FYI: Major Anti-Abortion Groups Funded by Crusty Male Billionaire - 2014-12-23
We all keep forgetting about Dan and Farris Wilks. They seem to like it that way. The billionaire Texan brothers made their money in the masonry and fracking businesses, then poured it right back into some of their favorite causes. Now's a good time to review the work of Farris Wilks' baby, the Thirteen Foundation, one of the biggest and quietest anti-abortion donors in the United States.
The Wilks brothers, worth an estimated $1.5 billion apiece, are famously publicity-shy. They still live in their hometown of Cisco, Texas, a tiny dot on the map with a population of less than 4,000. Farris, 62, divides his time between preaching at the Assembly of Yahweh 7th Day Church and acting as a trustee for the Thirteen Foundation, which, as a recent report from Inside Philanthropy points out, has donated an eye-popping amount of money to anti-abortion groups, including crisis pregnancy center chain Heartbeat International, abortion clinic picketers 40 Days for Life, and Life Dynamics and Media Revolution Ministries (also known as Online for Life), both dedicated to ending abortion through media campaigns, lawsuits, and the occasional undercover attempted sting operation at Planned Parenthood.
With the exception of Heartbeat, all of these are relatively small organizations, most of them based in North Texas, who have gotten outsized cash infusions from Wilks: according to tax filings, he gave $2.2 million to Media Revolution in 2012 alone. Their total budget was $2.4 million. The Thirteen Foundation doesn't have a website and just three trustees directing its millions: Wilks, his wife JoAnn, and the charity's executive director Jonathan Francis, who also sits on the Online for Life/Media Revolution board.