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Castle Rock Foundation

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The now-defunct Castle Rock Foundation (CRF) was a major supporter of the Heritage Foundation and other right-wing institutions and causes. It was founded in 1993 as a spinoff of the Adolph Coors Foundation, the philanthropic organization of the Colorado beer magnate family, which allocated it $36.6 million to advance the causes of free enterprise, limited government, and personal responsibility.[1] Castle Rock claimed on its website to "encourage personal responsibility and leadership, and uphold traditional American values."[2] In 2011, Castle Rock merged with the Coors Foundation.[3]

During its time as a separate entity from Coors, Castle Rock’s charitable giving closely reflected the conservative ideology of the Coors family—who have been a key funder of the American Right since the early 1970s—as opposed to the more mainstream and geographically targeted causes the Coors Foundation funded. Throughout its existence, however, Castle Rock was under the firm control of the Coors family, according to the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, which reported that the two foundations had “the same executive director and board of trustees."[4]

Castle Rock's politically driven agenda was evident from its charitable giving record. Major grantees included Heritage Foundation and the Free Congress Foundation, both founded by New Right trail blazer Paul Weyrich.[5]

Adolph Coors Sr. founded the Coors brewing company in 1873. A century later, funds from the Adolph Coors Jr. Trust were used to create the Adolph Coors Foundation as a private family foundation. Family patriarch Joseph Coors backed Paul Weyrich's plan to establish a new conservative think tank called the Heritage Foundation in 1973. Later, Joseph Coors, who died in March 2003, also provided Weyrich with seed money to create the Committee for the Survival of the Free Congress, now known as the Free Congress Foundation.[6]

In the mid-1990s, the Coors family received national scrutiny when an AFL-CIO boycott brought attention to homophobic, racist, and anti-labor practices and statements of the Coors Brewing Company and its owners. To improve its deteriorating public image, the company began to fund minority groups and improve worker conditions. However, the family continued to fund right-wing causes.[7] According to researchers Russ Bellant and Chip Berlet: "The pattern of Coors family funding and activism stands in stark contrast to the mainstream image projected by the Coors Brewing Co., whose advertising and funding reach out to African-American, women's, and gay communities."[8]

Coors family members were active in many of the organizations funded by Castle Rock. Holland Coors, for example, was a board member of the Heritage Foundation and a trustee of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute; Jeffrey Coors was the director of Free Congress Research and Education and a board member of the Independence Institute.[9]

From 1993 to 2011, CRF gave $5,105,520 to the Heritage Foundation, $400,000 to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, $1,140,000 to the Free Congress Foundation, and $760,000 to the Independence Institute.[10] Other organizations it supported included the hawkish David Horowitz Freedom Center, the Institute on Religion and Public Life, the Manhattan Institute, the Federalist Society, the Independent Women’s Forum, and the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute.[11]

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Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

Sources

[1] MediaTransparency.org, https://web.archive.org/web/20090129210901/http://www.mediatransparency.org/funders/castle_rock.htmCastle Rock Foundation,https://web.archive.org/web/20110204103448/http://www.castlerockfoundation.org/Adolph Coors Foundation, http://coorsfoundation.org/.

[2Castle Rock Foundation, https://web.archive.org/web/20110204103448/http://www.castlerockfoundation.org/

[3] Form 990-PF, 2010, p. 15, http://207.153.189.83/EINS/841243301/841243301_2010_0816b9ff.PDF.

[4] Jeff Krehely, Meaghan House, and Emily Kernan, Axis of Ideology: Conservative Foundations and Public Policy, (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. March 2004), pp. 37, 44.

[5] Jeff Krehely, Meaghan House, and Emily Kernan, Axis of Ideology: Conservative Foundations and Public Policy, (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. March 2004), pp. 37, 44.

[6] Castle Rock Foundation, https://web.archive.org/web/20110204103448/http://www.castlerockfoundation.org/

Adolph Coors Foundation, http://coorsfoundation.org/

Jeff Krehely, Meaghan House, and Emily Kernan, Axis of Ideology: Conservative Foundations and Public Policy, (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. March 2004), pp. 37, 44.

[7] Jeff Krehely, Meaghan House, and Emily Kernan, Axis of Ideology: Conservative Foundations and Public Policy, (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. March 2004), pp. 37, 44.

[8] Russ Bellant and Chip Berlet, "Still Backing the Hard Right: Coors Money Undermines Democracy,” http://www.corporations.org/coors.

[9Jeff Krehely, Meaghan House, and Emily Kernan, Axis of Ideology: Conservative Foundations and Public Policy, (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. March 2004), pp. 37, 44

Russ Bellant and Chip Berlet, "Still Backing the Hard Right: Coors Money.

[10] Conservative Transparency, http://conservativetransparency.org/top/?donor=3177&yr=&yr1=&yr2=&submit=.

[11] Conservative Transparency, http://conservativetransparency.org/donor/castle-rock-foundation/page/4/?order_by=year%20DESC&og_tot=702.

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Castle Rock Foundation Résumé

Founded

1993

Mission

"Promote a better understanding of the free enterprise system; preserve the principles upon which our democracy was founded to help ensure a limited role for government and the protection of individual rights as provided for in the Constitution; encourage personal responsibility and leadership; and uphold traditional American values."

Board of Trustees(2011)

  • Peter Coors
  • William K. Coors
  • Jeffrey Coors
  • Reverend Robert Windsor
  • Cecily Coors Garnsey
  • Melissa Coors Osborn

Total Value of Contributions

  • $40,447,613

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