Proteus: Two definitions
#1: A genus of gram-negative, motile bacteria, members of the family Enterobacteriaceae, usually found in fecal and other putrefying matter.
Proteus species are notorious in medical microbiological laboratories because of their rapid swarming growth on commonly used agar plates.
The German mystical alchemist Heinrich Khunrath (1560–1605) wrote of the shape-changing sea-god who, because of his relationship to the sea, is both a symbol of the unconscious as well as the perfection of the art.
From his transforming nature, and multifarious aspects comes our adjective “protean”. A “protean career” would embrace many human concerns.
Shakespeare uses the image of Proteus to establish the character of his great royal villain Richard III in the play Henry VI, Part Three, the prequel to his play Richard III. In Act III, Scene ii, Richard (not yet the king), boasts:
- I can add colors to the chameleon,
- Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,
- And set the murderous Machiavel to school.
- Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?
- Tut, were it farther off, I’ll pluck it down.
From Discover the Networks:
Founded in 1995, the Proteus Fund is set up not as a traditional foundation, but as a public charity. It takes money from donors who specify the precise groups and causes for which they want it earmarked, and in turn funnels the cash (minus a handling fee) to those recipients; this arrangement enables the donors to avoid (if they wish) being publicly associated with the groups being funded, which in many cases are extremely radical. Such transactions are called donor-advised funds.
Through this legal loophole, nonprofit entities can set up for-profit organizations and funnel money to them through PDF, since, by law, non-profits are not legally allowed to directly fund their own for-profit enterprises. Margaret Gage, who founded the Peace Development Fund in 1981, is the Proteus Fund’s President and Executive Director.
The Proteus Fund’s Board of Directors is composed of members who are affiliated with numerous leftist causes and organizations. For example, Tom Asher founded the Media Access Project and sits on the Board of the Center for Responsive Politics. Donna Edwards of the Arca Foundation founded the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Mike Lux of Progressive Strategies LLC, a political consulting firm, served as Senior Vice President for Political Action at People for the American Way. Labor and political organizer Cecile Richards is the senior advisor to Nancy Pelosi and sits on the Directors’ Boards of Progressive Majority, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), and the national Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Byron Rushing, a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, is a South Africa rights activist and a Board member of the CarEth Foundation and Grassroots International. Frank Sanchez of the Needmor Fund co-founded the Chicano Youth Association in 1969 and institutionalized bilingual education in American schools. Selena Singleton of the TransAfrica Forum is an attorney who represents minorities in matters pertaining to civil rights, environmental justice, and housing segregation; she also serves with the International Women’s Democracy Center. Janet Shenk of the AFL-CIO is a longtime human rights activist and sits on the Board of the Arca Foundation. Margery Tabankin of Tabankin Associates is the director of the Streisand Foundation and Steven Spielberg‘s Righteous Persons Foundation. Robert Zevin of Zevin Associates was a founder or Board member of such leftist groups as Resist, Affirmative Investments, and the Tax Equity Alliance of Massachusetts. Dini Merz is a Program Director of the Proteus Fund’s Peace and Security program and of the CarEth Foundation, which is an arm of the Proteus Fund.
The Proteus Fund has several major grantmaking arms. Among these are the following:
1) The Piper Fund strongly supports campaign finance reform. Regarding money as the root of all evil in democratic politics, this Fund gave $5 million from 1999-2003 to lobbying organizations and researchers dedicated to bringing about such reform. The Piper Fund is financed by the Arca Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Joyce Foundation, the McKay Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Solidago Foundation, the Stern Family Fund, the Columbia Foundation, the Changing Horizons Fund, the Open Society Institute(George Soros), the Ford Foundation, the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, the Tides Foundation, the Jenifer Altman Foundation, the Compton Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the JEHT Foundation, the Lear Family Foundation, Working Assets, Funding Exchange, and many more.
2) The State Strategies Fund (SSF) is a collaborative grantmaking initiative supporting state-level programs to increase minorities’ participation in political life, and to promote the passage of leftist legislative agendas and the election of leftist political leaders. This Fund pursues a multi-issue agenda that includes union organizing, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) advocacy, civil rights, community organizing, economic justice, women’s groups, and environmentalist coalitions. Between 1999 and 2003, SSF gave more than $2 million to multiple state coalitions promoting campaign finance reform, “fair tax policy,” taxpayer-funded health care, and environmental extremism. It is funded by the Ford Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program, the Educational Foundation of America, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
3) The Colombe Foundation seeks to create a more peaceful world through changes in American policy. These include the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, and a reduction in military spending accompanied by increased funding for social welfare programs and conflict-resolution initiatives.
4) The Media Action Fund (MAF) uses aggressive advertising campaigns to promote leftist agendas. Between 2000 and 2004, for example, MAF gave more than $2 million to organizations that advocate radical environmental activism. Among MAF’s grantees are the Clean Water Fund; the Montana Conservation Voters Education Fund; the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance; the Rocky Mountain Energy Campaign; the Western Organization of Resource Councils; the Conservation Law Foundation; the Container Recycling Institute; Dakota Rural Action; Earth Day Network; the Partnership Project; the South Dakota Resources Protection Fund U.S. Public Interest Research Group; ; the Conservation Law Foundation; Forest Ethics; Friends of Blackwater Canyon; LocalMotion; the Missouri Coalition for the Environment; the North Carolina Waste Awareness & Reduction Network; the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition; and the Sierra Club.
5) The Security Policy Working Group (SPWG) seeks to “broaden and deepen the public discourse on what constitutes true security in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.” SPWG emphasizes “multilateral, cooperative approaches that lessen the need for, and use of, military force.” One SPWG member, an MIT research scientist, contends that “the Bush Administration has placed too much of its emphasis and budget on military solutions to the challenges of mass casualty terrorism.”
In addition to the aforementioned groups, the list of Proteus Fund grantees also includes, among many others, the Tides Center and Tides Foundation; Public Citizen; the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now(ACORN); the CarEth Foundation; the Proteus Action Council; the Lear Family Foundation; the Progressive America Fund; the Center for a New American Dream; the Center for Community Change; Class Action; the Peace Development Fund; the Women’s Empowerment Network; the Spirit Rock Meditation Center; the Public Justice Foundation; MADRE; the Nonviolent Peaceforce; Coalition for DC Representation Education Fund; the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP); the Natural Resources Defense Council; the Environmental Media Services; the Environmental Coalition; the Citizen Action Fund; the Rock the Vote Education Fund; the Committee for Inter-American Human Rights; the Progressive Alliance for Community Empowerment; the Public Action Foundation; Protestants for the Common Good; the Center for Peace and Justice; and the Progressive Coalition.
From Proteus Fund website
Mindful philanthropy, lasting social change
PROTEUS FUND is a publicly supported foundation based in Amherst, Massachusetts that supports organizations working to advance social justice and the common good. Proteus envisions a nation where public policy and leadership are based on progressive values of equality, freedom of expression, participatory democracy, community, justice, human rights, and respect for the environment.
Proteus is best known for state-based grantmaking collaboratives comprised of foundations and individual donors who pool their resources in order to support unified funding strategies. We provide other philanthropic services, including management and consulting services to individual donors and private and family foundations. Our programs prioritize learning for donors – through research and analysis, strategic discussions, docket preparation, donor meetings and briefings, and site visits with key organizations and leaders – enabling funders to extend their impact and achieve their goals by supporting the most effective work in the field.
Since 1994, Proteus has awarded $44 million to organizations committed to social justice and public interest advocacy, supporting their work to follow the trail of money in politics, increase civic participation by underrepresented constituencies, advocate for environmental justice, develop alternative national security policy proposals, work for peace, secure a just media environment and democratic media policy, and protect and extend human rights. Proteus Action League, our affiliated §501(c)(4) grantmaking organization, enables us to extend the impact of our social justice grantmaking.
Compare to Obama’s recent views on nuclear arms:
About Colombe Foundation
Colombe Foundation seeks to create a peaceful world through changes in American policy. We work for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction; a shift to foreign policy that is balanced with diplomacy and prevention rather than dominated by war and aggression; and a shift from wasteful military spending to investments in programs that create real national security (including environmental protection, alternative energy, education and human services). We believe that American citizens, working through non-governmental organizations, can bring about these changes by using the tools of our democracy.
- Grassroots organizations working to educate the public and influence decision makers;
- Peace advocacy organizations promoting alternative policies and educating opinion makers and decision-makers; and
- Organizations initiating and expanding media coverage on our issues.