America finds itself in a moment of political polarization. At times, nonprofits can reflect or even magnify that polarization. But at our best, we can serve as a bridge across the cultural chasms of our time. Americans across the political spectrum want to live in thriving communities — and every day, nonprofits help communities thrive.
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This series, The Hate Speech Debate: Implications for the Philanthropic and Grantmaking Community, is the product of a Horizon Forum convening which gathered a group of nearly 30 stakeholders across community foundations, government, and academia in early March 2021 to advance the national conversation on how to meet the challenge of hate and extremist funding taking placing indirectly in small quarters of the philanthropic sector.
The ADL Center on Extremism (COE) is one of the world’s foremost authorities on extremism, terrorism, antisemitism and all forms of hate. For decades, COE’s staff of seasoned investigators, analysts and researchers have tracked extremist activity and hate in the U.S. and abroad — online and on the ground. The staff, which represent a combined total of substantially more than 100 years of experience in this arena, routinely assist law enforcement with extremist-related investigations, provide tech companies with critical data and expertise and respond to wide-ranging media requests.
For those monitoring the impact of extremism, hate and political polarization on societies around the world, the United States is now just another case study in conflict and fragility. The massacre of 50 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, shook the small nation to its core — as people around the world bore witness to this horrific act of violence, which was live-streamed on social media platforms that enable hate.
Is hate speech constitutionally protected? Do groups that express hate in their words and deeds deserve tax-exempt status? Is the IRS equipped to judge what is hate and what is merely odious? Does it even matter? The House Ways & Means Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing on this fraught subject last week. And the answers, it turns out, are very complicated.
The top 20 widely recognized hate groups received over $20 million in contributions, sales, and grants in 2014 and 2015. The nonprofit wants to stop credit companies from processing those payments.
At least 351 donor organizations have made millions of dollars in grants over the past seven years to nonprofits designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups.
The U.S. Capitol insurrection and the deeply politicized impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump put into sharp focus that America’s body politic is seriously ill. We are, in fact, contending with parallel pandemics. While our political malady may be less immediately deadly than the coronavirus, it could prove just as dangerous to our institutions, our civic life, and our nation’s long-term well-being.
Bob Jones University recently announced that it will regain its tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status on March 1, 2017. The University lost its tax exemption more than 30 years ago in a landmark Supreme Court case, Bob Jones University v. United States, 461 U.S. 574 (1983), due to racially discriminatory policies that it had at the time. This case is best-known for the adoption of the “Public Policy Doctrine” in the context of Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, which is getting debated these days in the context of same-sex marriage.
As current levels of social and political polarization reach new heights, so do discussions about extremism, disinformation, and hate speech. But what do these terms mean for institutions such as philanthropy, technology, and media which straddle and blur the boundaries between public and private life?