Scaife Family Foundations

Scaife Family Foundations


The Scaife family foundations are made up of the Sarah Mellon Scaife Foundation, the Carthage Foundation, the Allegheny Foundation, and the Scaife Family Foundation.  Originally, the foundations were managed by Sarah Mellon Scaife. Effective January 1, 2015, The Carthage Foundation merged with and into the Sarah Scaife Foundation Incorporated and no longer provides donations.

The foundations are financed by the Mellon industrial, oil, and banking fortune. In 1869, the Mellon family created T. Mellon & Sons Bank. Later, the bank would be renamed Mellon Bank and become the largest bank in the state of Pennsylvania. The fortune of the Mellon family was also increased through significant investments in the Gulf Oil Corporation and the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA). 

In 1957, when Fortune created its first list of the wealthiest Americans it estimated that Sarah Mellon Scaife, her brother, and two of her cousins, were all amongst the eight richest people in the United States—each with a fortune valued between $400-$700 million. 

Richard Mellon Scaife, the son of Sarah Mellon Scaife, runs the Scaife Foundations.  According to Forbes magazine, in 2008 Richard Mellon Scaife was worth $1.3 billion. Richard took charge of the Foundations in 1973. Currently, Richard runs the Sarah Mellon Scaife, Carthage, and Allegheny Foundations. His daughter and son control the Scaife Family Foundation. [1]

The National Journal has stated that the growth of the conservative movement was possible because a “handful of deep-pocketed, committed, and unusually patient wealthy benefactors such as Richard Scaife were willing to underwrite the broad ideological movement.”  [2]

ThinkProgress reported on how Richard Scaife was also a major funder of the “Islamophobia Network,” and by “serving as the vice chairman of the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank (Heritage president Edwin Feulner serves as a trustee for the Sarah Scaife Foundation), Scaife has positioned himself as a central figure in conservative politics. [3]

The Scaife Family Foundation started to provide major funding to conservative organizations when Richard Scaife took control in 1973.  According to Media Transparency, the Sarah Scaife Foundation is considered to be one of the top four conservative foundations. [4]

The Washington Post estimates that Scaife gave about $200 million to conservative causes and organizations from 1974 to 1992. [5]

One of Scaife's beneficiaries is the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, which received $18,237,000 in funding from 1986 to 2012 according to data from the Conservative Transparency project. [6] The Free Congress Research and Education Foundation's mission is to apply “conservative solutions to the challenges facing all Americans regardless of race, age or gender.”

According to SourceWatch, their original mission statement read that the “Free Congress Foundation is politically conservative, but it is more than that: it is also culturally conservative. Most think tanks talk about tax rates or the environment or welfare policy and occasionally we do also. But our main focus is on the Culture War. Will America return to the culture that made it great, our traditional, Judeo-Christian, Western culture? Or will we continue the long slide into the cultural and moral decay of political correctness? If we do, America, once the greatest nation on earth, will become no less than a third world country.” [7]

Stance on Climate Change

Scaife Foundations finance several organizations that actively dispute the scientific evidence produced by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  These organizations include the Heartland Institute, the Hoover Institution, the Heritage Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

Heartland Institute Conferences on Climate Change

Sponsors behind the Heartland Institute's International Conferences on Climate Change have themselves received significant funding from Scaife Foundations over the years. Examples below:

  • Second International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC2): DeSmogBlog found that collectively Scaife foundations gave $36,868,640 in funding to the sponsors of the Heartland Institute's 2009 International Conference on Climate Change.
  • Fourth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC4): Sponsors had collectively received $16,352,000 between 1985 and 2008 from Scaife foundations.
  • Sixth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC6): $28,557,000
  • Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7): $45,337,640

Sarah Mellon Scaife Foundation (EIN 25-1113452)

According to the Scaife Foundations website, the Sarah Scaife Foundation’s grant program is primarily directed toward public policy programs that address major domestic and international issues. There are no geographical restrictions. The Foundation does not make grants to individuals for any purpose or to nationally-organized fundraising groups. [8]

990 Forms


Annual Reports


Carthage Foundation (EIN 25-6067979)

Effective January 1, 2015, The Carthage Foundation merged with and into the Sarah Scaife Foundation Incorporated. Hence, The Carthage Foundation is no longer accepting grant inquiries/applications for funding. [9]

990 Forms


Annual Reports


Allegheny Foundation (EIN 25-6012303)

According to the Foundation's website, The Allegheny Foundation concentrates its giving in the Western Pennsylvania area and confines most of its grant awards to programs for historic preservation, civic development and education. The Foundation does not make grants to individuals.  [10]

990 Forms


Annual Reports


Scaife Family Foundation (EIN 25-1427015)

According to their website, “Scaife Family Foundation grant awards will support and develop programs that strengthen families, address issues surrounding the health and welfare of women and children, promote animal welfare, and that demonstrate the beneficial interaction between humans and animals. The Foundation will consider grants directed toward early intervention and prevention efforts in the area of drug and alcohol addiction. Consideration may be given to organizations that encourage private conservation. The Foundation will remain flexible in order to offer support in areas of importance as determined by the Trustees. The Foundation will not consider grants to individuals. Proposals for the following are usually declined: event sponsorships, endowments, capital campaigns, renovations or government agencies.” [11]

990 Forms


Annual Reports


Colcom Foundation (EIN 31-1479839)

990 Forms


Scaife Foundation Funding Highlights

The following is sourced from data available at the Conservative Transparency project, and includes notable examples of funding recipients. Note that not all values have been verified by DeSmogBlog for accuracy.

For a more complete picture, see the attached spreadsheet for all Scaife Foundation funding by year (.xls).

  Allegheny Foundation Sarah Scaife Foundation Scaife Family Foundation The Carthage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation $1,350,000 $24,235,000 $702,640 $2,544,000
Free Congress Research and Education Foundation $144,000 $6,283,000 $400,000 $11,410,000
Institute For Foreign Policy Analysis $75,000 $14,993,000   $1,345,000
Hoover Institution on War Revolution and Peace   $11,704,500   $898,400
Center for Strategic and International Studies $400,000 $10,863,000 $200,000 $145,000
Intercollegiate Studies Institute $2,693,500 $7,925,000 $50,000 $436,300
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research   $8,911,000 $590,000 $900,000
Judicial Watch $67,000 $4,715,000   $4,675,000
David Horowitz Freedom Center $1,500,000 $6,000,000 $1,225,000 $625,000
Landmark Legal Foundation $40,000 $5,925,000 $1,095,000 $2,000,000
Brandywine Conservancy $2,642,000 $3,000,000   $1,500,000
National Association of Scholars   $6,356,000    
Center for Security Policy   $5,126,000   $1,000,000
George Mason University   $5,071,000   $1,015,000
Allegheny Institute for Public Policy $1,440,000 $2,247,500 $285,000 $2,113,500
Capital Research Center   $5,250,000 $255,000 $225,000
Hudson Institute   $4,173,000 $221,000 $875,000
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research   $4,615,000 $25,000 $543,000
Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies   $4,730,000   $275,000
Collegiate Network   $3,435,000 $600,000 $680,000
George C. Marshall Institute $50,000 $3,960,000   $582,500
Federation for American Immigration Reform   $2,125,000 $210,000 $2,154,500
Pacific Legal Foundation   $3,605,000   $875,000
Accuracy in Media   $2,640,000 $15,000 $1,720,000
Competitive Enterprise Institute   $3,865,000 $350,000 $60,000
Atlas Economic Research Foundation   $2,645,000   $1,415,000
American Spectator Foundation   $2,175,000   $1,869,000
Washington Legal Foundation $200,000 $860,000   $2,910,000
Ethics and Public Policy Center   $3,855,000   $80,000
Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy   $3,872,000    
Media Research Center $50,000 $3,642,000   $10,000
National Institute for Public Policy   $3,070,000   $380,000
Center for Immigration Studies   $1,465,000 $968,500 $607,500
Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation   $2,380,000   $650,000
The Center for Individual Rights   $1,690,000 $189,000 $1,150,000
Reason Foundation   $2,416,000 $191,500 $316,000
Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives $40,000 $2,617,000 $225,000 $10,000
Institute on Religion and Democracy   $1,225,000 $150,000 $1,510,000
National Center for Policy Analysis   $2,285,000 $100,000 $470,000
Missouri State University   $2,734,000   $100,000
Counterterrorism & Security Education and Research Foundation $575,000 $625,000   $1,525,000
Jamestown Foundation   $2,270,000   $385,000
Institute for Health Freedom   $1,725,000 $175,000 $750,000
Independent Women's Forum   $1,900,000 $200,000 $400,000
Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies   $1,985,000 $275,000 $237,000
National Strategy Information Center   $2,323,000   $125,000
Center for Neighborhood Enterprise $225,000 $200,000 $1,905,000 $71,000
Cato Institute   $2,207,500   $185,000
Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow   $935,000   $1,405,000
Southeastern Legal Foundation   $1,775,000   $475,000
Atlantic Legal Foundation   $2,230,000    
Property and Environment Research Center   $2,017,000   $200,000
George Mason University School of Law   $2,205,000    
Institute on Religion and Public Life   $1,665,000   $535,000
America's Survival $700,000 $810,000   $635,000
American Foreign Policy Council   $1,200,000   $930,000
Pepperdine University   $1,925,000   $25,000
American Legislative Exchange Council $1,870,000   $50,000  
National Legal and Policy Center   $990,000 $140,000 $747,000
Center for Media and Public Affairs   $1,360,000   $512,000
Institute for Justice   $1,815,000 $35,000  
Freedom House   $1,360,000   $490,000
National Taxpayers Union Foundation   $1,505,000   $275,000
Foundation for Defense of Democracies $200,000 $1,550,000    
FREE   $765,000   $930,000
Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship     $1,675,000  
Institute for Humane Studies   $1,050,000   $480,000
Institute for Contemporary Studies   $1,255,000   $200,500
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education   $1,350,000   $100,000
High Frontier   $750,000   $685,000
Foreign Policy Research Institute   $1,225,000   $195,000
FreedomWorks Foundation   $1,415,000    
Defenders of Property Rights   $475,000 $5,000 $885,000
Foundation for American Communications   $1,240,000   $75,000
Tax Foundation   $1,085,000   $205,000
Center for Equal Opportunity $75,000 $995,000 $175,000  
New England Legal Foundation   $1,155,000   $60,000
National Center for Public Policy Research   $375,000   $815,000
Statistical Assessment Service   $1,050,000   $100,000
NumbersUSA   $325,000 $700,000 $37,500
Media Institute   $820,000   $175,000
American Academy for Liberal Education   $885,000    
Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty   $360,000 $465,000  
Defense Forum Foundation   $200,000   $580,000
Environmental Literacy Council   $750,000    
New Citizenship Project   $452,400 $175,000 $105,000
National Defense University   $100,000   $626,000
Americans for Tax Reform Foundation   $375,000   $325,000
American Civil Rights Union   $250,000   $450,000
Mercatus Center   $680,000    
Tufts University   $675,000    
Philanthropy Roundtable $295,000 $130,000 $195,000  
Human Rights Foundation   $600,000    
Americans Back In Charge   $50,000   $550,000
Institute for American Values     $580,000  
National Bureau of Economic Research   $557,000    
Galen Institute   $515,000    
The Freedom Foundation   $410,000   $100,000
American Family Foundation     $510,000  
Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies   $500,000    
Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty   $275,000   $210,000
America's Future Foundation   $472,500    
Institute for Policy Innovation   $225,000   $245,000
American Council of Trustees and Alumni   $400,000   $50,000
Madison Center for Educational Affairs   $420,000    
Young America's Foundation $350,000      
Friedman Foundation For Educational Choice   $350,000    
Heartland Institute   $325,000   $10,000
Committee on the Present Danger   $210,000   $100,000
The Institute of World Politics $100,000 $200,000    
International Policy Network US   $275,000    
Fraser Institute   $225,000   $50,000
Mineral Information Institute   $250,000    
Foundation for Economic Education   $196,500   $35,000
Bill of Rights Institute $225,000      
Committee for the Free World   $135,000   $70,000
American Council on Science and Health   $205,000   $200,000    
Mid-Atlantic Legal Foundation   $180,000    
Free Enterprise Partnership $100,000   $80,000  
Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute   $85,000   $95,000
Carnegie Institute $47,500 $116,000    
Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee   $135,000    
Frontiers of Freedom Institute   $100,000   $35,000
Freedom Alliance     $125,000  
Center for Individual Freedom       $125,000
Global Strategy Council   $120,000    
National Legal Center for the Public Interest   $80,000 $30,000  
Mackinac Center for Public Policy   $100,000    
George C. Marshall Foundation   $100,000    
Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change   $100,000    
International Freedom Educational Foundation   $75,000    
Mont Pelerin Society   $25,000   $35,000
Thomas More Law Center     $50,000  
Capital Legal Foundation       $50,000
Foundation for Free Enterprise Education $45,000      
Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation   $45,000    
NumbersUSA Education and Research Foundation   $40,000    
National Strategy Forum       $40,000
National Endowment for Democracy   $40,000    
Discovery Institute       $40,000
International Institute for Economic Research   $25,000    
Alexis de Tocqueville Institution       $15,000
Grand Total $15,499,000 $263,810,900 $15,592,640 $68,865,700

Key People

Sarah Scaife Foundation

According to the Sarah Scaife Foundation's 2013 Annual Report:

  • Richard M. Scaife — Chairman
  • Michael W. Gleba — President and Treasurer
  • Barbara L. Slaney — Vice President *
  • R. Daniel McMichael — Senior Fellow and Assistant Secretary **
  • Yvonne Marie Bly —  Secretary and Assistant Treasurer 
* through 8/31/13
** through 9/23/13

Carthage Foundation

According to the Carthage Foundation's 2013 Annual Report:

  • Richard M. Scaife — Chairman
  • Michael W. Gleba — President and Treasurer
  • R. Daniel McMichael — Senior Fellow and Assistant Secretary*
  • Yvonne Marie Bly — Secretary and Assistant Treasurer
  • Roger W. Robinson, Jr. — Assistant Treasurer
* through 9/23/13 

Allegheny Foundation

According to the Allegheny Foundation's 2013 Annual Report:

Scaife Family Foundation

According to the Sarah Family Foundation's 2012 Annual Report:

  • Jennie K. Scaife — Chairman
  • David A Zywiec — President
  • Elizabeth H. Genter — Vice President
  • Mary T. Walton — Vice President
  • David A. Zywiec — Secretary/Treasurer

Related Organizations

The Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation was formed in 1974 and Richard Scaife was fundamental in providing the necessary seed money for its establishment and growth. 

Richard Scaife has served as the vice-chairman of the Heritage Foundation and still serves on the board of trustees.  From 1985 to 2006, the Heritage Foundation was the number one recipient of funding from the Scaife Family Foundations, receiving a total of $23,096,640.


  1. The 400 Richest Americans: #355 Richard Scaife,”, September 17, 2008. Archived September 10, 2015. WebCite URL

  2. Julie Kosterlitz. “As Times Change, Key Think Tanks Trade Places,” National Journal, February 14, 2009. Available at EBSCO Host.

  3. Eli Clifton. “Meet An Islamophobia Network Funder: Richard Scaife,” ThinkProgress, August 29, 2011. Archived September 10, 2015. WebCite URL

  4. The Scaife Foundations,” Media Transparency ( Archived October 29, 2010. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  5. Robert G. Kaiser and Ira Chinoy. “Scaife: Funding Father of the Right,” Washington Post, May 2, 1999. WebCite URL

  6. Free Congress Research and Education Foundation,” Accessed September 10, 2015.

  7. Free Congress Foundation,” SourceWatch.

  8. Application Guidelines,” Scaife Foundations. Archived September 11, 2015. WebCite URL

  9. The Carthage Foundation: Application Guidelines,” Scaife Foundations. Archived September 11, 2015. WebCite URL

  10. Allegheny Foundation: Application Guidelines,” Scaife Foundations. Archived September 11, 2015. WebCite URL

  11. Scaife Family Foundation,” Scaife Family Foundation. WebCite URL 

Other Resources

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