Ron Arnold's Left Tracking Library

Common Assets
Defense Fund

member of The Apollo Alliance

Common Assets Defense Fund
companion 501(c)(4) Common Assets Action Fund
P.O. Box 14967
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Phone: number reassigned to a private cell phone
Website: www.commonassets.org [created February 8, 2000, available only on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine at http://web.archive.org/web/20030804042255/http://www.commonassets.org/index.html
EIN:
48-1271532

Founded: Incorporated in California September 16, 2002 as Common Assets Defense Fund and name changed to On The Commons in 2004
Re-registered in Minnesota May 17, 2006 as Common Assets Defends Fund and as On The Commons
Common Assets Action Fund registered in California October 12, 2004
Merged with the Tomales Bay Institute in June, 2006.

501(c)(3) exempt since:
2002
2007
Assets: $341,012
2007 Income:$497,930

Note: Common Assets Defense Fund and On the Commons are not listed in 2009's IRS Publication 78 Cumulative Index of Exempt Organizations

Self-Description: Common Assets Defense Fund (CADF) was formed to preserve the public assets of the United States. Common assets include the air, the water, the airways used by TV and radio, and the Internet.  Collectively such assets are worth more than our entire privately owned property put together. Worth more in dollars, and worth more in terms of health, happiness, and quality of life. Common Assets Defense Fund animates new policies, public understanding, and community-based strategies to protect and extend this common wealth.

Actual: A small grant-driven, foundation-ruled group of highly sensitive individuals opposing private property, private enterprise and all things private per se with an ideology that mocks, devalues and destroys the private individual and private ownership in favor of collective society and collective ownership. The concept assumes but does not say that government owns the commons. CADF's creators are profoundly intellectual. One of them (Barlow) is a Marxist "but not prescriptive. I am a fan of the clarity of Marxian analysis." CADF's board is profoundly analytical, widely experienced in movement dynamics, and well grounded in their beliefs. Their original executive director, Adam Werbach, was not, a young man suffering the platitude-ridden hubris of early celebrity as having been the youngest elected president of the Sierra Club. CADF ditched him in 2006 for Julie Ristau, co-creator with Eric Utne and publisher of Utne Reader (1983).

Background: CADF was an outgrowth of the small prototype Tomales Bay Institute,  which was merged into CADF in 2006. CADF's original board of directors included:

Harriet Barlow, CADF President. Barlow created and directed the Blue Mountain Center in Blue Mountain Lake, New York. She is also executive director of the HKH (Harold K. Hochschild) Foundation, the $30 million Hochschild family philanthropy based on the AMAX mining fortune. The Blue Mountain Center is a project of the Hochschild family heirs, and was the original registered address of CADF, odd for an organization incorporated in California, which reveals the HKH foundation influence. The Center was paying Barlow $84,895 salary and $4,775 benefits in 2002.

Barlow has also served as a director of the Foundation for National Progress (publisher of Mother Jones magazine) and the Sequoia Fund (Adam Hochschild's trust that funds only the Foundation for National Progress); trustee of the Institute for Policy Studies; and Director of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. She is a Distinguished Advisor of Vermont Law School.


Peter Barnes,
co-founder and former president of social change telephone company Working Assets Long Distance, author of Who Owns the Sky: Our Common Assets and the Future of Capitalism; Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons; and Climate Solutions: A Citizen's Guide with a foreword by Bill McKibben. Barnes has written for Newsweek, the New Republic and the New York Times, and was a co-founder of Common Assets Defense Fund. Barnes was the originator of the Sky Trust concept.
 

David Bollier, long-time collaborator with television writer/producer Norman Lear (also senior fellow at Lear Center) and author of
Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth;

 

 

Original Executive Director, Adam Werbach, enfant terrible of the Sierra Club as its youngest elected national president at age 23 in 1996, credited with reinvigorating and rejuvenating the "aging and moribund" group founded by John Muir in 1892. Emphasizing the intergenerational divide, he brought friction to CADF as well as enthusiasm for the Apollo Project when it became part of CADF's funding package dictated by the Nathan Cummings Foundation. He departed CADF in a dispute over leadership in the Apollo Project.


CADF's tangled relationship with the Apollo Alliance is revealed in the grant description of the Nathan Cummings Foundation:

Nathan Cummings Foundation Grant Description
http://www.nathancummings.net/HG_details_2004/CommonAssets.pdf

Common Assets Defense Fund (San Francisco, CA)
Total Award: $275,000 over 1 year

Apollo Project

To support the Apollo Project to re-frame the global warming debate by putting forward unlikely allies, including labor, environment, civil rights and business leaders to argue for the job creation and national security potential of a clean energy economy. In its second year Apollo will forward a detailed national policy proposal and support the continued development of 20 regional Apollo projects. The Alliance's core groups, Common Assets Defense Fund, the Breakthrough Institute, Center on Wisconsin Strategies and the Institute for America's Future, will continue to work with the national unions and environmental groups which support the project, grow the alliance at both the national and state levels and work with a select number of regional groups to influence policies and investments in those places where the Apollo concept is most advanced. Apollo will also continue its sophisticated media outreach which this year will focus on moving specific policy proposals before the public in a way that elevates the core Apollo values (American ingenuity, hope, coming together to solve the big problems), grows the alliance, and divides defenders of status quo energy, economic and environmental policies.

Program Contribution Breakdown:
$200,000
Environment Program: Objective I, Strategies 1 & 2, Objective II, Strategy 1
$25,000
Health Program: Objective II, Strategy 2
$50,000
Interprogram Initiatives for Social and Economic Justice: Objectives I & II

 

Common Assets Defend Fund
 financial condition 2007

 Revenue     Expenses
Contributions $487,905
Government Grants $0
Program Services $2,520
Investments $4,005
Special Events $0
Sales $0
Other $3,500

 

Program Services $216,483
Administration $43,620
Other $31,635
Total Expenditures $291,738
Total Revenue $497,930   NET GAIN/LOSS $206,192

Common Assets Defend Fund
Directors  - 2007

Name Title Compensation
JULIE RISTAU Director $60,000
HARRIET BARLOW President/BOD $0
CHUCK COLLINS Director $0
DAN CAROL Treas/Secretary/BOD $0
ANIL NAIDOO Director $0
CHRIS DESSER Director $0

12 most recent foundation grants to
Common Assets Defend Fund

Grant Total: $779,170 Number of Grants: 12

 

Donor Foundation
 

Amount

Year

 

Grant Description

PARK FOUNDATION INC
Ithaca New York

 

$25,000

 

2005

 

The Public Utility Commissioner training program

ZERODIVIDE
San Francisco
California

 

$40,000

 

2005

 

 

ZERODIVIDE
San Francisco
California

 

$10,000

 

2004

 

To host two regional planning meetings in preparation for the statewide California Wireless Summit, and to develop a model for other regional wireless initiatives for engaging underserved communities on issues of public wireless deployment and policy

PARK FOUNDATION INC
Ithaca
New York

 

$50,000

 

2004

 

Waterman Organization and Public Utility Commissioner Training Program

NATHAN CUMMINGS FOUNDATION
New York
New York

 

$275,000

 

2004

 

Apollo Project

FORD FOUNDATION
New York
New York

 

$20,000

 

2004

 

Start-up support for the national airways network of public interest advocates and activists dedicated to expanding access to the p

HKH FOUNDATION
New York
New York

 

$25,000

 

2004

 

Environmental protection

GENERAL SERVICE FOUNDATION
Aspen
Colorado

 

$20,000

 

2004

 

Engagement Innovation Test Fund

TIDES FOUNDATION
San Francisco
California

 

$39,170

 

2003

 

General support

NATHAN CUMMINGS FOUNDATION
New York
New York

 

$225,000

 

2003

 

Apollo project

PANTA RHEA FOUNDATION INC
La Jolla
California

 

$15,000

 

2003

 

Charitable Purpose

GENERAL SERVICE FOUNDATION
Aspen
Colorado

 

$35,000

 

2003

 

Fund to Test innovation Engagement Techniques

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