This Obscure Foundation Helped Fund the Alt-Right - 2020-02-18
Of the $5.8 million the foundation has donated to various causes since 2002, roughly $105,000 has gone to organizations like the National Policy Institute, or NPI, which is led by neo-Nazi Richard Spencer. A comprehensive review of the foundation's available 990 reports indicates that its financial support for white nationalism began in 2014 and continued through 2018. Though $105,000 is not an exceptionally large sum of money, white nationalist organizations are small, and it doesn't take much money to keep them afloat. "Annual recurring donations are kind of where it's at for these guys because they all have financial limits, imposed by federal law, on how large the donations can be," explained David Neiwert, the author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.
"A guy like Spencer, for instance, doesn't need a single sugar daddy to give him money," Neiwert added. "Basically, the National Policy Institute is Spencer, and he just needs an annual salary. Five thousand dollars is basically 5 percent of that annual income for him. He just needs another 20 of those donations and he's done for the year. That's actually not that hard to get, because there are a lot of people out there who are willing to keep that chunk rolling in for him every year."
Rotella was one of those people. His foundation gave $2,500 to NPI in 2014, then doubled the sum in 2015. It handed off another $5,000 chunk to the group in 2016. Donations to other white nationalist groups follow a similar pattern. Between 2013 and 2017, his foundation donated $10,000 every year, or $40,000 total, to the Charles Martel Society, a white nationalist organization that publishes The Occidental Quarterly, a pseudo-academic journal that focuses on "race science." Members of the journal's advisory board include Virginia Abernethy, a Vanderbilt University professor emerita who describes herself as an "ethnic separatist," and Tom Sunić, a writer whom the Southern Poverty Law Center calls "an intellectual voice for white nationalists" and who once complained that the media "pathologized White Western peoples into endless atonement." Until 2018, the RPRF's donations composed roughly 13 to 18 percent of the Charles Martel Society's donation income, depending on the year.