A Public Resource Compiled by the

Environmental Defense Fund

257 Park Avenue South
New York, New York 10010
501c3 nonprofit

Recipient: Focus on climate change, air pollution and biotech-related topics

Key People

  • Fred Krupp, President
  • Amanda Leland, Executive Vice President
  • Steven Hamburg, Chief Scientist
  • Vickie Patton, General Counsel

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is “one of the world’s largest environmental organizations,” headquartered in New York City. Unlike many NGOs that explicitly denounce crop biotechnology, EDF says that it “does not support or oppose broad categories of biotechnology products, such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), arguing instead that “products resulting from the application of biotechnology …. need to be evaluated for their risks and benefits …. before they are deployed.”

Despite this more nuanced position on biotechnology, EDF was still embroiled in recent controversy surrounding GMOs. One of the group’s contributing scientists, Christopher Portier, served as an “invited specialist” at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015, when the agency determined that the weed killer glyphosate (Bayer’s Roundup) is a “probable carcinogen.” Experts by and large have rejected IARC’s conclusion, and further suggest that Portier’s involvement at the agency created a conflict of interest, since EDF was established to campaign against pesticide use.

Portier was also a paid consultant to lawyers who sued Monsanto following the release of IARC’s review of glyphosate. His deposition in the lawsuit indicated that Portier was in contact with the attorneys two months prior to the release of the IARC monograph, suggesting the outcome of IARC’s deliberations about glyphosate were known in advance.

EDF also argues that Sub-Saharan Africa could benefit from organic farming because “products that can help maximize yields aren’t always available or affordable …. Using organic sources of nutrients …. along with non-chemical pest and weed control methods can significantly boost crops.” Experts, in contrast, suggest that crop biotechnology can help farmers in the developing world substantially increase their crop yields.

Financial Data


Annual Revenue: $146,650,894 (2016)

Total Assets $185,063,884 (2016)

Major Donors (total contributions 2012-present)

Walton Family Foundation $44,888,364

John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation 18, 350,000

David and Lucile Packard Foundation $2,750,000

Silicon Valley Community Foundation $1,044,185

Tomkat Charitable Trust $1,000,000

Rockefeller Foundation $866,390

  1. Smith Reynolds Foundation $575,000

The Ford Foundation $342, 500

Turner Foundation $300,000

Tides Foundation $156,304

Contribution totals only reflect publicly reported donors and may not include significant contributions from corporations, litigators and governments, domestic and foreign, through percent of sales agreements and allocations through various arrangements such as state lotteries and aid programs. Many claims by nonprofit organizations that they receive no contributions from governments or corporations are misleading or false.

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Note that there are three “levels” of both donors and recipients.

Donations to advocacy groups are sometimes designated to support a specific cause, such as organic agriculture or mitigating climate change. There is no way for us to know from publicly-available documents on what the money will be spent, as we can only see the total amount donated. When we assign the levels below to donors and recipients, we assume that all donations are available to the recipient for all advocacy, including anti-GMO advocacy.

  • Level 1: Donates primarily to dedicated anti-GMO organizations
  • Level 2: A large portion of donations go to anti-GMO organizations; some donations go to organizations without a position on GMOs
  • Level 3: A small portion of donations go to anti-GMO organizations
    * Most donations go to organizations without a formal position on GMOs but which have aligned themselves with anti-GMO activists

For Level 1 recipients, all donations are used for anti-GMO advocacy. For Level 2 and 3 recipients, we don’t know how much of each donation is used for anti-GMO advocacy.

  • Level 1: Dedicated to anti-GMO advocacy
  • Level 2: Involved in anti-GMO advocacy along with other causes
  • Level 3: No specific anti-GMO advocacy, but general support
    * Organizations without a formal position on GMOs but which have aligned themselves with anti-GMO activists
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