Meet An Islamophobia Network Funder: The Varet And Rosenwald Family

Reposted by arrangement with Think Progress

The Varet and Rosenwald family’s philanthropy — led by Elizabeth Varet, a director at American Securities Management and a granddaughter of Sears Roebuck founder Julius Rosenwald, David Steinmann and Nina Rosenwald — are identified in the Center for American Progress’ new report Fear Inc., as one of the top donors to the U.S. Islamophobia network. Their family foundations, the Anchorage Charitable Fund and William Rosenwald Family Fund, contributed $2.818 million dollars to organizations which fan the flames of Islamophobia.

The Varet family helps fund: Steve Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism ($10,000); Counterterrorism & Security Education and Research Foundation ($15,000); Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum ($2,320,229.33); Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy ($437,000); the Clarion Fund ($25,000); David Horowitz’s Freedom Center ($11,000) and Brigitte Gabriel’s American Congress for Truth ($125,000).

David Steinmann — also a director at American Securities Management, a trustee for the Anchorage Charitable Fund and president of the William Rosenwald Family Fund, sits as a board member at Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy.

Nina Rosenwald, co-chair of the board at American Securities Management and a vice-president at the William Rosenwald Family Fund, is: chairwoman of of the board at the Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI); vice president of the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs (JINSA) and sits on the board of the Hudson Institute. She also serves on the board at the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC); Human Rights in China, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and served as a delegate at the 1996 Democratic National Convention.

According to a 2007 New York Jewish Week article, Elizabeth Varet, who chairs the Anchorage Charitable Fund and serves as vice-president at the William Rosenwald Family Fund, gained inspiration for her philanthropy from her father, William Rosenwald, who she says:

…was driven by an empathy for people at risk — people who were suffering — “and a feeling of ‘there but for the grace of God go I.’ And he believed in acting on it.”

Indeed, the Anchorage Fund engages in a broad array of philanthropy to various right-wing institutions such as the: Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD); Hoover Institution; Hudson Institute, America Enterprise Institute; and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

Additional board members of the Anchorage Charitable Fund include Michael A. Varet, Sarah R. Varet, David R. Varet, and Joseph R. Varet.

In the 2008 tax year, the Anchorage Fund “suffered a complete loss of its investment through PJ Administrator LLC,” according to its 2008 tax filings. PJ Administrator was a client of Bernie Madoff, whose Ponzi scheme collapsed in 2008.

Charitable activity from both Varet related foundations has significantly decreased since 2008 but it’s safe to say that the Islamophobia network described in Fear Inc., wouldn’t have become such a formidable force without the deep-pocketed support of family foundations like the ones operated by the heirs to Julius Rosenwald’s Sears Roebuck fortune.

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.