Yes Weekly in the Triad published a story today by Jim Longworth, LEAKED MEMO RAISES CONCERNS, which explores what the Blueprint NC scandal may mean to one of the largest charitable trusts in the Nation, the Z. Smith Reynolds (ZSR) Foundation.
“As soon as this story surfaced last Friday, I spoke with ZSR Executive Director Leslie Winner and Finance Director Terry Lockamy. Leslie confirmed that Blueprint had received funding from ZSR, and Lockamy gave me the exact figures, saying, “Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation approved a general operating support grant of $400,000 to Blueprint NC this past November for the year 2013. Blueprint’s total budget for 2013 is $1 million.”
I was dumbstruck. $400,000 is a huge sum of money… so huge that it comprised 40 percent of Blueprint NC’s entire budget. It is also significant because it’s coming from a foundation who thought they were giving money for a 501(c)3 to “strengthen democracy,” but instead awarded it to what appears to be an organization who engages in partisan politics.
Winner was understandably upset after reading the initial column…” (Read the entire article here)
While they talk about the $400,000 figure for 2013 what is left unsaid is the large and continuing support by ZSR for Blueprint NC activities. Looking through past IRS 990’s on www.guidestar.com, along with the $400,000 above, ZSR has supplied $2.1 million since 2009 to Blueprint NC. They did this either directly or through the NC Justice Center which originally started and housed Blueprint NC with the assistance of a grant from Reynolds.
Longworth goes on to talk about the attitude of the Blueprint Executive Director upon being confronted by the memo.
“Clearly, Kosofsky (Blueprint ED) felt it was his duty to criticize and harass the Republican party. In fact, he unapologetically told me, “We didn’t write the talking points, but if we had, it would have been okay. But we didn’t do it.” It was like listening to OJ Simpson try and explain his book, If I had Done it. Moreover, Kosofsky’s non-denial denial seemed to confirm for me that his organization’s beliefs and activities contradicted their own mission statement…”
Reynolds has a long time connection to liberal groups. Civitas has reported on it here, here and here. There is an old saying, “when you’re in a hole, stop digging.” In this case it may be a $2 million dollar hole for the Z Smith Reynolds Foundation.