Tides does two things better than any other foundation or charity in the U.S. today: it routinely obscures the sources of its tax-exempt millions, and makes it difficult (if not impossible) to discern how the funds are actually being used.
In practice, ‘Tides’ behaves less like a philanthropy than a money-laundering enterprise … taking money from other foundations and spending it as the donor requires. Called donor-advised giving, this pass-through funding vehicle provides public-relations insulation for the money’s original donors. By using Tides to funnel its capital, a large public charity can indirectly fund a project with which it would prefer not to be directly identified in public.
For corporations and other organizations that eventually find themselves in these grantees’ crosshairs, there is practically no way to find out where their money originated. For the general public, the money trail ends at Tides’ front door. In many cases, even the eventual recipient of the funding has no idea how Tides got it in the first place.
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