAN, 2006, $75,000

  • Alliance for School Choice
    Phoenix, Arizona
    To support K-12 education reform efforts in New Jersey
    BODMAN, 2006, $25,000

  • American Council of Trustees and Alumni
    Washington, DC
    General operating support
    BODMAN, 2006, $50,000

  • Association of Small Foundations
    Washington, DC
    To support the Toolkit for Public Education Funders
    BODMAN, 2007, $5,000

  • Audubon New York
    Albany, New York
    To support the For the Birds! environmental awareness curriculum for children in grades 2-5 in New York City
    ACHELIS, 2006, $15,000

  • Bill of Rights Institute
    Arlington, Virginia
    Toward seminars for New York City public school teachers
    ACHELIS, 2006, $25,000
    For a new student website
    BODMAN, 2006, $25,000

  • Boys and Girls Harbor
    New York, New York
    To support the implementation of the Core Knowledge curriculum in the After-School and Summer Programs
    ACHELIS, 2007, $75,000

  • Center for Education Reform
    Washington, DC
    To support the Annual Survey of American Charter Schools
    ACHELIS, 2006, $25,000

  • Coalition for Educational Freedom
    Washington, DC
    Toward the creation of a state-wide school choice organization in Connecticut
    BODMAN, 2007, $50,000

  • Community Roots Charter School
    Brooklyn, New York
    For the first-year expenses of this new charter school in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn
    ACHELIS, 2006, $75,000

  • Core Knowledge Foundation
    Charlottesville, Virginia
    Toward development of the Core Knowledge Reading Program for grades K-2
    ACHELIS, 2007, $50,000
    To support a new Public Relations Initiative
    BODMAN, 2007, $50,000

  • Council for Aid to Education
    New York, New York
    To support the College Learning Assessment
    BODMAN, 2007, $100,000

  • Discovery Legacy Project
    [Fiduciary: Community Foundation of New Jersey]
    Newark, New Jersey
    For the Discovery Learning Center
    BODMAN, 2007, $15,000

  • Eagle Academy for Young Men
    New York, New York
    For the mentoring and college prep programs
    ACHELIS, 2007, $15,000

  • Early Steps
    New York, New York
    General operating support
    BODMAN, 2006, $15,000

  • East Harlem School at Exodus House
    New York, New York
    General operating support
    BODMAN, 2006, $15,000

  • East New York Preparatory Charter School
    [Fiduciary: Kid Care Network]
    New York, New York
    For the start-up and first year expenses of this new charter school in Brooklyn
    ACHELIS, 2006, $50,000

  • Education Association for Children in New York State
    Brooklyn, New York
    For K-12 education reform efforts in New York State
    ACHELIS, 2006, $15,000
    BODMAN, 2006, $15,000

  • Education Through Music
    New York, New York
    General operating support
    ACHELIS, 2007, $25,000

  • English-Speaking Union of the United States
    New York, New York
    To support the 2006 and 2007 National Shakespeare Competitions
    ACHELIS, 2006, $15,000

  • Essentials in Education
    Front Royal, Virginia
    Toward a booklet for high school history teachers and students, The British Abolitionists and Their Influence
    ACHELIS, 2007, $15,000

  • Excellent Education for Everyone
    Newark, New Jersey
    General operating support
    BODMAN, 2007, $50,000

  • Thomas B. Fordham Institute
    Washington, DC
    For a study, Who Will Save America’s Urban Catholic Schools?
    ACHELIS, 2006, $50,000

  • Foundation for Education Reform and Accountability
    Clifton Park, New York
    For a study on potential school choice reforms in New York State
    BODMAN, 2007, $10,000

  • Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    In support of the Policy Reform Project for free speech on college campuses
    BODMAN, 2007, $50,000

  • Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    For a study, The High Social Cost of Low Graduation Rates in New Jersey, and related public education activities on school choice
    BODMAN, 2007, $35,000

  • Fund for American Studies
    Washington, DC
    To support the 2007 International Institute for Political and Economic Studies
    BODMAN, 2007, $15,000

  • Futures in Education Foundation
    Brooklyn, New York
    For scholarships to enable children to attend K-12 parochial schools in Brooklyn and Queens
    ACHELIS, 2006, $50,000

  • Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
    New York, New York
    To support the Saturday Academy of American History at the Academy of American Studies in Long Island City, and for general operating support
    BODMAN, 2006, $50,000

  • Harlem Academy
    New York, New York
    General operating support
    ACHELIS, 2007, $15,000

  • Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison
    Ossining, New York
    General operating support
    BODMAN, 2007, $25,000
  • Hyde Leadership Charter School
    Bronx, New York
    Toward the first-year expenses of this new charter school in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx
    BODMAN, 2006, $75,000

  • Inner-City Scholarship Fund
    New York, New York
    For the Be A Student’s Friend scholarship program for children attending Catholic schools in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island
    ACHELIS, 2006, $50,000

  • George Jackson Academy
    New York, New York
    General operating support
    BODMAN, 2007, $15,000

  • Leadership Prep Charter School
    Brooklyn, New York
    For the start-up and first-year expenses of this new charter school in Brooklyn
    ACHELIS, 2006, $25,000
    BODMAN, 2006, $50,000

  • Literacy Partners
    New York, New York
    Toward the Economics for Life financial literacy program
    ACHELIS, 2006, $20,000

  • Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
    New York, New York
    For a study on New York City charter schools by senior fellow Marcus Winters
    BODMAN, 2007, $50,000

  • National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
    Washington, DC
    To support the design and launch of public education campaigns on behalf of charter schools across the U.S.
    ACHELIS, 2006, $50,000

  • National Association of Scholars
    Princeton, New Jersey
    Toward a membership drive to attract young faculty members
    BODMAN, 2007, $75,000

  • National Charter School Research Project, University of Washington
    [Fiduciary: University of Washington Foundation]
    Seattle, Washington
    For a study, Inside Charter Schools: Classroom Curriculum and Innovation
    ACHELIS, 2006, $50,000

  • National Council on Teacher Quality
    Washington, DC
    For the inaugural edition of the State Teacher Policy Yearbook
    ACHELIS, 2006, $25,000
    BODMAN, 2006, $25,000

  • New Heights Academy Charter School
    New York, New York
    For the Academic Intervention Program
    ACHELIS, 2007, $15,000

  • New Jersey Charter Public Schools Association
    Trenton, New Jersey
    For the Leader-to-Leader principal mentoring program and general operating support
    BODMAN, 2007, $50,000

  • New Jersey Charter School Resource Center, Rutgers University
    [Fiduciary: Rutgers University Foundation]
    Somerset, New Jersey
    For a study, The Growth of the Charter School Movement in New Jersey
    BODMAN, 2007, $50,000

  • New York Charter Schools Association
    Albany, New York
    To support the New School Incubator Project
    BODMAN, 2007, $100,000

  • New York Theological Seminary
    New York, New York
    To support the Master of Professional Studies Program at Sing Sing Correctional Facility
    ACHELIS, 2006, $25,000
    BODMAN, 2006, $50,000

  • Partnership for After School Education
    New York, New York
    For a study, Reframing Expectations of Afterschool Programs, by Dr. Robert Halpern of the Erikson Institute
    BODMAN, 2006, $50,000

  • Philanthropy Roundtable
    Washington, DC
    To launch the Higher Education Breakthrough Group
    ACHELIS, 2006, $25,000
    BODMAN, 2006, $25,000
    To update and revise Jump-starting the Charter School Movement: A Guide for Donors
    BODMAN, 2007, $10,000

  • Reading Excellence and Discovery Foundation
    New York, New York
    General operating support
    BODMAN, 2007, $20,000

  • Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children
    Newark, New Jersey
    Toward scholarships for low-income children to attend parochial schools in Newark
    BODMAN, 2007, $75,000

  • South Bronx Classical Charter School
    Bronx, New York
    For the first-year expenses of this new charter school in Mott Haven
    ACHELIS, 2006, $75,000

  • Steinhardt School of Education, New York University
    New York, New York
    For a book on Mayor Bloomberg's education reforms in New York City, by Professor Diane Ravitch
    BODMAN, 2006, $75,000

  • StudentNewsDaily.com
    Old Bridge, New Jersey
    General operating support
    BODMAN, 2007, $5,000

  • Teach for America, New York City
    New York, New York
    To support expansion efforts in New York City
    ACHELIS, 2006, $50,000

  • TEAM Academy
    Newark, New Jersey
    To support the acquisition and renovation of a building for the new Rise Academy Charter School
    BODMAN, 2006, $100,000
    For renovation and equipment expenses of the new Newark Collegiate Academy High School
    BODMAN, 2007, $100,000

  • Uncommon Schools
    New York, New York
    For the start-up and first-year expenses of the Kings Collegiate Charter School in Brooklyn
    ACHELIS, 2007, $75,000
    For the start-up and first-year expenses of the North Star Academy Elementary School in Newark
    BODMAN, 2007, $75,000


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