Thursday, July 22, 2021

Major Source of Arms Control Funding to Dry Up for Think Tanks

 Here is more from Politico:

For the Washington think tanks and foundations that work to control the spread of nuclear weapons, the Doomsday Clock is inching closer to midnight.

That’s because a leading financial backer of their efforts to reduce nuclear proliferation is ending its support, sending shockwaves through arms control institutions that are already struggling to remain influential.

For more than 40 years, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States, has been a primary benefactor of a host of non-profit research centers, academic programs and grassroots organizations dedicated to reversing the spread of nuclear weapons and training a generation of arms control experts.

Since 2015 alone, MacArthur directed 231 grants totaling more than $100 million to “nuclear challenges” — in some cases providing more than half the annual funding for individual institutions or programs.

But its recent conclusion that it wasn't achieving its goals and decision to pull out of the arena could be detrimental without alternative sources of funding, according to multiple veterans of the nuclear policy community.


Those receiving funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation include the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Arms Control Association.  Another is the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the organization that operates the Doomsday Clock.

Matthew Bunn, who directs the Project on Managing the Atom at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, estimates that MacArthur was providing around 45% - 55% of all non-government funding worldwide on nuclear policy.

Here is the MacArthur Foundation's statement mentioning its exit from the nuclear field.

The MacArthur Foundation has given to nearly every major US think tank, including the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Aspen Institute, Atlantic Council, Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Cato Institute, Center for American Progress (CAP), Center for Global Development (CGD), Center for National Policy (CNP), Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Economic Policy Institute (EPI), Hudson Institute, Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), Middle East Institute (MEI), Migration Policy Institute (MPI), New America, R Street Institute, Resources for the Future (RFF), Stimson Center, Truman Center for National Policy, US Institute of Peace (USIP), Urban Institute, Wilson Center, and World Resources Institute (WRI).

At the end of 2020, MacArthur's assets totaled $8.2 billion.  In June 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the MacArthur Foundation was one of several major institutions that pledged to increase their charitable giving.

Update: In related arms control think tank news, the Federation of American Scientists just released a report using satellite imagery showing that China is building a new network of silos for launching nuclear missiles.