Pope Foundation a Standout in Backing Conservatism

The Pope Foundation is unique among philanthropies in the Tar Heel State: Rather than fund liberal social causes, the foundation supports conservative ideas and institutions. Triangle Business Journal picks up on that theme in this article: When he walks into a room full of North Carolina foundation officials, says David Riggs, vice president of operations and programs for the John William Pope Foundation, he feels out of place. While many foundations in the state with comparable or greater assets often invest in liberal social agendas, the $140 million-asset Pope Foundation aggressively promotes conservative causes. “We believe that market processes and the free-enterprise system allow people to help themselves, to grow and prosper how they best think and feel they can,” says Riggs, an economist. Chaired by Art Pope, a businessman and political powerbroker whose father founded Variety Wholesalers, the discount retailer that is the source of its philanthropic assets, the foundation granted $10.8 million in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009, mainly for operating support.
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