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Community Call for Colcom to Stop Funding White Nationalism

The Thomas Merton Center is gathering support from community organizations calling on the Pittsburgh based Colcom Foundation to stop funding white nationalist political work around the US.  Thank you for helping Pittsburgh become a more welcoming place!


Sign the petition for individuals and ask your organizations and elected officials to sign the open letter.

To the Colcom Foundation Board of Directors

We write as a coalition of labor, faith, veteran, and immigrant rights activists, and community groups who work together to make our neighborhoods a more fair, equitable, and just place for all. We call on you, the Colcom Foundation, to stop funding the network of extremist anti-immigrant white nationalist political groups you’ve long supported. We ask that you stay out of the immigration policy debate altogether, after more than two decades of funding extremist anti-immigrant organizations.

According to IRS records for 2017, Colcom devoted $34.1 million to funding anti-immigrant groups. That amount represents 81% of total giving by the foundation that year. The New York Times has estimated that Colcom has provided $180 million to anti-immigration groups since 2005. The Colcom Foundation, founded by Cordelia Scaife May, funds four of the country’s leading anti-immigrant groups. Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), NumbersUSA, and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) received the Colcom Foundation’s largest grant awards in 2019. Both FAIR and CIS have been designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and immigrant rights activists cite them as having played a key role in immigrant detention, death, and violence. In the foundation’s home city of Pittsburgh, we saw the most deadly antisemitic attack in our nation’s history perpetuated by an extremist who, because of rhetoric perpetuated by these anti-immigrant groups, blamed Jews for supporting immigrants.

Cordelia Scaife May was close friends with noted eugenicist and white nationalist John Tanton, and bankrolled his many organizations even prior to the 1996 founding of the Colcom Foundation. Tanton was the central figure in and founder of many anti-immigrant groups Colcom still funds today. Tanton, who spent years running a white nationalist publishing company, Social Contact Press, once wrote, “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”

The foundation’s mission bears no mention of its anti-immigration agenda and instead markets itself as a champion for environmental causes by addressing “overpopulation.” The overpopulation argument has long been debunked by numerous scholars and studies; overconsumption is a much more significant problem, and furthering the overpopulation argument is both factually inaccurate and ethically reprehensible. We reject the ideas promoted by Scaife May and Tanton that immigration is a major cause of ecological degradation and we fundamentally refute that overpopulation is a threat to American society.

The greenwashing Colcom engages in affects all of our communities, as the facade of environmentalism and conservation disingenuously obscures the foundation’s true goal of stoking fear of immigrants and enacting dangerous, xenophobic policies. Enjoying museums, parks, and trails with the Colcom Foundation name engraved in stone masks the truth behind their anti-immigrant agenda. Once more, we call on Colcom to stop funding organizations that promote eugenics and white supremacy.

Community Organizations Calling on Colcom to STOP Funding White Nationalism

350 Pittsburgh
About Face: Veterans Against the War
Allegheny County Councilor Anita Prizio
Allegheny County Councilor Olivia Bennett
Alliance for Police Accountability (APA)
Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education
Amethyst Community Health
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Pittsburgh Chapter
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Pittsburgh
Berks Gas Truth
Better Path Coalition
Bloomfield Development Corporation
Bridge Beyond
CAIR- Pittsburgh
Camp White Pine
Casa San José
Catapult Greater Pittsburgh
Chicken Latino 
CMU Against ICE
Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration
Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (CADBI) West (Pittsburgh)
Commonwealth of Oakland Presbyterian Church
CREATE Lab, Carnegie Mellon University
Downtown Community Development Corporation
East Coast Asian American Student Union
East Liberty Presbyterian Church
Environmental Health Project
Fossil Free Pitt Coalition
Global Links
Global Women's Strike/US
Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR)
Havertown Area Community Action Network (H-CAN)
Hello Neighbor
Human Rights Coalition Fed-Up!
Immigration Working Group of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod
Jewish Family and Community Services of Pittsburgh
Just Harvest
Justice at Work (Pennsylvania)

Kesher Pittsburgh
Las Palmas
Latino Community Center
Lawrenceville Pet Supply
Lawrenceville United
MILPA- Movement of Immigrant Leaders in Pennsylvania

Moulin Consulting LLC
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP)
National Young Farmers Coalition
Ohio Valley Environmental Resistance
Open Up Pittsburgh
Opportunity Fund
PA State Rep Joe HohensteinHD177 
PA State Rep Sara Innamorato
PA State Rep Summer Lee
PA State Senator Tim Kearney
Payday men's network/US
Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition
Pittsburgh Birth Project 
Pittsburgh Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Pittsburgh Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid
Pittsburgh United
Pittsburghers for Public Transit
Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates
Polish Hill Civic Association
Project CoffeeHouse
Putting Down Roots
Repair the World Pittsburgh
Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter
Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden, PA
Sixth Presbyterian Church
Somali Bantu Community Association of Pittsburgh 
St. Andrew Lutheran Church Congregation Council
Studio 9
Sunrise Movement, Pittsburgh Hub
The Alliance for Sustainable Communities Lehigh Valley
The Douty Foundation
The Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Pittsburgh Friends Meeting
The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Pennsylvania  (ROC PA)
Thomas Merton Center
Three Rivers Community Foundation
Tikkun Chant Circle
Ukombozi 412
Veterans For Peace (National)
Veterans for Peace Chapter 31 Philadelphia Area
Veterans for Peace of Western PA (chapter 47)
WILPF- Greater Philadelphia Branch
Women of Color Global Women's Strike/US
Women’s Law Project
Woori Center


Articles on the Campaign





Articles on


NumbersUSA, etc.


Ecofascism, Overpopulation,
and Immigration

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